Thursday, 2 January 2014

The new year and goal setting.

 We have had a fun filled few days. New Years Eve was so much fun. We went to our city's family firework display at 8pm and then came home to decorate party hats, light sparklers and eat 'number' apple pie while we drank fake wine.

We watched a movie until just before midnight and then swapped channels to watch Sydney's midnight firework display.

New Years Day was spent lazing around the house, Tim took Cruz fishing and then we all went into town to purchase a new rug for our lounge. The new year feels really good. On New Years Day, Tim and I sat down with a diary and mapped out our goals for the year. I think that this is one of the best ways to start a new year. It gets us all motivated and on the same page.

After sharing that we had gone through our goals (on Facebook) for the year I had a few readers message and ask me to explain how we set our goals. I do not like talking in depth about personal goals (especially when it comes to money), but am happy to give a brief-ish outline of what we do and have planned.

The first thing we did was decide when Tim would take holidays in the year and what we would do on those holidays. We have decided that during every school holidays (while I'm on holidays) Tim will take a week off too, with two weeks off in December. One of those weeks will be spent away enjoying a nice break as a family and we have decided on the location. We will also we enjoying a weekend away for our anniversary. Knowing what holidays we will be taking and where we will be going gives us something to look forward to during the year. We haven't planned big holidays as we have a number of goals that we would like to achieve around the house, which all costs money.

Next we looked at our goals for around the house. We wrote them all down and then prioritised. This is what our home improvement list looks like. We are hoping to complete them in order and are just going to see how far down the list we get.

1. Carpet Cinema
2. Finish the laundry
3. Buy a mirror for the mantel. 
4. Purchase an outdoor setting.
5. Install the air con in the playroom.
6. Fix the bathroom shower.
7. Install an outdoor screen for the projector.
8. Choose a BBQ for the outdoor area.
9. Install plantation blinds in the lounge.
10. Look at a new bed for the bedroom.

Lastly we looked at our financial goals. This we have done every year (sometimes multiple times during the year) since we got married. We have come a long way since we started this 6 years ago. The first year we just aimed to get on top of all our bills with direct debits. Then slowly we added new goals - in 2013 we finally completed the goal of no credit cards. Over the last 6 years we have moved into a position where we pay off all our bills before they come. It took us a long time to get here. Rates, electricity, car rego, gas etc are all direct debited in advance (car registration can not be direct debited so we put the money aside into a separate account) and the boys both have small amounts of money that are debited into their accounts each fortnight. We have now had to add an account ready for Tim's motorbike registration as well.  It never ends.

Over the years, once we had made everything 'pay for itself' automatically (so that I couldn't forget a bill), we calculated how much money we would need fortnightly to pay for our bills. We then had our employers pay this amount into our 'Bills' account and any money left over from our pays was debited into a 'spending' account. 

Our bills account includes paying for the boy's savings, all our direct debits, our loans, mortgage, insurances, sponsor child, our tithe etc. Our spending account includes money for our groceries, fuel and then the leftover money is ours for the fortnight. Sometimes there is extra because of overtime for Tim or Thermomix commission for me, other times there isn't. It varies from week to week. We do not have an eftpos card that allows us access to our Bills account. This has worked brilliantly for us, because we know that the money needed for bills is there even if we run the spending account dry. We also no longer accidentally spend money that is needed for our bills. I'm hoping that makes sense!?

Anyway, this years financial goal is to add an account for Christmas savings so that when we get to Christmas the money for presents, food and end of year functions is there. We do not shop in the mid year Christmas toy sales as I do most of my shopping online from small stores, so I will use that account for any of these purchases.

That's it for 2014. I'd love to hear how others set goals and what has helped you stay on track during previous years. Sometimes we do well, other times we don't - it really just depends on what life throws at us during the year.


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