Update on Frugal Rules Goals for 2014

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How crazy is it that we’re nearly four full months through 2014?! It just seems like Christmas was yesterday and now we’re enjoying warmer weather and gearing up for a summer full of traveling.

Like I said in my original goals for 2014, I’m not much for setting New Year’s Resolutions as I find they’re often generic and not measurable. Anyway, I love setting specific and measurable goals and figure that since I’m telling my readers to do so then I probably should as well. 🙂 Call me crazy, but I like to practice what I preach.

I’ll spare you the recap of 2013 as I’ve written at length about that in different posts. That said, 2014 seems to be more of the same in terms of our business growth! This is terribly exciting, yet challenging at the same time as we deal with things like time management and hiring out certain things so we’re not turning away business. I plan on writing a few posts on that topic in the near future, but it can be a delicate balance between taking on too much client work and maintaining sanity. Anyhoo, let’s get on with checking in on the goals in the Frugal Rules home so far this year.

How Have the Goals Progressed?

  • Start going to bed by 10:00 P.M. during the week…yea that one is a complete and utter fail! We’re still averaging around 11:30 at night for a bedtime. We really want to scale this back to closer to 10:00 P.M. but it just hasn’t happened. I had planned on us scaling back in 15 minute increments each week, but those plans have yet to materialize. It wouldn’t be such a big deal, but when we’re up by 5:00 most mornings it can be painful starting the day.
  • Stop snacking once the kids go to bed. This, surprisingly, has been a success! We’ve completely changed our eating habits since the beginning of the year, to the point that I find myself craving all things green and even yogurt. This has been encouraging to see and the amount of energy I seem to have because of cutting processed foods and replacing them with much healthier options is awesome.
  • Use our exercise bike 3-4 times per week. I’m 50/50 on this one with an overall pass. I’ve used it some, but I’m supplementing this a lot with getting out of the house and going for walks in the morning. Overall I’m happy with where I’m at on this and helps to get me out of the house, away from the computer and get my creative juices flowing.
  • Add one more blog management client…yea, I went the other way on this as I’m no longer managing the one I had been. It was actually the end of the contract and the client is going another direction with their blog so it made sense. I have, however, picked up quite a bit more freelance writing – most recently with Daily Finance. Shameless plug, if you’re looking for a blog manager or writer then contact me. 🙂
  • Buy another PF blog. I’m happy to say that I did finalize purchasing my first PF blog in late March. I learned quite a bit through it, redesigned it and getting ready to load it with more content now. Mrs. Frugal Rules thinks I’m crazy, but I’m on the lookout for other blogs to buy now.
  • Getting back to being serious about saving for retirement. Balancing saving for retirement and being self-employed is tricky at best, but we’ve gotten back on the right track this year! We have Mrs. Frugal Rules Roth account maxed out, and mine basically is as well – we’re just waiting on one final client payment to do so, and started working on our SEP accounts. Scottrade doesn’t allow for electronic contributions into SEPs, as many brokerages don’t, so we have to be purposeful about taking in a deposit each month. It hasn’t been an issue thus far and don’t foresee it being one the rest of the year.
  • Start actively saving for a new-to-us car each month. We’ve not started on this yet, and really need to. We’ve decided not to sell our second car as I just wasn’t comfortable with the risk involved. That said, we need to ramp this up and start saving for a new-to-us car.
  • Reach a better balance at home between our work time and family time. I won’t sugar coat this one, it’s still way out of whack. This one lays solely on my shoulders as I struggle with always feeling like there is something to do. There might always be something to do, but the point is many things aren’t very high on the priority scale. I really want to work on this more the rest of the year so we both have more time to spend with the kiddos.
  • Take the little Frugal Rules to Disney for free right before New Year’s. We’ve completely scrapped this one. My Mom and Step-Dad are taking us on a Disney cruise over Christmas and we thought why not churn some cards since we’d be out there anyway and go to Disney for a few days. After thinking it over logically, that would make for an awfully long trip, it’s their crazy busy time and the little ones likely wouldn’t even remember it, save maybe for our six year old. We’re still traveling quite a bit this year though. We’re planning a three week trip to San Diego to see the in-laws over August and we’ll be going to Disneyland then, and we’re going to Fincon in September. We’re also planning another smaller family trip somewhere here in the Midwest late summer or early fall, most likely Chicago or Minneapolis… all on points of course. 🙂


There you have it. Overall I feel like we’ve done fairly good thus far in 2014, though we still have a couple of things we need to actively work on.


How are your goals going so far this year? Is there anything new or exciting in your corner of the world?


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 GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.


  • Good work on those goals so far! I did something different for 2014 and started setting monthly goals. So far that’s going well, although I am a little nervous about writing up my summary of my April goals progress because I didn’t do very well this month! I guess that’s why they call them goals, because there’s always something to shoot for, right? I think it was smart of you to check in on your goals at this point- it gives you time to readjust anything that needs it! Good luck on the rest of your goals John!

    • John says:

      Thanks Dee! I think the monthly check-in is a good approach to take as it can help you stay more mindful of them and adjust things as necessary.

  • I think you’ve done a great job thus far. Most of my goals have fell by the wayside due to work. But this is a good post for me to reexamine my goals!

    • John says:

      Doesn’t it always seem to be work that’s the main culprit of goals being derailed? 🙂 At least, that’s usually the case with me.

  • Great work on your goals thus far! Exercising on a regular basis is a great goal. A few years ago we started to walk/bike to work. Its about 5 miles so a decent distance. We found that building exercise into our daily routine like this made it very easy to keep up (plus we saved a bunch of money so that helped motivate us too!)

  • This is a nice list of goals. It was interesting to read about your SEP. I have my solo 401k through Schwab and I can’t do electronic transfers into that account either. I have to fill out the contribution form and mail a check. It only takes 5 minutes (I’ve pre-filled a handful out already except for the dollar amount) but it’s still a hassle.

    Keep up all of your hard work. I’m sure you’ll find a way to start hitting the pillow earlier than 11:30!

    • John says:

      Yea, most brokerages don’t allow it with SEPs or SIMPLEs due to the ability many have to allow for employer contributions. I wish I could automate it, but it’s just something you have to deal with.

  • Sounds like you are making some good progress on your goals! My goals have been going well but starting a second website, especially one outside of personal finance, has been put on hold. I realized I need to outsource a lot more work on Young Adult Money to make it happen. I also bought a new PF domain name that I’m excited about so I would probably build that site up before anything else. I also want to start an Excel-based website….so I guess I’m more so changing goals than accomplishing them haha.

    • John says:

      Thanks! Yea, outsourcing is vital. I’m doing quite a bit of it, but know there is more I probably should be outsourcing…I just don’t want to spend the money. 🙂

  • Hey, I did a goals update post too today!! John, you guys are doing AWESOME, especially on your fitness goals!! No pressure, but pleeeease choose Mpls for your small trip. 🙂

  • Wow, I really don’t know how you have time for it all. I’m so impressed.

    My blog and freelance work kind of exploded over the last few months, so basically all my other goals have been abandoned in order to manage that and continue growing.

    I think this is where I need to take my own advice and adjust my goals based on current circumstances.

    • John says:

      Thanks…I think it shows in the lack of sleep. 😉

      That’s a good problem to have! That is a good point though to adjust them based off of what’s currently going on so you can still reach some while also managing the growth.

  • Sounds like you are doing awesome with your goals for the year! It’s funny because I set goals for my businesses for 2014 and then some interesting and great things have happened that have made me readjust the goals, but that is the fun thing about starting a company, you can make all of these plans, and then sometimes opportunities come out of nowhere.

  • Grayson Bell says:

    Nice work John! My goals are slowly moving forward. I have been sidetracked from many of them due to the home situation, but I hope we will be done with that this month.

    • John says:

      Thanks! I can certainly understand that and know that crossing off a house purchase will be a pretty significant crossing off of that list.

  • Kassandra says:

    I think it’s normal to be ahead on some goals and a little behind on others. Both the DH and I are on track to max out our IRA’s and to set up my SEP this year with Vanguard which feels really good. I have fitness goals which I have been a bit wishy washy on but lately I’ve begun to get back on track.

  • Good work on your goals. We’ve been trying to get to sleep earlier too. My son wakes has started to wake up a little after 6:00 in the morning and he makes sure we’re up too. We have to get to sleep earlier otherwise we’ll be dragging all day…and no sleeping in on the weekends either, he still wakes up early. The Disney cruise sounds like something your kids will love.

    • John says:

      Kids have a funny way of doing that, don’t they? 🙂 I think they will as well, especially now that they’re Frozen fiends now.

  • Kim says:

    Sounds like some great trip plans. I’d love three weeks in San Diego. I think we’re doing pretty well with our goals. We just found out that Jim actually has a job next year, so that’s a huge relief. I’ll be even happier once they get him a contract. Other than that, we’ll just plug along with the 401k and our travel plans.

    • John says:

      We’re looking forward to it, though nearly a week will be eaten up just by driving. That’s great to hear that Jim gets to keep it job next year! I bet that’s a weight off your shoulders.

  • Michelle says:

    Sounds like you are doing well with your goals so far! We actually have a lot of similar goals as yours 🙂 The one I really need to start working on is limiting my snacking. I am not good with that! 🙂

    • John says:

      Thanks Michelle! That can be a difficult one to curb, but found that my wife and I can keep ourselves accountable to the other which helps.

  • E.M. says:

    Great progress so far, I’m motivated just reading about it all! I was doing so well with going to sleep around 10, 10:30, but then we moved, and things have been crazy since. We’re hoping to get back on track this week. My biggest goal this year was to move, and I still can’t believe things turned out as nicely as they did with that.

  • Nice work John! I used to be really good with the going to bed early when I was running. Now since that has been put on hold due to injury, I’m staying up much later…which then leads to the late night munchies. 🙂 I didn’t set too many goals this year, as I have mostly been focused on what is happening at the end of my school year. From there, I’ll see what happens.

    • John says:

      Thanks Brian! Yea, our late nights have gotten a bit out of hand and I just need to work to get them back on track. I can definitely understand that focus, I’m excited to see what happens for you. 🙂

  • Great job on your goals, John! I particularly love that getting healthy is one of them! We’re behind schedule on my new book; we had some printer issues, but seem to be moving forward again. 🙂 We need to be out of our home this summer so house hunting is a top priority right now! I honestly don’t know where you all find the time to run multiple blogs – I am in awe! Work/life balance is always a work in progress. Some days everything clicks and other days – not so much! And I am in bed before 10:00 p.m. I got to bed right after the girls do. 🙂 I’m such a party animal!

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon! Sorry to hear about the delay with the book, but glad to hear that it’s back on the right track. Lol, I think I manage it by the lack of sleep though that’s not the desired result. 🙂 Best wishes in the house hunting!

  • You know people often wonder how I do it all but then I read goals like yours and wonder the same thing about other bloggers lol. It’s certainly a balance act. I try to get to bed for 10pm as soon as I announce the What’s For Dinner.. top chef on FB.. then I’m off since I work crazy hours. It’s not easy but it’s working out. I’m sure life is going to get crazy in the next few months. That’s great you bought a new blog… good for you. Can’t wait to hear more about it. Thanks for sharing your goals mate.

    • John says:

      That it is sir and it shows up in the lack of sleep department. 🙂 Yes, your life is going to get crazy here over the next few months…especially towards the fall. 🙂

  • It’s great you’re checking in fairly often with your goals. Too often people forget about them. I think you’re doing really well overall though! I think with freelancing it’s very hard to turn things “off” because there really is no physical separation between your home and office. I think that’s why I like going to the beach so much.It’s just time away from the computer. One of my big goals that changed is Healthy, Fit, and Frugal. I thought I could manage two blogs but just couldn’t. Another big goal that changed is looking for full time work! I’m still pursuing freelancing things, but also seeing what full time options are out there.

    • John says:

      You’re spot on Tonya! It’s very difficult for me to turn off and not work on something, because it’s as easy as opening up my laptop and I’m off to the races. Sadly, I have no beach or ocean to go to though…I don’t think I’d get any work done. 🙂

  • Hey John, looks like most things are going well. If I had a goal to go to bed at 10pm, it would definitely be an epic fail! Congrats by the way on the freelance writing picking up, mine has exploded quite a bit lately too. Also, I hope you find an awesome blog to buy! Have a great one!

    • John says:

      They are, overall, I think. Yea, the whole 10 pm is definitely an epic fail for me thus far. Congrats on the uptick in freelance writing, that’s a good problem to have!

  • Great job on keeping up with your goals! Going to sleep at a certain time is a hard one! There’s always something pressing that comes into play that day. I’ve definitely been trying to get to my exercise goal every week.

    • John says:

      Thanks Amanda! I agree, the getting to bed at a certain time is a difficult one to do on a regular basis as there is always something that seems to come up.

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