Thursday, October 9, 2008

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

With Wall Street, the banks and the credit market going haywire lately, times can be scary. It is more important than ever to have something set aside for a rainy day, especially when it downpours practically every day on Wall Street.

But what do you do when you are barely making it? Do you wonder how on earth you can possibly save money when you can barely pay the bills you have now? If you’re anything like me, asking yourself this question is like listening to a broken record. While I can certainly understand and appreciate all the turmoil in the financial sector lately – I’ve got to say, I spend less of my time stressing about my retirement fund (though I know it’s important) than I do about my regular monthly budget. How can I possibly save a 3-6 month emergency fund when I hardly have anything left at the end of the month?

The answer can be found in the old adage: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Really, it’s that simple, simply because that’s really the only way it can be done. Sometimes, the best way to think of a goal is to break it down into small, manageable parts.

My ultimate goal is to save 1 year of monthly expenses or $16,464. Noble goal yes, but disheartening because with my current income it seems an insurmountable task. But what if instead, I focused on saving $45.73. Wow, now that’s doable. I can focus on saving one days’ worth of expenses, which is $45.73. Once I meet that goal, I’m ready to set my sights on:

3 days = $137.19
1 week = $320.11
1 month $1,372
3 months = $4,116
6 months = $8,232

The best way to get to where you want to go is to keep your focus straight ahead. Sure, it’s easy to get sidetracked on the shoulda-woulda-coulda of it all. Learn from your past experiences, but don’t live there. Break your savings tasks into small, manageable parts. When you achieve each small step, bask in your success and let that momentum propel you forward to the next stop along the path to savings and debt freedom.
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Budget Mama said...

I agree, take small steps to get to the bigger goal. That helps me out and it's also feels fantastic when you tackle things on a smaller scale.

Anonymous said...

Very good advice on this blog!

We have found to be a big help with things like this. We save so much now that we thought was impossible before.

We have learned the hard way to pay ourselves first and there are secrets!

Thank you for this blog.


Cherlin said...

Good words.

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