Have you ever started out the weekend with exciting plans only to have them come to a screeching halt? I have! That’s what happens when you have three little kids. The same is true of our money goals: Sometimes they get derailed. But just because our original plans get derailed, it doesn’t mean we can’t achieve our goals. We only have to adjust and start again.
The midpoint of the year is sometimes called the Second New Year, and it’s the best time to evaluate your progress on your goals because you have time to adjust and make them a reality. If you make them a priority now, you can still accomplish your goals by the end of the year. Here’s how:
Be Honest About Your Current Progress (or Lack of Progress)
If you’ve been budgeting and tracking your expenses, you may be halfway to your goals. That’s fantastic!
Unfortunately, not everyone is making progress on their goals. Maybe a parent got sick right after you declared war on your student loans. Or maybe your job is still uncertain after 2020. When life happens, the best thing you can do is be honest about your situation.
Start by looking over your recent spending. Remember, don’t shame yourself over what could have been. Look at where you are with your money today and decide where you want to be by December. Adjust your goals and be honest with yourself.
You may not have made the progress you had hoped by this point. But you still have the power to say, “I’m going to start working toward my future today.”
Live on a Budget
A successful money plan has to start with a budget. I know, I know—nobody likes the B-word. But be encouraged, a budget doesn’t limit your freedom, it gives you freedom.
If Taco Tuesday is in your budget and you’re still on track to hit your goal, that’s wonderful! That means freedom to enjoy chips and guac, instead of worrying whether dinner with friends is going to tank the bank account.
It’s OK if you’ve fallen off the horse with budgeting. Just open a free budgeting app like EveryDollar and give every dollar a name. Make sure your income minus all your expenses equals zero. If you have more leftover, throw it at your goal!
If you’re married, you are each other’s first accountability partner, so sit down and dream together about the rest of the year during a budget date night. Make it fun! Grab some of your favorite snacks and put on a good playlist to help you dive in, or dive back in, to budgeting and adjusting your financial goals. If you’re single, find a friend you trust who’ll help you stick to your goals. This should go without saying, but a good accountability partner is not going to send you endless Amazon links!
The hard truth is this: To achieve what you set out to, like paying off your car or finally saving for your kids’ college, you must sacrifice. This might be a change your friends won’t understand. That’s why it’s so important that you connect with people who will support your financial goals.
Once you get focused and intentional with your money, you’ll see progress, and your 2021 goals will turn into 2021 accomplishments!
Rachel Cruze is the host of The Rachel Cruze Show and The Rachel Cruze Show Podcast, and a best-selling author, including “Love Your Life, Not Theirs” and “Smart Money Smart Kids,” which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. Follow Cruze at RachelCruze.com and on Twitter @RachelCruze.