2013 New Year’s Goals

It seems that I’m late to get my new year goals out ever year, but it takes me some time to figure out the financial goal of debt reduction for an entire year.  I have to balance what I think our monthly income will be, which happened to change both years due to us having kids, with how much extra we will have to put toward debt.

As a review for those of you who haven’t been following my blog for years, I like to use new year goals instead of resolutions.  Goals are specific, and can be measured (i.e. run a 5k), whereas resolutions are vague and have no specific way to measure if you complete them (i.e. work out more).

I’ve decided to cut my goals down a few.  I previously mentioned that I was going to cut it down to 1, but I think I could slip by with three.  So now that I have that process complete, here are my 2013 New Year’s Goals:

1) Reduce debt by 68.33%.  I know, it seems strange to put a non-standard number in for my goal, but I figured out how much I believe we could put toward our outstanding student loan for each month, and that’s what the number came out to.  This is the most important goal out of the three.  I always map out my goal for each month, and take into consideration the “bonus” paychecks for both myself and my wife (since I get paid every two weeks but budget every month), and tax return.  So the line isn’t straight by any means, but it should be pretty accurate if things go according to plan.  Here’s my planned payoff for the entire year:

Planned debt reduction for 2013

Planned debt reduction for 2013

2) Run a 5k.  I had this on my list for last year, but never got to do it.  Now that our youngest will be getting older, I should have more time as the year goes on to prep for it.  I’m hoping I can complete this by the fall.

3) Complete a bike race.  I did this two years ago, and it was fun.  As I’m finding out, my bike isn’t ideal for it (it’s a hybrid instead of a road bike), but it’ll have to do.  It was a good workout, and it’ll take some prepping for as well.  I hope by combining this with the above goal I’ll get in better shape than I have been since our second child was born.  It seems like all you can do is sit at home with a baby, but I’m hoping to change that as he gets a little older.

Improving Your Finances (and Your Life)

There have been a few things over the past few years that I wished I would be able to do, but always found a reason not to.  I’ve read articles about how trucks are unnecessary, but I thought I needed a truck, so I couldn’t get rid of it.  I’ve read reviews about how bad Bank of America is, and found that Schwab actually cares about their customers (and their lack of fees show it).  But I couldn’t bring myself to actually make the switch.  I would always say something like, “if I were to start over, I would do that.”  But I never did.

Then later in 2012, I decided it was time to start making some changes to optimize my life. When Bank of America had me reset all my accounts, I fired them and moved all my accounts to Schwab (which is awesome, by the way).  When my third vehicle broke down, I decided it was time to reset my vehicle situation.  I sold my truck, bought a Honda Fit, and am in the process of getting a trailer and installing a hitch on the Fit to replace my truck and third vehicle.  I’m also in the process of fixing my old car and selling it as well.  I have only owned the Fit for a little over a week and have already used it like I used to use my truck twice.

I’ve been slowly making my home more energy efficient as well.  I’ve added insulation to the attic (and insulated my garage), added a water softener to prolong the life of my water pipes, water heater, washing machine, and faucets, sealed all the holes in my rim joists, and installed a whole house humidifier, among other things.

I feel like I’ve hit the reset button to optimize my life, but it’s been a gradual process over a few months.  I still have some things I would like to optimize, and I’m sure I’ll continually find more that can be optimized.  That’s the benefit of learning as time goes on.  The more you learn, the better you can become.

You can do the same thing I have been doing.  Just do research, take away your assumptions (i.e., “Everyone who owns a house needs a truck“), and move forward to make your life better from this moment on.  If you’re not making progress toward your financial future, you’re probably getting further away from it.  Focus on constantly making your life better, and you’ll be surprised at what you can do.  Everything you’ve done will sneak up on you one day, and you’ll realize how much more you know now than you did even a few years ago.  It’s a great feeling.  You should give it a try.

New Year’s Goals – Progress Update – Twelve Months

Well, it’s the new year, and that means it’s time to reflect on how I did on last year’s New Year’s Goals.  I will come up with my 2013 New Year’s Goals soon, but here’s how I did for 2012:

  1. Reduce house debt by 44.11% (Revised target: 56.92%).
    Revised target: 56.92%, Actual: 57.85%.  I ended up blowing my original prediction out of the water, and even beat my revised goal.  The final graph is as follows:
    2013-01-09 DebtReduction
  2. Run a 5k.
    Did not accomplish
  3. Work out at least 2 times per week.
    I hit this goal earlier in the year, but failed to hit it toward the end, after our second child was born.
  4. Add at least 2 products to archwayhometheateraccessories.com
    I wanted to get a whole bunch of products added, and started off that way earlier in the year.  As the year progressed, and very few sales came in, I came to the conclusion that it might be time to shut down the online store portion of the business.  I didn’t add any products the past few months because that has been in the back of my mind.  It’ll most likely be shut down sometime this month.
  5. Make our home  more energy efficient.
    I made some real progress in this area in 2012.  I did most of the items early, and never looked back.
  6. Participate in at least one bike race.
    Did not happen

I ended up hitting my debt reduction goal, which was the biggest one out of all of my goals. I didn’t hit the exercising goals, especially once our second kid was born.  I’m going to have fewer goals for 2013, so I can focus on hitting those goals.  Stay tuned…