I have never been good at setting goals. I used to be one of those people who would get a lightbulb moment and be like “Ah, what a great idea, I have got to do it!”. I have never written down any of my goals, let alone tracked my progress. I also don’t think I have ever set a time limit to complete my financial goals by (becoming debt free has to be the first one). Somehow, though, I managed to accomplish most of my past goals despite being fairly disorganised at goal setting.
I have come to realise that I want to be better organised and more efficient at reaching my goals on time. This is why I came up with a list of personal and financial goals for 2014 which you can see below. I want more structure and discipline. My goals are realistic as I think it is important they are – I don’t want major disappointments which could potentially discourage me from achieving my goals. I will be reviewing my progress (and adjusting my goals accordingly if needed) every 3 or 4 months which seems to be a reasonable time frame.
Okay, here is a list of my goals for 2014, both financial and personal –
- reduce my living expenses to 50% of my basic take home pay and allocate another 50% to debt repayment (I currently live off 57% of my basic take home pay and allocate 43% to debt repayment)
- save any bonus or commission that I earn (payable on top of my basic salary and at the discretion of my employer) as well as any extra income that I manage to generate (i.e., selling unwanted items). These savings will be equally divided between my travel and emergency funds.
- pay off at least £6,000 in principal debt and reduce an interest rate as much as possible (an interest rate on my personal loan is 15.9% APR and I am looking to get it reviewed in March 2014). However, it would be great to pay off ALL my debt by the end of December 2014 and become debt free!
- increase my basic income by at least 8% (promotion? salary review?)
- join my company’s pension scheme and get my pension contributions matched (I have been postponing this one for a number of reasons, but I feel like I want to start a private pension fairly soon).
- keep track of my spending on a monthly basis and aim to have at least 8 no spend days each month
- spend no more than £1250 a year on groceries and £550 a year on entertainment (excluding travel).
- continue transferring £50 a month to my Grandma but aim towards £100 a month (perhaps when I get a salary increase?).
- travel to at least 5 countries I have not been to yet. Plan two more trips (one in May and one in August/September).
- declutter completely – sell or donate items that are no longer required. Do not buy any new things or items of clothing unless absolutely necessary.
- brown bag my lunch to work at least 4 days a week. It will be nice to occasionally (once in two weeks?) have lunch with my colleagues (spend no more than £5 on lunch out).
- eat healthily and exercise regularly – jogging or a DVD workout at least 3 times a week. Maintain my weight of 58 kg (9.1 st) which I consider to be my healthy weight (I’m 171 cm tall in case you’re wondering).
- continue cooking at home from scratch and learn one new recipe every month.
- continue reading personal finance books and aim to read at least 2 every month.
- keep positive, hopeful and grateful. Do not stress over and worry about things outside of my control (something that is not always easy for me).
This is it – the best I could do! Not too bad for a beginner in goal setting like me, don’t you think? 😉