Small Steps Toward Big Goals Make a Difference

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WHAT I’M THINKING ABOUT: Small steps toward big goals

What can we do when our income is so modest that financial goals seem unreachable and it seems pointless to save (when there’s even anything left after the bills)?  In this cheeky yet touching account of a life of scraping by (from the NY Times opinion pages), the author opts to spend on guilty pleasures like name-brand shoes and drinks at fancy clubs, which at least provide some happiness amidst the daily grind and unreachable financial dreams. 

While challenging financial situations often feel unmanageable, it is essential to not lose sight of this: small steps toward big goals make a difference.  Just this month a client of modest means finally became debt-free, after three years of ups and downs in pursuit of a goal that seemed unreachable at the outset. This accomplishment has been hugely satisfying to her, and in retrospect well worth the short-term sacrifices of certain daily pleasures.

Don’t throw in the towel before the match has even begun.  Be wise with small amounts, steadily working toward your financial goals, and you’ll find that you’ll be wise with larger amounts when they come in time.

Here are two interesting articles I read this month:


Higher Interest Rates From the Fed: What’s Next for Your Money
By Miranda Marquit, Student Loan Hero

The Fed raised the benchmark interest rate this month for the second time this year. If have you have debt with variable interest rates, keep an eye on those rates and expect them to go up as well. Pay off your highest rate debts first and prioritize your variable rate debts when rates are similar.


Save on Summer Energy Usage

Check out the time-of-use rates with your energy provider. You can save big if you avoid peak hours — sometimes paying over 90% less compared to peak rates.  Check your energy provider’s published rate schedule, typically available online.  (For New Yorkers, for example, ConEd’s rate schedule is here — keep energy use low from 2-6pm on weekdays for big savings!)