Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Start to the End...

Happy 2014!  This year is going to be our year... I feel it.  It will be the year that starts our death to the full-time job.  Which is exciting.  

One of my 2014 goals is to write more on my blogs.  So, here I am.  Before I go too deep into this though I want to clarify a few things:
  1. I can't remember what font I write in to show that I am not The Executioner (TE).  Oh, and I don't find it important enough to be consistent by looking back at previous posts.  I am pretty sure my writing will quickly show anyone who is reading that I am not TE :)
  2. I am terrible at replying to comments.  It is my stretch goal.  I also give TE permission to reply on my behalf.  I'll try... that's the only promise I can make. If you post something and I don't reply - please don't take it personally.  I have most likely replied to you about 200 times through conversations in my head, but I haven't put them down here.  I don't know why... it is one of my faults.  I fully admit it.
Alright, now that I've stated those points, I'll start on my first blog entry for 2014.  

Since we paid off the mortgage in 2011 I've felt that I've been kind of lost.  Lost because I haven't had a clear target in my mind.  Prior to April 2011, the target was a huge bulls-eye with ZERO MORTGAGE written in the center, which every action could be measured against.  Walking through the grocery store and wanting to buy a sweet treat, I would stop because I would see that buying said item would take a couple of dollars away from ZERO MORTGAGE and I would realize said item was not worth it.  This worked in all areas - everything that was about to be purchased was measured against how high of a need was there.  If it wasn't high enough (and there was a pretty high threshold), the purchase was not made or was reduced in another way.

Post April 2011, our target has not been as measurable or concrete.  The goal has been "build our savings".  Well, walking through the grocery store and looking at said item sweet treat then became a rationalization game.  True, I won't be helping to save as much, but we'll still be saving because buying said item sweet treat won't cost nearly as much as going out to dinner.  You can see the game I was playing with everything.  And it all came to a head this past month.  I justified that I needed a new jacket, 2 pairs of boots, jeans, and a couple of other things.  You can imagine my horror as I look back at how out-of-control I was.  

Last year one of my 2013 goals was to look at anything that was about to be purchased and consider was it worth the life energy it cost and would I be able to use it many years down the line.  I greatly reduced the amount of work-related clothing, shoes, and accessories I buy.  I did this by realizing that I have a great wardrobe that fits me well for work.  I have enough that I don't need new things. I looked at many great sales on dresses in 2013 and thought 'this would be a great dress to own for work' and then thought where else I can wear that dress.  The majority of the time the answer was nowhere, which meant I admired how pretty the dress was and then left the site/store.  So far, none of the items I saw have been thought of again once I walk away.

I can't undo the new things I have bought recently.  And, truth be told, I am extremely happy with my purchases.  I will get a lot of use out of them right now as well as when I am no longer working full-time and am instead walking the trails around our little house in the big woods, working in the garden, or going out to do a chore in the wet spring or fall.  This little spending spree that I've been on has re-awakened my saving side.  I am ready to appreciate all that I have and not want more.  All that I need, I have.  

As I look at our net worth, I now have a target in mind - I am no longer lost.  I want to be a millionaire.  I want to be it as quickly as I can be, too.  So, that is my goal for right now.  Everything I consider buying will be weighed against this - will taking this money away from being that much closer to becoming a millionaire be worth it?  If the answer is no - how else can I achieve this same outcome?  Can I find an alternative, wait for it to go on sale, make a sacrifice somewhere else?  Or, can I wait a week and see if I still feel the same way of needing whatever it is? 

I am excited for what 2014 will bring.  It is starting off right - I am no longer lost.  And, I have the best (and most handsome) partner to help me if I start to lose my course.  

Cheers!  
Spicy Princess

 

12 comments:

  1. Glad to see another post from y'all. I'd been waiting for one. I understand the lack of focus, mine hasn't been based off a target of zero mortgage, but knowing that an extra $2 isn't going to hurt my budget in the least bit means I slip up from time to time. I have a few spending sprees every now and then like your jackets/boots run. But it usually just reinforces the need for me to save and invest as much as I can. It's funny how it works like that for some people. The important thing is that it doesn't spiral out of control. I can't remember where I read this, but one person used a piece of paper and wrote their long-term financial goals on it and stuck it in their wallet. That way every time they were about to buy something they were reminded of their goals and had one more chance to really weigh whether the purchase was necessary. Best of luck to both of you in 2014!

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  2. Passive Income Pursuit - thank you for your patience in us posting. Our hope is that through my goal of posting more, The Executioner will also post more! I like the idea of writing the goal and carrying it in your wallet. Think it would be weird if I put a sticky note on each of my credit cards?!? :)

    Happy 2014!

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    1. A couple of years ago I read a phrase at Frugal Babe that struck a chord: "Never sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now" It's written on my debit card holder since.

      K.

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  3. I lost my focus after I paid off my mortgage too. I ended up buying another house so now I have mortgage payoff #2. Saving money is just so much easier when I have that concrete number to look at and my spreadsheet that tracks every penny. I hope 2014 brings you much success for your savings goals!

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    1. Hmmm - buying a second house... we'll explore this topic in a future post (I added it to my list. That's right, I'm keeping a list of topics to post about! That's how dedicated I am going to be in 2014). Good luck paying down mortgage #2!

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  4. Woohooo! The resurrection of a blog! Glad to know we'll be getting to enjoy some inspiring posts from both of you. I'll be looking with keen anticipation for your posts. TE was a huge encouragement to me in paying off our house (accomplished) the to staring my blog with the intention of paying off our remaining rentals (1 of 3 accomplished just weeks ago).

    I do wonder, however, if while you're shooting toward a million bucks, you also have a monthly dividend income amount in mind, for example: $3,000.00 per month to hit your retirement goal?

    Just wondering. Perhaps that will become clear as you begin to post more down the road.

    Either way, good to have you guys back.

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    1. I like your enthusiasm - thanks for adding pressure in making sure we come back time and time again and post things! In my opinion - TE's posts will always be more inspiring and will be more likely to encourage something productive and good... but I'll post for entertainment value :)

      When I started dating TE, about three weeks into our relationship, I looked at him and said "will you take over all of my finances? I want you to put me on a budget and just tell me what I can spend each month. I do really well like that. I don't like tracking my own money and trying to do good things with it... I just want it to happen" - or that was the general gist at least. TE was only a little excited (if perhaps slightly nervous from this handing over of all my account numbers) to have this Spicy Princess in his life willing to do whatever he said was best for her money to grow! Needless to say - right now my focus is getting our net worth to read $1,000,000. That is something I feel I can help out with. I leave the magic to TE of getting our passive income up to a point where we can retire early.

      For me, putting "I'll be a millionaire" in the middle of my bulls-eye will have a lot more weight when I am looking at some unnecessary item than anything about increasing my monthly dividend income. However, they are intertwined in our reaching this goal and for achieving the ultimate goal of financial freedom. So, TE will deal with those weeds - I'll just keep my big picture in sight and my wallet closed!

      Thanks for coming back and reading!

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  5. I have been having some similar feelings lately and I think that's because it feels like the mortgage is so far from being paid off. So I try to evaluate if I want to wait two years before doing something and the answer has often been no lately. Also, who knows if I will still be in my condo in two years, so I would like to enjoy it now. I'm trying to live life a bit more and if that increases my spending a bit more, I'm okay with that. I am working on upgrading the closets in the master bedroom and taking nice trips with my boyfriend. I have done well with cutting some costs that I didn't value enough like clothing, work lunches, doing my own income tax return, not moving, and shopping around for insurance. I feel like the difference between a 75% and an 80% savings rate or an 80% and an 85% savings rate isn't worth the jump as much when I'm already that high. I have been trying to make reasonably specific goals and hit those though.

    I always enjoy your posts - Spicy Princess! Sometimes I think I'm a bit more emotional with my finances than TE is, even with my high savings rate ;)

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    1. There is always the balance between getting $h!t done/paid off and enjoying life. One way TE and I evaluate home projects is if it is going to bring us happiness while we live here. My sister and her husband put a ton of money and effort into a house just so they could sell it. At the end they were sad to let it go because it turned out so nice. TE and I are trying not live that way - we remodeled our bathroom because it needed some significant repairs anyway, and now we get to enjoy that lovely bathroom. From what you listed here - it seems like you've also prioritized the things that will really make you happy (nice trips with the bf) versus those things that are more just "do it because everyone else does it and it is supposedly the norm" (buying new clothing, etc.). I'm a bit more emotional with my finances too - it is a good thing I let TE lead and I just follow most of the time :) Thanks for reading!

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  6. "As I look at our net worth, I now have a target in mind - I am no longer lost. I want to be a millionaire."

    Why?

    It's my experience, and I see this a lot, that everyone who enters the "exit the rat race", err, race, at some point has to make a hard decision. The choice is to continue to accumulate money, or quit. It is a choice. Not an easy choice, but, ultimately a choice. If you decide to quit you need to know how much money you need to live the life you want to live, and how you are going to earn that money in a way compatible with your goals, interests and passions. Mostly it is fear that keeps people from quitting a well-paid job (and in many cases it is justified fear), but it's important to identify that fear and understand why it is there. I've known people who have literally had millions in the bank, but who have been unable to let go of their lust for acquisitiveness. The truth is only a little money is needed to live a life that is rich in other things besides money.

    I want to say I'm not criticizing you for what is a very personal, and very understandable, decision. But I thought I would raise the point.

    All the best for 2014!

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    1. Hello Anonymous - thanks for your comments. I completely agree with your statement "little money is needed to live a life that is rich in other things...".

      At this current moment, I am sitting in a beautiful hotel Europe and have had a wonderful mini-vacation courtesy of my employers - so I am having too much fun to quit (best way to see the world... when someone else is paying for it :). TE and I had a huge conversation at the beginning of December when I wasn't in such a happy place with work and he reminded me of just what you said - I don't have to work. And that has made all the difference. I learned this powerful word - NO. It works. When I say it, I am respected and people ask what else they can take off my plate. That's another blog post for another time though...

      The reason I pegged that as a target for myself is that we are so close to being there - it is something that I can use to weigh against anytime I need to remind myself of a goal (like when I feel I need a new coat, pair of jeans, two pairs of boots, etc.). I also want to clarify that this will not be just a good old million dollars kicking it around in our bank account. I am sure TE will have that money moving in all kinds of wonderful places so our future is ensured and he can be a stay at home husband ASAP. It is what our combined net worth will be and because we are so close, it just gives me that little extra push I need on some occasions.

      I appreciate your comments and thoughts - your opinions are always welcome here! Hope 2014 is off to a great start for you.

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