This post is in partnership with SmartyPig. Regardless, all opinions are 100% my own and 100% honest.
As the year comes to a close, I’m forced to look back on my financial progress in 2017. Progress probably isn’t the right word. I struggled with money management over the past 12 months. While I renewed my resolve to get back on top of things, I’m still not where I’d like to be.
So I’m setting some savings goals for 2018. Because there’s a lot of them, I’m using SmartyPig to break them all down and prioritize. This lets me put money into each bucket rather than having one big “savings” pot which may or may not end up allocated correctly.
Here are my priorities—in a very specific order:
Saving for Emergencies
My emergency fund needs some TLC. Nuff said.
Saving for a New Place
We’ve been talking about moving for a while now. We seriously considered it after our last child was born, but decided we could learn to live with less space.
Now we’re looking to move not to upgrade our space, but to enhance the educational opportunities available to our children. Off to the suburbs we go.
I am considering using Jetty to help with the security deposit, but I’ll still have to have cash on hand to deal with a truck and all the other little expenses that come up when you’re moving house.
Saving for Japan
I’m incredibly excited to visit my childhood friend in her hometown of Osaka. I’ve been saving miles for years, and this year I’ll finally be making the trip. Airfare was free as even the fees were covered by travel points, but I’m thinking a JR Rail pass and money for things like food will be important.
Saving for Disney World
I lucked out and ended up with some free tickets to Disney World after our last trip. We have 20 years to use them, but my kids are at some of the perfect ages to go and can’t stop talking about the experience.
With tickets taken care of, I just have to focus on either airfare or gas, accommodations and food. I figure I can find a way to hack the airfare or accommodations, so we’ll primarily be saving for food and whichever aspect of the trip I decide is less travel-hack-worthy.
All in all, it will be an incredibly cheap Disney trip. But we’ll still need to have some money on hand.
Saving for a Home
After I kick this nasty debt to the curb, I’m going full throttle on this goal again. Pittsburgh’s housing market is stable, but I’d rather not wait too many years to enter the market. Interest rates are moving up. I’d like to get in on the action before they get too high.
Goals Help You Establish Priorities
As I sat down to look at my goals this year, I realized pretty quickly what’s important to me and what’s not. First, I’m trying to get on solid financial footing again. You won’t see it above because it’s not a savings goal, but I want to get rid of my debt even though it’s sitting at zero percent interest. Another aspect of financial health I want to reestablish is that emergency fund.
After that is my children’s education. The only reason financial health comes before that is because I know I’ll need to be financially fit to facilitate that education long-term. Choice few things are more important to me.
Then, travel. It is a priority in my life and always has been. I have itchy feet. After having decided to permanently live in Pittsburgh, I need to know I can get out and see the rest of the world every once in a while.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to blow my budget doing it. I’ve figured out so many ways over the years to travel on the cheap and still see amazing things. But if I spend $1,000-$2,000/year on travel, I’m not freaking out. There are other areas where I spend virtually nothing like clothing and makeup and music and home décor. My one vice will not ruin me, and it will help me stay sane.
The house goal is last because it is long-term. I will save for it regularly, but I need to be okay with the fact that I’m not going to pull 20% out of thin air in a single day, month or year. I’m frustrated that there have been financial setbacks over the past year that thwarted the savings we already had towards this goal, but I’m also determined not to give up.
What are your financial priorities?
I love that SmartyPig lets me separate my goals into individual buckets, prioritizing my goals and tracking my progress.
What would your SmartyPig buckets look like?
Please note that Femme Frugality was compensated by Sallie Mae for the content in this post. However, all opinions expressed below are my own, based on my personal experience with Sallie Mae. Any requests for personal information are not associated with Sallie Mae, nor will any information collected be used or maintained by Sallie Mae.