It’s hard to believe Christmas is over. Our tree, having dried out, is already in the back of our pickup truck to be made into woodchips for anyone who wants them, and our favorite decorations are now back in their appropriate containers, waiting to be revealed next year- the day after Thanksgiving.
After the decorations are gone and the packages are unwrapped, you are left with feelings of abundance, but also empty spaces where they once resided, that are simply questions of what is to come.
I felt unbelievably blessed this year. It was our first Christmas in Texas, and the fella and I were still seemingly moving around furniture to get things settled when it was time to get the tree. For the first time since I was no higher than my parent’s knee, we got a real live tree- and the piney fresh sent filled our little abode with all the Texas-y cheer we could want.
Christmas seemed to be over as quickly as it arrived. We scaled back this year on gift giving, but had lots of fun finding things for one another. My bestie and I decided not to swap gifts, but instead, use the money to meet up in person sometime during 2017- since we never get to see each other enough.
Though the season was filled with special moments, where I feel that my priorities were in order- people first, then things- money has been on the top of mind throughout. We are getting ready to purchase a house in 2017 and have been saving vigorously, but I started to realize that previous to the holiday season, I wasn’t as stringent as I could have been when it came to impulse buys and meal planning throughout the latter half of 2016.
In 2017, my fella and I are excited about the prospect of buying a home and realize that we need to get more serious about budgeting our money, and budgeting our time. With busy schedules and odd work hours, we’ve frequently aired on the side of convenience, not savings- buying pre-made meals and convenient snack foods that are easy to buy and to eat, wreaking havoc on our ability to optimize our savings and keep our waistlines in check.
In 2016, I felt like with all the life changes- a move from Chicago, transitioning my freelancing to a full-time position, and a new job for my partner, we were in a financial free-fall. I stopped budgeting after our move because I was too overwhelmed to take a peek, and I learned a hard lesson: it may feel like the best choice to keep your head in the sand when it comes to money, but if you’re feeling out of control with your finances, simply taking stock of where you’re at usually means the situation isn’t as bad as you thought.
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to succumb to anxiety and worst case scenarios when I’m not fully able to assess a situation. Left to my imagination, scenarios seem far worse and more complex than they end up being- but after a quick assessment, my fears go down a few notches and I realize that simply facing what’s causing me worry instead of hiding from it, is the best way to get my fears in check- even if I’m not 100% able to address what the issue is at the moment.
So- for 2017, it’s all about empowerment through assessment. There is power in realizing that even if you can’t be perfect, can’t hit the goal line or “crush it” right away, you at least know where you stand, instead of keeping your head in the sand when it comes to money. Knowledge is power, and awareness is freeing- from there, you can formulate a plan that fits where you’re at, instead of feeling anxiety of where you should be.
2017 is all about getting comfortable being uncomfortable in your own financial process of getting where you want to go- simply being in each moment of a financial journey instead of belittling yourself about the start or the finish.
2017 is about being right where you are, without judgement, and owning the processes in between.
Oh snap. Impulses, lack of planning and good intentions without action- yep, that about sums up my entire 2016 after our move in early spring. Oh snap!
So, what are my 2017 goals to ensure I’m not just dreaming, but actually doing? Glad you asked.
In 2017 I Resolve To:
- Set a realistic budget, and check it weekly to see where I stand, the goal will be to cut back on impulse spending and optimize my income to put towards a down payment on a house.
- Keep saving to get as close to a 20% down payment as I can for a house within my budget, cook meals at home and reel in my clothes shopping!
- Check my credit score, has it gone up or down? Knowledge is power, before I go in to apply for a mortgage!
- Create additional, smaller savings accounts that make sense in my budget- putting $2 a day away for travel, care repairs and of course- home decor, to both plan and save accordingly with a slow drip that’s easy to maintain to partner with my aggressive down payment savings goals.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.