14.8.12

The Family Vision Statement: Your Essential Money Saving Tool

by Robin




We've nailed our latest Family Vision Statement.  It's going to help us have laser focus and slay our debt.


We've been tossing around ideas, but haven't caught one we wanted to hold onto.  Our recent holiday reminded us of what we want: more family travel before our kids grow up.  Now, that's pretty vague.


Here are the specifics:

Once we are debt-free we will celebrate 
by going on a family trip to Costa Rica.

This vision excites and motivates us as a family.  So it is bang on right for us.  



Your Vision Statement needs to really "do it for you", too.  If your end goal doesn't resonate with your heart and ignite your dreams, keep looking, you haven't hit the right one yet.  When you do, you will know it.



There's some fine print with our vision.  Our definition of debt-free is a bit looser than the banks'.  We aren't including our mortgage here.  For a reason that matters to us.  If we waited until our home is paid for before travelling with our kids, they would be in their twenties and likely less than thrilled at being dragged around by their old fart parents.  Our mortgage is a beast that we've made peace living alongside until our kids have grown.  



The debts we're working aggressively on are our Student Loans and our Line of Credit.   With careful planning and spendin, we are getting close.  Not so close that we can feel the warm, moist air of the Costa Rica rainforest or hear the  song of the Resplendent Quetzal, but it feels near enough to start learning more about what we will do and where we will go when we've landed there.

 

A Vision Statement is a powerful and simple tool for business AND families.  Here's a definition from businessdictionary.com, tweaked for you: 

"An aspirational description of what a organization family would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action."  


Basically, it is this: a definition of your family's true goal.   A Vision Statement can realign your decisions when you are tempted to stray.  A family's Vision Statement can be a simple phrase you ask yourself when you are about to make a purchase, 

"Do I want this {thing} more than I want {insert goal here}?"



Generally speaking the answer is often "no", or "no way!", or "I guess not..sigh.", but once in awhile it is "yes".  And that is A-ok.   




What is important is reminding yourself of what you truly want.  Those small (and not-so-small) impulse purchases are vermin that nibble away at your true goals until you can no longer feed your dreams.

Our Vision Statement has changed over the years.  

  • Early on it was, "Do we want this {thing} more than we want to buy my grandparents house?".  
  • Then it became, "Do we want this {thing} more than we want one of us home more time with our babies?".  
  • Then it was, "Do we want this {thing} more than we want to design and renovate our home (to fit the babies)?".  


Our Vision Statement allowed us to reach important goals:

1.  Buy the only house we wanted.  (My grandparents home - in a great neighbourhood with an enormous yard.)



2.  Design and renovate that house into our Dream Home.







3. Helped me to work just part-time work once our babies came. 


Update: in 2013 we paid off our student loans and consumer debts - and in 2014 we took that Costa Rica trip! 


Does your family have a Vision Statement?  I'd love to hear yours!

We've shared tons of Money Saving Tips, you can find them here.




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