Monday, April 28, 2014

Money Monday: Money Milestones

There are so many things I want to do in life. So many goals, dreams, and aspirations that my husband and I have. Some big, some small, some attainable, and some pretty far fetched, but they keep us going, keep us pushing, and keep us striving. 

There is one thing holding us back from many of our Specifically, that we don't have enough of it. 

A long time ago, we made up our minds to live debt free. We decided that we would rather do with less that have creditors knocking on our doors. We would rather keep our money that send it away to credit card companies, banks, and lending institutions. 

Given that decision, there is a trade off. Many of the things we want to do, want to see, want to accomplish must be put on hold while we save, and work towards paying off our mortgage, which is our last remaining debt. 

Most day's, I can be patient. I am willing to wait, and take it one small step at a time.  

For me, mentally the biggest obstacle that I see in our financial future--our mortgage. I want to pay off as much as we can all the time. I think about it every single day. I talk about with my husband several times a week. I often remind myself of that quote "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

The same goes for retirement. Are we saving enough? Are we contributing enough? Will we have to buy the cook book "100 Way to Prepare Alpo and Love it" in our old age?

I don't know. 

Most day's I am ok with our progress. Most days. 

But lately, I have found myself disappointed with the speed of our progress. 

A few weeks ago, in the midst of some spectacular self pity, I went into our file cabinet and pulled out some of my pre-marriage papers, and found this:

Back in my 2007, I opened up my first saving account. At the time I had a few hundred in my checking account, a few thousand in student loans, and this. This little piece of paper was my nest egg. This was my emergency fund. Built, scrimped, and saved from graduation money, baby sitting money, minimum wage earned at Victoria Secrets, and a few bucks given to me here and there by my folks. I remember taking my green pen, and circling the sum, and then circling the interest. At the time, I had no plan for repaying my loans, no job, and no clue what I was going to do with my life. 

I didn't know that we were on the brink of a recession that would rock this country and our world. I didn't know that I was about embark on a journey financially that would change my world view, and in a large part shape who I am. 

But, here I am nearly 8 years later, much older and tad wiser. More mature? I hope so. 

By nature, I am not a sentimental person. I don't like to keep a lot of things, I don't often look back through my old stuff. I am always on the look out for things to throw away and give away. I want everything in my life to be neat, organized, and efficient. But, in 8 years, I have tried time and time again to shred this bank statement, but I never have been able to pull the trigger. I have held onto this piece of paper for some reason. Maybe because I like bench marks, and I like seeing that I am indeed making progress and moving forward, some way, some how. 

This document remind me that I am not just treading water. I am moving forward and making progress. I have to keep hoping and keep pushing. I have to continue to take it one step and one bite at a time. 

That's the great thing about America---we all have the ability to make our lives better today than they were yesterday. We have the ability to move forward and make our tomorrow better than our yesterday. 

What are your money milestones? Do you have something that reminds you of where you were? Where are you on your journey?


alyssa said...

I like this. I do a very similar thing, because unfortunately money is always on my mind — like you, because there never seems to be enough to do all that I want to do with my life! I often refer back to documents like that and keep a running spreadsheet to always see how far I've come. I think of it in the same way I think of my running training: It's not a whole lot, but it's more than I used to have and I've certainly made progress. That thought keeps me from throwing in the towel :) have a great week!

Brooke said...

jay and i do a money "state of the union" at least once a year, usually around tax time. its a good reminder for me how far we've come. although i will say, the longer i strive for it, the further and further away being debt free seems. mostly thanks to other investments.

Rachelle said...

I've had to step back from constantly thinking(well, worrying) about finances. I love the concept of being debt free but we are farmers in the middle of one of the worst droughts since the 50s, in our state. The milestone for me is that I quit making getting debt free the goal for fully living. We have kids at home that are growing up and leaving. We could put more money on the mortgage, yes. But I would rather take a vacation with my kids and make happy memories, they (we) won't be here forever.