2014 First Quarter Business and Personal Finance Goals Update

I changed my goals for 2014, going with 3 goals that keep us accountable both on a personal and business level. With 3 months gone, it’s time to check in on my progress.

As always, I am leaving out steps on the way to achieving my goals (like fully funding out Roth IRAs and contributing to 401(k)s) because they would have simply been checkboxes. I don’t believe in setting goals that are more of a given than anything else. It’s not impressive to make a long list of achievable goals and when you accomplish 18 out of 20, to claim that 90% were completed when really those last 2 were the most important.

1. Grow My Blog Carnival Submission Service To Over $500/Month

This has been fairly stagnant and I haven’t put much effort into growing the service the last few months, but I have streamlined the process so it takes up less time and effort. It’s a good start, but now it’s time to be better at networking with newer bloggers to build a relationship and see if they can use my services. Even getting one new blogger to sign up each month would be a great, and the amount of work to get one person to sign up seems like it should be very reasonable.

2. Create At Least Two New Streams Of Income That Bring In $100 Per Month.

At the beginning of the year, I said I had an idea for one of these income streams, and in March, I’ve achieved that mark. With a friend, we buy some items in bulk and resell them individually for more on eBay. It’s worked out very well so far, and we’re looking for other opportunities to grow this.

I have no plan for the second income stream, but I suppose it’s early? Maybe SeriousBabies.com will take off?

3. Keep Discretionary Spending to 105% of 2013 Levels

Year over year spend decreased 2.6% for those first 3 months. Would have been very positive, but I removed a tuition payment from the equation. Last year we prepaid Spring tuition in December 2012, this year we paid it in January, so we did spend a lot more, but it would be very misleading and that represents nearly a 100% increase.

A few caveats: Our new car is not included in this calculation (we decided to pay it off over 5 years instead of paying in cash). Our typical grocery bill, insurance, charity, student loan payments, rent, and utilities won’t count toward this goal, but everything else does. We want to see if we can keep our discretionary spending in check, because that’s all we can really control.

I’m pretty excited that we actually reduced out discretionary spending the first three months. I assumed we spent more this year especially since I just booked a trip to the East coast for us, which was not cheap.

Of course, we still have at least 2 other trips we’ll have to pay for, including at least one international trip for a friend’s wedding. So we’ll see if we can keep it up, but it’s definitely a good start.

Rating Our Progress So Far

I could not be much happier with our current performance, especially on the personal front. On the business side of things, there is definitely work left to be done, but I’m definitely in a position where I can succeed, which is what I’m looking for after the first quarter.

How are you doing on your goals so far? Where are you succeeding?

5 Responses to 2014 First Quarter Business and Personal Finance Goals Update

  1. Sam says:

    Daniel,

    What are your thoughts about excluding your new car payments as spending? What is your thought process behind the exclusion and how is your spending compared to last year of it was included?

    I’m thinking of a new/used car myself, but can’t figure out what.

    Sam

    • I excluded it because we decided to save money by taking the 0% interest over 5 year option instead of paying for the car upfront, which we could have done and had 0 car payments.

      We made the financial decision to save money, so I think it’s best so exclude the car payments as they’d only skew the data and provide for an unfair comparison.

      Had we included it, we’d probably be a little over our 105% goal in the first quarter.

  2. Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter says:

    Congrats on the progress so far.

    Not to be too annoying, but buying a car seems discretionary in some points. For example, where we live outside of Houston, there is no reliable public transpo, so I would consider a car a necessity if you commute. But the type of car, new or used, and stuff like that is discretionary. And those choices determine the car’s overall price.

    Anyway, at 0% interest, I would have chosen to pay it off over 5 years too. Why not, right?

    • Yes, definitely. It’s not that the purchase isn’t discretionary (we could have bought a cheaper, used car, for example), it’s more that is skews the data so much if it’s included. I could reset to goal to 115% (or whatever the adjusted number would be), I’m just trying to make the comparison apples to apples and this seemed like the best solution to me.

  3. Thomas @ Expertwager says:

    We made the economical choice to reduce costs, so I think it’s best so remove the car expenses as they would only alter the information and offer for an unjust evaluation. Thanks for sharing.

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