I always think it's interesting to match reality up with what our goals were. When I think back to what we were able to do with our money in 2 years, I'm humbled and disappointed at the same time. Some thing didn't go according to plan AT ALL. It took us much longer to establish our emergency fund. We had to replace wrecked cars with clunkers at very inconvenient times. We didn't start saving for retirement or college until months after I'd planned. That all disappoints me. However, we were also able to do all of those things with cash. And we paid for an adoption completely with cash. Reflecting like this gives me the opportunity to see how far we've come.
July - paid off last debt!
August-September - Save and pay cash for Jarrod's seminary tuition
October - After car troubles and an unrelated accident, we need to purchase a new-to-us vehicle. While we aren't out much cash, it does stress out our budget and take time to have a car totaled and find a new car for cash.
November - Celebrated our debt freedom with a trip to Nashville as a family to do our debt-free scream.
October-December - Save emergency fund. We opted for closer to a 3 month emergency fund rather than on the side of 6 months because we both have very stable jobs and consistent income.
Honestly, I'm sure not sure how we did all of that in 2013! But we did and chugged into 2014 with no debt and a good start on our emergency fund!2014
January - We mailed off our paperwork after choosing a foster care agency to facilitate an adoption. We continued saving money towards our emergency fund with plans to start an adoption fund after that.
February-April - Emergency fund is fully funded! Perfect timing...because in late April we meet Eloise's birth family, get lawyers on retainer, and save every penny to pay for an adoption!
May-June - Continue putting every dollar we have towards bringing our baby home. In June both our cars break down - fix a water hose in one and buy a replacement vehicle altogether for the other. More money, but thankfully we have it and pay cash for everything.
October-November - Build up emergency fund again now that the adoption is complete and the car drama is over! I also quit my job and took a pay cut to be home with the kids more. This wouldn't have been possible if we weren't debt-free!
December - Save money for an upcoming vacation!
January - We FINALLY begin saving for retirement and the kids college. It feels like it took us forever to get to this step, but we finally made it! We put 15% away towards retirement (not counting Jarrod's mandatory pension) and more for the kids college.
February-May - We continue saving for retirement and kids college each month. We put "extra" money towards a vacation to Seattle in July. Once that is funded, we begin saving for a Disney trip we are planning for January of 2017...
July - After saving for 6 months, we go to Seattle with our friends! We put enough money away before June to do Seattle exactly how we wanted to. We ate great food and got some souvenirs. And the only thing that followed us home was the memories!
These savings goals are on top of normal goals like retirement and kids college. I'm not the most patient person and sometimes I want to speed through this season. I know how important it is to just continue doing what we're doing - putting money into college and retirement, a little for vacations, and living below our means. Slow and steady wins the race!
What are your goals? How are you using your finances to achieve them?