Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Change in Focus and Money Goals

In the mail yesterday was my monthly statement for my mortgage. When I opened it, the amount due seemed off. Not by a lot, but the number didn't look familiar. Fortunately, I always have the previous month's statement close at hand so I grabbed the month's prior statement and compared them. I was right - there was a difference. My mortgage payment actually went down by $6 and some change!

Just last year at this time I would have been elated. At that point, even $6 a month was a big deal. It would have been yet another drop that would help me fill my nine hundred dollar bucket. I would have adjusted my online automatic bill pay accordingly and then added my $6 to my monthly goals.

Now when I got it, I had a different reaction...

After a year of struggling, I have made enough changes in my life that I don't need that $6 like I once did. The fear of having to fight foreclosure is much further off. Barring an emergency (knock on wood) I can make it now - I even have some breathing room.

I decided to just leave my bill pay as it is. My mortgage company has been great in the past at applying over payments correctly and as long as they keep doing that, I'll shoot that extra money over there. At $6 a month, I am not going to be paying off my mortgage much faster, but as I have learned, every single bit helps!

It is good not to have to stay up at night worrying anymore, but I admit, I miss some of my "gazelle like intensity". So much of what I do now is automatic - my bills are all paid online, my savings are built in, my paycheck is larger and is deposited straight into my checking account - where it is automatically divvied up to pay every bill. I don't have the same fear driving me anymore, and I find myself relaxing. Maybe this is natural - if you've ever watched gazelles (to build on Dave's analogy) they aren't intense for long stretches of time. As soon as the danger is gone, they go back to grazing.

I've got two big goals right now -

1.) Finish the house painting, then repay my mother $2,700 before Christmas
2.) Keep on going like I am - paying all the bills on time and keeping out of debt.

Perhaps that is enough. Once the first goal is done, I can concentrate on a new goal for 2010 - like building my emergency fund with 6 months of income stashed away. As for the second goal, the main thing I need to be aware of is to not let my relaxation turn to into spending temptation. I have to keep my frugal hat on for awhile yet!

What about you? How are your goals going?

Photo by: shoothead
via flickr


Miss M said...

Any reason why the payment went down, had you been overpaying before or was there a rate adjustment?

My goals constantly change! Either something new comes up or my mood changes, like a few months ago I was thinking of starting a business. Now the idea has less appeal and I think I'll stick with my current employer. Changing goals can be either due to good things or bad things. Good, like finishing up one goal and moving on, or bad, like a major set back.

Dawn said...

Miss M - I haven't been able to track that down yet, but I suspect it was because earlier this year I changed insurance companies. The escrow account charged both companies - then the canceled company sent me a check. I knew that wasn't supposed to happen, so after talking with the mortgage company, I sent the money back to them. However, because this took place over the course of a few months, and I was still paying my full house payment, when I sent the check back to them, it would have had a bit of overpayment.

I'm with you on goals. I want to stay focused because I feel more effective that way, but I also want to make sure I am directing my energies in the right direction.

Divorced Lifestyle said...

I have relaxed a bit too. Somedays I say, "Hey, I got enough money in my savings, I don't need to pinch every penny. I'm not living paycheck to paycheck." But then I remember that the money is earmarked for my downpayment, and try to buckle down again.

getting stuff done said...

so far this year my goals have stayed pretty much the same. my intensity wavers and varies however, and bits of them change tack slightly or morph into more realistic ones! I am enjoying the earn more september goal. But I am not listing on ebay as much as I could or should. its hard / boring!!

Dawn said...

Divorced Lifestyle - I feel like I have been in relaxed mode the last month, which is not a bad thing, but I am glad I have the new goal to repay my mom to get me motivated.

Getting Stuff Done - I'm not listing on eBay as much as I should either. I need a better system, I think, because like you, I find it pretty boring. I want to do it - but somehow always find better ways to spend my time!