WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

What are your financial goals for 2014?

Posted January 2, 2014

Time to calculate those savings!


Do you have any specific financial goals for the new year? Here are the financial goals for our family and some tips for setting financial goals so you actually stick to them!

For 2014 we have 4 main financial goals for our family:

1. Pay off our rental home.  By October of 2014, we expect to pay off the home that we first bought and lived in when we moved to Johnston County.  We now rent it out and have 9 more payments to go on it.  Once that house is paid off, the rent payments will go towards paying off the home we currently live in that we purchased 2 years ago.

2. Continue to fund our retirement accounts. Since both my husband and I own our businesses, we do not have a company sponsored 401(k) match to help increase our savings so it's up to us to do all the saving each month.

3. Continue to save a specific amount for our kid's college education each month. Our oldest child starts college in 3.5 years. Seriously, how can that be? It seems like just yesterday that she was coming home from the hospital a couple days before Hurricane Floyd!  Most financial gurus say to save for your retirement first and then for the kid's college. We do both but we fund our retirement first.

4. Keep our groceries and non-food essentials budget at $80 per week for our family of four. This includes food, paper products like bath tissue and paper towels, bath and beauty items, etc. Basically, the stuff you buy at the grocery stores and drug stores are included in this category.

Our broader financial goal is to continue to live within our means. This involves sticking to a budget, not incurring any debt, keeping up the emergency fund, and paying off the credit card every month so there are no fees. We use our no-fee credit card for most purchases so we have a clear idea of where the money is going.  We also earn gift cards for grocery stores and drug stores by cashing in reward points. We are disciplined when it comes to using the card so it's a good option for us. For those who tend to overspend when they use credit, this is not the best option.

What are your financial goals for 2014?

Tips and resources for setting financial goals:

* Use a Financial Goals Worksheet like the one found on About.com. Here you will list your short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. This worksheet will help you determine how much you need to save each week/month in order to meet your financial goals by the specified period of time.

* List your goals on the worksheet. Make sure you work with your spouse to set the goals so you are both on the same page when it comes to spending and saving.

* Determine how much you will need to set aside each week to reach each goal in a specific amount of time.

* Amend your household budget to include the amounts for the goals.

* Post your goals in an easy to see location to keep you motivated and on track.

* Review your goals on a monthly or quarterly bases to make sure you are still on track.  If you find that you are not meeting some of your goals, you may need to change your spending habits or amend the worksheet. Life happens and sometimes you may not reach a goal when planned. The key is keep working towards the goal and never give up.

In the coming weeks, we will be chatting about budgeting and debt here on the blog. Between setting financial benchmarks and working on a budget, you will have a great start towards becoming debt free and reaching your goals!


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  • ncveteranswife Jan 3, 2014

    Our financial goals are to pay off two small debts & to save more this year. We will try to reduce our weekly grocery expense as well. We hope to be more frugal this year and live on my husband's income and save my income from my three part-time jobs. We will also help out our 23 year old son more this year (he has landed a great job, but does not make that much, but is gaining experience), so we will send money his way occasionally and lastly, I also hope to land a full-time job after finishing nursing school later this year.

  • jdouglas13 Jan 2, 2014

    Financial goals... a bit of a sensitive subject for DW and me. Between the recession in 2008 and poor financial planning on our part, we lost pretty much everything we had including our jobs, our home, our belongings, credit rating, and savings. DW has been disabled for about 10 years, I became permanently disabled in an accident in 2010, and we are now retired and living solely on social security. Consider my story a cautionary tale. You don't ever want to be living only on social security if you can help it.

    So, I guess our goal is to continue to live as frugally as we can, and be in a position to be able to deal with unexpected expenses as they occur.

    I'm looking forward to future posts on this topic and all the tips I can get!

  • cjnes199642 Jan 2, 2014

    My financial goal is to find a permanent job so I can also get back on my feet and pay off my debt. The unemployment was helping but that was cut off on July 1. The coupons have helped us stock up on food and non-food items without going into further debt. I have managed to cut the grocery bill down to $150.00-$160.00 a month for a family of 3 which includes food and non-food items.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jan 2, 2014

    Thanks to all of you for sharing your goals.

    Way to go, amysdc!! You are rocking that grocery budget!

    meredith88 - so good to see you are both employed and working so diligently on your debt. You will feel AMAZING when it is gone! And you'll feel pretty darn good each month this year when you see that debt decreasing each time you pay the bills!

    DianeNC - I hope you are able to find full time work very very soon!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jan 2, 2014

    ncbeachbound2 - my condolences on the loss of your husband. I hope you are able to go on a wonderful trip with your dad and sister this year.

    Here is an article on financial steps to take when your spouse passes away. Many of these steps you have already gone through but the last half of the checklist may be helpful for long term financial planning.


  • amysdc Jan 2, 2014

    Faye, Thank you so much for everything you do. I have learned so much in the last 6 months. In June, before I started following this blog, I was spending probably $175-$200 on groceries for a family of 4 (and this was me trying to be cheap, buying only what I needed and only store brand items). I've been able to knock my spending down to $100/week... and have more food in the house than I could before (of name brand stuff!). My New Years goal is to cut it to $80/week. Thank you for all you have done and do to help me with my goals!!!

  • ncbeachbound2 Jan 2, 2014

    My goal is figuring out how to live off one income. I lost my husband to cancer in September. His life insurance has gotten me completely out of debt. So as I adjust to going on without him, I also have to go on without his income. I really want to put has much savings as I can into retirement and with any luck a vacation trip later in the year with my dad and sister.

  • meredith88 Jan 2, 2014

    Our main financial goal for 2014 is to pay off half of our debt! We don't have a mortgage so the debt is limited to credit cards and car loans. Very little of the debt was accrued from reckless spending. My husband worked for a family business for many years that didn't pay him so he lived off his credit cards. When he became unemployed he lived off my credit cards for 6 months. We both now have one full time job and one part time job each. Living off our credit cards was certainly better than being homeless but now that we both have good jobs our main focus is to get out of debt as fast as possible and never go back! Smaller goals that support our main goal are sticking to our $140/month grocery budget, no eating out except on gift cards, putting money into savings every week (in case we ever find ourselves both unemployed again), etc. I love this blog and how much it helps us to cut our spending in some areas of life so we can put all our resources into a happier debt-free life!

  • DianeNC Jan 2, 2014

    My financial goal for this year is the same as it was last year - find a permanent job so I can finally get back on my feet financially (and finally be able to actually set some financial goals.)