Here’s that post I promised you yesterday!
Let’s talk about goals for the year. Everyone has their own resolutions for the year. I’m over here trying to figure out how to travle the world!
A couple goals for the blog this year, not very different from last year’s!
One: continue posting once a week. Like I mentioned yesterday, I met this goal in every month of 2016 besides August. Must have just been busy that month, who knows. I’ll keep the once/week posting in 2017!
Two: (this one’s new) post at least once a month on personal finance. One of the founding reasons for this blog was the personal finance blogosphere I discovered a few years back. Since then, I’ve definitely moved more and more towards being a travel blog, but personal finance is still something I spend a lot of time and energy on. My friends have often mentioned that I’m…err…passionate on the subject. In honor of that, and of my own personal finance goals, I’m going to start posting more on the subject. Don’t worry nothing too heavy, but just some tips on how to make your money work for you. Or at least, how I like to put my money to work. I’m no expert, so it will just by my personal experiences and decisions. Expect a post on buying my car soon, and another on reducing my expenses if I feel motivated!
Three: (and this is a tricky one) continue month over month viewer increases on The Financial Hippie! So, this isn’t something that I can just “do” or “not do.” It’s kind of up to a variety of things, and I’ve narrowed down a few of them. I figure I’ll need to continue posting useful/thoughtful/helpful/interesting content. I’ll have to start poking around more and commenting on other blogs (should be fun!). I’m also going to start mentioning my blog to other folks in person. Up until now, only a handful of people know about this. A few friends, my brother, and anyone that happens to ask why I’m furiously hammering away at the keyboard during lunch breaks! If I can continue on this upward trend through at least June of 2017, that will be an entire year of increasing monthly views!
If you’re reading this, feel free to drop by the site more often, or even send a link to a friend! I’ll definitely need everyone’s help for this goal. Here’s hoping!
And now, the fun ones! As I mentioned in my post yesterday – I want to visit one new country, and visit distant family for a week or so, each and every year. Last year, we flew down to Florida (pre-Companion Pass), to spend some time with family from the Orlando area, as well as family from South Dakota that met us there. That trip was actually the deciding factor in creating this goal! We had so much fun, and I realized how much I enjoyed reconnecting with family, I decided to make it an annual occurrence. This year, we’re planning a trip out to South Dakota to visit those same family members at home, probably in June or August. I happen to have family spread out throughout the US, and a few that I can visit internationally, so I have plenty of places to go!
Having traveled to Peru in 2015, I knew I had to keep seeing more of the world. This year, I got to take a few small side trips as well as that visit to Orlando. The big one though, was Mexico! We spent 9 days exploring Valladolid, Tulum, Cancun, and everything in between! It was my son’s first international trip as well, which made it even more exciting for me (and I hope for him too).
This year, I’m going to actually try to put two stamps in my passport. We’re in the very loose planning stages of a trip to Costa Rica in April, but it will only be a few days. Not quite as long as I’d like to go, so why not explore somewhere else while we’re at it! The kiddo is itching to Niagara Falls, so I’m toying with the idea of a Companion Pass enabled trip to Buffalo, and then renting a car. Maybe in the fall?
Miles and Points
This year, I’d like to actually use some of those miles I keep earning! I know I’ll be using up most of my Rapid Rewards this year, to get the most value out of them while I still have the Companion Pass. We’re in the very loose planning stages of a few days in Costa Rica in April! Southwest BOS-BWI-SJO, and then we’ll doing Southwest BOS-DEN this summer of course. I’m trying to escape for a few days in the fall too, maybe to one of Southwest’s other international destinations.
I’m saving some United MileagePlus miles and American Airlines AAdvantage miles for trips in the next few years. Most likely American (or Alaska Mileage Plan miles) to get us to New Zealand, and the MileagePlus bank will be used for Lufthansa to Germany or Austria. Both of these trips would actually be to see family, so I get to cross off a new country and visiting family in one trip!
I mentioned it briefly yesterday, but my biggest challenge for 2017 is sticking to my budgets. Actually looking at my money for the month, and formally choosing to spend or not to spend, based on what I have left.
I’m also participating in a January frugality challenge! This should serve to push my limits and start me on the right path for this year. Other than that, I’ll just keep plugging away at my finances. I’m shooting for a 40%+ savings rate for 2017, including a maxed out IRA contribution. I’m switching jobs in February, and the new company has a better 401k match option, so that should help too!
I won’t go into a ton of detail here, but every year, there are a few things I try to knock off my list. I’m keeping all the same goals for 2017, so here all of them, including those that I mentioned above:
- See one new country every year
- Visit (geographically) distant family at each year, preferably for a week or longer.
- Volunteer for a week. This is a little loose – 5 days, 7 days, 40 hours, etc. My goal is simply to get out there and do more.
- 30-40% savings rate, with a “sub-goal” of meeting my tIRA/rIRA contribution limit. Over 40% stretch goal!
- Read 10 books this year.
I’ll probably add a few more yearly goals as a reevaluate everything, and I’ll be sure to put a little more effort into volunteer work in 2017, since I didn’t meet my goal for 2016.
My 2017 summed up in 1,200 words, wish me luck. I hope your 2017 brings you to a few new places too!