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It all began with a midlifeish crisis last year. I looked back on my 34 years of life, particularly the past 5 years and wondered, what have I done? Some stuff was epic (yes, husband our marriage falls into the epic category) but these events seemed to be a rare occurrence not the norm. I have dreams! I have a Life List! But why haven’t I crossed anything off that list yet? So I had an idea. What if I challenged myself to save $5,000 in 12 months? I have some insight into what will bring success but I seriously doubt I have all the answers. If I did I probably wouldn’t have had a midlifeish crisis. My current formula for success is hustling, sacrifices, and humor. I am going to need a heavy dose of humor.
I chose this high dollar goal because this is the amount I estimated I will need to accomplish the items on my Life List. These ambitious Life List adventures include wandering over to China, the Galapagos, the United Kingdom, even Antarctica. I always get a thrill when I think about future adventures. Then reality comes in and hits me in the goods when I think of paying for it.
To reduce anxiety and turn a list into actions, I made a plan. The plan is get from point A: $0 to point Z: saved $5,000. See planning is easy. I need to save about $416 a month to achieve that. 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?
I will use my Finding Financial Freedom techniques (aka budgeting) to set up a plan for my monthly expenses. Along with saving aggressively for a 12-month challenge, I have to do all the adulting things like paying for bills, groceries, gas, etc. Luckily I have a partner who will help offset some of these costs but still have to contribute 55% of my pay to our living expenses.
How I Hustle (My Savings Account!)
The side hustle is where I am able to maximize my savings for this 12-month challenge. My biggest money maker is babysitting. Yep, I am a 34-year-old babysitter. That is not something I brag about on my resume. However, I enjoy hanging out with kids I love and helping awesome parents have date night. The point of this bizarre story is that a side hustle is mandatory for achieving $416 every month.
Shopping Rewards are the Best
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 read about people doing no-spending sprees? 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 and camping in the back country, decluttering, calling my mom and grandparents, working out, and cooking.
This is a Test
I am pretty confident I can save $5,000 in 12-month challenge. Why? Because I saved $2,500 in a 6-month challenge last year. In 2019, I challenged myself to save $2,500 for my Life List. While the anxiety built, I self soothed with the realization that even if I failed to accumulate that lofty $5,000, I would still have a lot of money. You know what happened? I saved more than $2,500. That is why I feel confident in saving $5,000 this year.
It’s the last day of the month. At the end of the second month of my 12-month challenge, I have saved $865 out of $5,000.
I don’t think I am unique to this situation. Unfortunately making low wages is pretty common but that doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish your Life List too. I know you can because I am a Grade A ordinary person. However, I am doing a lot of little things to accomplish my Life List. I made a plan and got my financial house in order through Finding Financial Freedom. I have a few micro income streams and my hobbies are free. I definitely have the passion (thanks midlife crisis!) to do more with my time and funding. Now it’s time to crush saving $5,000 in a 12-month challenge! What’s your financial challenge?
Let me know in the comments below so we can root for each other. Sassy but thoughtful remarks are guaranteed here on the Budget Life List!
You got this!