Assuming I'm feeling better (I'm recovering from strep throat) and that hubby isn't terribly late getting home from work, the plan is to go out tonight for milkshakes and to discuss our financial goals for 2010. We did this last year and it set us up with a solid plan to follow. Then we looked back at the end of each quarter to see how we were doing, separate from our monthly budget meetings where we look at where and how our monthly money is being spent (more on that later). Here's the info I've gathered for tonight:
- Current bank info; balances in checking, saving, emergency fund, etc.
- Estimated net income for 2010
- Current debt amounts with interest rates and monthly payment amounts
- Copy of Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps (this is a great place to start if you don't have a plan already in place from a financial advisor or otherwise)
- Copy of last year's financial goals
We've talked around the house a bit about what we plan to do differently this next year, but tonight is the night to hash it out, with numbers, and get it on paper. Once we've decided how much savings and debt payment to take out of that net income, we can go over last year's month-by-month budget and see if any adjustments need to be made to our expenses (like the $400/month I have for groceries and household). I prefer to put the extra we make each year, between raises and my income , into debt repayment while my husband prefers to spend it on “fun.” That's why we meet monthly and yearly to focus on our finances. I'm thinking milkshakes will help.
If you have not tried this before, I encourage you to sit down with your partner/spouse and talk about:
- How much debt do you have? What is your plan to make a dent or pay it off during 2010?
- What are your short- and long-term financial goals? Are you considering retirement or education savings, or are you still working on your emergency fund?
- What are some ways both of you can cut back your monthly expenses during 2010? What small steps can you take each month to put extra funds into savings or towards debt?
I'll post our financial goals for 2010 after we solidify them, and then in January we can talk about the month-to-month budgeting. If you don't know what you're spending each month, it makes these big-picture discussions futile.