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It all began with a midlifeish crisis last year. I looked back on my 30ish years, particularly the past five years, and wondered, what have I done?
Some stuff was epic (yes, Mr. BuLL our marriage falls into the epic category) but these events seemed rare in occurrence certainly not the norm.
I have dreams! I have a life list! But why haven’t I crossed anything off that list yet?
Then, I had an idea. What if I developed a simple financial goal like challenging myself to save $5,000 in 12 months? I had some insight into what would bring success but I doubted that I had all the answers.
If I did I probably wouldn’t have had a midlifeish crisis.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Of all the simple financial goals, I chose this one because it was an amount that I estimated I would need to accomplish specific expeditions.
These ambitious explorations include wandering over to China, the Galapagos, the United Kingdom, even Antarctica. I always get a thrill when I think about these future expeditions. Then reality comes in and hits me in the goods when I think of paying for it.
To reduce anxiety and turn a life list into life actions, I made a simple financial goal. The goal is to get from point A: $0 to point Z: saved $5,000. Setting simple financial goals is so easy!
After that quick endorphin high, I calculated that I would need to save about $416 a month. Okay, see, right there, that prior sentence is the hard part. How am I going to do it? What tools am I going to use to get there?
40-Hour Grind towards $5,000
I already had tools set in place with a budget for my active income. Along with saving aggressively for a 12-month challenge, I still have to do all the other
gross adulting things like paying for bills, groceries, gas, insurance, etc. Lame!
I know that my budget will change with time but if I didn’t have a plan for my active income, I wouldn’t achieve my goal. I would be left with failure. Which at that point, already felt like not an option! Darn you financial expectations!
Do the Hustle 🎶
Passive income is where I maximized my savings for this 12-month challenge. This money isn’t enough to retire but its enough to make an impact!
Even small rewards, like $5 here or $20 there, was enough to get me excited about throwing money at my financial goal.
Also, I named my life list savings account Expedition Everywhere because naming a savings account matters. It makes a goal feel more real when it has a name.
Names have power. Why else would big businesses donate millions of dollars to have their names put on theatres, stadiums, and buildings? If a big business would like to donate money to name my house, please contact me!
Free In Freedom
Along with making money, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about how I save money. I save money by avoiding stores. A lot.
Have you heard about people doing a no-spending spree? I do that too but on a more consistent basis. It’s less of a spree and more of a lifestyle choice.
Instead, I pursue free hobbies like going to the library and reading free personal finance books, hiking, decluttering, drawing, writing, and juggling.
At this point, I find it hard to spend money on hobbies. What is this, spending money in exchange for fun? Is this also 2019, a magical land that doesn’t involve a global financial crisis and a pandemic????
This Is a Test
I was pretty confident that I could accomplish saving $5,000 in a 12 months. Why? Because I saved $2,500 in 6 months.
Last year, I challenged myself to save $2,500. When the anxiety built, I self soothed with the realization that even if I failed to accumulate that amount in full, I would still have a lot of money.
Do you know what happened? I saved more than $2,500. I used that Wonder Woman confidence for the next shiny financial goal.
In NINE months, I crushed saving $5,000! (Should I be thanking my midlife crisis???) I am still in shock that I shaved off 3 months off my 12-month goal.
Do you have simple financial goals? Or is it more like “to be continued” in your financial saga?