Category Archives: Goals

2014 Business and Personal Finance Goals Results

I changed my goals for 2014, going with 3 goals that keep us accountable both on a personal and business level. Now that the year it’s over, it’s time to review my performance and see how I did.

I’ve left 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

I did not hit this goal, and for the past 6 months it’s been clear I was not going to be able to grow this business without putting a lot of time and effort into it. This has been stagnant, but that’s 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. However, this isn’t something that we’ll be carrying over into 2015.

My perk farm is now earning over $150/month, which is awesome. It takes very little time to run, so this one is a huge success. Anyone can do this at home if you want to earn a few hundred dollars extra per month. Check out my post about perk if you’d like to earn that much, too!

3. Keep Discretionary Spending to 105% of 2013 Levels

I the 4th quarter, our discretionary spending was 47% higher than it was in the 4th quarter last year. WOW! However, this wasn’t really surprising considering that we took a 10 day international trip. We saved money by finding great deals on AirBnb, but we did eat out a lot, pay for entrance to museums, and much much more. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but it did cost us a lot of money.

For the year, we spend 31.5% more than we did last year. I guess we set our sights too high, and we lost it all on this one trip. Excluding the two international trips, we actually spent less than we did last year. That’s definitely encouraging, and while I didn’t hit my goal, I know that our spending is in check and this is likely the last large vacation we’ll take for the considerable future.

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.

Rating Our Results

In terms of business goals, we did really well. I’m proud to have made $1,200+ in one venture and be making $150+/month in another. I thought that maybe this would be a stretch, so achieving this one is a point of pride for me. It definitely takes the sting out of spending a bit more this year. In terms of our personal spending, we really did keep it in check, and separately, we took a big, expensive trip and enjoyed it immensely. Overall grade? B

2014 Second 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. Now that we are halfway through the year, it’s time to reflect on our progress and project out the rest of the year.

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 growing a little, with a few people dropping out and a few new people coming on. However, 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 (we still have some more product to sell, so maybe 1-2 more months of this and then it will be done). 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.

I do have another idea that would max out at $150/month that I may detail in a future post. It involves very little work and has a low barrier to entry (and anyone can do), so once I do a little testing, I’ll be able to give a step-by-step guide for everyone.

3. Keep Discretionary Spending to 105% of 2013 Levels

In the 2nd quarter, our discretionary spending was 21% higher than the first quarter, and a whopping 55% increase over our second quarter of 2013. This was caused by a whopping $1,200 international round-trip flight I booked for a friend’s wedding in October. 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 10% when that one single transaction was excluded. Maybe 5% was a stretch, especially considering that Lauren and I would like to take a big vacation after she graduates from graduate school in the fall. That won’t be cheap either, and we won’t let this goal get in the way of having a great time.

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. I expect the third quarter to be kind to us, hopefully we can bring that 22% into the teens by the next checkup.

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. Good thing we have half a year left!

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

What Are You Doing To Improve Yourself?

Everyone loves making New Year’s resolutions, and if you stick to your plan for more than a few weeks, you get the admiration of all your friends. Most new year’s resolutions go unfulfilled, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be striving to improve. We just need to set realistic goals and give ourselves the motivation to achieve them.

Are You Improving Personally or Professionally?

It’s very easy to get comfortable in a job. If you enjoy what you do, like the people around you, and get paid a decent amount to do it, it feels like you could stay in your position forever. But being complacent is very dangerous, because while the longer you do one thing, the better you get at it, you’re not really growing.

Life gets boring if we do the same thing every day. Eventually we have to move on to a new challenge. Having things too easy is fun for awhile but eventually you’re likely to want to grow personally and professionally. This is one of the reasons that retirement sounds great but kind of boring for some people once they get there. Having no responsibilities sounds great until you realize that there’s nothing motivating you anymore.

When things are the same every day, we lose our creativity. Even with this blog, I write about my experiences and what I learn from them. When things get boring and every financial transaction is the same, it gets harder to think of ideas. When things go wrong and I learn about new topics, it opens up all sorts of new ideas that I can write about.

I’m Challenging Myself to Get a Professional Designation

Over the next 6 weeks (a self-imposed deadline), I will be training for and completing the Google Adwords certification. I do a lot of PPC management in my day job, and this seems like a natural step. It’s a challenge I can take on to improve professionally as it will help me in my current position and make me more valuable to my company.

I enjoy learning new systems and I’m hopeful that what I learn will open me up to new ideas that will improve my work and open up some creativity that will help my company. The more you learn, the more you grow. And when you grow, you open yourself up to many more ideas and opportunities.

How do you keep things new and fresh? What are the benefits?