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Ready? Aim. Save!

Have you ever run a race without knowing where the finish line was? Have you ever shot a bow and arrow without some sort of target? We need goals to keep us directed where we want to be going, where we choose to go.

Let's say your goal is to pay your house off early. Now that sounds like a major thing to try to do. It may sound so intimidating that it's unaccomplishable but paying it off 1 month before it's due - is still paying it off early.
Let me give you a concrete example:

Larry bought his house in 2007 for $100,000 at 7% for 30 years. He has paid nothing ahead as of right now. He will pay off his mortgage in 2037 and will have paid $239,508 for his home. WOW!!!

$1000 extra this month (in 2011) would take 9 months off his loan and save him - get this - $5,000. I know - $1000 is a lot of money all at once. How about 20 bucks? $20 extra a month for the life of a loan would cut 32 months off the loan. It would be investing $6,500 to save $14,000 - just $20 a month! Would you REALLY miss $20?

So you're in WalMart (personally I think WalMarts should be required to only locate at least 45 mintues from any post office so that you have to drive forever and won't go there. They are a total black hole for your pocket book.) Back to shopping though - didn't plan ahead so you grab a burger and soda walking in - $5. In their way too many options selection you pick out some wonderful craft items that look so cute (you KNOW you will never use them - but they are cute) $7. You pick up the milk and birthday gift you really came in for - $10. While walking across the store your child screams for a toy they must have - $5 - it's not that much really? Right? At the check out you pick up another soda and a magazine because, well, it was there - $3. Yep - there is the $20 for your mortgage this month.

Now  -  I LOVE We have had a rule of keeping all reciepts and I'm stricter on it some months than others. If I used a credit card or debit card for these transactions though - I would have 2 posts show up in about 24 hours.
$5 to McDonald I would categorize as Fast Food
The WM transaction I can split into several to correctly itemize:
$3 milk
$7 gift
$7 entertainment
$5 kids
$3 entertainment

Pay Me Off Please

Imagine if your debit card had a picture of your savings goal on it; your house with the word paid in full or a picture of your baby posed with a dipoloma or graduation cap. At the register you can put back or hand back anything you don't want. Look at your loot and choose to save for your goals. Post a picture of the house paid in full - on your door so you see it as you leave. Maybe it will remind you to go back and grab a piece of fruit and a travel mug full of water. As you start paying it off early - find a way to keep track of your progress a calendar maybe for 2037 that you can cross the months off as you pay early. An outline of a house that you can color as a goals thermometer type picture.

You can also reverse the concept and pigeon hole the money for a future purpose. Consider keeping on paying your car payment into a savings account (or better - a mutual fund) after yours is paid off to pay for your next car in cash.

Keep yourself motivated. Keep yourself inspired. Keep moving forward and FEED THAT PIG!

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