2014 Third 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. We’re into the home stretch now, so let’s see how we’re doing and if we can finish the year off strong.

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 those last 2 might have been the most important.

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

This has been stagnant, but something I’m ok with. I don’t see a huge opportunity to grow the business, and the time that would be required to grow this to $500/month might outweigh the benefit.I definitely haven’t put in effort to recruit new users, for a few reasons: I have been lazy and haven’t made it a priority, and I don’t want to step on the toes of friends and other bloggers who have similar services. It does seem like a few carnivals have stopped in the past few months, and for some, it’s been harder to find hosts. If I see things go back to normal and bloggers are more willing to host, I will renew my search for new users.

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 achieved that mark. With a friend, we buy some items in bulk and resell them individually for more on eBay. It worked very well, but due to circumstances outside of our control, we had to shut the operation down. It was a great run while it lasted and netted me more than $1,200 (or $100/month for a whole year), so I’m going to consider that a success. It certainly wasn’t a failure, or if it was, I hope all my ventures “fail” as spectacularly as this one did.

My perk farm is now earning about $150/month, so that is a huge check mark. It involves very little work and has a low barrier to entry (and anyone can do). Check out that post if you’d like to earn that much, too!

Other that that, I’ve got one last idea in the works. It’s no sure thing, but it is something that I want to try out to see if it has the potential that I think it might. Sorry for the lack of details!

3. Keep Discretionary Spending to 105% of 2013 Levels

In the 3rd quarter, our discretionary spending was 22% higher than the first quarter, and a whopping 37% increase over our second quarter of 2013. This was caused by a huge $3,000+ international round-trip flights we booked for November. We’ll be traveling around Italy for a week before heading to Israel for a few more days. It’s a lot of money, but it will be a lot of fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. For the year, we’ve spent 22% more than last year at this time, which comes down to less than 4% when that single transaction was excluded. 5% was a stretch considering two international trips, but other than those we’re doing awesome (and we aren’t going to change plans to hit a goal).

As a reminder, 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, tuition and 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 not terribly excited that we spent more this year than last, and I don’t think our spending is out of control. Hopefully we can finish 2014 strong (but we still have to book a hotel in Florence and traveling itself won’t be cheap)!

Rating Our Progress So Far

I’m definitely encouraged this quarter by the business progress, having a few extra streams of income, even if they’re temporary, definitely takes the sting out of spending a bit more. We have some room for improvement, so our work is definitely not done. Overall, I’m pleased by our progress and performance, and am looking forward to more of the same!

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

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