We are now just about a quarter of a way through the year, and I realized the other day that I only had a vague sense of the goals I had set for myself for the year. While I knew some were on track, I knew I needed to go through the list again to make sure I kept up with everything I said was important for 2019.
Also, to be honest, I had nothing planned to post today, and as much as I would love to write an update on the garden, there isn’t much to say yet that I haven’t already mentioned in past Friday posts: it’s been too cold and too snowy to plant anything yet like I would in a normal year. I could update on the few seeds I’ve purchased for planting, but right now we are in wait mode. Next month will be much more interesting for a garden update, but you can read last March’s if you’re curious about how far behind we are weather wise this year.
So since there was to be no garden update post this month, I reached out to Twitter for other ideas instead. Thanks to Josh’s suggestion, today will be an update to check in where I’m at with my goals for this year. Like I said, I knew I needed to spend some time thinking about them, but hadn’t re read my original goals without the incentive to write about it. Once again, this blogging thing really keeps me accountable to myself by being accountable to all of you.
First Quarter Goals Check In: March 2019
Unlike last year, when I had one main goal that I really focused on, I’ve decided that having a full outline for where I want my focus for the year to be will help me to be intentional with how I spend my time, money, and energy. As I’ve learned time and time again, what gets measured gets managed, and writing it down and sharing it publicly is the best way to make sure I’m measuring consistently.
1. Achieve a 50% savings rate for the year.
Well, quite obviously, this one is going to take some work after January and February. While we came in quite short both months (34% and 40%, respectively), March will be a very good month with an extra paycheck for each of us, so it will help even things out a bit. This was a stretch goal last year and the same will be true for this year. Fingers crossed we can hit that 50% for 2019.
2. Max out my IRA again.
Well on my way with this one considering I hadn’t even started contributing to my 2018 IRA at this time last year. This year’s balance currently sits at $800 / $6,000, and my stretch goal is to max it out by December 31st instead of needing early 2020 to top it off.
3. Continue to increase charitable giving.
I’ve also started to share this in my monthly financial updates, and sharing just the percentage there definitely helps keep this front of mind. Well on track to this being a larger number than last year, which was bigger than the year before.
4. Total food expenses under $1,000/month.
This number in January was just over at $1,079.71, which is actually better than I expected it to be, considering that it included a pricey adults only weekend in Port Angeles for our neighbor’s birthday – pricey almost entirely thanks to food. Now February, on the other hand, was straight up expensive in the food department, coming in at $1,297.53. This did include the bulk of our food spending in Hawaii, so while expensive, it feels reasonable for the trip.
Hands down, this is going to be the most difficult goal to achieve this year. But at least it’s been a tasty, tasty failure so far (and not $2,500+ a month…).
5. Travel hack to keep Iceland spending to a minimum.
Definitely a success! We’ve met the minimum spend on the Capital One Venture (current balance at 86,000 points there after the 75,000 bonus, working out to $860 of travel credit). Now I’m working on the Chase Business Ink, which has a sign up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (plus 5,000 for the minimum spend). Once the 85,000 points hit my account, they’ll be worth approximately $1,000).
I’m not sure if we will open another card this year, but even if we don’t, those two cards will significantly help cut the cost of our tenth anniversary trip.
6. Make a college funding plan for the kiddo.
I really need to get on this. Not much else to say here. If a 529 is your thing, convince me. If it’s not, convince me too.
7. Consider paying the mortgage off early.
For now, we are putting an extra $100 a month toward the mortgage. It’s not that much, but it will shave a little bit off the end. For now, I think this is where we will stay (or maybe bump it up a tiny bit more).
1. Complete a two year clothes buying ban and set parameters in place for beyond.
Two year ban on buying clothes, check. Still working on the parameters for when I break it, but thanks to a new to me pair of shoes this past weekend, I can push it off a bit longer. I will not be breaking the ban until a plan is in place, but that day hasn’t arrived yet.
2. Have phone free time with the family in the evenings.
This just gets easier as the weather gets better and we can spend more of the evenings outside. I’ve also transitioned back to hard copy books instead of reading off my phone or iPad in the evenings and it helps keep me off the phone a bit more. Definitely a work in progress.
3. Get outside at least once a week, even in the winter.
With the weather feeling like summer lately, this has been an easy one. And even before that, we’ve gotten a decent amount of sunshine and dry days which makes it easier to get outside after work. This has been more like once a day lately instead of just once a week, which is even better.
4. Lose 25 pounds.
So far I’m down two and a half pounds, which is definitely not enough to hit this goal by the end of the year, but it’s at least in the right direction. I have kept up the no alcohol during the week for the most part (birthdays and a couple dinner parties excepted). Again, I find I do best with bright lines.
5. Read 30 books.
So far this year, I’ve read six books of my goal of thirty. Four have been re-reads and two have been new. I’m also partway through three other books at the current moment, so that number will soon land at nine. For a quarter of the way through the year, I’d say I’m well on track to meet this goal.
I’ve always been an avid reader but have never tracked the number of books that I’ve read in a year, so this goal was a total guess as far as whether it will be a reasonable goal or one where I didn’t stretch myself nearly enough.
1. Set a future calendar for Monday posts.
So, in theory, I have a rough outline here, but as today’s post wasn’t on this list, it’s obvious I’m not doing so great at sticking to it. I find having a list of ideas I want to write about helpful, but much like meal planning, my tastes for what I want to do on a specific day change. I’ll keep this list going, but it’s pretty obvious it will only be a suggestion and not an absolute schedule.
2. Get two posts ahead for Monday content.
It is currently 11:02AM the day before I’m publishing this post, so I would call this a complete fail. I do have a number of guest posts lined up, but they still take quite a bit of prep work on my half, and I don’t publish more than one of those a month. This is a blog goal I really would like to happen at some point though.
3. Grow the reach of Women’s Personal Finance Wednesdays.
I love watching the traffic out to other blogs on Wednesdays. This is not a directly linear growth line up, but the trend is definitely there month over month. Part of this reach also means making sure to be mindful of the diversity of the women I am featuring showcases a variety of experiences. As this roundup grows, this just becomes that much more important.
4. Continue writing more about sustainability and zero waste.
“How To Travel More Sustainably With Airbnb” was published a few weeks ago, and I’ve continued sharing guest posts monthly, most recently from Three Year Experiment and her experience bringing curbside composting to her neighborhood.
Is there anything in particular you’d be interested in having me write about here? So far, I don’t have any other planned content along these topics, though I suppose my clothing ban updates fit here as well.
5. Do NOT let this blog turn into a business.
I was actually on a podcast round table discussion on this exact topic and we went in depth about why I have strong feelings about this topic at this point in my life. I think there are absolutely good reasons for focusing on blog monetization, but that is not my main goal here.
For full disclosure, I do make a small amount from the few affiliate links I share here (mainly Amazon and Airbnb), but they don’t do more than get part way to covering my hosting fees to “keep the lights on.”
Phew. Apparently I made myself A LIST of goals this year. I hadn’t considered writing updates quarterly here, but I think it’s a good idea now that I’ve done in, because it will help keep me on track and more likely to achieve them at the end of the year.
Did you make 2019 goals? How are they going a quarter of the way through the year?