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Fund Your Bucket List With this 3 Step Plan #suntrustbucketlist #money #finance #savings

3 Step Plan to Fund Your Bucket List

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

Before my last birthday, I wrote my first bucket list: 30 things I want to do in my thirties. Enjoying life is really important to me and I want to make sure I enjoy it while I can. Each year, I plan to do 3 new things that make my life more pleasant. I believe that I can’t just dream about fulfilling my goals, I have to set deadlines for my goals and develop real working plans to do each of them. So far, I’m on track and have already fulfilled 3 new goals: I went on a dream vacation to the Aloha State, Hawaii, for 10 days. I renewed my commitment to sponsor a child in Tanzania, and I fulfilled my goal to put solar panels on our home so we could live a more sustainable lifestyle.

We only have one life to live so planning now can us have more fun later. I had to think long and hard how I could fulfill everything on my list while still being a stay-at-home mom. After some brainstorming, I came up with a 3 step plan to fulfill all 30 goals. I am willing to share my strategies because they are working well for me thus far.

Here they are:

  1. Pay off debt and stay out of debt
  2. Fund my savings, emergency, and bucket list accounts
  3. Work hard to maintain several streams of income.

By following these simple steps I was able to enjoy my year and develop peace of mind about my future.

1. Pay off debt and stay out of debt

First, we had to set a reasonable family budget, one that both my husband and I agree to follow. This means that even when we see great items on sell, we don’t buy them unless it is fulfilling a specific need we have.

Here’s a simple budget spreadsheet (Excel Printable) that we use and check together monthly to hold each other accountable. We like it because there are tabs for each month that we can easily review to see where our money is spent.

Our strategy for saving is simple. We spend less than we make and pay our obligations first. Bills that can be paid annually, we pay them at the beginning of the year, so we can try to stay close to a fixed amount leaving our accounts monthly. If we were to face a situation where our obligations exceeded our income, we would forego having cable, dining out, or other luxury that we could live without. In fact, I do my hair and nails and my husband is his own barber. By doing these things ourselves, we save both time and money.

2. Fund savings, emergency, and bucket list accounts

Not literally living paycheck-to-paycheck gives a person peace of mind. We fund our savings, emergency, and bucket list accounts with our Federal and State income tax refunds, which means that the money we get back we save instead of spend.

We also take advantage of our employer’s retirement, health insurance, and flexible spending accounts to help lower our taxable incomes. We have also set up automatic deductions for our children’s future educational expenses as well, which also helps to lower our overall taxable income. These methods and our home-based business help us have more tax deductions.

Lastly, we strive to live a sustainable lifestyle. The solar panels on our home help lower our overall energy utility costs and the extra savings from our monthly bills go towards our household savings.

3. Work hard to maintain several streams of income

Everyone has talents and it took us a few years to discover how best to market ours, but once we did, we found ways to use our skills and add money to our accounts.

For instance, in addition to my husband’s 9-5 job, he also owns a graphics and web design business where he uses his skills helping others with websites and custom graphics. In my spare time, I work as a freelance writer and speaker. The money we make from our businesses goes towards our savings accounts.

By maintaining multiple sources of income we are not heavily dependent on any one source. My husband changed jobs recently and was not working for about 2 weeks. Because we have income from other sources this was not a strain on the budget.

If you want to fulfill your bucket list, it may take some planning and sacrifice but its worth it.

 

 

Reader Question: What are some creative ways you save for your bucket list?

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They help you get organized, make a plan, and stay on track so you can get and stay in control of your finances. When you are confident about your money, you can save for your goals and splurge knowingly on what matters most to you.

To get started, visit suntrust.com/getorganized.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

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  • some good information. Do you only contribute to savings account when you get your tax return or do you add money on a monthly basis?

    • We add money on a monthly basis, based on what’s left over after all of our expenses are paid.

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