Friday, August 28, 2009

the goals we carry in our wallets

"As long as we have hope, we have direction, the energy to move and the map to move by, we have a hundred alternatives, a thousand paths and an infinity of dreams." - author unknown

This is the quote that welcomed me into the online "Pre-Discharge Bankruptcy Class" called Money In Motion. I scoffed at first. Because it was 6PM on a Sunday and I really, really did not want to take a 2-hour online course that would just remind me of how much a failure I am financially. So, yes, I scoffed. At first.

Then I realized that that quote is just another way of saying what I've been saying all along... happiness has nothing to do with the circumstances. I have hope. Like our President. I hope. But hope alone doesn't inspire change. It must be backed up by action. This pre-discharge bankruptcy class is one action.

Here I am facing my computer on a Sunday evening because something clearly needs to change. This online course isn't a reflection or a reminder of my failure. It's feedback. It's acknowledgment that I need a little help to change. A change in thinking. New tools.

So I make the choice to dive in and read everything in this 2-hour online course. I won't skim. I'll really read it and even take notes. Because I'm here for a reason, after all.

The first thing this Money In Motion course addresses is GOALS. Goals are the basis for any budget, it tells me. Your goals should be flexible and specific. It asks me to write down three goals on an index card. One short term, one mid term and one long term goal.

My pen hovers over the index card.

I write "My Goals" at the top.

Then think. Hmmmm.... why is this so hard?

For an entire year I have been training myself to NOT want anything, that's why. I've been training myself to avoid magazines,, stores of any kind. I've been re-conditioning myself to be able to walk into a store and walk out feeling BETTER about having NOT bought something than having spent money just to spend money. I've been learning how to be creative and "shop my closet" as a way to find new outfits and combinations of clothes I've never tried before. New clothes without spending a dime. Trading. Selling and buying used. Wanting less. Wanting nothing except what I have and being grateful. Satisfied. And I am.

Thankfully. Gratefully.

So this is hard. I'm finding it hard to write something on the card. Something that doesn't feel completely arbitrary or simply "pie-in-the-sky." But Money In Motion (MIM) is telling me to. Is saying: GOALS ARE THE BASIS FOR ANY BUDGET. They must be specific & flexible. Okay, so they can change. Fine.

Okay, a new pair running shoes. I actually do need those. Mine are old and worn through and given my propensity towards injuries, running on old shoes is a very bad idea. So that one's easy.

Next one has to be between $500 and $2000. Harder. Even when we do earn money, we don't want to just spend it on things. But experiences. The goal: acquire experiences, not things. Remember? Right. So... well, why not? A vacation. A romantic vacation. A fabulous vacation. I can commit to that goal. At the present the only vacation we have on the books is a one night camping trip to Lake Geneva, WI where we were married 6 years ago. We haven't been back since. So... I write it down. A fabulous vacation with Bob.

Third goal. More than $5,000. Well, since our goal is to spend nothing acquiring furniture for the house on the island I'm not going to write down furniture. What else? Savings. That counts, right? Why not go large. $10,000 in savings. The idea of saving is much sexier to me now than a new car or even a new wardrobe. So savings it is.

MIM suggests I carry my goal card in my wallet where I can see it each time I go to spend money on something. And I haven't done that yet. Why? I don't know. Perhaps I'm still relating to it as "pie in the sky." Or perhaps I'm avoiding something. That's more likely. Avoiding being limited? Perhaps.

So, guess what. I'm doing it now. Right now. Putting the goal card in my wallet. Done. It's now there. My reminder. A little gift from MIM.

I have a challenge for you.

Grab an index card and write down 3 goals. 0-$500, $500-$2,000 and over $5,000. What are yours? I think we can learn from each other. Once you've written your goals, take a picture, upload it & post the link in the comment section. Or... just write them out in the comments if you don't want to go thru the whole taking the pic and uploading it business.

Either way you can join in. I just want to know, what goals would you carry in your wallet?


EM Lewis said...

My Goals:

1. ($0-500) A new seat cushion and foot rest for my glider rocker.
2. ($500-2,000) A trip to the Grand Canyon.
3. ($5,000+) Pay off my school loans.

Love in the Time of Foreclosure said...

Thanks for playing, Ellen! I like your goals!

Jessica said...

Oh, you should have asked us to think about our goals BEFORE listing yours! I feel like a copy cat--I also need new running shoes and some workout clothes. And who wouldn't agree to a vacation goal? The "big money" goal is probably the most difficult... But I'd say finish funding my daughters Guaranteed Education fund.

Anonymous said...

l. a new all in one printer
2. botox (please don't laugh!)
3. A down payment for a house

(had to post as Anon for this one lol)

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