My latest goals are quite a challenge. They involve a lot of discipline, money, and budgeting. My goals are very realistic and possible but they are going to be very challenging due to the fact that I am on an extremely tight budget with very little wiggle room for temptation or emergencies. When I thought about it that way it scared me into thinking I need to save money while reaching my goals just in case something should come up while I am climbing the stairs to my goal. The last thing I want to do is dip into my goal money in an emergency. Here is how I am saving while reaching my goal:
1. Split extra earnings between goals and savings. Here is what I mean, when I do jobs on Odesk or make money writing posts or additional babysitting above my regular shifts I put half of the money into my goal jar and half the money into my savings jar.
2. Use my creativity to create gifts, as well as fun surprises for my kids. When I think of all the birthdays and special occasions coming up it makes me think of all the money that can be wasted. Not only that but when you have kids you like to take them places and get them things to make them happy. While on a budget you need to be creative and make things for people for the holidays or offer them services free of charge. When you want to do something special for your kids and your on a budget you need to think of all the free things you can do like hiking, biking, crafts, playing outside, cooking together, creating gifts together, and much more. You do not need to spend money to have fun and make people feel special.
3. Cook seasonal and make double batches to throw in the freezer. When you cook seasonally you can get the best sale prices and be sure to keep the grocery bill low. Our thanksgiving just passed so turkeys, stuffing, and more seasonal items are all on sale right now so stocking up on those things are absolutely essential right now. Creating extra meals and stashing them in the freezer is an excellent way to have healthy food on the fly and keep you fro ordering take out.
4. Remind yourself why your goal is important. My goal is getting my license and buying a van that seats 7 passengers. I need around $3500 to get this done and the reasons I am doing this are infinite. I babysit 3-4 other kids almost everyday and we walk everywhere, driving us would save so much time. I want my son in scouts and I can't take him to meetings if I don't drive because it is quite a distance from my house and I have extra kids etc. I want to be able to take my kids places, like road trips, camping, site seeing, etc. I do what I can now but it is nothing compared to what it could be. Reminding yourself why your goal is important keeps you from throwing in the towel and spending your money on other things.
5. Get rid of things that are not necessary or helping you to reach your goal. I went through my house in the past week and realized how much extra crap I was holding onto. I got rid of bags of stuff and made some extra money in the process. If you have tons of clothes, toys, electronics, etc. that nobody uses or needs sell it and add the money to your goal and savings.
6. This is one of the most important steps of all, treat yourself when you reach any milestone. It does not need to be a huge treat or a big milestone but you need to remember to keep yourself happy while achieving your goal otherwise it is nothing more then a chore or a pain in the neck that drags on forever. When I reach another 100 dollars in my goal jar I buy myself a small treat like a chocolate bar, a new nail polish, maybe an ice cream, anything small that I know I can afford to make myself feel good about my goal and how far I have come.