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?