I was working up my 2010 budget the other day.  I always like to plan for the worst case.  I always like to be conservative.  Part of it is that I need to know  my goals are at least achievable before I try, or I get too overwhelmed.  Part of it is just the security of knowing the worst case, if for some reason I didn’t get that raise, or didn’t get overtime, or Chad doesn’t find work all year.  And part of it is seeing those numbers, feeling disappointed, and finding the motivation to try harder, to earn more, to spend less.

The conservative case, if we spend 2010 with only my base income with no bonuses, no raises, but also no emergencies or big unplanned expenses, leaves me averaging a little more than $1,000 per month to put into cash savings.  This amount doesn’t include my 401K, which I have vowed to max out this year, but does include any money I’d want to put into my Roth IRA.

I’ll tell you, it’s not the happiest of numbers for me.  My goal for 2009 was to max out my Roth, get as close as possible on my 401K, and save an additional $10K on top of that.  In 2009, I’ll be able to save 48% of my gross pay (or more, if I get some extra overtime).  In 2008, I saved over 50%.  In 2010, I’ll manage around 25%.

So I was feeling a little bit disappointed, but then (in the spirit of Thanksgiving), I realized something.

There are plenty of people who would have trouble saving $1000 in a year.  My parents, when they were my age, had 3 kids and only high school diplomas, and they would have been lucky to save anything at all.

For some people, a husband unable to find a job could mean the difference between feeding their kids, paying their utilities, or keeping up on mortgage payments.

And some people have no money problems but no savings, either because they can’t find that mindset or because no one ever tried to teach them.

So I’m thankful.

I’m thankful that I found a job I’m good at, that I enjoy, and that pays well. 

I’m thankful that Chad and I have always been frugal, so we won’t need to make a drastic change in our lifestyle to survive on one income.

I’m thankful that Chad is a better engineer than I am, and that he’ll definitely find a job next year if he doesn’t decide to go back to school instead.

I’m thankful that I’ll be able to save anything at all.

I’m thankful that my father bothered to teach me about money and encouraged my savings. 

I’m thankful that my budget still includes a clothing allowance.

I’m thankful for my blog readers, who will probably not call me a rich brat and instead will offer words of encouragement.

Hoping all my Americans readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Everyone else, have a wonderful Thursday! We’ll be in NY visiting Chad’s parents and stuffing as much turkey into our mouths as possible!

4 Responses

  1. You’ve never struck me as a rich brat. You have lofty financial goals and the thought of not reaching them is understandably disappointing. But I’m glad you’re looking at the positive vs. the potentially demoralizing. Have a great Thanksgiving and have fun in NY!

    • Thanks for sharing. That was a really nice reminder that there is something to be positive and thankful for in any sitution.

  2. Just look forward to the future! For one or two years sacrifice of your goals, you will definitely meet them in the future once Chad is working again! Great to see that you are thankful for where you are, even though it can be disappointing to see you not going to meet all your goals. I am barely going to be able to save $100 per month next year due to a job change… however you reminded me to feel grateful to be able to save anything at all. Thanks for that!

  3. […] he has thought out his plan. And for a minute, it threw me for a loop. After all, didn’t I whine about how much lower my cash savings rate would be next year? Maybe I’ve been so fixated on […]

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