Goal Check-In: Day 200

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Today marks the 200th day of the year! That means it’s the 200th day of my 2016 goals, including my savings challenge. I posted an update at the 50-day100-day, and 150-day marks to help me stay accountable. I’ve made it a goal to post an update every 50 days to help hold myself accountable.
My savings have had a pretty significant change due to my decision to forego my original goal of saving $7557.95 then putting it towards my debt at the end of the year. This goal changed to paying a total of $7557.95 extra on my debts throughout the year.
Here is my 200-day savings update:
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Goal Check-In: Day 150

Today marks the 150th day of the year! That means it’s the 150th day of my 2016 goals, including my savings challenge. I posted an update at the 50 day & 100 day marks to help me stay accountable. I’ve made it a goal to post an update every 50 days to help hold myself accountable.
Unfortunately, the past 50 days have been a significant drop in my savings. This is partially due to a decrease in my Food cash category ($250 biweekly to $150 biweekly).
Here is my 150 day savings update:
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Creating Strong Financial Goals (DRS #7)

I started to include this a previous post, Making Better Financial Choices, but it made it way too dense. Today we’re going to be looking at how to develop strong financial goals.

Types of Goals

There are typically 3 groups of goals: Short-term, Mid-term, and Long-term. I break them like this:
Short-term goals can be completed in less than 2 years.
Mid-term goals will take somewhere between 2 & 4 years to complete.
Long-term goals will take 4 or more years to complete.
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Goal Check-In: Day 100

Today marks the 100th day of the year! That means its the 100th day of my 2016 goals, including my savings challenge. I posted an update at the 50 day mark to help me stay accountable. Previously, I probably would have bailed on my goals at this time in the year. I’ve made it a goal to post an update every 50 days to help hold myself accountable. Here is my 100 day savings update:
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The Importance of Tracking Spending

You want to save money and you feel like you can do it but every month you feel like you’re coming up short. Where does all of your money go? Why are you not saving the way you want to? Honestly, there are many different reasons, but a good first step would be to start tracking your spending to create a budget.

Where to start

It is often difficult to even know where to begin when budgeting. Often the best place to begin to review your spending over the previous 30-90 days. This includes looking over your bank statements, credit card statements, check registers, and more. You want to know where every single penny you spent went. You can see why you never save as much as you planned and why you feel like you’re always coming up short. When you take the time to complete this step, you have a really good idea of exactly where your money has been going.
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Why I Refinanced My Student Loans

I refinanced my student loans about 3 months ago (December, 2015). I spent about three weeks researching various companies I could potentially refinance through, primarily working off of this list. I compared interest rates based on my current rates, other offers, and repayment terms.
It took me a long time to research the various companies because this is a very large decision. I have been out of school for about 2.5 years, which means I am very early into my repayment. Also, because of the timing of my schooling, I was unable to participate in graduate school grants and subsidized loans. And I chose to go to an out-of-state graduate program. I definitely don’t regret this decision from an educational standpoint because my grad program was amazing. It was, however, a financial blow in terms of my debt (slightly under half of my debt at this point).
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Fighting Low Motivation for Saving Money

Sometimes it’s difficult to save money. You lose motivation, an emergency comes up, or you just have large monthly bills that impact your monthly budget. This is something I continue to struggle with daily.
I am currently working my way through my personal goals, including my savings challenge and using cash envelopes. This is a much stricter budget and system than I have previously employed however I am determined to see it through. I have set up multiple automatic withdrawals to increase my savings and tightened up several expense areas.
Cognitively, I know this will be challenging. Despite having this knowledge, I still struggle with motivation to follow through with the plan. This week I was faced with multiple bills coming out of the same check and resulting in a very small amount in my checking account for the following two weeks. Read more

One Quick Trick to Boost Your Savings

When you’re just starting to save, it can seem like an eternity before you see your savings account actually growing to a strong number. It’s easy to get discouraged by this slow-growing process. And of course you want to boost your savings as soon as possible. I have a little saying about this:

The savings of a thousand dollars begins with one saved.

I know it’s corny, but it keeps me motivated even when I feel like it will take an eternity to become debt free.
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My 2016 Goals

  • No Spend Week Last Week of Every Month (Totaling 3 Months)
  • Save ~$7557.95 (Combined Mega & Penny Savings Challenges)
  • $1000 Emergency Fund
  • Complete Elimination Diet (Phase 1 Beginning 01/11/2016)
  • Budget Monthly (Make, Follow, Save)
  • Clean Out Dog Closet
  • Complete Five 10-Day Challenges
    • Track all spending
    • Cook all meals
    • Don’t spend money
    • Save all $5/$10 bills
    • Sell 1 item a day
  • Meal Plan Two Weeks Per Month
  • Envelope Budgets
    • Master List
    • Individual Envelope Lists
  • Create Weekly Schedule (Cleaning, Money, Home, etc.)
  • Master File in Dropbox: Budget, Master List, Meal Plan, Daily Reminders, etc.)
    • Saving Tracker
    • Visual Tracker
    • Budget
    • No-Spend Table
    • Priorities List
    • Envelope Master List
    • Additional Challenges
    • Miscellaneous
    • Goals
    • To Sell List
  • Two Yard Sales (April, July)