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Frugal Rules Goals for 2014: Stop Living Like a College Student

Goals

If you haven’t checked the calendar lately, it may surprise you to see that we’ve flipped the page on a new year. I’ve written before about how I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions for a variety of reasons. That’s because they’re usually a laundry list of items that people want to accomplish and often have no direction or accountability. It’s not that I think goals are bad, (I think the title of the post gives away my view on goals – i.e. I do have them 😉 ) I just choose to set focused goals.

You may also be asking why I waited two weeks into the New Year to share my goals. That’s a very good question. The answer is that I didn’t want to be lost in the crowd of every other post out there on goals for the New Year and such. :-)

Looking back at 2013 in the Frugal Rules Home

 

Looking back at 2013, it was a good year overall for us:

  • Our business has grown by leaps and bounds, more than doubling revenue from 2012, with serious prospects of increased growth this year!
  • We lost our biggest client we ever had (they also happened to be our first ever client) in the middle of the summer. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise and was the turning point in the growth of the business.
  • Frugal Rules has grown from something I was just doing on the side to a growing part of our business, which is incredibly exciting to see happen and now is bringing on corporate blogging clients!
  • We attended FinCon in October and met some great individuals, which also presented some great opportunities as well. If you’re on the fence about going to FinCon this year, let me give you a friendly push toward it – you should definitely look for a way to go this year! After all, it IS in New Orleans this year!

Those are but a few of the highlights from 2013 and I’m sure I could list several dozen more, but I’ll spare you. While it was a good year, overall, we’re moving upward and onward here at Frugal Rules.

What Will I Be Working on This Year?

 

Along the theme of moving forward, here are some of the goals we’re working on this year:

  • Stop living like a college student, plain and simple! We’ve always been disciplined about getting to bed at a halfway decent time, well the wheels completely fell off the bus on that last year. I’d say our average bedtime was 11:30 p.m. at best when we had been averaging 10:00.  We’re committed to start cutting back in 15 minute increments a week so we can get ourselves back to 10 or 10:30 p.m. in a month or two.
  • Stop snacking once we put the kids to bed. See above goal. Staying up later results in more opportunities to snack, enough said!
  • Start using the exercise bike that’s collecting dust in the basement 3-4 times per week. Are you noticing a trend yet? 😉
  • Continue growing our business and Frugal Rules. I started doing some blog management last year and am looking to add at least another one or two to that, in addition to adding more corporate blogging clients. If you’re currently looking for a writer, social media management or a blog manager, just contact me.
  • Buy another PF blog. I’ve never done this, but am specifically focused on this for 2014. I’ve been approached by a handful of others looking to sell their blog and nothing has stood out to me yet. I’m going to start actively looking for these opportunities this year as I believe it can be a great way to grow my income from blogging. If you’re looking for some pointers on this yourself, check out Robert’s insightful post on the matter.
  • Get back on track with serious investing for retirement. As I wrote last week, retirement planning while being self-employed can be a tricky thing to wade through, but I’m committed to actively putting money in the market each month this year. I’ve not come to a specific amount yet, but am currently in the process as I write this.
  • Start actively saving for a new (or at least new to us) car. I hate to do it, but the kids, they are a growin’ and our trusty little Altima is doing its best to keep us with them. Unfortunately we’re on borrowed time and need to start putting more money away for a car this year so we can purchase a car without taking on an unnecessary monthly payment. This will likely become more serious once winter is over so I’ll share more about it then.
  • Maintain a better work-life balance here at home. Working from home, with little ones, can be quite a challenge – to say the least. While I may be spending a lot of time with them, too little of that is actual quality time. I know this isn’t very quantifiable yet but am working on a system to maximize my quality time with them and less time in front of the mistress as Mrs. Frugal Rules calls my laptop.
  • Take the little Frugal Rules to Disney for free around Christmas 2014. This is not going to be an easy feat and will require quite a bit of credit card churning in order to accomplish. My Mom and Stepdad are taking us all on a Disney cruise over Christmas this year and paying for the airfare, so WHY not stay and go to Disney? We haven’t decided if we’re going to stay before or after the cruise, but looking at costs, it’ll likely be after the cruise.

 

So, there you have it, those are the goals for the little Frugal Rules corner of the world. What are you wanting to accomplish in 2014?

 

Photo courtesy of: Gurdonark

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to U.S. News & World Report, Personal Capital, Daily Finance and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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42 Comments

  • Matt Becker says:

    Nice list. Blog management is something I’ve been interested in learning more about. I might be reaching out to you for some tips.

  • Great goals, John! I think you already know of my 2014 goals so I won’t rehash all of them, but I’m mainly focused on growing Young Adult Money and getting my second website off the ground.

  • Usually we sleep early during weekdays and stay up late on weekends. I’m planning to work out everyday but I failed for this week, hopefully next week I will be more consistent.

  • Along with a list of financial goals, I also want to spend more money this year. PF sacrilege, right? But I want to do so on travel. My wife and I are planning a trip to DC, I’m heading to Vegas in May, and I’ve got one more week of vacation that I want to use for travel somewhere. We haven’t decided yet though.

    • John says:

      Lol, yes that is sacrilege. 😉 Seriously though, I hear ya JC. DC is a fun place to visit and we’re off to Vegas ourselves in a few days. Looking to fill up vacation days with travel is a fun problem to have.

  • I know what you mean about spending time with the kids, but not quality time. This is one of my personal goals for this year too – to just “be” with the kids more. You guys have got some awesome goals set up, and I have no doubt you can achieve them all. Best of luck!

    • John says:

      Yea, I’ve quickly come to see that just because I’m in the same room with them but on a computer really isn’t spending time with them at all. Thanks Laurie! :)

  • Awesome goals John. I am also looking to purchase another site, but there has been nothing that has stood out. Most are overvalued or would require so much to flip. Not in the cards for me!

    • John says:

      That’s what I keep hearing. I think there is a balance to it, though most looking to unload sound just a bit on the unrealistic side in the valuation of their site.

  • Sounds like some great goals! I don’t know how you guys are, but we found that when we had exercise equipment in our home we actually exercised less! Not sure what that’s all about, but something about having a treadmill in the basement was demotivating I guess. Or maybe it’s that we just need to get ourselves out of the house to exercise. Either way, we find that we exercise a lot more when we have a gym membership or when we just go outside and go for a run!

    • John says:

      I think that can be part of it Dee. For me I believe it comes down squarely on scheduling it in and making it a priority. My days get so filled up if i don’t watch it, so I just need to schedule it in to make it happen regularly.

  • Liz says:

    sounds like 2014 is going to be an exciting year for you. I’ve been really bad about staying up to late as well and haven’t been getting enough sleep. Not good! Keep us in the loop on your credit card churning work this year. I’ve been reading a lot about the churning and I am interested to see how everyone is able to make it work!

    • John says:

      Thanks Liz, I hope so. :) That is our problem – we’re still getting up by 5:30 at the latest, but we’re killing ourselves with getting to bed at 11:30 or later. That just simply needs to change for us. Will do on the churning. I’ve got a post scheduled in a few weeks outlining how we’re getting to go to Vegas for free and have a few other posts in mind for churning.

  • This sounds really old, but we started eating dinner at 5:00 because our daughter has swim practice or dance class at 6. We didn’t want to be eating at 7 or 8, so that was the compromise. We actually love it. Your body feels better when you don’t eat later, and it is so much easier to get to bed on time. My trick is to brush my teeth right after dinner. I don’t really enjoy brushing, so it keeps me from snacking before bed. Good luck with all the goals.

    • John says:

      Oh, I don’t think it sounds old at all. We’re going to be facing that situation in a few months and have been bad about us eating later which is bad all the way around. I need to use your trick – perhaps that’s a way to benefit from being lazy and not wanting to brush my teeth again. 😉

  • Have you churned the Starwood Preferred card yet? It has several Disney properties that you guys could stay at for FREE. Woot!

    • John says:

      We’ve not, but that’s top on our list if we can make it work out. Disney, for some odd reason, is being a major PITA over us trying to add a stay at the park after the cruise. You’d think they’d want us to stay and drop loads of money at the park…but I guess that may be just me. 😉

  • Great list of goals that with a bit of effort can be accomplished! Getting to sleep at a reasonable time always proves to be hard. But the early bird gets the worm! Or at least that’s what I try and say to myself at night!

    • John says:

      Thanks Amanda! It is hard and, like I was telling Liz, we’re still up by 5:30 at the latest (usually at 5:00) but we’re just killing ourselves with getting to bed so late. After awhile you start to feel a bit zombieish. :)

  • Great goals. I really want to make it to FinCon this year, unless of course I book a Broadway show- which would be fine by me :)

  • Totally doable goals. I’m mainly working on cutting back on my cell phone and grocery bill. Good Luck with your goals.

  • Michelle says:

    We are hoping to start churning more cards in 2014, which helps with the fact that I want to start talking about churning cards more on my blog as well. I hope 2014 is great for you and your family!

    • John says:

      That does work out nice, we’re doing the same. :) Hope you have a great 2014 as well Michelle – if 2013 was any indication, you’ll be rockin’ it.

  • Great goals, John! Your family will love the Disney Cruise. We had a blast and your kids are the perfect age. Most nights I don’t make it to 10:00. I get up super early so I can squeeze in my workout but that means I go to bed really early. It’s a bit harder now that the girls are getting older. It’s sad when Mom needs to go to bed earlier than they do. :) Congratulations on a great year last year and here’s to another great year!

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon! I agree, I think they’re going to love it. It’s going to be difficult to keep it a secret from them for the year but it’ll be so worth it. Lol, our kids give us goofy looks when we say we wish we could go to bed when they do – just goes back to them not having a great concept of time.

  • Excellent goals! Good luck getting to Disney for “free.” My only advice is to prep the little Frugal Rules A LOT before you go there. The worst thing about Disney is that every ride ends in a gift shop essentially and your little ones will see others getting “stuff” and want the “stuff.” It leads to lots of parent and kid meltdowns. The best thing to do is agree to a budget for each child and set expectations so you can cut out on the meltdowns and potential financial strains later.

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon! Great tip! We saw that when we went to Disney a few year ago, in terms of the gift shops, so it gave us a taste of what we’ll be in store for. The budget for each is a great idea!

  • romona@monasez says:

    You have some good achievable goals and I don’t blame you for not having a new years resolution because most people don’t stick them anyway.

  • Krista says:

    I never bought the early bed time as a health concern before but once I started doing the 8 hours every night on the same schedule it made a WORLD of difference in how I felt and what I was able to accomplish each day. The bummer is now when I try to pull late nights to get work done my eyes will not stay open past 12, but I’m glad we did it either way. Kudos for working on that goal! Very underrated endeavor in my opinion.

    • John says:

      I didn’t either and have learned that I need more sleep than I did in college – or I’m smart enough to realize that I actually need sleep now. Being a zombie is no fun at all. 😉

  • John,
    Improving my health for 2014 is my biggest goal. Also completing the Yakezie Challenge.

  • I’m glad you’re focusing on your health and well being in there John. I’m also focusing more on churning credit cards for travel rewards. Just applied for another southwest business card for hopefully some free flights including fincon!

    • John says:

      It can be easy to overlook, and sitting on my keister all day working doesn’t help either. :) I need to get that biz card as well. We already churned the personal one and you can’t beat free flights.

  • Nice list John! My ultimate goal this 2014 is to grow my blog and earn some extra income out of it, so that I could stop depending on my parents soon.

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