Budget Life List

Save More & Explore!

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It all began with a midlifeish crisis last year. I looked back on my 30ish years of life, 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.

Grab blank sheet of paper and pencil! No math will be harmed in this financial goal saga, unless we get lucky! 😉


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?

This is how my simple financial goals end with a trip to an exotic destination!
This is what happens after the simple financial goals are achieved, the explorations begin!


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!


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!


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????


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.

I know you can accomplish your simple financial goals too because I am a Grade A ordinary person. However, I did a lot of little things to ensure success like making a plan for my active income with a budget, having passive income, and designating all my hobbies as fee-free zones.

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?

Keep exploring!

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  1. Heather Marie Somers says:

    I always recommend setting up automatic savings to my customers. You can do it thru online banking. I save this way into my savings, my kids, and the Christmas account every payday.

  2. Its an easy way to save for those big events. It’s all made so easy nowadays with online banking. Hopefully you save a little something for your Heather Fun Fund too!

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