This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of SunTrust Bank. All opinions are mine.
A bucket list. This is a fairly new term to me but the idea is age-old. A list of all the things we want to do, see, and experience in our lifetime. Some are simple. Some are adventurous. Some are about us and our families. And some are about others.
My husband and I have chatted about what we want to accomplish as a family:
- Take our kids to all fifty states.
- Spend a year traveling around the world and homeschooling along the way.
- Travel to locations that will expose our family to different cultures and especially places that will cultivate a desire to serve the poor and to pursue justice for the oppressed.
One bucket list item we are actively working towards is taking our three older children to Rwanda this upcoming June to visit the children we sponsor through Africa New Life. This will be a significant undertaking as traveling to Africa is spendy but it’s incredibly important to us so we are in the process of realigning our financial life to make this happen.
Here are 5 tips we have identified to help us achieve our financial bucket list:
1. Start dreaming. I’ve found that having a handful of concrete dreams that are articulated on paper help with the long process of saving. It is exciting for our family to have dreams that directly benefit us (like vacations, toys, experiences) and benefit others (gifts, giving opportunities, service trips).
2. Make a budget. There’s absolutely NO way to be able to set aside money if you don’t know where it’s coming from. My husband and I have been living on a monthly budget since 2006 and it has absolutely transformed the way we handle our money. It’s also the only way we were able to know how much money we could responsibly set aside for the items on our bucket list.
SunTrust Bank has a nifty Plug-and-Play Budget Spreadsheet here to get you started!
3. Trim the categories you can. Once you know how much money you have and where it’s going, you can start to decrease some expenditures and reroute it to your bucket list items. How can you lower your expenses to free up money? Here are some ideas:
- Shop your car insurance policy for lower rates.
- Take advantage of loss leader sales at the grocery store.
- Eat one meatless dinner a week.
- Buy second-hand clothing.
- Ditch cable TV and watch network television with an antenna and cable shows through a streaming service.
Take your savings and start stashing it away to pay for your bucket list items.
4. Increase your income. The reality is that for many of us, our regular family income is tight and already called for. If you’re in this position, look for additional ways to make extra money, especially if you have one adult working less than full time. Offer date night babysitting for friends, clean a house every week, or do simple lawn maintenance for neighbors. There are tons of ways to make $100-$300 a month in extra income with just a few hours of side work a week!
5. Keep the savings in a separate account. This is a big one. You absolutely must put your bucket list cash in a different location than where your family’s regular money lives. If not, you will certainly spend it on groceries or a cute outfit. We have a special savings account attached to our family’s bank account that is labeled our “Sinking Savings” account. We transfer all the money that we have earmarked for specific purposes so it doesn’t get caught up in our family’s checking account.
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.
This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.