Kelly Blodgett launched Money Gal Coaching with a goal of serving people who, like her, were burdened by debt. You can get her tips for paying down debt on a regular basis at Bring Me The News, in addition to the Money Gal Coaching website and Facebook page. Here is her latest story:
Reaching goals can be hard and it just doesn't happen by accident, we have to actually put in the work. So whether it’s running a marathon, eating healthier or getting that next promotion at work, a plan is laid out so we know, how am I going to get from A to Z? The same works with reaching financial goals or simply getting rid of stress around money.
For example, if you want to increase our savings for an emergency fund, you have to determine, how much money am I going to need? From there, how much can I afford to set aside each month? Then you have to set that money aside and actively not spend it unless it’s an emergency.
Below are 7 questions to ask yourself so you can stay on track with your goals and crush it with your finances.
1. What can I do to increase my income?
I am sure you know by now but the side hustle game is real! It has never been more important to have diversified income because a job is not forever. There are so many options today so get creative, try selling something you enjoy making, teach or consult in your area of expertise or pick up some dog-walking clients.
2. Can I afford to pay more towards debt? What would my budget look like without debt?
If you are making your monthly payments on debt I would push you to see how much extra you can afford each month, especially on high-interest debt. By making only the minimum payments we are paying more in interest and increasing our chances of disaster if something were to happen with our income. Best bet is to pay it off as quickly as possible. And for a bit of extra inspiration, take a look at a life without those monthly debt payments, what else could you be spending that money on? Más vacaciones por favor!
3. Am I saving enough today to fund my vision for retirement in the future?
How much are you saving per month and are you on track for retirement? The answer is different for everyone, it depends on how much money you would like to have for retirement and how long until you want to retire. Use this calculator to see what your balance will be at retirement. If you haven’t bumped up your contributions lately you might want to look into that, 15% of your paycheck is a good goal if you don’t have high interest debt. Bonus credit if you want to reach financial independence at an earlier age, use this FIRE calculator (FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early) to see when you can reach this goal!
4. Is my emergency fund all set or how much do I need to get it funded?
Having an emergency fund to fall back on will relieve a lot of stress in case a pandemic happens, an expensive car repair is needed or your furnace breaks in the middle of winter. A good rule of thumb is to have 3-6 months worth of expenses saved up and set aside in an account that you have easy access to. Don’t include unnecessary spending while calculating this number, it should only include what you would need to get by, we aren’t going on vacation during an emergency.
5. What are two of your big goals and do you have a plan to get there?
In order to truly enjoy life, we have to be sure we are doing the things that make us happiest. Sure we have to go to work and pay bills but outside of that, on the weekends or in your spare time, what do you enjoy doing most? Maybe you want to save up for a camper or you want to buy a cabin up north. Whatever it is, are you setting money aside? Do you know how much it will cost? Have you created a vision board on Pinterest to stay motivated? Ok, the Pinterest part isn’t necessary but it sure can be fun!
6. What system am I following to stay on track with my spending?
Just like we have to be intentional to reach our goals, we need a system in place to help us get there. Do you have a budgeting app to watch your spending? Do you use the cash-envelope system for categories you tend to overspend in? Do you log everything in Excel and update the pivot charts to see your savings progress? Whatever method speaks to you, put in some solid effort and you’ll be amazed how easy it will become.
7. Is there anything holding me back from taking action?
If you aren’t able to get started on the above items, why? Are you too stressed to even start? Do you not have a supportive partner? Does your debt seem too high to even begin to dream about retiring? Whatever it is, take one little step forward. Choose one thing that you can start to work on and begin there. You’ll be amazed that with a little support, it’s not as scary as you might have imagined!
Ready to dive into your money goals but want a bit of help? Schedule a free call today and let’s chat. This is an investment into your future. Your future self will thank you.
Disclaimer: Bring Me The News will receive a portion of the proceeds from readers who purchase a service from Money Gal Coaching via our articles.