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Have you heard the one about the homeschooling family that lives on less than $22K a year in an area that costs above 100% (116%) of the National CoL Index?

I haven't quite figured out why so many people still persist in perpetuating the myth that living on a single income and homeschooling on a dime aren't possible. I can only suppose these are people who can't imagine life without a daily trip to Starbucks and dinner out several times a week. The people who actually shop at malls (*shudder*) and think "Brand Name = Best". The people who really live by the "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality.

That? Would not be us!

Welcome to our world. We cook from scratch. Buy from thrift stores. Find 95% of our homeschool materials for free. This is my blog and this is how we do it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What are your financial goals?

Sometimes this seems like an obvious question, but then, if you haven't reviewed your goals recently, this might be a good time to do so. (More in full post.)

Some years back there was a television commercial that started off showing a handsome man and his elegant-looking watch. The voice-over described the watch in glowing terms and went on to tell you the staggering price it cost. Then the voice said something along the lines of, "And what does he do with this watch? He tells time."

It turned out this wasn't a watch commercial, but rather a commercial about financial planning. The voice-over broke down the numbers of how much money this watch owner wasted in buying something that served no more use than a $15 Timex, and how the money could have grown over the years to make a tidy nest egg.

I remember being extremely amused by it.

If you are facing very specific financial needs currently, such as paying off debts or simply making sure all your bills are paid on time, it can be hard sometimes to think past that point to future goals. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have at least some ideas of where you want to be in five years, ten years, and more.

Aside from college for the kids, and maybe a nice bit of traveling for yourself, there is one aspect that it is never too early to be planning for. Yes, I am speaking of retirement, but not in the "hanging out on the golf course" sense.

Americans are living longer and longer and because of that we are needing more money to support ourselves in our old age when we can no longer physically work. Not too long ago, my aunt called me to let me know we have a bit of a crisis in our own family. My grandmother has reached the age of 94. She's developed Alzheimer's and needs constant care. My aunt told me she's starting to become very concerned because my grandmother is running out of money. No one ever thought this would happen and I know, though her mental capabilities have dwindled, she would never have ever wanted to become a burden for her children, were she aware of the situation. As of right now, it looks quite likely that our entire family will need to start chipping in as much as possible to meet her monthly bills.

So, even if you have immediate goals that swallow every last dime right now, such as paying off a college loan, just take a few moments to sketch out all your financial goals and plans and even write down some things you might do to reach them. This goal list is very useful to have handy, especially on days when you might be tempted to make a questionable "splurge" purchase. You can whip it out to remind yourself of where you really want to be in your own financial future, and stop yourself from buying that way over-priced watch you didn't need anyway.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have only been a stay at home mom for 2 years now and I left a job as a nurse, so it was quite a hit. One thing that helps me check my spending is thinking about how much my DH makes per hour and is this purchase worth his hour or more of work? Would I go back to work to afford this item or thing? That really brings it into focus and has helped.

Just a thought.


June 27, 2007 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Just Me, Jenni said...

That's an excellent way to look at things and a reminder for us all! Our husbands work hard to support us and comparing their hours to the cost of a potential item is a good way to keep that fact in our minds.

June 27, 2007 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Yes I have used anonymous's thinking too and not bought things! One thing to consider about retirement is that now adays social security does not start at 65... now you have to be 66 or even 68 or so. Not that any of us should depend on social security to be our only means of living. It would not cover much. So between that time and then when you can get medicare You need to pay for your all your own medical and even then you have to pay for a Lot of it. That alone costs a ton as we all know. That will easily wipe out a lot of $ you thought you had for every day expenses. If you have insurance now for your drugs ask how much they would be if you paid for it yourself. The amount is staggering!! A real eye opener! Another reason we should work to stay healthy. No one wants to be a burden on anyone. You have to start Early to work towards retirement. I was also told that before retirement to have your house repaired or things replaced as those larger expenses are harder to do later. Keep up the good work...you are getting us thinking.

June 27, 2007 at 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like what Anna said. We know lots of people who don't even put in for retirement. I will keep that in mind about getting things repaired before retirement. I don't believe our generation will as well as the previous. Especially since we have chosen one income households.


June 27, 2007 at 1:09 PM  

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