finance friday · Uncategorized

Finance Fridays: Goals and Obstacles

BelJoeorFinanceFridays

Welcome to the first Finance Friday of 2018!

On the first Friday of each month, I’ll post about horses and finances. Sometimes I’ll write the post; sometimes I’ll invite guests to write. We’ll talk about strategies, challenges, successes, failures, and everything in between.

First, my philosophy. We’re horse people; we know that money is a) scarce and b) can actually buy happiness, in the form of horses. I believe strongly that managing your finances thoughtfully, efficiently, and carefully is an essential part of good horsemanship. The only thing predictable about equine emergencies is that they will happen at some point – and we need to be ready. Being able to cope with unexpected bills – vet, farrier, barn, equipment, training, you name it – is hugely important. It’s really hard! I’m not for a second pretending this is easy or simple. But it’s important.

In this first post, I’d like to set the groundwork for future posts. My hope is that people will participate in their own way. Maybe it’s just reading along; maybe it’s setting some private goals; maybe it’s setting some public goals and blogging on your own. Whatever works for you! I just want us all to come out of 2018 in better shape than we started it.

So, in January, this month of resolutions, I have two questions for you. Your answers will help guide me in planning future posts.

1. What is one financial goal that you want to accomplish in 2018? Do you want a new pair of tall boots? To change your boarding situation? To pay off vet bills? To keep better track of your expenses? To start or top off an emergency fund? No goal is too small or too large!

and

2. What is one obstacle in the way of achieving that goal? Is it a habit that you just can’t break? A mistake you keep making over and over again? An emotional block? A tool or strategy you’re lacking? Try to think beyond “not enough money.”

My answers are below; leave your answers in the comments and/or in your own blog. I’ll read through everything and start planning to try and address our shared goals and obstacles.

So, my answers.

  1. In 2018, I want to top off – and keep topped off – Tristan’s emergency fund at $1,500. Right now, it climbs and falls as bills appear. To keep it as a true, full emergency fund I’ll need to build it to $1,500, keep it there, and start building a cash reserve in my horse-specific checking account to cushion the semi-regular bills.
  2. My obstacle that I need to work past in 2018 is that I have a tendency to count my chickens before they hatch. I anticipate funds coming in, get excited, and have them committed in three different places before they arrive, which means I never quite get ahead. I need better patience, better follow-through, and better record-keeping.

What about you?

19 thoughts on “Finance Fridays: Goals and Obstacles

  1. I’m really excited to read these posts!

    1. My financial goals in 2018 are: save up $1,500 to buy hay in bulk and reduce amount of spending on tack/apparel by 20% (~$300) from 2017.

    2. My biggest obstacle in reducing spending is my job! I am CONSTANTLY surrounded by nice, pretty things that I would like to purchase (at a discount)! I don’t see myself changing employers, so I will have to cultivate some self-control. (Which ought to be easy at this point, as I own all the breeches and saddle pads and whatnot that anyone could ever want!)

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  2. I’m definitely participating, although how public my numbers will be is TBD.
    I have a few goals to answer #1: I’d like to finish paying off my saddle, which should be entirely do-able. I’d like to knock out some more of my debt (student loans YAY) and build up my emergency fund. I like the Dave Ramsey Snowball, so the debt with highest interest will come first, then the saddle, then emergency fund, with student debt also in there (it wouldn’t make sense to wait to build my emergency fund until that’s paid off).
    My biggest obstacles are #1, I’m paying more in rent than I need to be. I’ll be rectifying this in May. I didn’t know better when I moved here and when you have such a short period to decide where to live (I accepted a job and moved within 13 days), it really limits. My second obstacle is I LOVE to shop. LOVE. To work on this, I’ll be setting a amount of fun money I get each month and that’s all I get. It’s not realistic for me to say, “Oh not shopping for months.” I won’t do it. But that, plus instituting a one in-one out rule should help. If I can’t get something unless I get rid of something else (ideally by reselling it), it should help me make more thoughtful purchases with that money.

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  3. In 2018, I want to pay off my credit card and get started on the construction of our house. I was on track to get the credit card paid off before the holidays but my car unexpectedly needed tires, my tank heater went out, and about 15 other little small things jumped out. Because, life. I have a hefty down payment saved for the construction loan, and we got approved easily 2 years ago (just ended up not having time to undertake construction), so the goal is to make the time this year, now that my husband is done with school.

    My obstacle to achieving those goals (more specifically the first one) will be my tack ho tendencies and a lack of impulse control. I’m pretty good about avoiding big ticket purchases, but a bunch of small ones adds up just the same. Like Holly’s comment above, I’m hoping setting aside a reasonable amount for “fun” will let me stay on track for everything else.

    In terms of other obstacles to getting construction started, my husband’s job and incessant overtime are major obstacles, just not ones I have much control over :-/

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  4. Goals: expand emergency fund from 2 months to 6 months, pay off husband’s student loans (December!), fully fund every retirement vehicle available, start saving for eventual new truck maybe?
    Obstacles: Mindless spending and living walking distance from some incredible restaurants. Must…exhibit…restraint…

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  5. I think this is great! I’m not completely comfortable getting into specifics on the interweb, but here are my answers:
    1) I’d love to have a fund set aside for shows in the summer that I can pull from, rather than trying to figure out when entries are due how I will scrape together the money. I also need to save for a trailer eventually, as I just sold mine, so maybe a long term plan for that.
    2) My biggest obstacle is that I am really good at spending money when I have it. And then don’t plan for the future. So, learning how to create a realistic budget and planning for the future would be really helpful.

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  6. 1.) Spend less money on random and unnecessary horse paraphernalia. I did a rough calculation of how much I spent last year and it was horrifying. I can afford it and I’m not that upset about things like shows and vets, but it annoys me that I spent so much on random stuff like saddle pads and apparel. I need to save up for more important expenditures and not squander money on things that don’t mean that much to me.
    2.) I’m hoping to buy a horse property that I know will cost tons. I’m not counting the down payment/mortgage/etc. But I am sure we’ll need to spend a lot of new barn supplies, transportation, etc. I can see myself falling into the trap of buying whatever I want because we “need it” for the new place and not sticking to the plan of only spending on important things.

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  7. Great idea! I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately.

    1. The main goal of having our credit card paid off was actually just done, so my goal is to keep it that way. Unless it’s dire, I don’t want to buy anything that I can’t pay for in full when I get it. Short of an extremely major medical emergency or a vehicle disaster, this should be doable. I would like to begin to save for a brand new pickup and horse trailer. The ones we have still have a few good years, but they’re starting to get old. A small goal is to save up for a new custom saddle, but it’s not a huge priority.

    2. What stands in my way is patience. It’s so easy to fianance things and have them now instead of waiting. Also, I have a tendency to buy horses when I probably really shouldn’t. Granted, at least the racehorses have an opportunity to make money, but still. The biggest obstacle is how much our earnings fluctuate from year to year. I need to plan on spending/saving like we’re having a bad year and then treat a good one as a bonus. That’s hard for me to do.

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  8. I love this! Okay so:
    1. This is my prep year. We aren’t looking to buy until the end of this year at earliest…so now is the time to set up how I want my expenses to be monitored, how the money can be spent, researching insurance and extras, and most of all – putting money aside!
    2. Obstacles: It’s hard to wait, but I need to be sure I have everything in place BEFORE bringing in another horse. I will also have unusual medical bills this year, so I want to be sure that I focus on getting that taken care of.

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  9. This is a really great idea, and an awesome way to start the year. I think I’m going to answer your questions in a blog post! I can’t wait for more of your finance posts!

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  10. It took me a while to think about this, because I wanted to participate but “not enough money” always seems to be my big problem.

    My long term goal this year is to be more financially responsible. I’d like to be able to cover my living expenses + horsey expenses + make savings (horse and personal) + whatever else without feeling like it’s a stretch from moment to moment. A big part of that is just “need more money” which is a personal problem. But while I’m working to fix that problem, I’d like to develop good habits to help me reach those goals. More than just frugality or an additional income stream.

    Things like setting up separate bank accounts and making those small, monthly (or weekly) deposits that help to really bulk up those accounts. I know that there’s a big reward at the end if I actually DO this, but from day to day it feels like a lot of sacrifice for not-a-lot of reward.

    So step one: make more money!

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  11. My financial goals for 2018 include diversify my financial holdings and grow my retirement account. My retirement account did a lot better last year than I had originally anticipated but that was mainly because I made hard decisions at the beginning of the year and then let it ride on that.

    My biggest obstacle is not getting in my own way. I’m really risk averse so I get weird about moving money from safe holdings to riskier but probably higher reward holdings. So I’ve given myself a little freedom with my second job and freelance work to play with that money a bit.

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  12. Alright I’m joining for some accountability.

    My goal for 2018 is to not purchase non-necessities unless I can sell something I’m not currently using first. I want to start putting $500 into college savings for my two kids each month.

    My big obstacles are impulse control. Or I convince myself something is a necessity without trying to find a solution with items I already have on hand.

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