2012 Goals Update: Dude, Where’s My Savings?
This blog has to keep me accountable. I don’t know if I’m going to make my $300 savings goal for January. I opened my online savings account in September, and I have been making tiny little contributions here and there. But this is the second time I’ve had to raid that account in order not to go into debt for the month, so instead of getting to $300 for the end of the month, I will most likely be refilling this account with a measly $100 to $150. Still, if I didn’t have a separate savings account, then I would have been down $150 for the month, which is how I’ve spent the past few years. Since May I’ve made it my main goal to not acquire new debt. But I am still operating in emergency mode and without savings. My debt has been going down every month, but I have not been able to put aside more than $200 and even that gets raided! The good news is that 2012 is the Year of the Dragon and even though it’s not my sign (I’m a Pig), the Year of the Dragon is all about those who are driven, unafraid of challenges and willing to take risks. I like the sound of that! Saving for anything has been a challenge my whole life. And I am really driven to pay off my debt, create savings and the best possible future for myself and the people I love. Here’s my plan to start making it happen.
Taking Action: Breaking it Down into Three Little Steps
I recently read The Art of Possibility. There was one idea that really stuck with me. One of the authors, Rosamund Zander, wrote that when she coaches clients who are trying to achieve their goals, she suggests that each week they create three actions that will help them get closer to achieving their goal. The actions can be broken down into as minute detail as the person desires, which makes it easier for them to hit their three targets for the week.
Keep breaking down your goal into smaller, more doable pieces until each task seems like a simple step.
I think this is a perfect idea for people looking to start saving while still paying off debt. Anything more than 10 large is a lot of money for the average person to pay off and trying to save at the same time is daunting. You have to stay committed for months and years to turn your situation around.
The idea of three actions each week to progress you towards your goal is fun and easy. I know that paying off debt is my first priority, but saving is a close second. No savings can quickly send me into the debt wilderness again. For the rest of this week, I’ve come up with my three small steps towards getting to $300 savings.
1) No buying lunch and no sodas for the rest of the week. (I just saved $25)
2) Set up automatic transfer of 3% from every paycheck into my savings account. (It had to be small enough to where I really can’t complain about it)
3) Keep $10 on me every day to be able to pay for small purchases without using my debit card.
What do you guys think? Are those good first steps for someone who’s always put off saving? I really want to change my habits, but like I mentioned in my last post, I don’t want to change radically and end up resenting it. Do you think you will use the three small steps method for any goals you’re working on? Let me know!