Where to begin? How about maximizing the retirement plan offered by my husband's work? So I have been told, and so we did. It was a stretch at first we thought we couldn't handle, but we could! As we slowly made other changes in our budget to prioritize our retirement contributions. We figured it was most important that we got that covered before we can set up college savings for our kids and tackle other areas of investment since if we can't take care of ourselves in our old age, how would that really help our kids pursue college and their dreams? I didn't believe it possible, but I am learning that money is something that can be "stretched" (as some have used the term--for one in Miserly MOMS by Jonni McCoy) for your purpose. Similar to what McCoy advises, by reviewing our spending records from last year and looking ahead, we were able to find what we needed to set aside each month for each particular purpose this year, and it was actually fun getting in control of our money.
I still do not know too much about investment and rebalancing portfolio and such, but it is one of my goals to get a handle on "making most of my money now" (as Jane Bryant Quinn offers many do-able solutions in her self-same book Making the Most of Your Money NOW (Simon & Schuster, 2009). As in her book and in many other similar articles I have read about money, the list of goals (in order of priority) is similar, but here is ours:
1. Maximize Retirement savings
2. Emergency Fund
3. College Savings
4. Pay off house
5. Save for other goals.
Saving has become fun and rewarding for the pure sake of knowing that you have some control over the future that way. We are not quite all there, but we are surely on our way with the right step forward.