I recently got a new computer. Previously I was working on my 7 year old MacBook Pro. Considering the fact that it was 7 years old, it was actually in really good condition, but man was it SLOW. The battery was also 7 years old, and it got to the point where the whole computer would shut down without warning if it was unplugged for more than an hour, which meant I lost a lot of work. I still didn’t think these things were deal breakers, just “quirks” I learned to live with…although I think my husband sensed my frustrations and resulting lack of writing, because he started insisting that I get a new computer.
When we sat down at the end of the year to set our goals for 2016, one of the areas we talked about was our financial goals. We decided to try something new—we would try to find creative ways to pay for anything that we wanted to buy that fell outside of the “normal” budget. Since a new computer was definitely not in the normal budget, we started looking around to find other things we could sell in order to squirrel away enough money for the upgrade. My husband is really good at selling things on Craigslist and E-Bay, and once I finally break my emotional attachments to items that I haven’t used in forever, he has them gone within a few days. Old phones, camcorders, an iPad, and even that old, slow computer went out the door, and my computer fund grew. Combined with money I received for Christmas and my birthday, it only took a couple of months before I was ready to pick out my new laptop. In my previous, single life I would have either used money from my savings to make the purchase, or just put it off for as long as possible. It felt so much better to have a goal to work towards, get things out of the house that we were no longer using, and feel pride instead of guilt when I was finally able to upgrade.
The hardest part of the process for me was deciding to sell my basically brand new DSLR camera. I purchased it last spring with great hopes of learning how to become an awesome photographer…but unfortunately it sat in the case, and any time it came out, it was always used on the automatic setting. My husband asked me every other week if I was ready to sell it, and I always said “no, I’m going to learn!” I finally realized that the reason I was insisting on keeping something that I would probably never use was because I was ashamed of what it would mean—I was admitting that I had made a very expensive mistake in purchasing the camera. But he assured me that it didn’t mean that, and it would be better to get rid of it now while we can still get money for it. So I let it go, and honestly haven’t looked back since!
I write about all of this because financial health is an important part of our well-being. This little “project” gave my husband and I something to work towards together, and it also ended with something that makes pursuing my passion of writing so much more enjoyable! (Not to mention how nice it is to have one less drawer full of unused gadgets and a cloud of guilt hanging over my head for not being the master photographer I dreamed I would be)
Some of our other financial goals for the year include:
- Finally figuring out a budget system that works for us—2 years into marriage and I think we can finally call this one a success!
- Making an extra mortgage payment on our home
- Putting a designated amount of money into savings by the end of the year
- Finding creative ways to pay for things outside of the normal budget (We have already rented our house out twice for this summer, which will help pay for some of our home-related projects we have scheduled)
Do you have any financial goals you are working towards?