How is the Year Half Gone? Goals Update for 2014

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Is it just me, or is this year flying by? What’s even crazier is that we’re traveling each of the next three months which means time will go by even faster; we’ll blink and fall will be here.

This is my second update on the goals we have in the Frugal Rules home for 2014. If you’d like to read the previous two posts, you can do so here and here. Seeing as I like to tell my readers about the importance of setting specific and measurable goals, I figure I’d better be doing the same thing. 🙂

To be honest, I was hopeful for this year but had no idea where it would go. I imagine that much of that goes back to our business and not knowing for certain how things would go this year. As many of my readers know, business has been going quite well this year which means a number of things, but mainly that we’ve been able to attack several of the goals I was really wanting to work on. Anywho, enough talk and on to the goals.

How Have the Goals Progressed?

  • Start going to bed by 10:00 p.m. during the week…this one is still a huge fail, but we are making progress. We had been averaging getting to bed around 11:30 which is just not enough sleep if we’re going to get up by 5:00 every morning. We’re now moving closer to 10:45-11:00 most nights so I’ll take the progress.
  • Stop snacking once the kids go to bed. This one continues to be a success. As I wrote several months ago we have completely changed our eating habits and have stuck to the routine for about six months now. Looking at our habits now compared to what they were a year ago I think it’s safe to say that we have effectively changed our habits, moving from eating much more in terms of whole foods and vegetables instead of pure junk.
  • Use our exercise bike 3-4 times per week. I gave myself a pass on this one last quarter and this quarter I’m at about the same spot if not a little better. I’ve come to realize that my working out simply won’t happen if I don’t schedule it in the day. I’m averaging 4-5 times per week so I’m pretty happy with that and looking to add more things to my daily exercise routine.
  • Add one more blog management client. I’m actually scrapping this goal. I had one client I was doing work for and they went another direction with their site and I’m not actively seeking this out anymore as I just don’t have the time to do it effectively with all of my freelance writing plus the business.  Plus I have found that I really enjoy the writing aspect much more. That said, if you’re looking for a freelance writer, contact me🙂
  • Buy another PF blog. I’m giving myself a pass on this one. I bought another site – Wise Dollarin March and now have it up and running posting 2-3 times per week. For the time being I’m going to keep it at just this one site as I think owning two and co-owning Sprout Wealth with Grayson is enough PF blogs on my plate.
  • Getting back to being serious about saving for retirement. As anyone who works for themself knows, it can be a challenge to save for retirement while being self-employed. This year we’ve been able to get serious about it again, thanks to continued business growth. We’ve maxed out our Roth IRAs and are at a little over 70% of my goal in our SEPs. Looking at the rest of the year, hitting our goal shouldn’t be an issue; in fact, we might even hit my crazy stretch goal. Scottrade doesn’t allow for electronic deposits to our SEPs, so we just take our deposit in to the branch at the end of each month.
  • Start actively saving for a new-to-us car each month. We decided against becoming a one car family several months ago and finally got started on saving money for a new-to-us car this quarter! We’re putting away at least $300 per month as we want it to match what we think a payment might be. The goal is to be able to pay cash for a car when it comes time to buy and this will give us a good way to accomplish that.
  • Reach a better balance at home between our work time and family time. I’d love to say that this was better, but I’d be lying to myself. As I’m learning more about myself I’ve come to the realization that if I don’t schedule it then it’s not going to happen. I know it may sound a little silly, but it’s true.
  • Take the little Frugal Rules to Disney for free right before New Year’s. As I said last time, we scrapped this altogether for a variety of reasons. My Mom and Stepdad are taking us on a Disney cruise over Christmas. We’re also driving to San Diego to visit my in-laws for three weeks next month to be followed up by FinCon in September. We have added a family trip to Chicago in October (all on points of course) so the late summer and early fall will be a busy time for us. We’re also actively churning some credit cards as we speak for some travel in 2015.


Taking a look back at our progress on our goals the first half of the year I’m generally happy with where we’re headed. We’ve done great on the retirement front and our other financial goals, but I do have some work to make up in other areas. With that in mind, it just goes to show you that there is always something to work on. 🙂


How are you progressing on your goals for the year? Is there anything new or exciting going on in your area of the world?



Photo courtesy of: Dan Markeye

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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.


  • This year is flying by! My wife and I have our weekends booked solid until mid-October. Like you, Fall will be here before we know it!

    Good job on the goals. I make it a point to put 25% of my income into my solo 401k plan every month. Schwab doesn’t allow for electronic transfers either, so I have to write a check.

    • John Schmoll says:

      We’re the same way Jon. I don’t know how it happened, but we’re just booked this summer and fall.

      Very cool on the 25% goal. I’d love to have the ACH option, but I find that writing the check and taking it in just encourages me to work harder so I can write a bigger check the following month.

  • Lauren says:

    This may be the fastest year yet! That’s great that you’re sticking to your healthy eating goals. I know that I should stop snacking in the evenings, but it’s hard to avoid the temptation of ice cream in the summer!

  • Amy says:

    It sounds like you’re doing great. I struggle tremendously with getting to bed early, too. My daughter goes to bed at 8pm, and those last few hours of the evening are usually my only uninterrupted time of the day.

  • Last night I was lying in bed when I realized it’s the END of JULY! I actually had a mini anxiety attack. I have to admit I feel like I completely last track of my goals as my blog gained momentum and took over my life 🙂

  • I hope you’re able to make more progress on balancing work and family. It’s tough, I know, especially when you love your work, but it’s so important to spend time with your family. Other than that, It seems like you’re doing really well!

  • Great idea to analyze your goals mid-year! So far, we’ve gotten our solar panels up and generating power (and money!) for us, our first little garden is producing enough to stock up in the freezer and can for the winter. We decided to start a blog this year too (small stuff compared to you guys), and that goal at least was launched and is growing slowly. 🙂

  • Dave LaLonde says:

    I agree, this year has gone by way too fast! So far, I’m proud to say that I have been able to reduce my coffee consumption. All other goals I had for this year are still in progress, but despite the quickness of this year, I’m very happy with where things are going. Seems as though it’s going to be a great year to look back on.

  • Grayson Bell says:

    I am pretty sure I fell asleep during most of this year as I don’t remember it! My main goal was to sell our house and buy a new one, so that was a pass. My other goal is to build out my business, which is slowly going. I can’t wait until I launch the site and start pushing it.

  • I have NO idea where this year is going either! The days seem a little long, but the weeks seem to be flying by! Congrats on all of your goals this year!!! Especially your healthy lifestyle goals. 3 years ago, I went on weight watchers, and I still have maintained a lot of the habits I started when I started weight watchers. Just like anything, if you do it long enough, it will become routine. And every time you mention the trip to San Diego, I always hear the theme song of Vacation, Holiday Road, in my head. I can’t wait to hear the stories about that trip. 🙂

    • John Schmoll says:

      I know, the weeks just seem to be flying by. That’s very cool you’ve been able to stick with many of the changes you made while on WW. I think we’re finally at the point that most of ours will stick as well – we’ve moved past the “I want this” to it’s a way of life now.

      Ha ha, my wife has said the same thing. I’ve joked with her that I’m taking a bottle of Jack with me for the trip, lol. I’m sure it’ll lead to some interesting stories.

  • Snacking after the kids go to bed is a huge problem in our house! We are working on that too- always.

    • John Schmoll says:

      It can definitely be a challenge and I still struggle with it at times. I just have to keep in front of me why we’ve made the changes and that tends to work…most of the time. 🙂

  • I’m trying very hard to savor each day but I know when you have your own business it can be really though. I’m caught between doing a lot of reading and relaxing because work is so slow with OMG I need to be productive and look for work/write/set goals, etc. Take a break as a freelancer is SO different than being full time. Anyway, you’re coming along great with your goals! I’m sad I’ll miss seeing you at fincon! And great job with the healthier living goal…so important! I’ve been on a 10:30-6 or 6:30 schedule which seems to give me enough sleep. I’ve also been embracing the 15-20 minute nap midday. Highly recommend. Seems unproductive, but it gives you so much more energy to BE productive!

    • John Schmoll says:

      I completely agree Tonya! I always want to kick myself for taking a break as I see it as lost opportunity to make money, but we’re still human and need a break…or so my wife keeps telling me I need to do. Glad to hear you’ve found a routine to be more productive. I’d love to add a power nap in but I always seem to be worthless after them.

  • Will says:

    I looked over my ’14 goals yesterday. I made 15 goals and 5 of them I labeled now as obsolete like your Disney trip. Life changes fast! Maybe I should do month goals instead…

    • John Schmoll says:

      That it does Will! I like the idea of monthly goals, though I’m a big picture guy so I tend to prefer longer term ones and break them up. But, it’s all about balance.

  • Hey John, it looks like you’re doing pretty well overall. I also struggle with the work/life balance. It’s one of the hardest things when working for yourself. Personally, my goals this year are really panning out. My biggest goal was to maintain self employment, and I haven’t been back to work since 1/1 this year!

  • I agree, this year is flying. You are doing very good with your goals. Sometimes you have to readjust as the year goes by and things change. I love San Diego. Been there twice. I love going up to Point Loma and seeing that huge Pacific Ocean view from up there. BTW, love the new site redesign.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks! I agree, you need to be able to flex based off of how things change. I’m looking forward to it as well. We’ll be staying on the beach at Coronado Island, I can’t wait!

  • Looks like you’re doing great overall against your goals. I don’t know how you manage two and a half blogs. 🙂 I’m glad the eating healthy is sticking. I know it’s hard to change initially because once get past that point, it’s get so much easier and you don’t want to go back to old ways. I actually go to bed right after the girls do. And they are getting older now, so they stay up later. And it’s getting tough on Mom. LOL!

  • Michelle says:

    I can’t believe how quickly 2014 is flying by. Sounds like you have a good set of goals there. I need to look at my 2014 annual goals again because I seriously can’t remember anything that I put on it.

  • Sounds like things are going well for you, John. One of my bigger goals for 2014 was to double my side hustle income. This was going well until Google took away my page rank for a month or so. That caused my income to take a hit but my freelance writing and a couple big giveaway wins have made up for it. We’ll see how the rest of the year goes.

  • Nicola says:

    I think you’re doing great! We’re doing okay on some of our goals and not on others – may need a re-think during the summer months. And I agree with how fast the year is going, it’s getting towards the end of July already?! Madness.

  • Time really does fly…Baby LRC just turned one last week. It’s great that you guys have some trips planned…I’m still new to traveling with kids so we’ll see what happens. I’d definitely like to get away though. And as for going to sleep earlier, that’s one of my goals as well. So much to do so little time.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Wow, he’s a year already?! I remember when you first had him and it just seems like last week, lol. Traveling with one isn’t too bad, it’s when you have multiples that it gets nutty.

  • You’re doing AWESOME, John, on your goals!! The things you’ve scrapped seem like smart moves to me as well. Our goals were to simply improve this year upon what we did last year, and so far, we’re doing okay. I get frustrated sometimes at our slow progress, but am trying to remember that progress is progress, regardless.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Laurie! I think you & the fam are doing great! I agree, it can be hard at times when it doesn’t go as fast as we would like it to but progress is progress. 🙂

  • Time goes so fast when you are busy! Sounds like your upcoming trips will make the time go even faster for you John. Nothing like a little variety. Anyways, I think you’re doing so well on a number of fronts. Kudos!

  • Catherine says:

    I’m in awe that the year is almost over too. It’s been good and bad. I’m not quite where I want to be with debt repayment but we’re doing better then we were last year so like you, moving in the right direction. I also need to get better at the exercise thing. I’m thinking about trying a gym membership for 3 months and see how I do. I think me leaving the house is key…we’ll see 🙂

    • John Schmoll says:

      I am as well Catherine. It’s just nuts. That’s great you’re doing better on the debt repayment as opposed to last year – it’s all about the progress. 🙂 I’ve struggled with whether or not we should get a gym membership. I think I’d end up losing time in the process in driving there and coming back. We could afford the cost, but not the time.

  • Jason B says:

    I’ve completed about 70% of the goals that I set for this year. For me to complete the rest of them I will have to buckle down and work harder in some areas.

  • I also sleep late at night about past midnight and I wake up at 5:00 AM. I know it’s not healthy at all, that’s why I really need to change that one. And staying up late at night means eating more snacks also, so don’t worry about that you’re not alone! 🙂

  • Great job. When I look at my 2014 goal progress, I have to remind myself that the year is only half over. We still have time! I’m not sure we’ll make our student loan payoff, but my husband just got a new job that pays better — so, we might actually pull it off!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Rebecca! I agree, there still is time and a good bit of it left. We have to remember that and continue to push through. Congrats on the higher paying job for your husband and hopefully that’ll give you the push for your loan payoff. 🙂

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