Q1 2017 is my first quarterly* review of financial goals!

Q1 2017 Financial Goals Review

* and by ‘quarterly’ read ‘4 months’!

I knew I wasn’t going to provide monthly financial goals and updates this year, after finding it too demanding last year. It worked well as I kick-started the process of tackling my finances, but once the tasks in hand progressed beyond the simple, quick fixes, I found the monthly goal-setting counter-productive. Writing ‘not completed’ month after month is not motivating, and not interesting either! Having blogged less this year, and having had a second light-bulb moment, this time about what I actually want from blogging, I’m feeling enthused again. I’ve decided to commit to quarterly goal-setting and updates this year, and suspect that this might suit me much better. This first one is a bit late admittedly, but I only just decided, and it’s better late than never! So, what were my intentions at the start of this year?

Goals I had for the year

  1. Improve my budgeting
  2. Open new savings accounts for short- / medium-term goals
  3. Get the cat-sitting business off the ground, and work on a few other business ideas I have
  4. Work out how much extra I need to earn so I can start making progress towards my early retirement goal

They were a bit vague, and I haven’t looked at # 2 or # 4 but, drum-roll please….

…I’ve done # 3! More on that in a moment, after a quick update on # 1.

# 1. Improve my budgeting

It wasn’t quite working for me, and it’s still not, as I’m not inclined to sit down each month and check my bank account, and I don’t feel organised. However, after putting it off for months, I did finally sit down and review exactly what I’ve spent and on what. I looked at my entire 2016 spending, by category (supermarket, gifts, toiletries etc). I’m going to pat myself on the back as I have all the information I need from my spending tracker app, it’s just the reviewing part I don’t do. Anyway, the surprising news? My budget estimates were accurate, and I’ve actually been spending within my budget. I wasn’t aware of that fact, and felt disorganised as I don’t regularly sit down and check it but, when I finally did, I was on track.

Moving swiftly onto the big news, # 3….

# 3. Set up cat sitting business and work on other business ideas

Yes, this is a major achievement, on both fronts!  

Firstly, the cat sitting business

After months of working on and off on this, I finally reached the point where I was sick of messing around with designing leaflets and business cards, and realised that actually I didn’t need either. I had a website almost ready to go, and had got side-tracked with something that was nice-to-have, rather than essential. It was also something that cost money, when I have no idea how much money I might make from the business, or even if I’ll actually like doing it properly as a business. A fellow blogger then gave me a further jolt when he published a post with the following key message: “If a business is going to fail, better it fail sooner rather than later”. I could not agree more. So, I was spurred into action for the final pieces in the puzzle: the website went live, pet-sitting insurance bought, leaflets and business cards (yes, I did finally get them sorted) were printed, a Facebook page was set up, and I’m ready for business! There is a lot more I can say about this, but that’s for another day!

Secondly, I had a flurry of activity around another idea I have

No details at present, but I went to an industry trade show and learnt a HUGE amount about how I might actually take my idea and put it into practice. I was able to talk to people who have done it before, and am now aware of some companies that could help. It raised more questions than it answered, and I have a LOT to think about, but I definitely have a more realistic view about what it might entail.

But that’s not all…

What else this quarter?

Getting the cat sitting business off the ground has been the major news so far this year, but there are a few other notable achievements this quarter too.

  • Bonus paid into my pension

    Yes, that’s right! I’ve never done this before, but the bonus I received did not see the light of day, and disappeared straight into my pension. A year ago, that would not have happened. I’m now thinking about what I need to do to boost my retirement savings, and starting to take the small steps I need. The tide has turned!

  • Switched funds in my personal pension

    This is another area that I’ve long known needs addressing. It’s been literally losing money in the last few years, and I finally moved my money from a cash fund (what on earth was it doing there?) into a global tracker fund. After the months of agonising over fund choice with my stocks ISA, I completed this task in a few hours. It might not be the best fund on the market, but it’s a vast improvement on before.

  • Switched household insurer

    This was the main area of my household finances I didn’t review last year, and I knew I was overpaying. It turns out by nearly £200. I have absolutely no loyalty to my home insurer, so was more than happy to part company for another.

  • Switched energy provider

    I switched last year, and made big savings. This year, my fixed tariff came to an end, and I discovered the new choices are all more expensive. Energy prices have risen. However, I picked another fixed tariff, and am waiting for it to kick in, but it should be cheaper than the standard tariff.

  • Decision about what I want from my blog 

    Yes, I covered this in my last post, but I had stalled because I really wasn’t sure how to continue the blog while still enjoying myself. I now think I’m on the right track, and in my new enthusiasm, I joined the Rockstar Finance directory!

I’m chuffed to bits with what I’ve achieved since the start of this year and, more to the point, am hugely motivated to carry on in the next couple of months. I’ve lots of things I want to get done, new quarterly goals to come!

I’d be interested to know if you set quarterly goals too and, if so, how you find it works for you and what you’ve achieved so far this year? From first impressions, it seems it allows enough time to actually get something substantial done?

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4 Responses

  1. That’s a small number of goals, yet all of them are achievable and you seem to be perfectly on track! I tend to set myself way too many goals, and it’s getting harder to keep track of them from time to time. Love the cat sitting business launch, wish you luck!

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you very much! I am trying quarterly goals as it gives me a chance of meeting them, without placing as much pressure on myself as I did last year with monthly ones. I have longer-term ones too, in fact I have a long to-do list (!) – but I’m trying to prioritise!

  2. weenie says:

    Firstly, good job in getting this update out. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bit late, people will still read it!

    And well done with shoving your entire bonus into your pension – I bet it was a great feeling when you did that. My last bonus went entirely into my ISA but I recall all too well how I used to blow the whole lot (and then some!) on…stuff! The tide has turned indeed!

    All the best with the fund switch – if you’re like me, it’ll be hard not to keep checking its progress (at one point, this was daily!) but I only look monthly now because I’m doing updates for my blog, otherwise, I’d probably check annually.

    Oh, good luck with the cat sitting business, I’d be interested to hear about how you get on as it’s something my friend is considering .

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks Weenie! I’m actually very bad at checking my progress financially, I don’t check my bank accounts, and don’t check my ISA or pension regularly, it’s something I need to improve! I’m starting to become more interested in the figures, rather than focusing on my actions, so that might start to change. I’ll be posting more about the cat business as there’s a lot going on on that front at the moment, so more to come!

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