Much of the vision that I have for my life may seem lofty and unachievable to some (No idea what I’m talking about? See my last post, or click HERE). And I admit, breaking the momentum of consumerism and working ourselves half to death is not going to be an easy task. Nor is it going to happen overnight- there are truckloads of steps that must be taken before we can begin living in debt-free, semi-retired bliss. All those steps can be terribly overwhelming when looked at as a whole, so I have decided to break up our journey into slightly more manageable six month chunks, with goals that are to be achieved within each time frame. The purpose of this post is simply to lay out the plan for the next six months. By May 1st, I would like to have achieved every goal on this list, and yes, I do believe it can be done.
But let me step backwards for a moment, and say that before I get too carried away, hubby and I need to carve out some time to sit and have a really frank talk about the future. I have been thinking about this stuff for months, but only really started talking about it in the last few weeks. He’s a smart guy, and I know he will see the merits (and necessity) of what I believe needs to be done, but there are three of us (including our daughter) in this equation, so some negotiation with respect to these goals and the timelines is totally to be expected. I am not an inflexible shrew (usually), so bear with me if things change a little as the months progress. This is simply a draft of the ideas that have been swimming around in my head.
On that note, here we go. Now I get to use bullets…. I LOVE bullet posts!
Goals related to saving more $$$:
- With respect to food… grocery shop once per week only. Plan meals appropriately and creatively use what is in our house to make healthy, balanced meals. Buy big ticket items (like meat) at Costco. Take the time to price match at Walmart (and apologize profusely to the person in line behind us!). Use highly perishable items first to prevent waste. We have already started doing this- only for the last two weeks, mind you- but we have already cut our grocery bill down by almost half over the previous two weeks!
- Cancel our cable and home phone. We NEVER us the home phone, and there are only two or three shows I really feel compelled to watch without having to wait for them on Net.flix. Those shows can be downloaded for considerably less than what our cable is costing us. Read books (from the library, of course), play games and get outside with the family to fill in the time we would otherwise be staring at useless crap on the idiot box (added bonus of spending more quality time with people that matter with this goal!).
- With respect to entertainment- limit eating out to once per week, maximum. Be mindful of cheap and free events happening in the community (there are a surprising number of them, if you know where to look!).
- Put a spending cap on Christmas and upcoming birthdays.
- Put my gym membership on hold. I know, some might balk at this one. But I have been working out on my own at home on and off for a while now, and I quite enjoy it. I don’t need to go to a gym to feel motivated to stay fit. I never really have. So a six month hold will be a trial, to see how it works out over the long term, and if I feel good about working out on my own at the end of that time, I will formally cancel. And I am still doing ballet! I won’t give that up.
- No big trips for now. Start planning a camping trip for next summer.
- Start looking for ways to save on childcare/ summer camps for next summer. This is always a huge expense, and I would like to cut it in half, without imposing on my mom any more than I already do!
Goals related to decluttering:
- Set dates for decluttering each room in our house (already done for a few rooms… waiting for my next work schedule to set dates for the others).
- Massively declutter the playroom before Christmas (November 20th is THE day).
- Move everything in the playroom to the family room that we never use to make a bigger space for our child to have friends over.
- Sell our livingroom furniture (that my husband hates anyway), and move the couch from the family room in the living room instead (added bonus of earning some $ here). Resurrect my beloved papasan chair (buried in the basement for years) to fill in the space left behind by the love seat in the living room.
- Declutter kitchen, office, master bedroom, and front hall closet on established dates.
- Move anything worth selling to the basement.
- Go through the mountains of crap in the basement. Decide what to keep, what to throw away and what to sell. This must be done in the last week of January, as hubby and I are both off work. It is a big job, so we must do it together!
- Choose a date for a spring garage sale to get rid of everything we don’t need. Donate what does not sell.
Goals related to reconnecting with friends and family:
- Plan an informal Christmas potluck for local friends between Christmas and New Years Eve. I am fortunate to have a bit of time off work over Christmas this year, and I want to take advantage of it!
- Plan one girls night out per month (I honestly can’t remember the last time I did this!), and actually follow through with it, no excuses!
Goals related to long term financial gain:
- Talk with hubby about setting concrete goals, such as the exact age at which we would each like to retire (55 for me… not a minute later), what our life is going to look like in retirement, and how quickly we would ideally like to pay off our mortgage.
- Talk to an independant financial planner about how to make it all happen.
- Revisit the idea of downsizing our home after speaking with the financial planner. Making decisions about downsizing is going to be our biggest hurdle. Hubby quite likes our house, and I just don’t develop attachments to homes, and could live pretty much anywhere. I am hoping that a financial planner will help him see the wisdom in downsizing and shaving a big chunk of change off of our mortgage. We’ll see…
Phew! That’s a lot to do! But I really don’t think it’s too much- not for someone as determined as I am.
I promise to post updates on my progress as things start to happen. And maybe even some other fun little money saving tips that I discover along the way.
Have a great weekend, everyone!