2016 Goals: Wrapping Up the Year

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It’s nearly the end of the year, which means it’s time to go over goals. Here’s how 2016 shaped up and what I did well with and struggled with.

Howdy friends! It’s hard to believe we’re a few short weeks from wrapping up 2016. The last few months have flown by, mostly because we’ve done quite a bit of traveling since September, thus the lack of a goals update in the fall.

We spent the entire month of September in San Diego to visit family and go to FinCon. I went out to Denver with my brother in October for the Great American Beer Festival. Shortly after that trip I was in San Antionio for a week for the Digital MilEx conference by USAA (which, they sponsored me for the conference, travel, etc.) and then followed that up with a trip to Florida to visit family and spend a day at Disney World. The traveling is not done yet though as we have one more trip out to San Diego planned next week to visit the in-laws and use our Companion Passes one last time before they expire at the end of the year. Thankfully, nearly all of that travel was covered by rewards points, so very little came out of the budget for it.

As many readers already know, I’ve been managing my Dad’s estate since he passed nearly a year ago. I wish I could say the estate was all wrapped up and done; that’s unfortunately not the case. The mortgage lender has been impossible to work with (if you have Nationstar as a mortgage lender I’d run very fast). I had to take one final action to complete things with my father’s estate and unfortunately, that also means it’s possible that they can harass me and not close things for up to another year – at least that’s what our lawyer has usually experienced to be the case.

In other news, Frugal Rules hit its fourth blogiversary in September. It’s crazy to think it’s been four years since I launched this site and had no idea what I was doing at the time. Fast forward four years and this site has been key in growing our business and allowing us to make significantly more than we ever have in the past. If you’re thinking of starting a blog and believe you can’t, I have only this to say…if I can do it then so can you.

Blogging has opened up a lot of opportunities for me and provided a great way to make an income. It’s not easy, by any means, but it’s certainly possible to make money with a blog. That being said, I have some exciting things planned for the site in the upcoming year so keep your eyes open for some fun additions to the site.

As always, you’ll notice that I don’t have any specific and quantifiable financial goals. We obviously have them, but I expect to hit them so it’s a waste to list them as a goal. We’ve maxed out both the employee and employer side of our self-employed retirement plan (Solo 401(k)) which is a great feeling. We’ve also maxed out our Roth IRAs for the year and have done the same with our HSA. With that out of the way, let’s see how 2016 shaped up.

It’s nearly the end of the year, which means it’s time to go over goals. Here’s how 2016 shaped up and what I did well with and struggled with.

Goals Update


Move Into a House. This is a pass.

We moved into our new house in April, so this is an obvious pass. Even though we’ve been in the house for eight months, I still pinch myself wondering if it’s really our house. We love the extra space we have for an office and extra space for the kids to play. We actually hired a housekeeper this summer to come by once every three weeks to give the house a deep clean. I know paying for a housekeeper isn’t the most frugal but in our case, it makes sense to pay for her services. Not only do we earn more per hour than she does and thus frees us up to spend more time growing our business, but it also means we get more time doing what we want to do – which is usually time with the kids. We spot clean in between her visits, but this makes sure we get a clean house on a regular basis.

On an unrelated note, we’re also actively working to pay off our mortgage within ten years. We have a killer interest rate and I know there’s the argument of making more in the stock market, but for us, it’s the peace of mind and freedom of not having a mortgage payment that’s motivating us to pay it off as quick as we can.

Lose another 20-30 pounds. I’m going to list this as a fail, but with progress.

I lost 100 pounds on Nutrisystem last year and had wanted to lose another 20-30 pounds to hit my goal weight. To say it has been a challenge is an understatement. As I shared in July, I gained back about 15 pounds – and nearly all of it stems back to when I lost my father. I changed up my exercise habits and now doing an hour on the elliptical three times per week and do an hour of circuit training three times per week – I usually don’t work out on Saturdays. Anyway, that along with cutting back my alcohol intake to 2-3 drinks per week has helped me shave off five pounds. It has been a little defeating at times, but health is a priority for me and I feel better now than I have in years, which is encouraging. I also feel like I’ve lost more inches vs. more weight which is good to see. While I’m not where I wanted to be at the beginning of the year, I’m on the right path – progress, not perfection…right? 🙂

Buy a new car. This goal is a draw.

We’re still actively putting aside $300 per month into our car savings bucket at Discover Bank. We’ve also been able to put a little extra in it throughout the summer and fall but it isn’t taking priority over retirement planning needs. We didn’t hit this goal this year, but I’m not too torn up about it to be honest. We plan to buy the car in cash and can afford to take it a little slower with this goal.

Overall, I’d rate 2016 as a good year, especially in relation to growing our business and retirement planning. We’re still looking at our goals for next year – crazy to think that’s only a few weeks away!


How did 2016 shape up for you goal wise? Do you have any travel plans for the holidays? What are you hoping to accomplish next year?

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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 GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.


  • Wanted to comment to empathize with the Nationstar mortgage debacle. They totally messed up my taxes after closing on my refinance three and a half years ago. And then they were impossible to deal with-everything took forever, multiple transfers, different answers depending on which rep I was talking to-it was a nightmare. I filed a complaint about them with the CFPB.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Oh, so sorry to hear that Liz. It has been an absolute train wreck dealing with them, never a straight answer and complete lack of empathy related to trying to deal with this after my Dad’s passing. I’ve debated doing something like your complaining to the CFPB.

  • We both started our blog around the same time and it’s great to see other bloggers from ~4 years ago that are still around and kicking! I like how you’ve leveraged Frugal Rules to grow your “main” business, and I’ve started to do something similar where Young Adult Money is a way to build legitimacy/reputation for other businesses.

    Here’s to a great rest of 2016!

  • Great job on your goals! =) I can’t believe you lost 100 pounds – that is amazing! I need to get my butt on the elliptical a few times per week.

    We’re going to our in-laws in Minnesota for Christmas, then to Puerto Rico for winter break.

  • Happy four year blogiversary, John! You’ve done amazing on your goals. This month, I’m focused on getting some business stuff in order — new bank account, credit card, etc. I think I’ll have replenished my emergency fund since this summer’s job loss, too.

  • Congrats on four years, John! Thanks for sharing your goals.

    I am sorry to hear you are still struggling to wrap up your father’s estate. I’m sure you’ll be glad to have all the loose ends tied up.

    Looking toward 2017, we have goals to grow the blog, begin some freelance work, buy our first rental property, and kick up the savings a notch. We max our tax advantaged accounts, but I’d like to increase other savings too.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Amanda, I’ll be happy when it’s all wrapped up and done for good.

      Sounds like you’ve got a good/big 2017 planned. 🙂 We’re looking for more ways to increase our savings as well. I’d love to buy a rental property, but don’t think it’s in the cards for us time wise, at the moment.

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