The Importance of Goal Setting

In her email to challenge participants, Mrs. Frugalwood referenced a post they had done which pondered if having a goal was essential for sustainable frugality. It got me thinking about my own journey.

This blog was created because I knew what I was doing wasn’t working and I wanted to track my journey. While I like to think I’m capable of making frugal choices without concrete goals, I’m not sure if that’s true. It wasn’t until I put it out there that I wanted to be debt free that I actually buckled down and got saving.

We’ve been in our home for 7 years and have always wanted a new kitchen but with it as a concrete goal I will be definitely making very frugal choices and saving towards it. I find that I can easily fall into fake frugality.

To me this is making individually frugal choices that can add up to wasting money. An early example of this is shopping grocery sales (Frugal win!) but purchasing unhealthy food or too much food and therefore wasting it (Frugal fail). My love affair with books is another example of fake frugality: I would purchase loads of books at second hand stores but as I didn’t love them they would be quickly donated. Now I only purchase books I already know that I’ll read multiple times and truly enjoy.

Do you find having goals helpful in your journey?

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12 thoughts on “The Importance of Goal Setting

  1. This year I have set my goals out in writing. I have done this before and ignored them but I must get saving and healthier at the same time. I agree that what gets measured, gets managed. So if you don’t set a specific goal over a time frame, (or set it and ignore it), then it won’t get managed.
    You have inspired me for awhile now and it is beginning to work.

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    1. That’s fantastic; I’ve found even writing it doesn’t necessarily help. I need to put myself out there publicly hence the blog. I’m still working on achieving the novella 10 year old me promised myself 🙂

      I’m so glad I inspired you. Thank you for sharing that because it in turn inspires me to keep at my goals.

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  2. I do have goals, but I’ve learned to hold them loosely in case life happens and I need to change directions. Still thinking on my 2017 goals. Hopefully I can nail down one or two soon. Glad you’re doing the frugality challenge, too – so am I!

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    1. It’s such an awesome way to help keep us focused! I’m enjoying the emails that help me reflect daily on my journey so far.

      I’m with you on life happening. I’m still learning to ‘forgive’ myself for not planning for the the unexpected. It seems I want to be superhuman and often forget that I neither own a crystal ball nor have the capacity to use one.
      Last year was the year that I finally set goals that were achievable but still required work. I struggle with that as I want to have an impact now and those goals aren’t quite so achievable.
      Good luck with the 2017 goals. I hope you feel comfortable sharing them so I can cheer you on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do find that having goals is helpful. Life does happen, though, so there has to be some built in flexibility. I also have the dream of a new kitchen…but I will have to be patient. We bought an OLD fixer upper house and the kitchen leaves much to be desired! It will have to be gutted and completely redone. However, my goal has always been to pay off the house first and then fix it with the money I would have been paying on the mortgage. We are getting very close to this goal. In the meantime, many parts of the house only require(d) cosmetic fixes which I’ve been concentrating on. Amazingly by doing this, we’ve been able to identify what TRULY does need redone and what can be creatively disguised/lived with.

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    1. Life really does happen and I’m trying to remember that lesson as I set my goals. Having a savings account called Life Happens has really helped me manage my expectations 🙂

      I feel you on the kitchen. My home is a bit older than me and the kitchen is terrifying because I do think it needs to be completely taken out. I love the idea of finishing your mortgage first and then attacking the kitchen! It’s smart, responsible and lets you get everything.

      15 more years (minimum) of my kitchen, however, makes me sad. I’m hoping that by setting aside some nominal savings will alleviate the pressure and let me pay off the house while getting the kitchen done.
      It’s amazing how the cosmetic fixes can change your home! Those are our goal this year as they’re not nearly as expensive but will definitely help off set the kitchen.

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  4. I think it definitely helps me. Especially when I go to make pretty meaningless purchases like buying a magazine simply because I’m bored. I’ve started shifting my thinking to be more about if I spend money on a magazine, what am I not putting that money towards? Its amazing how easy it is to talk yourself out of a magazine, new lip balm (my weakness) and any other trivial item you don’t actually need when it could go towards something more meaningful!

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    1. Magazines were a big weakness for me! $3 for gossip, fashion tips and an occasional recipe felt like a great deal. I was able to cut them when I found out that my library has a lot of my favourites.

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  5. I look at goals like mile markers on a cross-country trip. It’s easy to say “I want to drive from LA to Boston,” but if you don’t have any sort of plan to get there along the way, you could end up in Mexico! For my family, our “Boston” is to get out of debt in 3 years. We know that’s not going to happen this year, so our goals for this year are to have the first two items on our debt list crossed off by December 31st. We’re setting specific, measurable goals along the away to make sure we’re on the right path and moving with a purpose in the right direction, not just driving aimlessly.

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  6. Emily Kathryn

    Having a goal helped us a lot in our frugal journey because it felt like we were making those little sacrifices for something greater. It wasn’t just to save $10 here or $20 there it was delayed gratification for our house, our car, retirement, etc.

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    1. That’s a great point. I have a hard time saving my pennies for big things sometimes as it seems to take forever to achieve them. Our car is becoming more expensive and I’m gearing up my savings account to be able to put a sizable down payment on another vehicle in the coming year or two.

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