AJ: We knew months ago that our resolutions for 2015 would be hugely focused on finances, and we’ve been mentally preparing ourselves for tightening our belts.
KJ: 2015 is a year of refocusing on building up some of our emergency funds and regular savings that 2014 demanded from the various unexpected turns for some of those emergency fund items spent on our home and health.
Such an important part of giving you and your family direction throughout the year is setting good goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (S.M.A.R.T.), so we wanted to dedicate another post this year to the goals we have set for this year (we’ve spared you some of the nitty gritty of the specificity part though!). Hopefully you’ll be inspired to do just the same!
It doesn’t help to create goals that sound good but that you don’t actually put pen to paper on what you need to do to keep the goal in front of you to actually achieve it. If you say you want to read 12 books a year, then set specific targets of which book (or types of books) you want read at certain milestones, so you can better hold yourself accountable.
Most of the goals for this year aren’t as personal as they are financial. Ultimately, we ended 2014 about where we hoped to be despite some of the financially significant setbacks. The good thing (for what it’s worth) about having a lower net worth, is it’s easier to increase it from a percentage standpoint in the early years – something not likely to be true as we continue to build and grow. I.e. 35% increase on $100,000 is more palatable with setbacks than 35% on $1,000,000. Not so easy to just “trim” your way to get to such a large increase on $1,000,000!
Here are some of the goals we have set for ourselves looking into this next year:
Net worth – More lofty goals here for 2015, but again, the benefit of coming from a lower net worth is that large percentage increases are generally easier to maneuver through. Absent any big market disruptions or large unforeseen expenses to derail the plan, we might just hit it, especially with our major home renovation costs behind us. This means saving more and spending less, easy as pie, right?
Charitable efforts – We are working on creating a specific target for this year (slap on the hand for not having a SPECIFIC goal yet!), and we plan to look more closely in the next month at the time and monetary commitment to see where we can do more than we did in 2014. The important piece for us with regards to charitable efforts is to be realistic. We have demanding jobs and lives, so ensuring we commit to what we can feasibly give of our time is even more challenging than what we give financially. Thus why having a plan is so important!
Continue to maintain a healthy style – This one involves some impact to the budget each month through our boot camp we participate in and gardening costs. Although there are a number of ways to make this expense lower, the boot camp is just what we need in order to keep us motivated and on track. There’s something about not having to think about planning the workout itself, mixing it up for variety, and actually getting some motivation from those around us that makes the boot camp we’ve been doing since July a perfect fit. Other items impacting our healthy lifestyle are eating more vegetables thanks in part to our gardening efforts as we head into our second year of having a garden with fresh arugula, potatoes, green beans, squash, and tomatoes to name just a few. Yumm!
AJ: As the planter of said garden I’m committing to better mapping out what we can realistically plant and grow vs the two acre garden I apparently purchased for this year. I’m not sure how all home gardeners feel, but I spent way more money creating, filling and re-filling my garden than I ever would have had I purchased the same amount of produce from the store, so this year I’ll more accurately plot out my beds and not over buy seeds and plants.
Continue to develop professionally – This is the first year in the last seven that I’m going into without a really solid set of professional goals. Generally, I want to be a better employee and boss, provide value in as many ways as is possible, and I want to let go of some of the daily frustrations that detract from my overall happiness.
Stay the financial course – Shamefully it was I who wanted the house painted top to bottom, I who purchased new bedding, boat loads of plants and seeds and patio furniture to boot! It was my car that needed servicing, my wardrobe that needed mending and my trigger finger that did online shopping. Therefore, it will also be my cross to bear to ensure that we’re on the straight and narrow this year. Some months there were so many transactions I genuinely stopped writing them down – my hand was getting tired! We make an awesome team, but at the end of the day I know that my iron fist-management of our variable expenses is the only way we stay on track, and stay on track we shall.
Read four financial books – I didn’t read all of the books that I planned for 2014, but I met 75% of the goal, so some of those are making an appearance on my list of books to read in 2015. Good thing I had a random inkling to read a book a couple days ago. Great kick off for 2015 – one down!
Complete household projects – This year’s list of things to-do around the house are fortunately not improvement projects that will require some moolah, but I feel that I need some kind of list to actually check off as I go for those little things I’ve been meaning to take care of around the house. Most of the projects will just take an hour or two to complete, so hopefully I can check off all that’s on this list in the first quarter of 2015.
Continue to develop professionally – Through ongoing Continuing Education (CE) requirements, it’s not only required for many of my certifications and groups I am a member of, but it’s something that’s very important to focus on all throughout the year. I finished all of my certification requirements early this year, and I hope to do the same for this next year too. Human capital development, here we come!
We couldn’t wait for a clean start with the new year! 2014 was a doozy to say the least, and we’re looking forward to a more future-focused year.
- So, what are your New Year’s resolutions?
Let us know what goals you have set for yourself!
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