- DD1 = Dear First Daughter
- DH = Dear Husband
DD1 – home for the holidays
The grass is still green in these parts, and that’s a freakish state of affairs mid-December. For me, the Christmas spirit typically gets ushered in with a blanket of snow – and there’s a good chance that won’t happen until after the 25th this year. But DD1 has come home for the holidays, and that’s more than enough to do the trick – even in the absence of the white stuff.
DD1 moved out west to Vancouver four-and-a-half years ago to get her Masters Degree, and she has continued to live and work there since graduating in 2013. Her entrance into independent young adulthood coincided with the first years of her parents’ journey out of debt, and I made the mistake at first of showing an overly eager interest in her money management. I eventually realized it was wisest to back off (when she told me to) – and I did.
An odd financial goal
“My financial goal for 2016. . .” said DD1 to me last night as we prepared a salad. Then she hesitated – probably dreading my return to an obnoxious level of enthusiasm after months steering clear of the topic. But she took the chance and went on. “I DO have a financial goal,” she said, looking up from the lettuce warily.
“That’s good,” I said calmly. And I said nothing more.
She continued. “My goal is not to spend any money Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of each week.”
I continued in my silence – not because of any wisdom – but because I really didn’t have anything to say. It struck me as an odd resolution.
“Any leaks in my spending – and I really don’t have many – happen when I buy food that I could have prepared,” she said. DD1 talked about the nature of her job – no office, always on the move to keep appointments – and the challenging logistics involved in packing, storing, carrying, and eating home-made food. “If I know on the week-end that I won’t be able to buy anything for the first three days of the week, I’ll cook in bulk to get ready for it. But I know I’ll burn out by the end of the week – so it’ll just be Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I’m going to give myself a twonie for each of those days when I manage not to spend anything.” (A twonie is a Canadian coin – as featured above – that is worth $2.)
Anatomy of a good financial goal
DD1’s financial resolution for 2016 grew on me the more she talked about it.
- She had identified a weakness: There were “leaks” in her food budget.
- She spelled out a solution to this weakness: She would prepare more food in advance of the work week.
- She recognized obstacles to her solution: There would be complicated logistics involved in managing her home-made food.
- She gave allowance for her limits: By the end of the work week, she would be tired and less resistant to the temptation of buying food from a coffee shop or restaurant, so the ban would only last from Monday to Wednesday.
- She built in a rewards system: For every successful Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, she would earn $2.
“What will you do with all of the twonies you save?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she said.
DD1 caught the smile on my face.
“What?” she said defensively. “I think it’s a good plan.”
“So do I,” I answered.
“What are you smiling about?”
“I know what I’m going to write about for my post.”
“Oh no!” she laughed in mock distress. “Now I’ll have to be accountable! I’ll have to report on how many twonies I manage to save!”
So . . . one more item to add.
- She has accountability partners: She will be more motivated to reach her financial goal knowing that her mother will at some point make public the extent of her success.
What’s your financial goal?
I’m grateful that DD1 allowed me to use her resolution as the focus of this post. I know better than to draw too much attention to her application of it, so I’ll be brief, and I’ll end by shifting focus. If all elements are in place and functioning, I believe DD1’s formula for goal-setting would make effective resolutions for all of us, every time.
- Weakness identified
- Solution spelled out
- Obstacles acknowledged
- Personal limits allowed
- Rewards system in place
- Accountability partner(s) standing by
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Are these elements that you would consider in your own goal-setting? Your comments are welcome.