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financial goals

Keeping that laser focus.

It’s so hard to stay focused, isn’t it?

There are a million and one distractions in our lives. I get so easily distracted so I HAVE to write things down. My planner is always with me, I am constantly writing notes or putting notes in my phone. It’s just so easy to get off focus.

The financial journey is the same. We HAVE to remember why in the heck we are doing this!!! Right? {Please don’t tell me it is JUST me.} I just finished an episode of “Divorce” on HBO. I totally love SJP but she will ALWAYS be Carrie Bradshaw to me. (SEEE!I just got distracted!) Anyway- the point is that while watching the show I am fascinated by the fashion and the homes. The show is set in New York but clearly not right in Manhattan like “Sex and the City” was. But still!! The homes are so open with huge windows and the kitchens are amazing. And Carrie (okay that’s not her name on the show but that is what I will call her #carriebradshawfan) shows up to an event at her daughters school in these AMAZING shoes! I didn’t let myself google them [totally curious as to what brand they are] because THAT is how it starts. I see something in the media-whatever the format may be- and I instantly feel this DESIRE to have it.

How do we stay focused when it is just so dang easy to lose focus?

  1. I keep my goals written and where I can see them.
  2. I go over them ALL the time! And I mean ALLLLL the time!

Short term goal:

  • Pay off the credit card!!!

We allowed ourselves to get sucked in to swiping there for a while. I have mentioned that before Dave Ramsey would NOT be happy with us for keeping a credit card. At this point it is JUST for my husbands work rental cars/hotels/etc (for which he is reimbursed) but there was a time when it was easier to swipe that card. The balance is much higher than I would ever want and the INTEREST! It’s crazy! For a couple with good credit I don’t understand how it is THIS high. No, it is not our “smallest” balance. We skipped ahead again. And Dave says no to that, and so does his daughter Rachel. {Just finished her book. It was so good! And I took it back to the library so if you’re local- go get it!!} But for us– we looked at the monthly interest and decided if we used our gazelle like intensity to pay this off FAST we would be money ahead in the long run. Based on what I have read the reason for using smallest to largest is to get those “wins” or victories along the way. And we have gotten a LOT of those! I don’t need a win to stay motivated– i’m MOTIVATED! So for us, we wanted to knock that out because the NEXT debt becomes our vehicles.

Point is– I check the balance on that card constantly! I click on payments JUST to be reminded of how much we have been paying and how far we have come. When I get distracted and want to swing by a boutique on the way home I click on that icon and look at how far we have come. CHECK YOUR GOALS!

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Long term goal: (5 *hopefully* years out)

NO DEBT except our home! And even in that 5 years I HOPE to see a LOT of progress on our home. But if my hand to paper calculations add up we will have 2 vehicles, student loans, and a large credit card paid off. The snowball will keep growing EACH month! I cannot lose sight of that.

Looooong term goal: (10 years and beyond)

Owe nobody NOTHIN’! The ultimate plan is that my 44th birthday will be celebrated by 15 days in Europe. We will be celebrating owing NOTHING!! I want my bills to be:

insurance, water bill, electricity, cell phone, internet, Netflix. That’s it! {And who knows? Maybe I will feel like I can splurge for cable by then!}

I understand that is somewhat of a stretch. Things happen. At some point a car will break down or we will need a new roof. Or God forbid something worse that would drain our finances. But living with REAL goals {and doable with hard work and motivation} keeps us going. I am a traveler. If I could travel to a new place each month I would. In fact, last year I nearly did. ALL I want to do is hop on a plane and go somewhere new and exciting. (Or visit the coolest places I have already been.) But I am {almost…and literally ALMOST} as excited to only have one trip planned this year. Ya know why? Because that means I am that many thousands of dollars ahead on reaching my GOALS!

Keeping that laser focus is hard. But it is MUCH easier when you know what the heck this all for! With every time we pass up going out to eat (which happened Friday night), with every NO we have to say to an outing, and with every extra dime going towards debt we are reminded of the purpose.

How do you keep focused on your financial goals? I’d love to hear!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

 

A successful no spend month

How in the world can you have a “Successful” no spend month? Doesn’t it sound horrible before you even get started? Here are some tips that will help! Promise!

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  • Have a GOAL! Just like with anything in life-if you don’t know what you WANT out of it then there is no way to gauge if it was successful or not. Are you hoping to pay off a small debt? Maybe do some deep cleaning at home? Organize the garage? Whatever it is- know it and have it written DOWN! Put it in your phone to go off as a reminder. I HIGHLY recommend if you go that route have it set to go off several times over the weekend when it is temping to get off track.
  • Have a PLAN! What will you do to fill your time? Are you going to clean/organize/purge? Go for a hike and hit up the library? Put those on the list. When you are only spending necessary funds (household bills, gas for cars and groceries with NO extras in the cart) you’d better have some things planned. It is tough! And we are getting ready for another one in February. Hop on Pinterest to find ideas of free things to do. Call your library to get a list of events coming up. ALL you have to do is NOT spend money outside of the necessities. You can cash in those free drink coupons at Sonic and use those gift cards. You just CANNOT (under any circumstances) spend more than what the gift cards cover. The point is to accomplish a goal. It’s only 30 days! (or less if you pick February!) You CAN do it! Just know what you will do instead!It can be so rewarding and give you motivation to keep going but you HAVE to have a plan.
  • Recruit a friend to join in! Perhaps you have a close friend who might want to join. Or in our case, a couple who wants to try it with us. Make it fun! Together you can come up with a several ideas for goals and ideas of things to do instead of spending money. And let’s just face it-it provides accountability as well. You were NOT meant to do life alone so don’t do this alone!
  • Track your progress. If you survive the 30 days (which you will), wouldn’t it be nice to go back and read how it felt in the moment? We forget, don’t we? We forget the pain {big and small} but having a way to look back on it can be therapeutic and helpful for continuing to manage your finances! Blog it, journal it, put it in your phone. Just keep up with it! And celebrate! If your goal is to save $500 then have a dance party with every $100 you put aside!

You CAN do this!! And the fact that you read this tells me you are well on your way to a successful NO SPEND month! I’d love to share in your journey. Comment or email roxyrambles02@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

Tithing- it’s a HEART issue

Years ago I had a different blog. I actually made MONEY on that blog. And then one day I just got over it. I was so vulnerable at that time in my life and was using my blog as a form of therapy, so to speak.

Anyway, I was looking at it today and found several posts that were worth re-posting. This post was originally from August of 2012 but it is still very relevant today!

Original post:

Twice a year at our church, our pastor preaches on tithing. I love his approach to it because it’s not a yelling-screaming-fit from the pulpit about GIVE THE CHURCH MONEY! Thankfully, he takes a different approach. James, the pastor, speaks from his heart, and from the bible.

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His focus is on being a blessing and recieving a blessing. No, I did NOT just say that if you tithe you will be rich. But more of THIS approach…

I have to paraphrase because I can never remember things perfectly.

Basically it’s like this… tithing is trusting God. Tithing is saying “Thank you God for providing, here is your cut==do with it what you see fit”. Back to the trusting part…

For me personally, in my lifetime, if anyone had asked me “Do you trust God completely”, there would have been a no hesitation response of ABSOLUTELY! Then about 6 months ago (the last time we had a sermon on tithing) I felt very convicted. I was not a tither. (I know, shame on me). I had heard about it my whole life but always said “I don’t have the money to tithe.” And I believed that answer. I did use my time and talents to help out in the church and to particpate in God’s kingdom, but I just didn’t do it with a checkbook. That was not WRONG or BAD of me at all. But then I go back to the trust part. I wasn’t trusting God enough. I said I trusted him in everything… but it boiled down to trusting him in everything BUT my finances. 

That was a wake up call for me. I began to really think about what it meant to trust God. I always knew he was there, he had helped me through some bad situations in the past, and all in all I felt blessed. But the whole trusting God with everything was so foreign to me. 

So I stepped out in faith. I wasn’t quite sure HOW I was going to pay all of my bills, buy groceries, put gas in my car, AND have money leftover. I just didn’t see how it was possible. But somehow I decided to do it anyway. Lots of people have “tithing” stories and HUGE MAJOR blessings that poured out on them the very next day. I don’t have some elaborate story to tell you but I CAN tell you that somehow I did not notice a difference in my finances. Here I was losing 10% of my income yet I couldn’t tell a difference. I have to believe that was God. Somehow, he made it work.

I don’t care where you to go to church or what your church background is… that is not the point. But i can say that trusting God 100% means just that. Every aspect of your life. Even that private and touchy subject of finances belongs to God. And we have to TRUST him in it. 

I have trusted God with my finances. And I am giving him 10% of my income. And even though it would be NICE to keep that money and get to spend some extra on fun stuff, I am stepping out in Faith. God has been faithful to me ALWAYS, and I want to prove myself FAITHFUL to him.

What are YOUR thoughts on tithing? I’m curious to know.

Here I am 6 years later still tithing. We fell off the wagon for a bit due to selfish reasons and attempting to regain control. (That never works well, does it?) I am so humbled and grateful for all of God’s blessings. He has continued to be faithful to us even when we lost our trust along the way. In all of this financial “season” we find ourselves in, we have never once considered giving up on tithing. Because I have lived and learned that God’s provision can NEVER be questioned.

Thanks for reading!

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

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