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As we recently crossed the halfway point this year (what the what?), I was reviewing my 101 in 1001 list of goals and seeing which more long-term ones I needed to start making progress on in order to get them all finished on time. (Note: if you want to see which ones I’ve already crossed off and which ones I’m currently working on, click here for my first check-in!)
The biggest one I need to get started on ASAP?
To save $10,000 in our emergency fund.
At first when I set this goal, it didn’t seem like it would be that hard. I figured Matt would be getting several raises at work between January of this year and when the challenge ended in October of 2020, and I figured my photography business would only continue growing. While both of those assumptions have been true so far, I also didn’t factor in that many of my OTHER goals on the 101 in 1001 list ALSO require spending money, and some quite a lot (like our raised garden beds and fruit trees, which ended up costing us nearly $500) or the macro lens I just bought for our camera.
So basically, anything extra in our budget has been going toward other goals we have (specifically for the house and yard) or costs that don’t come up very often, like needing new shoes or getting unexpected dental work done.
To be totally open, our emergency fund has actually gone DOWN since January when I set the goal to save up $10,000, thanks to a huge car repair earlier in the year (that ended up totaling around $600) and Raven’s preschool tuition, which we opted to pay in full at the beginning of this coming school year rather than monthly, as it saved us $65 (which was like getting a month for free).
I’ve long been a fan of the blog Six Figures Under, and Stephanie (the blogger behind it) is frequently talking about the importance of setting a specific financial goal (ideally just one at a time) that has a defined deadline. While my goal of saving $10,000 in our emergency fund by October of 2020 technically fits, we haven’t been making progress on it because it hasn’t been our MAIN or ONLY financial goal. A graphic that has always stuck with me from the book Essentialism (a book I love and highly recommend, by the way) is this:
The graphic basically illustrates the principle that if you focus your energy on several different things simultaneously, you’ll only make a little bit of progress in each (something I’m totally guilty of doing all the time!), but if you focus all your energy on just one thing, you will make an ENORMOUS amount of progress toward that goal. (I talk about this same concept a lot more in this post about how I realized I should no longer try to be superwoman).
So, my goal for the next three or so months is fairly straightforward:
Save $1000 in the emergency fund in 100 days.
However, while the concept is not complicated, the execution of it will actually require quite a bit of creativity and sacrifice, as we are waiting for the hospital bills for Mathias’s birth to arrive any day now and we’ve already cut most nonessentials from our budget. Honestly, the only way we’ll be able to swing this is if I focus on making more side income, whether that be through my photography business, through the blog, or through buying up storage sheds at auction again.
But I’m excited to finally make some progress on this goal! I plan to do a couple posts on how we’re going to squeeze even more money out of our usual budget and be even more frugal over the next three months, so stay tuned for those.
I’d love for YOU to join along and set your own goal to save $1000 in 100 days. I’ll be using the hashtag #save1000in100 on my Instagram to mark our progress periodically, and I’d love to have company!
What are your best tricks for meeting a big financial goal?