At the beginning of this year Erin and I made 18 goals for 2018. These weren’t resolutions, but rather actionable goals for what we wanted to achieve this year. In July, I provided a mid-year update that showed significant progress towards achieving them. Since then, how have we done? What did we accomplish and what did we decide to not do? Will we do this again for 2019?
18 Goals For 2018
Before we get into the goals I want to give you some background on why we did this.
My wife, Erin, frequently listens to the Gretchen Rubin podcast Happier which we fully recommend. At the end of 2017 she suggested people write an ‘18 for 2018’ list. We loved the idea and made one for ourselves. At the time, we came up with 17 goals and left a blank which we filled in a few months later.
While these goals might seem to only be about us, I want you to think about your goals previously set and review them yourselves. Also, think about goals that you can set in 2019.
Without any more hesitation, here are the results of our 18 for 2018.
1. Take steps to have a garage sale
For the longest time Erin and I talked about having a garage sale and we finally did. I am not sure why our goal was to only “take steps” to a garage sale but the organization is a big part of it.
We made nearly $100 that day. Not life changing but it was good to get rid of a lot of crap.
I think I made a mistake though by not taking the rest of the stuff to Goodwill. I got a bit stingy and said we will have another garage sale in October to sell the rest of our stuff but that never happened.
While it is possible, I doubt we will do it in 2019 but you never know. I am sure we will get annoyed with having this stuff around so eventually we will do another one.
What did we do with the $100?
We put it in a Roth IRA which contributed to goal #5.
2. Make $750 on eBay
At the end of 2017 we started to sell stuff on eBay. This included items we had around the house as well as other items passed down from family. We set a goal to sell $100 worth of stuff in December 2017 and hit $96. So close!
Well, we wanted to do a similar goal for 2018 and didn’t know what number to set it at. For some reason we established it at $750 which seemed easy yet challenging at the same time since we were selling stuff ranging from $2 to $100. It would involve more long-term success to achieve that goal.
For the first quarter of the year we hit eBay pretty hard. Then we started coasting with it and just kept relisting items that hadn’t sold. We added a few items this fall but have been really hands off with it except for when an item sold.
For a while I was all about retail arbitrage and finding and buying items significantly less than you can sell them for. We made a few hundred bucks from it, but it is not a business model I want to deal with long-term.
I highly doubt we will have an eBay goal for 2019. The money was helpful though and we learned some lessons from it that I am glad we have.
We also exceeded the goal pretty well and we still have items listed and ready to sell so we will keep going. It will just be in the background.
Status: Complete! We made $1,044.95 profit!
3. Potty train our oldest son
Our oldest son turned 3 this year and started preschool. Typically, to go to preschool you need to be potty trained. Fortunately, he was able to qualify for free preschool in a state sponsored program helping kids with speech delays. His birthday is in August, so he started a few days before he turned 3 and was not potty trained.
In September though, Erin started to work with him and he is mostly there at this point. We aren’t over the full hump yet but close.
I don’t think he is far off from a typical 3-year-old boy but it will be nice once we are fully over this. Saving money on pull ups would be nice.
No pictures for this goal……
Status: Mostly complete
4. Erin achieve goal weight
This is a tough to truly ever complete. The older you get and having kids will take a toll on your body (and mental energy) but Erin has really worked hard over 2018 to be healthier and lose weight.
I honestly don’t know what her goal was and if she made it at all, but I will let her tell me when she wants.
It is fair to say that I should work with her better to help her achieve her goals and to learn some stuff from her along the way for my benefit.
I think she is doing great and I think 2019 has some bright things ahead for her.
Status: In progress
5. Save $25,000
Coming into the year we set an aggressive goal of saving $25,000. Honestly, I didn’t think it was possible when looking at our monthly budget at the time. The numbers weren’t quite adding up and it would require us to find some more income.
In 2017, Erin quit her job to stay at home with the kids. That was one of the main motivators for why we wanted to be out of debt in the first place but with it comes a lower income. In fact, our income basically dropped in half when she quit, and this was our first full year living off only my income.
Our new income was lower than it ever was while paying off debt or working towards other savings goals. Therefore, to have a savings goal of $25,000 it would take some effort.
Throughout the entire year we tried different side hustles which helped although there was a good amount of expenses related to them.
Did we make it?
As of writing this we just surpassed the $25,000 mark! A $762 deposit into my 401K from my paycheck put us over the edge. We aren’t done though and below you will see where we ended up.
How did we do it?
The big move was to max out the 401K. To do so we had to plan from the beginning of the year to do it. If you are going to put $18,500 in your 401K, you need to average $711 withdrawn from each paycheck if you have 26 pay periods.
First off, we had to budget to verify it was possible to take $711 from each paycheck. Then I needed to actually update the contribution amount and not just pay lip service to it.
To make up the rest, we needed to hustle. As you can see in our other goals here, we sold stuff and started an Etsy shop. Any other extra money that popped up throughout the year went straight towards savings.
The cool part of this is that at my job I get a $1,500 employer match on the 401K so if you factor that in, $20,000 was deposited into my account this year. The $1,500 is not factored into this goal though so the number below is purely from what we contributed.
The rest of the money went into a Roth IRA in Erin’s name and we put a few thousand into an emergency fund.
By having this goal in place, we had a purpose for what to do with extra money or earnings. If we didn’t have this goal in place, we surely wouldn’t have saved nearly as much.
So, what did we end up saving?
We saved $29,428.80. Woohoo! Totally unexpected a year ago.
This savings thermometer is also available on our Etsy shop.
6. Go on at least 6 dates
I know this sounds easy, but it is a big deal with two kids under 3. It is just so tough to get time alone as a couple.
When I did the mid-year update we had only gone on two dates. Since then, we focused on getting more time together and we made it happen. We had some pretty cool dates including going to see Smashing Pumpkins twice!
One of those times was during a quick trip to Vegas so that was pretty cool. We also went to Disney World together when we were in Orlando for FinCon. A couple times we just went out using good coupons for free meals too, so we had a variety of experiences.
The second half of the year was much better for us in this respect and honestly, I think it has helped us get more on the same page too. Between work, kids and the side hustles things can get out of whack and our priorities don’t put each other first at times.
Plus, this time together is nice because we can reflect on how things are going. This really is something to continue in 2019.
7. Make French macaroons
This was one of Erin’s goals. She completed it earlier this year and doesn’t really have a desire to try again any time soon though.
I had no clue what these were, but I do now. She loves to bake and had wanted to make macaroons so why not make it a goal?
The first time she made them they were amazing! The next couple times weren’t quite as good but every time we see a macaroon we know that Erin made them and dominated at least once.
Here is a photo of Erin’s work!
8. Hang pictures
This was the first goal that we completed in 2018 and I am so glad I got it out of the way when I did. The thought of doing it now it overwhelming.
We moved into our house over 2 years ago. For over a year we had lots of bare walls and multiple pictures that we needed to hang. Due to being overwhelmed I just didn’t make them a priority but it was time to make the happen.
It was a lot of work, but I hung 11 prints and 2 shelves in one weekend. Boy did that make a difference! The house felt so good and every day I come home the first thing I see is this Ellsworth Kelly print.
I love modern art and while they aren’t originals, each day I see these prints my life is enhanced.
9. Paint cabinet in second bathroom
This is the first goal that we decided not to do on our list.
Around August or September, I felt too busy and made an executive decision to scrap this goal. Even though it would only have taken a weekend I prioritized the blog over it.
I don’t intend to make it a goal in 2019 either but maybe in 2020. We’ll see…..
In the meantime, the cabinet is fine as is and painting it white (it is currently a light green) will help, but won’t change things drastically.
Status: Not Completed
10. Design future house renovation
The next item I decided to scrap. This would have been a much bigger commitment.
With Etsy and the blog, I just didn’t have the time to focus on this goal. My priorities changed throughout the year and I decided to put more effort into the blog.
We would love to renovate our house down the road, but nothing is imminent, so I figure I should focus on the side hustles now so that we have money to pay cash for a renovation.
Architecture and design is a passion of mine, so this will be a bigger goal in the future, but I have put it on the backburner for now.
Status: Not Completed
11. Go on at least 3 hikes
I recently wrote about a hike we took almost 7 years ago that was pivotal to our debt payoff. That really made hiking special for Erin and me. With kids though, it is tough to do, and we still haven’t completed the goal yet.
Something I love about living in Arizona is the ability to go hiking. Being able to just walk and talk about things is a lot of fun and renewing.
So far, we have completed 2 hikes but expect to get one in before the end of the year with my time off from work.
Here is a pic from an earlier hike.
Status: In progress….will we hit it?
12. Get passports for the whole family
Erin and I both have expired passports. While we don’t have any plans to travel overseas anytime soon, or even to Mexico or Canada, it seems like something you would want to have in place if something popped up.
This summer, Erin started the paper work and we saw how expensive they were, so we stopped. That was the extent of that. With our big savings goal and no imminent trip, we decided to scrap this goal. We didn’t think they would cost as much as they did.
For an adult it costs $175 each and $130 for children. As a family, if we all got one, it would cost $610. Even if we didn’t get the kids one it would cost Erin and I $350 combined.
When we do decide to go abroad we will obviously have to get them and will need to factor in the cost into the trip.
Status: Not Complete and no plan to complete any time soon.
13. Visit all Phoenix Public Libraries
The local library system is a great resource throughout the year, especially with kids in the summer.
It has lots of activities for kids as well as great architecture. Some of the best library architecture in the country is here in Phoenix.
Sometimes you never know what is in your backyard unless you look. Erin thought it would be fun to see each one so she made it a goal. She made great progress for the first half of the year, and while she went to the library often, certain ones she decided she didn’t want to go to because of distance her schedule.
There are 17 local branches of our library system. She ended up doing 10 of the 17 and for the most part excluded the others. Also, she did visit 4 of the 6 Scottsdale libraries as well even though that wasn’t part of the goal.
Status: 10 of 17 visited
14. Reach Blog Goals
I had many blogging goals this year, but here are some specific ones. Overall, I made a lot of progress with this blog, but my work is far from done and I think there is a lot of potential if I apply myself the way I know I can which is my biggest barrier.
1. Monetize Blog
I put a lot of time into this blog. The time I put into it could be spent elsewhere making money or having fun, but it is something that I am passionate about.
When I started the blog, I had no intention to monetize it, but after seeing how much time and money a blog can take, I wanted to take steps to monetize it.
I dabbled with Affiliate links and made some money, but I have pretty much done the bare minimum. Next year is where I need to take big action and make this a legit reality.
With that said, I would consider this portion of the goal complete but if I don’t do more work on this I am missing the point of it at all.
2. Go to FinCon
I am proud to say that Erin and I went to FinCon this September. It was our first time and honestly, it felt life changing, but it also brought some serious burnout after the trip. With that said though, we bought our tickets for the 2019 FinCon and can’t wait for it.
It is hard to put into words how amazing it was. I did write a post that described our experience there and what the community has meant to us this year in achieving a lot of these goals. I also included a photo bomb of Rachel Cruze so check it out.
Additionally, since it was in Orlando this year, we went to Disney World for the first time ever. We spent one day there, but went to all 4 parks and did almost everything you could. We had a blast and now have a new interest in visiting the parks that we didn’t have before. I was even on the Report the Magic podcast to share our Disney World experience. Check it out!
3. Get on Pinterest
I finally did it and went to the dark side. I opened a Pinterest account and started making pins. The idea was to increase traffic to the blog and it has done just that.
Check out the Debt Free Happens Pinterest account and be sure to follow it.
4. Write a Guest Post
To expand my audience on the blog, I set a goal to start writing guest posts. The goal was to just start so we set the amount to one. Honestly, it was a bit underachieving, but it is better than nothing.
Well, I wrote 2 guest posts this year, so you can say I doubled my results. Ha! While I wish I had done more than 2 guest posts, it is a good launching point for me to do more in 2019.
What did I write?
How To Start An Etsy Shop on the High Five Dad blog
Check them out!
15. Visit 3 new places in Arizona
Just like the libraries, there were different places in Arizona we had always talked about going but never had. While 3 may not seem like a lot, when you factor in everything else we are trying to do, it is understandable. That, and it all adds up so if every 4 months you go to a new place, a few years down the road you will have done a lot.
1. Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Multiple times we have driven by the Boyce Thompson arboretum not thinking much of it. After getting lots of recommendations to go we finally made it happen in March. It was beautiful and we hope to go again when the boys are older so we can cover more ground.
It just so happened to have cheaper admission that day too since it was a Federal holiday. Yay!
2. Tucson A&W
This is kind of a funny one, but after randomly going to an A&W fast food stop along the Oregon coast we wanted to go again. The root beer was amazing and they served it in a cold mug!
Well, on a daytrip down to Tucson we found an A&W along the way. It sucked. It was the exact opposite of the one along the Oregon coast. No root beer in a cold mug.
We did it though, so we can cross it off the list. I think this was an anomaly though as it was a completely different set up than most. If we find one like we went to in Oregon, we will do that again, but not this one.
3. Deer Valley Rock Art Center
The Deer Valley Rock Art Center is a petroglyph preserve in north Phoenix. The visitor center was designed by noted architect Will Bruder, so it was important to see not only for the history, but also for the building.
It was a great experience and fun to dissect the Architecture. We definitely will take the kids again in the future, but all the signs of rattle snake crossings sure do make me nervous. They were here first I guess….
16. Erin to read at least 1 fiction book
Reading is something that we have worked to prioritize. While I have been focusing on personal development type books, she wanted to read a fiction book for fun.
To achieve this, Erin joined a local book club through Facebook. That kept her accountable and she read a fiction book.
I can’t even remember what she read but she did enjoy it. I don’t think she is too interested in reading more fiction in the near future though.
The fun part is that she made some friends with others in the group so it has turned out to be a positive thing.
17. Make all wedding shower recipes
Here is an example of a goal I completely forgot about until writing this post. Guess I should read this list more closely throughout the year!
For Erin’s wedding shower she received a recipe box with recipes from each attendee of the shower. What a fun gift!
Like most things, it got pushed to the side and we never touched it. Erin found it last year and started making some recipes. It looks like there is lots of good stuff in there but most of it is still unrealized.
Honestly, we neglected it and only made a few. What we did make was great though. The most recent recipe was for Crème Brulee which was delicious. She also made a pineapple cake that turned out great too. Yummy!
Despite not making most of them, I think we will keep working towards it though, even if not a formal goal.
Status: Made 5 of 29. (Cue sad trombone noise)
18. Start 3 more side hustles
Thank you for making it this far.
Our last goal was to start 3 new side hustles. At the time, the blog and selling on eBay was all we had but I was interested in starting more in hopes that 1 or 2 would emerge as a legit income source.
The first side hustle we added was selling on Amazon. We did make a few hundred dollars and plan to sell more items on there in the future, but it will be a small part of what we do.
Then, I started Modern Printable Shop on Etsy. This has been by far my biggest success of any side hustle. We just surpassed $3,000 in gross revenue selling items priced between $2 – $10. It is also pretty darn passive, as I haven’t added any items since June. There is some customer service that I have to do sometimes, but it has opened my eyes to the type of side hustle that we want to pursue. Passive income is king!
The reason we like selling digital downloads is that selling physical items and shipping right away doesn’t give us the freedom we hope to have someday but it is fine for now. Also, having to store physical items gets old too.
With that said, our third side hustle was another Etsy shop, but it wasn’t for digital products like Modern Printable Shop. Nope, Erin started Ink Stained Life Shop with her Mom selling her Mom’s paintings and cards. Each item is unique and seriously amazing. Her Mom is very talented!
If it wasn’t for her Mom already making these items, we wouldn’t have gone this route, but it made a lot of sense and we really believe that these are high quality items. We have learned though that there is a ton of competition in this area whereas it has been easier for me to break through.
We did sell a couple paintings though which was awesome, and in the meantime, we have some extra art floating around the house.
In all honesty though, I can’t believe what we have done in a year with side hustles. There was no crazy breakthrough, but I have never considered myself a side hustle person. All I have to say is don’t limit yourself. It has opened my eyes to a lot and I think the future is bright for us.
That was exhausting! No wonder we are always tired.
By the way, if you think everything goes perfect for us, it doesn’t. This picture is a better representation of how we usually feel rather than the one at the top of this post. Things aren’t always what they appear to be.
Nice watch Santa!
With that said, I am so thankful though that we made those goals. Even for the few we didn’t do, we were forced to make decisions about what was important to us to focus on.
Even if we could have done more, we are really proud of what we have done. We know that if we hadn’t set these goals that a lot of these wouldn’t have happened. Some certainly would have, but not sure we would have saved over $29K if we weren’t aiming for $25K.
If it wasn’t for that goal, we wouldn’t have needed to do the side hustles which we were largely inexperienced with. See how that can snowball into something bigger?
We are super excited for 2019 and you can bet we will have a 19 for 2019.
I highly encourage you to join along with us and make your own 19 for 2019. It is all about giving you something to work towards and do what you value. If you do it though, make a good faith effort to do them, and I guarantee you will be very happy with your progress one year from now.
How did you do with your goals this year?