It may be the end of January before I’m finally publishing these goals, but I’ve had them written down since the beginning on the year and they have been informing my choices already. This will be my third year of publicly goal setting and sharing on the blog, and I’ve found that having them written down here and checking in quarterly has been a big part of me achieving those goals.
Beyond the goals themselves, the act of designing and sharing them here means that I spend time at the beginning of each year intentionally thinking about what’s important to me and what I’d like to accomplish over that time. In 2018, that was the one big goal of attempting to hit a 50% savings rate for the first time, and 2019 was about a whole bunch of different goals (and without intentionally realizing it at the time, finding my place in this time of life where five years from now look to perhaps be quite similar to now).
In 2020, while I have many of the same goals as 2019, in the big picture, I want to continue leaning in to this season of life and be content with where I’m at now. There are still many things I want to accomplish this year, but balance and contentment are at the top of the list. We’ve hit our stride financially, and while I want to keep pushing that, I won’t be chasing after the last dollar, nor will I beat myself up over a month where we don’t save as much as planned.
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1. Achieve a 50% savings rate for the year.
This will continue to be my big financial goal until we actually make it happen over the average of a year. So far, I’ve surpassed that during three paycheck months, but 2018 and 2019 both landed in the forties for the year.
As our incomes grow, we bank raises to savings and our investments and dividends also continue to grow, so I expect this savings rate will eventually just happen as long as we stay on track. Unlike previous years though, I’ve come to accept that we are at a point where saving around 40-45% of our incomes is very feasible, but hitting 50% is a big challenge. Goals are meant to be challenging though, and this one will continue to be a yearly one until we make it happen.
Tracking with Personal Capital
It’s been more than a year and a half since I initially downloaded Personal Capital and started actually tracking our net worth. While savings rate is still more important to me because it’s what we can actually control, there is something to be said for having a sense of your overall net worth.
I was unconvinced for a long time that I even needed to track our net worth, but I’m so glad that I finally set up an account where I could track it all. I especially appreciate being able to look at the graphs for individual area, like investment accounts and cash savings.
We have a bunch of separate accounts, so it’s really nice to see them all in one place. I’m also working on growing our overall cash savings, and Personal Capital aggregates them all across four different banks, which makes things a lot simpler.
If you haven’t set up a way to track your net worth, I’d recommend Personal Capital for that purpose. If you use this link to sign up, you’ll also get a $20 Amazon gift card for doing so.
2. Max out my IRA again.
Just like the 50% savings rate, maxing our my IRA is a forever goal of mine. I made that happen for the first time for the 2018 tax year, and it felt awesome. I can never decide which version I want to go with though, so I split this between my Traditional and Roth IRA accounts.
Eventually, we will max my husband’s IRA out as well, but it won’t be 2019. Maybe 2020? Probably not, but the balance saved there gets bigger every year. He isn’t quite as focused on retirement accounts as I am, but that’s his prerogative. Even without maxing his account out, we are putting considerable percentages of our income into cash generating investments as well as to more liquid cash savings.
3. Get more intentional with my giving this year.
I started tracking my giving in 2018 and then began sharing the percentage in my monthly financial updates here in 2019. Over the past two years, giving has become much more of a habit, and like with anything else, it gets easier with practice.
This year, I want to take it one step further and get more intentional with my giving. Instead of spreading out my money to a ton of different places, I’m working on researching and choosing a few places to put most of my money. For starters, that is Revanche’s charities, Washington State Parks, local political candidates, and my church (where much of that money goes to serving our local community including the homeless day center on site / permanent shelter under construction).
I’ve set recurring donations so that they get an infusion of cash every month, but I will be keeping some amount flexible for when other opportunities arise. To be clear, my “giving” also includes things like sending meals to families with new babies / health issues / etc or other non official charity needs. Especially since the tax code changed, I keep track of all of this for me, not for tax filing time.
4. Total food expenses under $1,000/month.
Another one of those “forever goals.” Food is our Achilles heel when it comes to unnecessary spending, but we’ve come a long way from where we used to spend $2,500 a month on food and drinks.
We now land somewhere north of $1,000 and south of $1,500 most months, getting in under $1,000 just once in 2019. I’m really okay spending up to $1,500 a month, but without this goal in mind I know we would continue to creep back up to our old ways.
5. Hit next $100,000 net worth.
This “goal” might backfire on me since it’s not entirely under my control but at the mercy of both the real estate and stock markets. However, we are close enough at this point to hit that next milestone without any gains (and even a small loss) by the end of the year, so I’m putting this goal in. It will be fun to see that next number, but if it doesn’t happen this year, that means we’ve had a pretty big dip. We will not be selling though, so that number will happen eventually. Definitely the upside of no short term retirement goals.
1. Complete a three year clothes buying ban and set parameters in place for beyond.
When I published my goal last year, I didn’t even comprehend I could make it to three years and wanted to plan for “after” the two year mark. Clearly, I haven’t had to think about the after yet, and year three is just over a month away (March 1st).
Amazingly, this ban doesn’t feel like it’s quite at the end yet. I have no expectations as to when it will end at this point, but I’m not there now thanks to hand me downs from so many different people as well as a few key gifts. I couldn’t have lasted so long with just the clothes in my closet, and I’ve been blown away by how much I’ve received by others.
Everyone seems to be attempting to declutter, myself included, and because I’ve been so vocal about this ban and my interest in secondhand clothing, everyone seems to think of me before sending clothing off to the thrift store. Since a lot of that clothing eventually ends up in the landfill or as textile recycling, I’m more than happy to be that in between point.
2. Have a minimum of two internet free days a month.
This goal was inspired by Carbon Free Family on Instagram, who takes a 24 hour break every Saturday, which feels next level to me. Even having two a month is going to be HARD, to which my husband replied it’s apparently time to go camping. He is right though, as being off grid is amazing and refreshing – and also the only way I’ve so far been able to stay offline for a full day. This goal is definitely going to be the hardest one.
ETA: I was inspired by writing this post to get on this goal since I haven’t had an internet free day in January so far, so Sunday (yesterday) became my first one on a whim.
3. Fit in three great workouts a week.
Oh, the irony of finally getting around to writing this post today. I went on a great hour long run yesterday (just like I did the previous weekend, with other workouts in between), but this morning I woke up with excruciating pain in my right heel to the point where I could barely put weight on it.
Thanks to a lot of rest, ibuprofen, ice, and a long massage from a massage therapist friend, it’s feeling *better* but still hurts. I did some googling that had me hoping it isn’t plantar fasciitis because I’m already going stir crazy from sitting around today.
This goal is meant to be three workouts every week that are a minimum of twenty minutes where I sweat most of that time. I’ve been doing an awesome job of this lately with this in mind. I don’t have a weight goal for this year, as this one makes a lot more sense. As long as I haven’t really hurt my foot and can keep on running. Cross your fingers for me.
4. Eat vegetarian or vegan 2/3 of my meals.
I went back and forth a bunch before posting this between making this either 1/2 or 2/3 of my meals. I decided that since I’ve been close to half already, I’m going to push myself here and go for a full two thirds.
The husband and kiddo are big meat eaters, and I don’t expect to ever fully give up meat and dairy, but cutting back makes a big difference to my personal environmental footprint. With that reduction, pretty much all of my meat can be sourced locally and sustainably as well. Time to re-read Bethany’s guest post for inspiration.
5. Read 52 books.
I blew past my goal of 30 books last year (I read 55), but the vast majority of them were fiction. I adore fiction, so that isn’t exactly a bad thing, but I want to make sure I keep things a bit more balanced this year and read a minimum of twelve nonfiction books this year, or one a month (versus the nine I read last year).
I’m only halfway through my first nonfiction book of the year, while I’ve already finished six fiction books, so clearly I need to pay attention here. I do have a number of them on hold now thanks to a ton of recommendations I got on Twitter the other day. I was surprised at how many people were excited about my reading list post, but I loved writing about the books I read and may try and find a way to write more about them.
6. Continue quest of less plastic and closer to zero waste.
Enough said. I’ve definitely continued to push this direction, but it is hard. Really hard. I’m going for progress not perfection, but I feel more pressure here since so many people in the personal finance space look to me as the sustainability person. Ultimately though, that’s a good thing because it doesn’t let me get complacent and feel like I’m doing “enough.”
1. Stay two posts ahead for Monday content.
I’m currently only one Monday post ahead since taking that blogging break over Christmas, but I haven’t let myself lose at least that one. I’m hoping that I will get back to that two post lead time soon. It’s so easy to tell myself I don’t need to blog over a weekend when I already have a post in the queue ready to go, but I’d rather keep them for purposeful skip weekends when I’m busy doing other things.
2. Plan to take another blogging break at the holidays next year.
Taking a couple weeks off from writing was awesome. I’m glad to be back, but it was refreshing to step away during the holidays (and while I was sick, unfortunately). Being two Monday posts ahead is definitely what got me to take that time off, so clearly I need to keep that going.
I will definitely be taking another break around the holidays again this coming year, but I’m considering one for this summer as well. I was concerned that if I took a break I’d lose momentum and find myself taking even more time off, but that wasn’t the case and I’m enjoying being back into my regular writing routine.
3. Grow the Women’s Personal Finance Facebook group to 20,000 members.
I think it was Emily over at Fierbird Finance who threw this out as a possible goal, and it stuck. The group is currently at a few more than 12,000 members, which means it will have to continue to grow quite a bit through the year to get that much bigger.
I’ve gone back and forth between making the group secret and mostly closing it off to new members to protect the wonderful community that it has now, but I also want it to be available for any women who want to learn and share more about their finances. The second inclination is stronger, and so far the group has stayed amazing as it’s grown. I’m hopeful it can continue to be so wonderful while expanding its reach to many new womxn this year. For those of you who are in the group, thank you for making it the most inspiring place on Facebook. I’m so glad you’re there.
4. Continue writing more about sustainability and zero waste.
I feel I did a great job of this in 2019, and I plan to do even more of that in 2020. I love the intersection of sustainability and personal finance, and ecofrugal is definitely my particular niche.
5. Be intentional about any changes to this blog.
Last year, one of my blog goals was to make sure this blog didn’t turn into a business. Thanks to Julie, her insistence over the last few years that income can increase impact, and her Gold City Ventures Blogging Course, I’m less gun shy about the money I make with this blog. I’ve come to realize that there are reason why making more money here could be a good thing, and that doesn’t mean the blog has to be a bigger consumer of my time.
That said, much like Purple, I’m an inherently lazy blogger when it comes to doing anything other than actually writing, so things really haven’t changed here since this time last year. There are changes I would in theory like to make, but they aren’t high enough priority for me to make them happen at this point. No matter what, my goal for my blog is to continue to write openly and honestly, and any changes I someday make will be made with intentionality.
Have you written down any goals for this year? How is it going so far?
46 thoughts on “Money, Life, and Blogging: Goals for 2020”
I love the idea of a digital detox day; maybe I’ll add this to my goal tracker too. I also sent requests to join the Facebook group. Good luck on your goals!
Glad to have you in the group! And the digital detox day is totally refreshing.
we have a goal of more of the same as 2019. i like your workout goal of breaking a sweat. its so much easier than to try and measure a bunch of different metrics.
And then I hurt my foot. Ugh.
Wow! Great goals! You’re clearly much better than I am at being intentional.
I love the focus on giving. Though it may not mean as much for tax purposes anymore, it still matters a whole lot to those who receive it. My wife and I created a line item in our budget called “Servant Giving” years ago and we would put a percentage of our paycheck in there every two weeks. Then as we noticed random needs, we would refer to this pile of money and give as we liked.
I’d venture to say this has brought us more joy than just about anything else we’ve done with our money.
Keep up the great writing! You have an authentic voice that is making a larger difference than you probably realize.
I agree – there are few things that money can buy that are better than sharing and giving to others.
A lot of wonderful goals here! I need to work on many of these, including using less plastic and going internet-free for a few days. I feel ya on the injury! I had plantar fasciitis too and it knocked me out of running for quite awhile. I was on a great 8- or 9-month streak with no traces of injury until about a week ago when I twisted my knee somehow on a run. So now I’m stuck walking and icing and using a knee brace for awhile. I’m hoping it clears up on its own, as it has done in the past when I’ve had similar issues. Hope you are back to full capacity soon!
How long was quite a while…. 😖
Yes on the reading goal! I had the same thought on non-fiction versus fiction reads partway through 2019. It turns out I was at 14/56 non-fiction, so I think that went alright. I usually read 3-4 fiction books and then a non-fiction.
Almost done with the first nonfiction book of the year and it’s the end of January. Ha
Wow! I am so impressed by your willingness to put these out there and be prepared to be accountable. Well done you! I have no such goals for 2020, just adding up all my walking kms last year to reach my 2,109 km in 2019 was such a drag by the end of the year, I said I would never set a target again! I’m clearly way to lazy 🙂
Walking and running are my default, so the step count is pretty natural for me and my preferred way of living.
Like you, one of my goals was to spend less time online, though more of that was to decrease social media time. But I love this idea of just completely shutting off all internet for at least two full days per month. Considering we all managed to exist perfectly fine before the internet, it’s sad to see how much we need to connect ALL THE TIME! I may need to add this goal to my list as well.
I agree that giving includes helping others nearby and not just charities. Giving to those I know and care about matters too.
Good luck with your goals and take care of that injury!!
Definitely easiest to have fully internet free days when camping with no cell service, so doing it without that is a new challenge!
Awesome goals! Your blogging goals are much more impressive than mine. Haha! I was wondering, and maybe it’s somewhere else in your blog, but what do you count towards your savings rate? I was noticing that many individuals count mortgage principal payments, but are you doing that with your 50% goal? Keep up the great work!
I do count my mortgage principal payments, but if you look at one of my monthly financial updates, I have the percentage split out both ways.
Thanks, I will check it out 🙂
Oh, I am so so sorry to hear about your foot. Take some advice from me here, if it lingers more than a few weeks or a month, go to the doctor. Don’t let 11 months go by (like I did) and end up in a walking boot of shame. (you know, kinda like the dog’s cone of shame). One takeaway I have is that I’m not going to wait to get new walking/running shoes just for the sake of being more environmentally conscious or frugal. I’m currently driving more places than I was previously and feel like my carbon footprint would be much lower even if I were buying new shoes twice as frequently!
I’m excited to hear how your reading comes along and how you like the non-fiction recommendation I gave you. I’m the opposite, love non-fiction, but neglect the fiction. I did recently read The Hate U Give (I was stoked to see that was on your list) and my daughter read it and we have had some really interesting discussions based on the story.
11 months! Yeah… that does sound like something I would do though. Whoops.
Just in time for Happy Lunar New Year! 😉
I didn’t see that “9 years ago” note at first and thought YOU GOT A PUPPY THIS YEAR???
Thanks so much for the mention of our giving drives!
I wasn’t setting any new goals this year, my life and financial desires are basically the same, so I’ll do the same thing as last year: strive for balance while also trying to invest as much as we can. I didn’t hit my investment goal (contributions only) last year because it took a while for my last contribution to happen so the difference got rolled over to this year.
But I find that taking the pressure off has let me relax and think of a couple goals I’d like to accomplish this year.
The husband was TOTALLY talking the other night about a new puppy…
A lot of great goals on there and you probably know by now I will be tough on you to help you reach those goals. I enjoy having a circle of friends that keeps me accountable rather than weakly enable me to make bad choices. So with that being said, Cheers to a kick ass 2020 !
I so appreciate your positive pressure to get me to achieve my goals!
I’m glad the blog is helping you achieve your goals & stay accountable, friend. I like the balance of the goals, and that there are not too many: I think you’re upping your chances there.
Best of luck this year!
Yeah, I purposefully trimmed the number back from last year.
Great goals. I love that they are well rounded and balanced. I have many similar goals on my list for this year too. Heres to a happy and prosperous 2020:)
Have you published a goals post too? I should go read it!
They are great goals – balancing blogging, finances, and life. 2020 is going to be a great year with lots of milestones for sure!
I’m currently reading a book about a zero waste lifestyle, it’s super interesting and I’m learning so much! We’ll recycling as much as we possibly can in the mean time. I don’t aspire to be 100% zero waste, but I believe any tiny bit of adjustment can make a difference in this world.
Okay, now I’m curious. Which book?
It’s called “Het Zero Waste Project”, it’s in Dutch unfortunately. The book is about two Dutch sisters describing their journey to zero waste and putting down tips throughout the book. It really got me motivated!
Darn. Maybe it will be translated someday!
I am not a runner but I have experienced pain in my foot in the past few months. I was beginning to think it might be plantar fasciitis but after going to a chiropractor because I felt like something wasn’t quite aligned I realized I probably had a pinched nerve in my back even though I wasn’t experiencing pain in my back. The pain in my hip and in my foot were gone after an adjustment. I enjoy following along on your journey of goals. I am inspired by your dedication and sharing your reality. I hope you feel better soon.
Oh how strange! Bodies can be weird, can’t they?
Balance and contentment are excellent goals to have.
Also love the giving goal — this has also been on my mind lately. Last year, I did a combination of intentional giving (primarily to my church) along with spreading out money to a few different places. And that was good, but I like the idea of taking some time to research and choose a few places to focus on!
On the foot pain…as someone who just got out of a NASTY plantar fasciitis flare, I will definitely be crossing my fingers and toes and everything that will cross for you. Plantar fasciitis SUCKS. So, so much. That said, maybe you already do this, but I found not going barefoot around the house to be super helpful. Needless to say, I learned my lesson about wearing shoes into the ground…
I prefer to go barefoot, but I’ve been keeping my shoes on this past week. Hoping that won’t impact my barefoot outside summertime this year…
Hopefully it helped. I generally prefer to be barefoot, too, which has made wearing shoes basically all the time kind of sad (although it is starting to get better, which is nice).
(also this is several days late. My immune system’s new winter tradition is to freak out every February. It’s not ideal haha)
I’m just hopeful I’m 100% healed by the time it’s warm enough to be barefoot out in the garden.
Nice goals! I too need to write about mine soon… 😅 is love to get to the point where I’m a couple posts ahead of schedule… or heck even just getting back to blogging weekly! It’s been a struggle over here but hoping to get back on track soon. Seeing those $100K increments are always awesome and worth celebrating, I hope you have something nice in store!!
We’ve actually never celebrated a net worth milestone… perhaps we should.
Wow. I can’t believe the clothing ban is almost 3 years old. That’s crazy to think about truly. I love that it’s become a you thing and in a small way it’s helping our planet.
Right?? It has totally become my “thing” and I love it.
Yes on being balance and content. Sometimes when you plan to save a certain amount and the result is lower you can’t really do anything about it other than trying to push yourself to get there next time. It can be a blessing in disguise to motivate yourself on saving a higher amount down the line.
Really love your goals especially your clothing ban. Really impressed that it’s going to be three years and hopefully beyond. Keep at it.
I wish I could read that many books a year, really great and productive of you. I’m just aiming at five this year but hoping for more.
That’s a great idea of being off the internet a few times a month. So many of us are on there everyday and taking a break from it can make us refocus on things and not rely on it so much. I may try it myself.
Thanks for sharing these goals, Angela!! Makes me want to add some more goals for 2020!!
I don’t watch almost any television, so books are my relax time. I read really fast too, so I can finish books faster than most.