I’ve Achieved a Goal!

I have all sorts of other posts in the pipelines right now but those are going to have to wait because: I’ve achieved one of my goals for 2012!

Originally when I sat down to plan these goals I wanted to make sure they were achievable and measurable. I used to set goals like “exercise four times a week” or “eat at least one vegetarian meal a week” but I always became frustrated with those. What if, one week I exercised and the next week I didn’t? What if I was mostly good at exercising but every few weeks I slacked off, could I really consider that goal achieved? Instead, when writing my 2012 goals, I made sure that they were measurable, that there would be a specific, definable moment where I could point at that goal and say “I’ve done it.”

Today I get to point at one of my goals and say “I’ve done it.”

As of today, I’ve officially cleared $7,500 in debt since December 31st.

That’s $7,500 in about five months, or about 21 weeks, or exactly 145 days.

I’m just going to take a moment and say: Hells yeah I did!

That wasn’t all through my sheer hard work. It’s not like I achieved my 2012 goal in less than half a year by being frugal. I had some help. About $4,000 of that total was from my monster tax return, which obviously boosted this number in a huge way. I’m still counting it though because I could have spent that money on meaningless consumer products instead of putting it towards debt. You can see from the graph below that there was a pretty big drop in March, that’s me kissing my massive tax return goodbye.

My Debts from December 31st to Now

Another way to look at it is how much principal I’ve cleared monthly by the numbers. I figured this out a few days ago and I’m happy with the results, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

My average debt principal cleared per month is around $650. There are a few spikes there because of five paycheque months and income tax returns, but overall, that’s what my debt is lowered by every month. I’d really like to get this number up and of course it will as the average daily interest charge decrease, more of my payment will be going to principal instead of interest. Another reason that I’m not paying as much on my debt as I normally would be is because I’m also saving for my wedding. Once I’ve got that squared away, I’ll redirect that money onto my debt, which will get that number up nice and high. That probably won’t be until 2013 though.

Where To Go From Here

Since I’ve already achieved my debt repayment goal for 2012 and it’s not even June yet, where should I go from here? I think I should set a secondary debt repayment goal.

Yesterday I wrote about how pointless debt repayment schedules are, and I stand by that. A lot could happen in the next seven months, so what target would be a realistic goal for the end of 2012? I think, since I had such an easy time reaching this goal, my secondary debt goal for 2012 will be a bit of a stretch goal.

What’s a Stretch Goal?

A stretch goal is a goal that is achievable, but that can only be achieved by stretching resources. It’s not an easily achievable target, you can’t coast along to achieving a stretch goal. You have to work for it.

My stretch goal for my 2012 debt repayment is to pay off a total of $12,000 in debt principal. $12,000 in twelve months just has a nice ring to it. According to my calculations, if nothing changes in my situation, I’ll be able to achieve this goal, it’ll take some work and I’ll probably have to stretch my finances a bit to reach it, but I’m confident in my abilities.

So let’s all give three cheers for achieving measurable, definable goals!

Have you set any goals for 2012? How are you doing with them? I want to know!

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  • http://www.makingsenseofcents.com Michelle

    WOOOHOO! What a great feeling

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      Thanks! It really is.

  • http://fromshoppingtosaving.blogspot.com From Shopping to Sav

    Nice goin!!!! Now this will give you momentum to keep working on your savings goals and other goals!

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      That's what I'm thinking. I'm actually squeezing more cash into my wedding fund every week so I can hopefully have it fully funded by September!

  • http://www.bluecollarworkman.com TB at BlueCollarWork

    That IS a monster tax return, but congrats on getting a goal taken care of!! Woot Woot! My wife mentions all the time how Dr. Phil says that goals must be measurable. Not just "eat well this week" but actually have a meal plan or calorie count or something. Anyway, your measurable goals are great! And the $12K in 12 months is insane, but man, if you can do it, more power to you! (guess that's why it's a stetchy goal)

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      It's definitely a stretch goal! I won't feel bad if I don't achieve it, but if I do…I'm going to have a very good new years that's for sure.

  • http://www.moneyaftergraduation.com Bridget

    wow that's awesome!

    This is a good kick in the butt for me… I really need to set some shorter-term goals for paying of my student loans. At this point I just want it all gone by November 2013 so about 1.5 years but I've never actually sat down and figured out how much I need to pay off in 3 months, 6 months or 1 year, etc.

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      I wrote a post about setting short, medium and long term goals (http://my-alternate-life.com/setting-small-goals-to-stay-motivated/) I find my biggest problem with long term goals is that I lose interest in them. That's why I take extra time to make sure that I'm setting small, manageable goals, so I can see progress monthly. It helps me stay interested, enthusiastic, and motivated.

  • http://www.momoneymohouses.com Mo' Money Mo&#0

    Omg that's incredible! You should be so proud of yourself! :)

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      Thanks! I celebrated last night with some family, I'm pretty sure they got sick of hearing about it. :)

  • http://www.modestmoney.com/ Modest Money

    Awesome work Jordann! You are a big inspiration in the goal setting department. On the weekend there was your great achievement on the 10k race and now this debt payoff milestone. That must be very satisfying. Now if only I could carry it into my own life and finally get around to setting goals.

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      Just do it! Just set a goal, and blog about it. I'll be your accountabilibuddy. :)

      The last few weeks I was really getting goal achieving fatigue, I was in the final stages of running prep, and I was scrounging my chequeing accounts to find cash to hit that goal, but now that I've hit both of them, my enthusiasm has been completely renewed.

  • http://frugalportland.com Kathleen @ Frugal Po

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS GOOD JOB! Happy dance! I'm psyched for you!

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      Thanks! Now on to the next one. :)

  • http://www.thehappyhomeowner.net/ The Happy Homeowner

    Nice work! Congrats on meeting your goal; I love that you're focused on a stretch goal now, too

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      I think I'm going to mostly focus on my other goal of saving $3,000 for my wedding. Once that's complete, I'll focus my attention back on paying down debt – I won't beat myself up if I don't meet my stretch goal. I think the shift from focusing on debt to savings and back to debt will keep me interested and motivated.

  • http://evolvingPF.com/ Emily @ evolvingPF

    Wow! Great job! Using your tax return still counts as hard work because it's still your money! The gov just sequestered it from you for a time. Good for you for putting it all toward debt – many others would have rewarded themselves in some way, but the feeling of achieving your goal very early is your reward!

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      That's definitely true. I'm always surprised at how many people don't realize that their tax return is money they've already earned – not a gift from the government. I even forget it sometimes! I still can't believe I didn't spend a penny of that return, it all went to debt and savings. The next one might not be so lucky, a girl can only be frugal for so long.

  • http://carefulcents.com Carrie Smith

    You go girl! Awesome stuff and you deserve a big CONGRATS for achieving such a fantastic financial goal. A stretch goal? I like the sound of that, since I too will complete one of my 2012 goals this month. So it's time to reevaluate my next couple of goals for the year. I can't wait to see how 2012 ends up for us. I have a feeling we are going to knock it out of the park :)

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      If things keep going the way they have been, it's going to be a monumental year for me! Can't wait to read about your updated goals!

  • http://centsofacountrygirl.wordpress.com Country Girl

    Right on! Way to go – that's a great accomplishment and a super new goal to work towards.

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      Thanks I really hope I can achieve it, but on top of saving for a wedding and saving for a dog, I'm not sure if it's possible!

  • http://www.lifeintransitionpf.wordpress.com LifeInTranstion

    Congrats! Using your tax refund doesn't make your achievement any less than what it is. Don't forget that the tax refund was money you got for working hard, and that it took discipline to not blow it on some flashy electronics.

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      My temptation was a puppy…not going to lie, definitely considered buying a puppy.

  • http://marriedwithdebt.com John @ Married (with

    Awesome progress. You've hit the point where it will start to melt away fast.

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      I've been doing the math and I think, for my student loan, the period between 20k (where I am) and owing 10k will go by really fast. But then paying off that last 10k will seem like more of a chore.

  • http://blondeonabudget.ca/ Cait

    I'm a couple days late to this party but congratulations! It feels great seeing your hard work pay off, eh? I think it's important to make new goals every time you knock one off. $12,000 sounds absolutely doable. Can't wait to read the post where you cross that one off too!

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      Thanks! Hopefully that post will come sooner rather than later.

  • http://www.karmacopia.wordpress.com/ Holly @ karmacopia

    Congrats! Its great to see other 20-somthings working hard to pay down debt ASAP. Keep up the good work & Good luck!! :)

    • http://my-alternate-life.com Jordann @ My Alterna

      Thanks! I only hope my enthusiasm for paying down debt doesn't wane before my debt is gone.

  • http://belowhermeans.wordpress.com B. (Below Her Means)

    Great work! You're an inspiration. :)

  • http://prairieecothrifter.com Miss T @ Prairie Eco

    Congratulations. This is awesome. I remember when I reached a similar point in my life. It feels amazing. Enjoy the moment.