To say it’s been quite the year is an understatement. And we’re not quite halfway done! I recently heard someone joke that all of us got our 2015 five-year plans wrong. Isn’t that the truth? I don’t think any of us are strangers to curve balls, but what happens when the whole season is cancelled?
Originally, I thought my goals for the year felt like an April’s Fools joke. And I still think that’s somewhat true.
But I’ve also had some time to do some reflecting and take some inventory on where things stand now that we are inching toward the halfway point in the year. We’ve scrapped some goals, and there’s one we are set to meet far ahead of schedule.
I figured it was time to share our take on making some kind of progress during a pandemic. I also want to give you the opportunity to snag a copy of The 100-Day Financial Goal Journal by Alyssa Davies. Don’t miss the giveaway at the end!
The Goals that Got Away
There is no proper way to pandemic. Anyone who insists that there’s some metric to move through these uncharted territories is wrong. We haven’t done this before. Sure, humans as a species have. But when it comes this exact configuration living inside your four walls? Yeah, this is new.
Some of us might be wildly and enthusiastically productive during this time. Others might simply use productivity as a way to cope (hi, hello, it’s me!). I figure typing obsessively is better than biting my fingernails–though I am a skilled multitasker. Many more people might simply be trying to make it through the day. I don’t care if your grout is sparkling or dust bunnies warm your feet. We are all in different places and working through this the best we can. And that impacts more than our cleaning habits. It impacts everything, especially our goals.
Personally, this pandemic is forcing us to rethink a lot of things. While I am still freelancing some, I have been all but consumed by remote learning. Not only does this require me to teach in a way that I’ve never taught before. It also basically evaporated any notion of work-life balance I had. While I could have set better boundaries, the reality is that my husband and I are both grateful to have our full-time jobs. We want to do all we can for our students, and we also really want to make sure our positions are secure as possible. I also want to make sure the freelance work I take on is the highest quality. Do what we have exceptionally well seems far wiser than focusing on quantity now.
I’ve also found myself having to totally scrap goals like tracking single-use cups and swapping out plastic for glass containers while grocery shopping. I haven’t used a travel mug to travel since the first week of March (I’ve only gotten two to-go cups since!), and I am taking any tub of peanut butter I can get my hands on at the grocery store. It pains me to think about the ways that I’m changing, but I’m not focusing on it. I am unwilling to invite any extra anxiety or stress into my life. Just because I’m departing from these goals now doesn’t mean I’ll never return to them.
Better Than Christmas in July
The one thing that I have focused on lately is making sure that our Christmas fund is full. It seems strange, I’m sure. However, I’m a big fan of celebrating Christmas funds in July…especially since I start saving in January.
With so much uncertainty swirling, I have no idea what Christmas will look like this year. I’m hoping for hugs more than anything. Still, the spring has already proved just how little we actually know about the future. Whether this Christmas means mailing gifts or celebrating in person, I want to make sure that I can enjoy the holidays without any added financial stress.
So I spent the past few months being overwhelmed by the pandemic and remote teaching, and I also chipped away slowly at this goal. I continued to use rebate apps on my phone and my computer. Additionally, we directed all of our credit card cashback to our Christmas fund. It was the slightest of mercies from the universe that I earned 5% back on groceries at the time our local store was selling bleach for $9 a bottle. I even finished a four-month health study on the flu (What a year to do a study like that!) that netted me $50. There are a few transfers that are still pending, but it looks like our Christmas fund will be topped off well before July this year.
A Goal Giveaway
It is easy and understandable to look at the calendar and feel like the year has been a blur. It’s true! 2020 basically owes us all redo. But since that isn’t happening, the next best thing is to figure out what you want to try to make happen financially.
You can start tomorrow. You can start next week or next month. But with The 100-Day Financial Goal Journal, you can make some money moves no matter the circumstances. Alyssa was kind enough to send me a copy, and I purchased a second copy through Bookshop.org (hooray for supporting indie sellers!) to give away as well.
What I love most about this journal is that it truly gives you space to work on your own finances in a thoughtful way that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Whether you want to baby step toward a goal (like my Christmas fund!) or move in leaps and bounds, anything goes with this journal. Plus, there’s plenty of strategic coaching peppered in.
Drop a comment below if you’d like a chance to win a copy! US entries for now, and I’ll follow up with winners via email. Good luck!
So Tell Me…How are your goals looking? What are you giving yourself permission to pause?
I’ve definitely had to rethink my goals for this year! Its good to be able to reevaluate and and change course when situations change.
I have decided to change my emergency fund goals and try to get through this thing financially intact?
I think we are all in that boat, Robyn! Getting through this is an important goal and definitely no easy task. Rooting for you!
My financial goals are looking good. I’ve put on pause the idea of buying a newer car.
We (and by we, I mostly mean my husband!) are kicking around the idea of a new-to-us car. But I think that’s mostly on pause now, too!
I don’t know that I’d pause that unless it puts your immediate cashola in a pinch. I’ve been saving my pennies, waiting to swoop in when the new vehicle prices came down the next time and I was able to use this time to get an incredible deal on a used truck. The truck, purchased today with the same options, would cost approximately 30,000 just a few months ago is now 27,000. I was able to get one in new condition with only 24k miles on it for just 17,000. We chose not to spend less, we just got more vehicle, but we could have chosen to save the discount instead. The car dealers are begging for buyers. If you can afford the cash outlay or were planning on financing it’s still a great time to get a bargain.
I’m just saying I wouldn’t rule it out.
Congratulations on the Christmas Fund progress! I’m always amazed by the quantity of work you do- and I’m sure the quality is fantastic too! All of my goals lately have been about being kind/generous to myself, being kind/generous to my family members, and being kind/generous to as many people as I interact with as I can. It’s an impossible goal, but I’m trying.
During the pandemic I finally feel like I have time to spend money. (that sounds weird when I type it). Normally, Mrs. Gov and I work hard, family hard, couple hard, and then sleep hard each day (I both love and hate my ability to use nouns as verbs). But now we have time to think about actually fixing the downstairs bathroom so we have two fully working toilets. And spend money on hundreds of other things as well. We’ve been on a shopping spree. Which slightly worries my frugal self. (Am I like an addict who is hitting the sauce again?) But I’m also working on being kind to myself and I know that this is when it makes sense to do these things, so I am.
I can relate to your comment related to falling off the wagon. I am on a one year no clothes buying journey. I feel like if I buy one thing (even the dirt cheap tees from Talbots) I will not be able to stop. I am glad I read shepicksuppennies this morning cuz I have three of those tees in the shopping cart which I will not delete and may even unsubscribe to the Talbots emails (have to think on that).
Meant I will delete…
I have a few company email subscriptions that get me every time! I finally convinced myself to unsubscribe from the one I shop at the most. I figure I can always sign up again (for a coupon code probably!) at another point if I really need or want something.
Good morning. I recently said I might have a little manic depression going on (know that is a serious condition so apologize if i’ve offended anyone) as some days I am incredibly busy then other day I can barely get out of bed (if it wasn’t for having to get dog outside in the morning I would stay in bed until late in the day). To help with that I am setting a weekly goal to complete a small project around the house – those things that I’ve been putting off but every time I look at them (crown molding falling apart) I feel some anxiousness. From a financial perspective – in November 2019 I said I was not going to buy any clothes for a year. I have stuck to that though my resolve has waned as I get emails from my favorite stores with great bargains. Trying to stay strong. I know some may say that is an unrealistic goal – after going through three closets of clothes and fabric to make more if needed I thought I could do it. Lastly, last month I sat down and set up plan to pay off $75K in debt using the snowball method – I will be able to do that in 2.5 years according to my plan and even sooner if I apply any extra money to the plan. I found that exercise quite freeing – prior to that I was slowly chipping away at it but it felt like I’d never get there. One key to that as you know is not to create any further debt even making any further credit card charges – I did fall short there though will address this week.
That’s really fantastic that you have a plan to address things on an ongoing basis, Avis!
I topped up our Christmas fund too! With all the uncertainty going on, it’s nice to have something to look forward too! I only wish we could knock out the mortgage in the same way. Sigh…will save that for another day. Thanks for reminding us that we’re all in this chaos together! 🙂
I keep dreaming about deleting our mortgage, too! One day, one day 😀
I had goals in my volunteer work, but since it is largely shutdown for now, they aren’t going to happen! There is always next year.
I’m so sorry to hear that this is impacting your volunteer work as well. Hoping next year is the year for those goals!
Hi Penny, My goals are in need of a major renovation. My partner and I are expecting (yay!) and thus, need to reprioritize. We are happy to do it, but definitely need some help. That’s where I’m giving myself permission to pause.- instead of just trying to DIY everything, I am pausing, making a list of what type of advice and help I need, and then research time. Wish me luck! Thanks for all the great content!
Congratulations, Margo! Wishing you the best. A few years ago, that was the best advice I got when I was pregnant. We paused everything, got through my maternity leave, and then started to make some money moves again. Do what works for you and your little family 🙂 You definitely have the right approach!
Torrie @ To Love and To Learn
Hey, new reader here! Congrats on having your Christmas fund already done! That’s something I really need to start doing, rather than just using our yearly bonus at year’s end as our Christmas fund.
I just posted today on the progress of my 5 big financial goals right now. We’re actually doing better than expected, mostly just because we had the stimulus check to play around with, as well as the recent sale of one of our vehicles.
Being a teacher at this time would be SO HARD. I taught 7th grade for four years before I stopped to stay at home with my kids, and I’ve thought many, many times about how hard it must be for teachers staying at home and trying to work remotely during this time. Thank goodness the school year is close to over!
Hi, Torrie! Welcome! I’m going to pop over and check out your goals. That’s fantastic that you’re making such great progress.
I am so lucky to have a job that I love always and right now. But remote learning has definitely been a curve ball!
Like you and your husband, our “work from home” has kept us busier than at the office. And we have two toddlers at home! Not having to pay for daycare/preschool for two months though has freed up cash for home projects and yard work we wanted to complete before summer so we can relax outside!
I am definitely giving myself the option to pause. My main goal is to get my family through unscathed and to save as much as possible just in case.
I feel exactly the same, Amanda! Surviving is thriving in this case! Best wishes for you and your family.
would love to win for my husband and myself to work on! we are on our way to achieving our goal. we have been lucky enough to be able to keep our jobs (both essential workers) and have been able to save on childcare during this time, oh the irony.
Hi, Lynda! Check your email. My copy finally crossed the border from Canada 🙂
Want to do better planning. Only debts are creditcards.
I’m in the same boat as some; not paying daycare freed up some funds to fix the leaky dishwasher and kitchen faucet. I’m ready to send my children to someone during the day, because the Zoom calls for two adults and the kids’ own calls plus snacks, meals, dishes, and hugs are… a lot. With the stimulus payment I was able to pay off a car loan, huzzah! But now it’s on to the last consumer debt pile before really tackling the dreaded student loans. I’m hoarding vacation days in case of any furlough or layoff situations, but I’m hopeful for my field. Staying focused and maybe looking forward to creating more small goals the rest of the year!
My goals are all over the place too! I planned to pay off two credit cards. The money is sitting in the bank as I am afraid to lose it!
A part time job I should have started by now looks uncertain.
My daughter’s wedding has been postponed until August. I am not sure if she will have to move it back again.
I had lost 10 pounds by the middle of March. I gained them back, plus five more for good measure.
A volunteer project I cared about passionately is over.
I relate to this so much! I know plans zig and zag, but it sure feels like we are all in a loop-the-loop right now. I hope your daughter is able to move forward with her wedding plans. My cousin is in a similar situation, and we are also trying to reschedule her shower. There are just so many unknowns. Wishing you the best!
New reader here. Like you perspective on each of us dealing with this time in life. We semi-retired last year, plans made have changed a few times now. We are currently enjoying being present in our granddaughters lives more than ever. Would love to win the book.
Hey, Paula! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂 Thrilled to have you. That’s fantastic that you’re able to enjoy being so present in their lives. Grandparents are magical <3