A New Year, a New Opportunity

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New Year

The following is a contribution from Jason at Work Save Live. If you’re interested in contributing to Frugal Rules, please consult our guidelines and contact us.

As we face challenges in our lives and our schedules become overcrowded with to-do lists, children’s activities, family functions, work, and the like, it’s common for our dreams get pushed to the back burner.

With Christmas in our rearview mirror, I took the time to reflect on many of the things I failed at in 2012 and pondered what’s necessary to make more of what I have, to live life to its fullest, and to accomplish those things that I continually put off for another day.

While I’m not big on the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing, the reality is that with each year comes a new opportunity. An opportunity to capitalize on the areas we may have fallen short the year prior; an opportunity to take a step forward in critical areas such as our finances or careers; an opportunity to live a little more and pursue the things that make us tick.

Areas You Can Improve in 2013

1.    Finances


Whether you’re a budget Nazi or a shopaholic, we can all use a fresh start to re-evaluate our financial outlook. Consider a few of these to get you on track for 2013:

  • Create a budget
  • Finally take the plunge, sit down with your spouse, and have the much-needed conversation you’ve put off for years
  • Shop your home owners and car insurance rates
  • Increase your retirement savings and analyze your asset allocation
  • Build a $1,000 emergency fund
  • Analyze your bank accounts and consider taking advantage of programs like PerkStreet’s best online checking account


2.    Career


For years I worked a job that I dreaded, all for the large paycheck. I loathed going to work every Monday and I celebrated every Friday like I was a kid on his last day of school.

While some of you may not despise your job to the extent which I did, the statistics suggest that you’re not happy doing what you’re doing. With that in mind, use 2013 as your opportunity for change! Consider opening up a side business that you’re passionate about, start a blog or online business, or go back to school to get the education you need to pursue your dream job.

Working a job you hate sucks the life out of you, damages your personal relationships with your kids and spouse, and zaps every creative bone in your body. Don’t settle in 2013 or spend 2014 reflecting on the things you wish you could have done.

3.    Family and Friends


One of my big struggles in 2012 was managing my time well and all of the commitments I have. The busier my schedule got, the more I pushed off some of the things most important to me. I neglected dates with the wife, personal time needed for reflection (and relaxation), and certainly time with my closest friends and family members.

With any career-driven, goal-oriented person, the fact is that our friends and families are the people that take the brunt of our go-getter mentality. Instead of dwelling on where you went wrong in 2012, take some time in the next few weeks to determine how you can improve in this area in the coming year.

“You have the perfect amount of time each day for the things that matter most.

They key is spending time on those things.” – Jon Acuff

For me, this involves being more selfish with my early morning hours (which is needed to get things done) and be more intentional with setting up functions with friends and dates with the wife.

4.    Dreams and Goals


Regardless of where you are in life, it’s likely you’ll look back on 2012 and wish you would have done more with it. The more we age, the more quickly time passes; the days get shorter and months fly by with no regard to the limited time we have remaining on this planet.

While I could kick myself for the year that I let get away, I’m making a point to maximize 2013 by focusing on a few goals and dreams that I’ve pushed off for a myriad of reasons:

  • Take guitar lessons. Yes, I know, I could teach myself but I know I won’t make the time to do that. 
  • Go sky diving
  • Learn a new language
  • Take some cooking classes

Readers: what are you planning on doing different in 2013? Are you planning to start a new business or develop your current one? Or do you need to pull the reins back a little bit and focus more on family and goals?


Editor’s note: I could not agree with Jason more. While I am not big into New Year’s Resolutions, the New Year is a great time to reflect on your accomplishments for the ending year and where you’d like to go the following year.


Jason is a financial advisor and Dave Ramsey-trained counselor that blogs over at WorkSaveLive. He aims to educate his readers on a variety of financial topics while sharing his family’s journey out of debt.


Photo courtesy of: Chris Rawlings

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    In 2013, we are just moving forward with our housepayoff and savings plans. I don’t see anything too exciting on the horizon, but it’s still nice to be moving forward with all of our goals.

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    Nice post Jason. I think it is important to set goals and continue monitoring them, otherwise they can fall to the wayside and never get actioned.

    The only thing I can think of at the moment that I plan on doing differently next year is donating more money to a cancer charity.

    • Jason @ WorkSaveLive says:

      Donating more money to charity is a great one to put on the list! I have a lengthy post next week for all of my goals in 2013….although increasing my charitable contributions wasn’t one of them. Dang, maybe it should be!

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    “I neglected dates with the wife, personal time needed for reflection (and relaxation), and certainly time with my closest friends and family members.

    With any career-driven, goal-oriented person, the fact is that our friends and families are the people that take the brunt of our go-getter mentality.”

    I can absolutely relate and this pretty much describes me. I need to make dates with my wife a priority, as well as schedule time with my friends where I am not working on things. Time management is so important…but I also have to be able to let things slide. The world won’t end if I don’t respond to any comments for a day or two : )

    • Jason @ WorkSaveLive says:

      I’m with you DC! I act like if I don’t make it to 10 blogs in a given day to read/comment that my website will fall apart or something. I’m slowly learning that things can be pushed off and it’s not the end of the world if I don’t get it done today.

      Learning to prioritize is so important and I think it takes consistent reflection/analysis to figure out where we’re going wrong (because we can understand that we need to set dates with our wife today, but in two months from now it’s likely we’ll drift and focus on non-important things again).

  • Michelle says:

    I’m really excited for 2013 and what it brings. I think it’ll be a great year for family, friends and my blog! 🙂

  • Sean @ OneSmartDollar says:

    I plan on giving more of my time to myself, my wife and my baby. I work way too much and I need to step back and enjoy life.

    • Jason @ WorkSaveLive says:

      I’m with you Sean! My struggle is that I haven’t made as much money as I’ve been used to over the years. So I’ve equated working more with earning more and somehow believe that earning more will make my life better.

      Regardless, I did look at 2012 as a year wasted in terms of my personal relationships and living my life to the fullest. It was a pretty sad realization but I think it was necessary to ensure that 2013 is a good one.

  • Lance @ Money Life and More says:

    I have a post coming up on the 31st with my thoughts.on new year’s resolutions, but I do think goals are a good idea. W should go sky diving sometime Jason. I think I might want to do that too.

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    There was a time when I wanted to skydive, but that’s long past! I do hope to work less at my day job in 2013. We’ll see if I fall flat on my face.

  • Pauline says:

    I am a terrible flyer, so forget sky diving!! Good goals Jason, I suffer from the same time management problem, and hope to fix that in 2013… together with starting a new business and developing my blog!

    • Jason @ WorkSaveLive says:

      🙂 I have the same time management problems and I’ve been working A LOT to grow my business and my blog. Unfortunately it took me a year to realize this, but building a blog and a business aren’t the most important things in life.

  • Daisy @ Money Smart Guides says:

    I love the start of the new year because it always feels like a clean start to me. The most important thing on your list is spending time with family and friends. I think we all forget to do that sometimes when we get overwhelmed with life.

  • Budget & the Beach says:

    One thing that I plan to do differently is create multiple streams of income. I’ve relied too much on one or two clients and didn’t make enough income last year. So that’s my big overall goal.

  • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter says:

    I love this list because it is so well balanced. You have included various aspects of your life which is so important. Often people can get to focused on one part and then other things suffer. For us, we want to get better at managing our time and money. We feel we are too busy and don’t get enough time to rest or to have time with other people. We also want to increase our savings. We haven’t been doing as good as we like.

    • Jason @ WorkSaveLive says:

      I think we’re in the same boat Miss T…I’ve spent far too much time focused on things that simply aren’t important in the grand scheme of things. Chasing “financial freedom” is great and all, but you have to balance that with things that are important in the short-term as well.

  • Jacob @ iheartbudgets says:

    Great post, and good reminder to take inventory of this past year! We usually have an annual meeting and go over goals and plans for the next year.

  • Retire By 40 says:

    Nice goals! Enjoy sky diving. It’s a blast.
    For 2013, I think I’ll keep my goals modest. I left my job in 2012 and it was a big change so 2013 will be the year to solidify our finances and make sure we’ll be OK.

  • Edward Antrobus says:

    My goals for 2013 are pretty much to accomplish the goals I failed at this year.

  • Mackenzie says:

    Charitble giving is something that I want to increase next year for sure. It is so important.
    You are brave to attempt skydiving!! When you do it, please post pictures. How thrilling 🙂

  • K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! says:

    Nice post Jason. For 2013 we decided to increase our charitable giving by 50% of the amount we donated in 2012 so that really does make us happy. We have a couple of large savings/income goals and other non-finance related goals to conquer in 2013. If 2013 is anything close to what we experienced in 2012 then I’ll be beside myself and grinning from ear to ear!

  • Eddie says:

    New year = new beginnings. I’m just looking forward to building on an already successful 2012.

  • Kay Lynn says:

    I do like to set goals for myself each year which for some reason are easier for me to complete. In early 2012, my husband and I paid off all non-mortgage debt and I contributed the maximum amount to my 401K and IRA accounts.

    I wonder what I can accomplish in 2013?

  • Catherine says:

    I need to finish my goal post…if I print it on on the internet I have to stick to it!! I need to spend my last few months of mat leave getting organized so I can ease back into work worry free!

  • Melissa says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I love to make goals and write them down. I am much more likely to complete them this way. In 2013 I also plan to improve finances.

  • David says:

    Yes, this is another year and one more opportunity for all of us. You are absolutely right that we need to make up for failures in the past. Certainly, we can improve our careers and finances. It is also necessary to redefine out goals and give quality time to our families.

  • Leslie says:

    Thank you for letting me know I am not alone! I just wrote a post about not having “fun” in my life because I am a goal oriented lunatic. Making an effort to inject fun into my life is the only new years resolution I have this year. You are completely right…our loved ones do bare the brunt of our “neglect” when we choose work, projects and goals over spending quality time with them. It also causes increase angst, frustration and burn out in ourselves when we don’t take the time to enjoy life…heck that is why we work so hard and are driven…it is almost an oxymoron!

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