Our lives feels like a never ending “to-do list”, and if I’m being really honest… it kind of feels like we’ll forever be working on a list made of a mix of every day chores, home improvements, big projects, and general things that we’d just like to have happen. Sometimes the list seemed so overwhelming that we didn’t know how to take action and to set goals as a married couple.
We needed a way to help us remain productive as a couple, and that was going to mean setting obtainable goals and breaking them down. The big question was… Where the heck do you even start!?
We talked about the dream
What would our ideal, completed list look like? What was the biggest and most financially reasonable goal we could set for the year? What did the dream look like?
For us, it’s a lot of home organization, purchasing higher quality furniture (ugh… that couch), making some changes to our home that would overall improve the quality of life for our pets, beautifying our front yard, and taking a much needed vacation.
Can we accomplish all of that? Probably not. But I wanted us to have a big goal so that we had a place to start. That big goal could be broken down into smaller, more manageable goals that seemed… well, a lot less lofty.
We talked about how much that dream would cost
I’m thankful that Jeremy has a salary that we can count on. I realize that this isn’t the reality for every couple, and making financial goals isn’t always so easy – especially when you factor in kids, pets, and emergencies.
We talk about our finances a lot. I would even go as far as to say that we probably communicate about where we’re at with our money more than anything else. Understanding how much money we have liquid, how much needs to stay in savings, and how much needs to be devoted to the bills has been the success to our marriage for sure.
Jeremy got a raise at the beginning of the year. Once he received his first paycheck that reflected his raise (not to mention the difference made by the next tax bracket – ugh), we decided what to do with the “extra” money (can one ever really have extra?). We decided to devote a large portion of it to a savings account to help fund “the dream”.
Based on the amount of money we would be able to set aside regularly from his paycheck, we could decide just how lofty our goal was, and how long it would take us to achieve it. Anything more that I could contribute (because my business earnings tend to fluctuate), would just be a nice bonus.
We chose what goals to tackle first
We had to pick and choose what we felt was most important for us as a couple, and those may be very different for you. We chose to invest first in goals that solved problems.
OUR PROBLEMS INCLUDED:
- Our mattress and frame needed to be replaced – we weren’t sleeping well, and our frame was old and warped.
- We needed gutters – In order to prevent water pooling up against the foundation of our home, we needed to have gutters installed to help send the rain water away from the house.
- The cats needed a better feeding system – We love our dog, Bane… but he was causing our cats too much stress, so they needed a better feeding system that could keep him away from them while they ate.
- Taking an annual vacation was a must – Not only did Jeremy promise me a vacation, I think it’s important to find time to reconnect with him… away from the stresses of work and home.
Based on what we knew we absolutely could afford, these goals were reasonable and seemed pretty doable to us. Your goals, financial capabilities, and your Needs vs Wants might be different… and that’s totally okay.
Things like hiring a landscaper, or buying a better couch simply weren’t as important to us. The yard wasn’t going anywhere, and our couch works (angry as it makes me). If we get to them this year, awesome. If not… there’s always next year.
We decided on what order we’d accomplish those goals
This part was a little more tricky, because it involved a lot of math (and I suck at math) and really stressing importance on saving enough money for everything our vacation would encompass. Things like…
- Round trip plane tickets for 2
- Hotel Stay for 5 nights
- Tickets for any attractions we might want to see
- 3 meals per day x 2 people (yikes)
- Spending money / extra funds just in case
This was a tall order, and we had to book the vacation well in advance. That meant it had to be a major priority when addressing the order of our goals. I strongly suggest deciding what’s most important to you as a couple, and then factoring in how far in advance you might have to plan or pay for it in order to make it happen.
We wanted to take our vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary on May 4th, so we had to do some number crunching to figure out how much everything was going to cost us, and if we could save up the kind of money several months ahead of the trip in order to book it (or at least most of it – because we’re not opposed to using credit if we’ve got a solid financial plan in place).
Then came the smaller goals and action items
We knew what the bigger goal was, so now we needed to break it down even further to help us be productive and actually see ourselves through to that goal. I devised a Quarterly Goal Tracker Printable, and we used it to map out our year, decide what needed to happen for each quarter of the year, then broke it down into months + action items we needed to each month to make it happen.
The cool thing about action items is that they can be almost anything… Whatever you need to do week by week to make the big goal happen.
- Saving X amount from your paycheck
- Researching for the best sales and prices
- Making purchases during the “slow” periods to get a better price
- Prep work for the next stage in your goals
- Mini goals like selling products in your business
The list can go on and on. You just need to break down your goal into manageable steps so it seems a lot less scary.
What are some goals you’d like to see come to life for you and your spouse? If you need more help figuring out how to make goals and be generally more productive in your every day life, definitely check out this bundle. It’s got hundreds of dollars worth of fantastic resources, planners, guides, and information to help you be your most productive self… and it’s only $37!
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