My husband and I have held ‘quarterly goal meetings’ for years. Every three months, we go out to dinner (kid free) and review our goals for the coming year. We usually spend a couple hours individually preparing/adjusting goals the week before the meeting and talk through them at dinner. I bought a Living Well planner from Living Well Spending Less (LWSL) a couple years back and we have been using those prompts to set annual goals individually and as a couple. We try to include goals like: vacation/travel, fitness, budgeting, community, and spiritual/educational growth. I love the way Ruth/LWSL walks you through how to set and achieve goals and it worked so well for us, we were able to keep this area consistent in our lives. No, LWSL isn’t the perfect solution for everyone, but it has worked well for me (they are not a sponsor/advertiser).
I have felt a bit smug about this habit. I’ve got my ‘stuff’ together!
Here sweetheart, have some humble pie.
Without going too far down the explanation rabbit hole, my kids will go to college for free. We haven’t been as consistent about setting money aside because college is covered! No worries! I was randomly reading through the paperwork this week and there was a very big asterisk on the whole ‘free college’ thing: housing, food, and books aren’t included. Tuition only. Since they can attend any college of their choosing in any state, there is a good possibility they will need all of those things. I feel like a complete idiot for missing this and now I’m way behind the 8 ball.
Wait, it gets better. I was lying awake at 2am, staring at the ceiling trying to figure out how in heaven’s name I’m going to save for college for four kids on an expedited schedule, and it hit me…my son is turning 11. He’ll need a car in 5 years. No, I’m not a fan of giving cars to kids but I’d like to help so they don’t start in a financial bad place like I did. Where will I get the money for that?!?!
Then there is additional car insurance, braces, cell phones, and all the other financial whammy’s that come with teens. Short term goals? I got those in spades. Long term? Uh. I’ll have to get back to you.
Here’s the deal, the planner prompted long term goals, but I distinctly remember looking at those pages, laughing, and saying, ‘That’s cute. I don’t have this month figured out; I’ll focus on that first.’ So here I am, the smug look wiped right off my face, mashing numbers into a calculator so I can back into how much I need to budget for the future. Obviously, if you are carrying debt, FOCUS ON THAT FIRST! But if you are rocking that budget and finished with debt, or getting close, sit down and look at your five-year expenses. It’s REALLY scary, but it’s less scary now that it would have been to hit this wall five years from now.
Excuse me, I’m going to eat some more humble pie.
Beks is a full-time government employee who enjoys blogging late into the night after her four kids have gone to sleep. She’s been married to Chris, her college sweetheart, for 15 years. In 2017, after 3 long years working the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps, they paid off more than $70K and became debt free. When she’s not working or blogging, she’s exploring the great outdoors.