Monday, November 16, 2009

Follow Through With Your Savings Plans

Saving Money Tip #208 - Follow Through With Your Savings Plans. In one of the first Seinfeld episodes, Jerry’s friend Kramer is staying at Jerry’s apartment when it gets burglarized. Jerry and his friends cannot understand how someone could have broken in because Jerry has about 18 dozen locks on his door including the super foolproof Kryptonite lock (or something like that). But finally Jerry puts two and two together and figures out that the reason the locks didn't work was because Kramer didn’t close the door. Duh, all of the best locks in the world won't work unless we follow through and close the door.

And like the closing the door so the locks can work, we need to follow-through on our savings plans for them to work. We can have them all written out on paper so they look great. We can buy the savings envelopes to use for our budget categories. We can have the spreadsheet written up with how much we’re going to spend (and save). And we can have the best ideas in the world for income and keeping money in our own pockets, but unless we follow through with these plans, they won’t work.

We need to actually need to use the envelopes for our budget categories (if that’s our plan) and we actually have to follow our goals such as bring lunch everyday to work, and it’s imperative that we use the coupons that we cut out. Otherwise, all of our planning and ideas are just a waste of time.

Yes, this advice sounds cliché, and it is. But the reason sayings become clichés is because they are usually true. How many things do you have on your “to do” list in order to save money or make money that you haven’t gotten around to? Is one of your goals to make more money by getting a seasonal job? Then why haven’t you filled out the employment applications yet? Did you plan to only eat out once a week by having meals prepared in advance and at the ready when you get home from work? Then start cooking! Did you hope to curb spending by not shopping on the weekend? Then make plans for other, cheaper activities.

Sometimes we all have grandiose plans, but until we follow through with them, they won’t work. Take the first step and look at your plans. Organize stuff for a garage sale; make some meals; cut some coupons; apply for a job; send money away to a mutual fund account. None of your savings goals will come to fruition unless you follow through. Oh, and don’t forget to lock the door on the way out.

In Real Life (IRL) – I am as guilty as the rest of the crowd of putting off things that I need to do or not following up with some of my plans. But two events stuck out this weekend that made me think of this topic for a blog post today. First, I was checking our credit card statement when I saw a charge for $300 from a few days earlier. Thinking my husband had some work done on the car that he mentioned being needed, I asked him about it. “Oh, that’s the new lawnmower I bought,” he replied. I was shocked because although I knew our lawnmower had just died, I didn’t realize that he had gone out and bought a new one. I will admit that I am the more frugal, money saving half in our couple, and I had talked to my husband about discussing any purchases over $50 before they were bought. In addition, when I intend to make a large purchase, I like to research which one I want to buy and then find the best price. My “gotta have it yesterday” husband does things differently. He’ll check out a few stores and pick out what he likes best. We had a similar situation happen last year over a vacuum and he assured me he would consult me with future purchases so I can do research first. But he didn’t. So that’s one thing on our financial plan that we did not follow through with. Maybe we would have saved $50 or maybe we would have gotten a better lawn mower for the same price. I’ll never know. What I do know is that had we followed our laid-out plan, we’d probably be slightly better off financially.

The second thing that happened this weekend was I finally got around to listing some items on Craigslist and eBay. My written down goal at the beginning of the year was to list five items per week on eBay or similar site. And when I follow that goal, I make some decent extra money. But I will fully admit that I have been lazy lately. I bought some items that I knew I could make money on, but they were just laying around the house. I had something to list on Craigslist from our dog who died back in April. It was just taking up room in our garage. Other than pure laziness, I had no excuse not to be following through on this income-earning goal of mine. I finally got around to listing a few items at the end of last week and have already sold two and have bids on the third item. I will admit that selling some items provides motivation to sell more. So hopefully I will continue to list things.

Both of these events sparked the idea in my head for this post. If we are not following through with our plans and goals, then the outcome we want won’t happen. Just like buying the best locks in the world won’t keep the burglars away if we don't close the door. Look at your goals for saving money and then figure out which ones you have not done. Then work hard on doing what you set out to do. Follow-through is the only way to meet your goals.

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