Over the last few weeks/months I’ve been feeling stuck. Not in all areas of life, but financially I’m having a hard time staying motivated. We’ve been chugging away at building up an emergency fund of 6 months worth of household expenses and it’s just taking A LOT longer than we’d hoped.
When I look at our overall financial situation it is a million times better today than it was a year ago and really I have nothing to complain about, but this slow progress is killing me.
We religiously put 10% of our household income away towards our “emergency fund”, along with any other spare change or “found” money – basically right now every single extra cent we can find is going into savings.
Unfortunately over the summer we’ve been hit by a few small “emergencies” that have come with big bills. It has been amazing to have that money sitting there giving us the peace of mind that we can get through and it’s no big deal, but it’s been one step forward and two steps back all summer long. For me it’s incredibly frustrating to watch the balance of our emergency fund drop instead of rise in a month.
I have to admit – and have taken comfort in the fact – that a year or two ago these emergencies would have simply added to our debt load. We would have been able to cover one or two of them in cash but by the time the third or fourth one rolled around we would have been scratching at the floor boards and most likely would have had to put it on a credit card or line of credit and paid it off over a month or two. THANK GOODNESS not to have to add financial strain to a desperate situation.
Part of my frustration stems from the fact that one of our goals in 2013 was to put our current home on the market and move. That however has to come AFTER our emergency fund is built up and an additional chunk of change saved to bulk up our down payment and pay for our moving expenses.
These days progress is slow and when I look at my carefully laid out financial plan we are more than a couple thousand dollars behind where I had hoped we would be by now.
I am feeling particularly frustrated today because I know we have another significant and unexpected bill coming our way that will be needing to be paid sometime early in the new year (oh the joys of home ownership).
The Hubby and I have both commented recently that despite clearly being on the right path to financial freedom, life these days is not feeling very financially free. A little bit of a windfall that would allow for some “pleasurable” spending would be particularly welcome right now. That said, if someone dropped even $20 in my lap and told me to enjoy, I can tell you it would go into our savings account…
Enough of my whining. Yes I am having a very hard time staying motivated right now. That said I also think it’s a pretty amazing feeling to log-in to our on-line banking and see that all the monthly bills have been paid and there is still a significant chunk of change in our bank accounts. Not only that but most of our upcoming expected lump sum payments for the year are also fully funded (like property taxes, extra mortgage payments, insurance, anticipated vet bills etc). It is a good feeling and gives me a significant amount of peace. I can only imagine what it will feel like when the mortgage is gone – and I can actually fathom that day existing.
So what are we doing to stay on track? Well, I listen to podcasts on financial planning – especially ones that celebrate people’s financial victories. Hearing the stories of people that have paid off huge amounts of debt is very cool. Getting sound advice as to what to do with our money is also cool. Being encouraged as we carry on our financial journey is awesome
We set goals, and actively pursue them.
I read books on personal finance, small business, and other informative literature that interests me along the way. (This is a new thing for me by the way, two years ago I would have told you that I was a fiction/literature girl. While a few well worn paperbacks still find their way onto my night stand from time to time the majority of my reading now helps me/us to grow and accomplish our goals.)
I try to spend time with and seek the advice of people who are in the financial position that I would like to be in. Conversely I try to offer a helping hand/word of advice and encouragement to those that are following the same path but may be a few steps behind us as often as I can.
We will keep struggling through this, and we will succeed. We’ll weather the storm and eventually we’ll achieve our goals. Those things are certain to me. I CAN see it slowly coming together. Am I making the progress that I want to be right now, no, but I have to remind myself that I’m running a marathon not a 100 meter sprint. Good things come to those who wait!