Category Archives: Goals

2014 Business and Personal Finance Goals

I set the bar high for my 2013 goals, so I’m using that knowledge to create goals for 2014.

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 and 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. So here are my 2014 personal finance and business goals.

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

This past year, I started a blog carnival submission service, which is now bringing in $300+ per month. I am definitely looking to grow that, to over $500/month. This will involve contacting bloggers who could use our service and putting in more time networking. There are other benefits to networking, so I’m actually looking forward to this goal.

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

Last year I set one large goal for the year of earning $10,000 from non-blog related income. By July, I knew that I set the bar too high and had no chance of achieving the goal. This time, I’m setting smaller goals that are built for the long-term. I want to create two separate streams of income that bring in at least $100 per month. I have an idea for one, and by not setting a goal of a set amount of income for the year, I don’t have the pressure from day 1 that could make or break the annual goal.

3. Keep Discretionary Spending to 105% of 2013 Levels

The 50% goal for 2013 worked last year, but I learned that the amount we save is largely dependent on how much we make. A boost or reduction in income makes much more of a difference in this goal than how much we cut spending. So this year, I want to keep our discretionary spending to 105% of what we spent in 2013.

While no lifestyle inflation would be great, I already see some fairly large expenditures on the horizon for this year, including 3 weddings (one international). We are getting smarter when it comes to our spending, so I think the 105% goal is reasonable and would be good to know we’re staying within our means.

Our new car is going to cost us $374 a month, which won’t count toward this goal. Our typical grocery bill, insurance, and rent and utilities won’t count toward this goal, but nearly everything else will.

How We’ll Hold Ourselves Accountable

Similar to last year, I’ll do quarterly updates to track progress and we’ll review our progress regularly and adjust where necessary. I’m looking forward to documenting our progress and achieving this goal!

What are your 2014 goals? How have they changed since last year?

2013 Business and Personal Finance Goals Review

This year I’ve consolidated my goals for 2013 to focus on things I care about and things that are doable. I set my sights too high last year and sort of failed. I left out a lot of steps on the way to achieving my goals (like fully funding out Roth IRAs) because they would have simply been checkboxes and I don’t believe in setting goals that are more of a given than anything else. Now that 2014 is upon us, it’s time to review.

1. Earn $10,000 From Non-Blog Related Side Income

Continuing from the 3rd quarter, when I launched my blog carnival submission service, we’re fully profitable and pulling in a decent amount each month. Nothing more than spending money, but for the year, we netted over $1,200, after all expenses. It’s been about 5 months since we started, and I’m happy with our profitability. We’ve got a great opportunity to grow in 2014 if we work hard. There was some other minor earnings from side hustles, but it totaled in the hundreds, not thousands, so I was still far away from my goal.

I definitely failed in my quest to get to $10,000, but I’ll be renewing this one in 2014. I’m glad to have started something real and sustainable, even if it only brings in a few hundred dollars a month. That’s a few hundred more than I was earning before, and we’re getting more efficient, so it’s been taking up less time as we learn little tricks to help us. I give myself a B- in this category. I missed pretty badly, but at least I set myself up to have a more successful 2014 in this category.

2. Save 50% of My Post-Tax Income

The end of the year was an interesting time for this. We got a nearly $10,000 check from insurance for a totaled car, which I’m counting as income. We bought a new car, and those monthly payments will count as spending, so it’s only fair for this to count as income. Since we’ll have car payments of $374 each month, I’ll have to lower our outlook on this goal for 2014, but I still think we got a great deal on a car!

More good news: we didn’t end up paying tuition for Lauren’s graduate school until 2014, which was unexpected, so we ended 2014 with less spending than I anticipated.

In the 4th quarter, we saved 70.4% of our income. That’s a crazy high number and was obviously inflated by the car settlement. We kept our expenses low with no tuition payments and no estimated tax payments being due. I’m very pleased with that number, even if it’s not sustainable.

For the year, we saved 49.4% of our after-tax income, just shy of out 50% goal, but I have to give us an A+ from this one. We had a little help at the end of the year, but getting close to 50% is fantastic and I couldn’t be prouder.

Taking A Minute To Reflect

I’ll do a separate post for 2014 goals, but looking back at 2013, it was a very good year financially. I don’t know if we’ll be able to keep pace in 2014, but there are a few encouraging signs, mostly on the side business front. Nothing lasts forever, so the side businesses become even more important.

Readers, how would you rate my progress and how did you do on your 2013 goals?

Third Quarter Business and Personal Finance Goals Update

This year I’ve consolidated my goals for 2013 to focus on things I care about and things that are doable. I set my sights too high last year and sort of failed. I left out a lot of steps on the way to achieving my goals (like fully funding out Roth IRAs) because they would have simply been checkboxes and I don’t believe in setting goals that are more of a given than anything else. After 9 months, here’s how I’m doing:

1. Earn $10,000 From Non-Blog Related Side Income

Last quarter, I had made basically no progress toward this goal, but the last 3 months have been great. I won’t give an exact number because Monday’s post will contain an exciting announcement related to the blog carnival submission service I started. While there is no way way I’m going to hit this goal, I’m at least making some progress to the point where next year, it may be possible if we are able to grow and I start another successful side business.

2. Save 50% of My Post-Tax Income

Once again, we spent more this quarter than last quarter. Just about all of that was paying tuition for Lauren’s graduate school, so it was not unexpected. We didn’t increase income much, so we failed this pretty hard. We’re not going to hit our goal for the year, but at least we tried.

I knew our expenses would be higher but I was hoping I could increase income at the same time to mitigate some of the effects. I was wrong. In the third quarter, we saved just over 18% of our after-tax income, which I’m not that excited about. Still, we’re at 39.5% for the year, which is hard to complain about. If we can get over 40% for the year, I think that would be a very nice consolation prize. Here’s to a big boost in fourth quarter earnings!

Looking Forward To The Fourth Quarter

I know we can do better than 18%, and I am confident that we will in the fourth quarter. The quarter was not great for side businesses, but on a positive note, I had some online income earned in September that was paid in October (so counts towards 4th quarter earnings). That gives us a head start, and since there are no estimated tax payments due in the fourth quarter (I’ve paid 4 times in 2013 already: January, April, June, and September), everything I earn on the side will be considered after-tax. I also think I’m set up to get a large tax refund come tax season, so maybe our after-tax income should have been higher earlier in the year, too.

This quarter, we still owe money for a summer vacation that we’re waiting on a bill for and a few friends owe us a bit of money for tickets we paid for the past few months. I’m unsure if we’ll owe tuition for the Spring semester (she will be student-teaching), but I assume the school will justify collecting tuition for it.

Readers, have you made any progress toward your financial goals the past 3 months?