Debt Reduction, Everyday Living, Random!, Relationships, Where My Money Goes, work

“The Plan”

My buddy W serves as an inspiration to me. We met while working at the cab company and we’ve continued to be close friends even though he now works at another job.

Why is W inspiring? Well, he’s had a lifelong struggle with his weight and he’s been working his ass off (literally) to drop pounds from his frame. He does this with humor and with tenacity. He’s also one of those people who seems to find inspiration everywhere and I really appreciate the ideas that he comes up with to better himself and, quite frankly, the community around him (i.e. – he’s working on establishing a diversity group and networking resource for Latinos at his current job; he’s investigating setting up community clinics for immigrants in my community as part of research for graduate school …). I just genuinely like W and I like that he always prods me to think outside of the box and to try and better myself.

So W struggles with his weight, I struggle with my weight and finances … the other day we were volleying emails back and forth and hatched an idea … we both need to establish a plan of action and we need to hold ourselves accountable to our goals.

Here’s a rough draft of my Plan. I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to help me with my life overall, but I figure it’s easier to go on a journey if you have a roadmap.

The Plan

1) Have first draft of most current writing project (working title: “Church”) done by 7/24/2009 (31st birthday).
2) Clean and organize my office which will someday become my non-existent child’s nursery. I think that the combination of weird relics from my newspaper career, combined with an Obama poster, baby mobiles and a soothing buttercream wall color will be good for child’s development.
3) Hold a garage sale in May. This will help pay down existing debt and rid my house of STUFF that I hang on to for no good reason.
4) Have bad credit card debt paid off entirely by December 31, 2009.
5) Do not get knocked up until credit card debt is paid off entirely. (I admit this is rather blunt, but Future Husband and I are very much looking forward to having kids. However, this is also contingent upon permanent employment and better health insurance on his part. I’m also very aware of how derailed my money progress has been because of the wedding – when I think of the “stuff” we would need to acquire to have a kid and buying that stuff while trying to pay down my debt … my eyes begin to cross in confusion. So we shall wait …)
6) Switch to working every other weekend at cab company, effective May 15, 2009.
7) Establish and follow a work-out schedule, effective March 23, 2009.
8) Eat more fruits and veg.
9) Fight less with Future Husband.
10) Work harder at pleasing cat.

W commented immediately about numbers 9 and 10 when I sent him a draft of my Plan. #9 – “that will happen” and for #10 – “really?” And since I have relatives who read this – FH and I don’t fight very often, but we had a Target parking lot skirmish the other day that had everything to do with me being tired, PMS-y and cranky and our overall financial situation (I’ll blog about that later … it was an argument that turned into a good conversation for both of us.)

In terms of number 10 – FH has taken over the litter box duty for Evil Cat. And I wonder why the cat prefers FH to me.

Feedback is welcome folks … does anyone else have a “plan” that they would like to share? How do they keep themselves accountable? What do they do if they stray from their Plan? How do they get back on track?

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6 thoughts on ““The Plan”

  1. Your plan is deficient. After you pay off your credit card, you MUST have an emergency fund of at least 9-12 months of expenses. Do not get pregnant before you do, or you may find yourself deep in the hole with another mouth to feed. If you don’t end up needing the emergency fund, you can begin to bleed off the excess interest into a college savings account for your future child.

    I’d also recommend being in a position to fully fund your retirement accounts (401(k), IRA/Roth IRA) before you get pregnant. Children can be very expensive, and while your child can get a loan for college, you can’t get a loan for retirement.

  2. Amen, Jay!

    I am so sick (and tired) of all the so-called financial experts berating people for not saving enough for their child(ren)s education. Seriously? WTH?? Please show/tell me where it is written that it is a parent’s duty to pay for their child(ren)s education? If you WANT to and can AFFORD to do so, more power to you. However, as Jay has already said, you can finance an education (and I realize that is no ones idea of an ideal situation) BUT you cannot finance a retirement!

  3. As someone who once dropped from 245lbs to 170lbs and now sits comfortably at 190, the secret to losing weight is to talk about it all the time. Weigh yourself every day and share you progress with the world. This social method helps so much.

  4. I am going to have to disagree with the “must have a 9-12 month emergency fund” prior to getting pregnant thing – if you wait until everything is perfectly lined up, you will never have kids. You DO need good health insurance obviously. But having a plan to build up an emergency fund is enough. If I always waited until I was in perfect financial and life harmony to do something, I’d never do anything.

    I’m also going to echo back your own advice on #9 and #10 🙂 Make more specific goals, less vague – I don’t know how you quantify either of them, but I know this year in my new year’s resolutions I put specific targets and I’ve stuck to them. The previous years’ goals of “Lose Weight” and “Go to the gym more” were too vague to happen.

  5. I have to agree with Paul…I had kids before we had 9-12 months of emergency savings. I would say we had 2-3 and great insurance. Now we have 2 kids and I still don’t fully fund my Roth IRA, but I have one, and I’m content with what I put in. Could it be better? Sure…lots of things could. If you waited til everything was perfect and fully funded, it’ll never happen.

  6. Ditto Paul and Deb. Plus, no amount of money will stop the biological clock. I think new parents over-estimate the amount of “stuff” that is needed for children. Baby retail thrives off friends/family and 9 out of 10 garage sales are baby, baby, baby. And it is common for a new mom to have an “old mom” friend that wants to hand over all baby gear with a “no backs” agreement. 🙂 However, I do think couples under-estimate the cost of child care, which can cost more than a second income.

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