Bryan and I have pretty simple financial goals for this year, much like last year. We were, by God’s grace, able to succeed in all of our financial endeavors in 2009! It’s especially fun for me to start the New Year with NEW goals, rather then continuing with the old.
Primary Goal: Fully fund our Emergency Fund
We’d love to have 6 months worth of living expenses in our savings account by the end of June 2010. Why June? Because we hope to move to Iowa City in July or August. We’ve decided to move regardless of whether we find jobs right away or not, so that cash will certainly come in handy if we are unemployed for any amount of time. Also, I really think we can do it in six months! I guess we’ll find out!
Side Goal: Pay Cash for College
I married an amazing man who has worked his way through college thus far. He’s never had a student loan. We’d like to keep it that way and that’s our goal for now. We have enough saved to pay for Bryan’s next semester at Iowa State! As a side note, God has really softened my heart towards student loan with regards to Iowa City. It’s very possible that the one expense we won’t be able to completely cover will be Tuition when we move. I’m asking God to provide and maybe He’ll provide enough to pay for tuition as well, or maybe not. We’ll see.
LisaGrace’s Personal Financial Goal: Saving the Money I’m Saving
I’m not a saver in the most conservative way. I like saving money so that I can spend it. As soon as humanly possible. While I love quickly spending that money, especially after I’ve worked hard to cut our costs down, it usually ends up being a little disappointing. Because we don’t have a huge income, my savings can seem very minimal at the end of the month. I may have been $20 below budget on groceries one month, but $20 flies out of my hands so fast I usually can’t remember what happened to it!
Just for fun, here are the ways I’m currently making or saving a tiny amount of money every month:
Coupons: I’m not a huge coupon cutter to be honest, but I take advantage of the sales and pay enough attention to get some great deals using coupons and store sales. I’ve been consistently under budget on my groceries for the last 3 months or so!
E-Bates: I really do love this website, it’s such a great idea! Before I order anything online, I go on E-Bates first. I find the website I’m looking at, click on the link that takes me directly to the exact same website and order as usual. I’ve received up to 8% back on my purchase less shipping. It’s a small amount, but it’s fun to see that account grow with completely free money. Click on the link below to sign up:
Surveys: I take surveys for a company called Pinecone Research. I get paid $3 for an approximate 15 minutes of my time reviewing different products. I take 4-8 surveys per month, which isn’t really a lot of cash, but it always adds up more quickly then I realize!
Swagbucks: Oh how I love swagbucks! Swagbucks is a search engine that gives you “bucks” for searching through them. I’ve received 1-4 swagbucks everyday that I’ve searched through them. It only take 45 swagbucks to get a $5 amazon.com giftcard, which is my prize of choice! Since June 2009, I cashed in for $25 worth of amazon.com giftcards! I’m going to save up all of my swagbucks in 2010, we’ll see how many I get! Click on the link below to sign up:
Rebates: Separate from the aforementioned E-bates, I love taking advantage of rebates! It is usually pretty easy for me to work the deals into our budget, making the rebate check feel like free money! But those great rebates deals don’t come around too often and in the meantime, we have an easy way to get cash back for our purchases: a rewards credit card. I’ve mentioned this before, but I continue to maintain it as a great tool. On our rewards card, we receive 5% back on all of our fuel expenses, 2% back on all travel/entertainment expenses, and 1% back on everything else. In 2009, we received over $175 back in cash!
The Change Jar: I want to fill this baby up!
Sales: I would love to be as stuff-less as possible before we move across the state and one way I’ve been doing that is by selling books on Half.com. It’s super easy! I also want to take more clothes to the consignment shop.
So, basically, my goal is to save up all those little odds and ends and see what my total is at the end of the year, my hope is to have around $300. We’ll see!