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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Going Green: Trendy vs Necessity?

Reusable items are cool right? Saving the Earth is the 'in' thing to do. You pay more for the word 'organic', and items like Kleen Kanteens, reusable coffee cups, and cloth diapers are hip and trendy. So what about your house? Do you re use things because it's 'cool', or out of necessity?

Our house, along with many others due to the economy I'm sure, re use out of necessity. There are days, like today, where I am unable to go to work because I can't afford car repairs.
* There are days I have trouble getting back and forth to work because I don't have the gas.
* My husband has ran out of gas on the side of the highway trying to get to work.
* We use cloth diapers so that I don't run into having to re use disposable diapers (yes, some moms do this out of necessity and it can cause severe diaper rash, etc.).
* I've had to put groceries back because I didn't have enough cash.
Etc, etc.

So yesterday, I read Managing your Money: Do you have Goals? by The Happiest Mom and was relieved to find that I was not the only one naive enough to believe that when our income went up, our problems would go away. Because when I went back to work (at our most desperate financial point), and Hubby got a new job that paid a bit more- we seemed even further in the hole! How is this possible?

Well now daycare and gas cost more, and the inevitable withholding of 1st weeks pay for both of us sunk us even further behind and we are now (after about 4 months) just STARTING to catch up.

So why am I sharing this? Because after reading Happiest Mom's post- I feel, more than ever, that it is SO important to have financial (and general) goals. We, as a family, only have had one financial goal the past year: survive.

It clearly has not been a specific enough goal, because sometimes I feel like we are barely hanging on.

Happiest Mom lists her financial goals using the following template, and has asked others to do the same. I figured now would be a good time for me to determine some specific goals for our family.

So, here I go (although I'll be starting a whole lot smaller than Happiest Mom) :) -

Goal: Start to build an emergency fund.

More specifically: Put $50 away every two weeks (each pay period) for the next 6 months, then go up to $50 every week for an additional 6 months. Then, re assess the amount based on income.

Why: Having any kind of savings at this point would help us when we need car repairs, health care costs, heating costs, or unexpected utilities.

Look, shiny! alert: To do this, it means we MUST have our other bills PAID in full and on time, otherwise there is no 'extra' to store away. So by building an emergency fund, we must be honest with our necessary expenses as well, like rent, food, electric, etc.

But it’s worth it because: We will no longer have to bug family members and friends for money when unexpected expenses arise, and just the day to day stability/financial security will relieve an immense amount of stress from myself, my husband, and our relationship. We can start to focus on each other again instead of always discussing how we are going to pay our bills!

Having a goal is important, but writing it down is the key! I'll continue to share my journey so you can hold me accountable for these financial goals I have put in place. Feel free to take the first step and share your goals (financial or otherwise) below! :) 

Your turn. Any big or small goals you want to share?

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