He Said She Said – 2014 Goals

Today we’re bringing you another round of He Said/She Said. These posts are really your chance as readers to hear how discussions (and sometimes disagreements) play out when managing our lives with each other. For a look at some of the past He Said/She Said discussions – check ‘em out here.

While the books have not yet closed on 2013, Mr PoP and I are looking forward to 2014 and the challenges and delights that it will (hopefully) bring our way.

How did 2013 go? This time last year, we were closing in on paying off the final balance on our HELOC and still had a car loan and a $50K personal loan outstanding.  Our stretch goal was to pay all of those off while also maxing out our tax-advantaged savings (ie our 401Ks and our Roth IRAs).  Amazingly, we pulled it off.  The goal we didn’t reach, however, was keeping our spending under $50K for the year.  We’ll talk about this in our year-end income statement (Wednesday’s post), but the way we calculate it, we didn’t quite make it. (Some other ways that people calculate it might give us a pass… but we’ve each got to use our own measures.)

This coming year, though, our goals are expanding a little bit, and are a bit less financially focused as we look for 2014 to be a year where happiness becomes an even greater priority.

He Said


No great changes on the Personal Finance front – my (lumpy) income should be slightly higher than 2013 levels, but probably not quite as good as 2012. This will let us max out our 401K and Roth accounts, while putting an additional $50K in a taxable fund, likely Vanguard. Steady as she goes…

Fitness / Stress Relief

2013 will (barely) go down as a “win” as far as work goes, but it is becoming clear to me that what underpins a successful year in sales is a positive mindset and good health. As Q4 2013 wound down I found that cardio exercise affects both of these things and I’m going to make it a priority for 2014. It’s doubtful that you will find me doing a triathlon any time in the future, but the positive effects from a of a half hour of spinning in the AM are just too big to pass up.

Meditation is a stretch goal. More and more tech firms are using it as a “productivity hack” and I’ll be trying to jump on that bandwagon for 2014. I’m not sure I have the patience for it, but you can track my progress here!


I think that 2014 will be the year of travel for Mrs. PoP and me. This is a big deal if you know our history – we used to move around a bit and have lived in Hawaii, Mexico, Pennsylvania, Arizona, other parts of Florida, and even spent a decent chunk of time across the pond in the past. It feels like we have been spending a ton of time in our corner of Florida, and we’re ready to stretch our wings a bit. The travel list includes Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, Burning Man, Australia, and smaller trips “back home” and to various marathons. If you know of somebody else who is going to be at the Berkshire Hathaway meeting AND Burning Man in 2014 – let me know, cause they are obviously one BAMF…

She Said

My two main goal categories this year are finances and fitness.


My big financial goal this year is going to be keeping our spending under $50K.  We were pretty close this year – and were it not for paying off the car loan balance we would have been even closer. Areas that I think are ripe for trimming back are:

  • Cars.  This was ridiculously high in 2013, in no small part because we paid off the car loan, and found ourselves needing to put four new tires on both cars during the year.  If the Q1 Car Challenge is anything except an epic failure, car spending should be way way down in 2014.
  • Cell Phones.  An inordinate proportion of our “household bills” category has been our 2 iPhone cell-phone plan from Verizon and neither of us has been eager to drop it.  But now that our contracts are up, we’re looking to switch to Ting in the new year.  Though we’ll have to pay upfront to purchase new/used phones, with our usage history, we expect our bill to drop by about $100/month.  *Fingers crossed* that this is an easy win.
  • Groceries / Restaurants.  This is still the category  of our spending that provides the quickest view to where our stress levels were that month.  And when the spending goes up, it’s generally NOT because we’re splurging on organic produce – it’s convenience foods that aren’t the healthiest.  Which brings me to my next goal…

Health & Fitness

As we age and are officially “in our thirties”, I’m seeing that our bodies have a striking similarity to a DCF model.  That is, they are both easily susceptible to the GIGO principle.  What is GIGO?  Quite simply, it’s:

Garbage In —> Garbage Out

  • Food is going to be a primary method of attack on this front.  Over the past 6 months I’ve been slowly trying to replace convenience foods that we had come to rely on (think boxed mixes) with homemade varieties.  Not only because it’s cheaper in many cases, but because I’d like to work our way towards Michael Pollan’s deceivingly simple food guidelines that he wrote about in the book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
  • Exercise routines are also going to be added to this year.  Running is definitely important to me, and 2013 was the year I started biking to work and I’ll keep that up.  But, considering how expensive our pool maintenance is, I want 2014 to be the year that I start swimming more, with the stretch goal to complete a triathlon by the end of the year.  This is going to be my biggest challenge this year and I know it’s mostly going to be mental.

What are your 2014 goals?  

51 comments to He Said She Said – 2014 Goals

  • I work in healthcare and see lots of lifestyle related disease yet I still eat garbage. I am overweight and I stand all day and I won’t be able to continue at my job if I don’t get the weight off.

    Weight and diet changes aren’t about looking good in a bathing suit anymore. Changes to life style are all about trying to stay healthy so that I can work as long as I want to and not until some part of my body gives out and I am forced on to disability.
    jane savers @ solving the money puzzle recently posted..2014 Financial Plan And Goals – Bring It OnMy Profile

  • Nice goals! I like the balance here and I’m trying to strike something similar. My biggest goal for 2014 is to expand my business, but it will be with an end goal of balance in mind, meaning I need to keep that balance as I go. Increasing profits are important, but so is making sure I spend time with my family and keep my body healthy.
    Matt Becker recently posted..What Type of Person Do You Want To Be?My Profile

  • Trying to avoid convenience foods is a worthwhile goal and I’m with you on that one as they are both unhealthy and expensive. You made an interesting point about stress levels affecting your grocery shopping and I’ve noticed the same thing. Generally we try to cook at home with healthy foods and avoid pre-packaged stuff as much as possible, but I’ve noticed if I’m stressed out or run down I often reach for a bag of cheese doodles or a something else unhealthy. Being aware of those habits is the first step in defeating them.
    Mike Collins recently posted..Do You Lie to Yourself About Your Finances?My Profile

    • For Mr PoP it was Dunkin Donuts this year =( Sadly when I showed him a graph of his spending at Dunkin Donuts this fall he was like, “It’s totally correlated with what I’ve sold!”

  • I love Michael Pollan! I try to live by his “food rules,” too. They make sense, are practical, and aren’t too extreme – so just about perfect by my standards :) I just did my own 2014 goals post, and I included a bit about food, too.. specifically, cutting the junk food that I’m susceptible to indulging in, like stuff with added sugar (I have a crazy sweet tooth!) Good luck to you guys in accomplishing your new year’s goals. Judging by all I’ve read since I started following the blog a few months ago, you’ll have no problem at all knocking these out of the park!
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted..My Goals for 2014: Big Plans for a Big Year!My Profile

    • Did you ever hear the clip of when he was on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me? Super funny when he confessed to being spotted buying Fruity Pebbles in Berkeley. =)

  • Nice progress this year! I want to focus more on health next year, too. Thanks for the book recommendation.
    Kelsie recently posted..My 2014 Bucket ListMy Profile

  • I’m going to have to check out that book. I’ve been trying to eat healthier and the last couple of weeks have been an epic fail will all the holiday foods around. I haven’t made my goals for this year, but plan to really sit down and think about them tomorrow and Wednesday. Eating better, working out more, and making more money with my freelance work will definitely be on my list.
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..6 Tips for Dealing with DisappointmentMy Profile

  • Food is one of the centers of my universe too, but I also find it gets costlier as I eat healthier stuff. Of course I could just be a bad shopper. But in the end that expense is worth it because it doesn’t get any easier healthy wise as you get older. It’s great you are focusing on that now..most people don’t until it’s to late. I totally think you can do the triathlon! Swimming is one area that is almost off limits for me until I can fix my shoulder, otherwise I might try a tri. :) Overall it looks like you guys had a great year and hope 2014 is even better. Are you planning on going to fincon this year?
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..2013 Year in ReviewMy Profile

    • As for being costlier as it gets healthier, I think it depends… buying $4 hummus is super tasty, but realistically I can make pretty tasty hummus for about $1 and it’s just as healthy. For us it’s totally the prepared foods that drive up the costs when we get stressed!

  • Very nice list! I like the idea of living under 50k. I just read a post about someone who lived under 25k but he was single. :) My big goal is to just try to stay calm and afloat in 2014. Massive changes up ahead with the twins and another move and I think trying to expect too much might stress me out!
    Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) recently posted..Why You Should Go to Goa for the New YearMy Profile

    • Granted, I was single, but I’ve definitely lived under $25k. I’m pretty sure my husband and I still do, but we likely don’t count because we get free housing (and utilities and cable) from our work.

      My big goal for the year is to save even more. I’m maxing out my 2013 Roth IRA today (if all the transfers went through). I want to max that out next year AND do a bigger push into savings, as I had to take some of my money out of savings to reach the Roth IRA goal. I think we are good savers, as a percent of income, but given our situation, we should be saving even more.

      Personal goal is to walk more. I’ve got an issue going on, so running won’t work now, but I want to get out walking. I also want to start going to the pool once or twice a week, and that is a matter of finding time in my crazy work schedule.
      Leah recently posted..Christmas treeMy Profile

      • When I was single I was living under $25K, too (had to make that grad stipend go as far as possible!)

        As for walking have you thought about getting a pedometer to help motivate you? I track all my runs using the GPS on my phone and it’s a big motivator to keep the distance up. =)

        • I have a pedometer somewhere. I do like using that — didn’t even think about it! In nice weather, I use the GPS on my phone to walk outside. Right now, at negative whatever, my walking is on the indoor track at the gym. It would be neat to track distance for the year.
          Leah recently posted..Christmas treeMy Profile

    • The twins are definitely going to mean big changes for you, Cat! Can’t wait to hear all about them, though. =)

  • I read Food Rules a while back and love how simply the entire thing can be wrapped up: Eat food, mostly plants, not too much. I’m noticing that garbage in garbage out truth, too. :)

    Good luck with your fitness and financial goals this year!
    Done by Forty recently posted..Just Five GoalsMy Profile

  • Anne

    Nice goals! Mine are to continue maxing out my 401(k), pay an extra 10% on the mortgage, purchase more organic/quality food, average reading a book a month, and to exercise beyond the fun weekend stuff like hiking. Oh, and to get married without going crazy; your elopement sounds better and better every time M’s parents ask about adding guests!

    • haha, good luck with the wedding madness! Eloping was seriously wonderful and if we needed to get married again I don’t think we’d change a thing. =)

      Have you started a book list for the year?

      • Anne

        I bet, it sounds like it was wonderful :)
        No title list yet, but I’m aiming for a mix of about half serious stuff- finance, leadership/growth, nonfiction things, and half fun fictional stuff like mysteries or popular reads a la Hunger Games (which I read last year).

  • I have a Verizon iPhone and my boyfriend has Ting. His phone is always crapping out on him so I’m wary. My contract is up next month and I’ve been toying with the idea of switching but considering the amount of time I spend online (it’s how I make my money) I’m not sure if it’s the right choice for me. I’ll be interested to see how it works for the two of you.
    Candice recently posted..4 Ways I Make A Living OnlineMy Profile

  • Love the travel goals! That’s a big part of our 2014 too.
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor recently posted..Broke Girl Rich 2014 ResolutionsMy Profile

  • Good luck with your goals, especially on the food and exercise fronts, as those are ones I think so many people start off with the right idea and lose sight, but it’s so important.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Our 2014 Financial GoalsMy Profile

    • I think keeping in mind that we know these things are stress relievers is going to be instrumental in helping us achieve them… except for me and swimming… that causes some stress, but I want to fix that. =)

  • Great goals! We definitely want to work on eating more healthy meals and working out more. Also, travel is on our mind of course!
    Michelle recently posted..Do You Make Excuses For Why You’re Not Following Your Dream?My Profile

  • Oh wow, Burning Man! I’m definitely not cut out for that type of thing (not to mention I’d melt in about a minute) but you two certainly are BAMFs.
    eemusings recently posted..Link love (Powered by girl talk and opshopping)My Profile

  • I really love Ting! I switched back in February of this year and it has been really awesome. I was with Sprint before though so I knew the Sprint network was fine and I ported my phone. I thought I would save about $40-50/month and it has turned into saving closer to $65/month AND I’ve gotten enough referrals from posting a review on my blog that I haven’t paid a bill since the first one! Pretty sweet. I just got a new phone for Christmas though and the activation and phone number swap were basically instant, which was amazing.

    My primary goals for 2014 are to continue developing my relationship with my awesome boyfriend and to kick butt at my new job. I also want to max out all tax-advantaged vehicles available to me, pay down the mortgage by about $95,000, and spend less than $39,000 for the year. (Yes there is just one of me spending that amount…about half of that is housing though.) I think that the relationship goal is going to involve some trips :)
    Leigh recently posted..I’m not really done optimizing…My Profile

  • Thanks for the book recommendation, I will definitely look into it. Taking better care of myself is one of my goals for 2014 also.

  • I want to hone my woodworking skills, remodel our master bath, lose 30 lbs, conquer a 3-4 14ers and bicycle a 1000k.
    Elroy recently posted..My Definition of RetirementMy Profile

  • Great goals, and I love that Mrs. PoP is going for a triathlon (don’t think I’ll ever do one since I can’t swim that well, but always envious of triathletes). I don’t know if they’re there anymore, but The Tuna Guys was an awesome camp at BM (though all of them are for the most part fun). Looking forward to your 2013 year-end synopsis!
    anna recently posted..Being Kinder Than Necessary (and Happy New Year!)My Profile

  • Nice goals for this coming year! For me, my goals this 2014 is to get better grades, to be able to invest in stocks and save more money.
    Mark Ross @moneysavingdude recently posted..10 Must Follow Rules For You To Save MoneyMy Profile

  • Hubs usually makes costumes for extremely wealthy Burning Man attendees. The whole thing just cracks me up. I just don’t get it at all.
    Becky @ RunFunDone recently posted..Home & FinancesMy Profile

  • My 2014 goals definitely include improving my health I injured my back this holiday reminding me how important your health is. Eat better, exercise and travel a bit more.
    Charles@Gettingarichlife recently posted..2013 Net Worth Review-A Look At My InvestmentsMy Profile

  • We are working on the food front in 2014 as well. We’ve had a busy few months and I’ve bought too many $5 little Caesar cheese pizzas, as well as other convenience foods. It has to stop!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Life Without TVMy Profile

  • Great job on your goals, guys!! I just looked up our 2013 spending, and if it hadn’t been for debt payments (arrghh!!) we would’ve been barely over the 50K mark. Maybe we’ll try and get under 50K for spending next year. Health and fitness, however, is definitely on the top of the list after a huge slacker year in that area here.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..Fun New Year’s Eve RecipesMy Profile

  • Nicster

    Here is another travel opportunity: The Burning Can!


    It’s held in Lyons, Co, just outside Longmont/Boulder. Not sure what the plan is for 2013 due to the floods. (Lyons got hit particularly hard because they are at the confluence of 2 rivers) Last year, we volunteered to park bikes at the Bike Longmont booth and got free tickets. Super fun.

  • Wow, you guys have lived all over the place. Pretty cool I say.

    See you at Berkshire!
    Mr. 1500 recently posted..Ask the Readers: Are You Ready for a Challenge?My Profile

  • I love this time of year as I get to check in on the progress that everyone made and get to see their goals for the new year. As far as financial goals, there’s not much that I really want to stress going forward. I know there’s some excess to cut from our budget but for the most part it’ll be steady as she goes. When my contract ends in December ’14 I’ll be switching to another service provider. That’ll cut $50 a month right there for my phone and $100 for my wife as well. A lot of my focus is going to be more on spending time on hobbies and getting in better shape. I need to come up with a concrete plan for both but those will be priorities. Have a great 2014!
    JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit recently posted..Weekly Roundup – December 28, 2013My Profile

  • Good goals. Right on with the Search for Real Food. Hope 2014 goes splendidly for you.
    Funny about Money recently posted..QUESTION. AUTHORITY.My Profile

  • LOL at the Burning Man trip. My wild and crazy college coop roomie attends every year and couldn’t come to my wedding because it was the same weekend. She’s that devoted.

    I’m with you on the stress/convenience food issue. While it may not expensive food, even eating a cheap frozen lasagna is terrible for my overall health so I’m trying to focus on better food and not just cheaper food.
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted..New Year, New GoalsMy Profile

  • Wow! Your finance progress this year was freaking incredible! Love that you set up “stretch” goals, and then were able to push through and meet them. Maybe I should have attainable goals as well as stretch goals….good thinking!
    Retired By 40 recently posted..New Year….New Changes!My Profile

  • […] this monthly challenge I’m inspired by a 2014 Goals post over at Planting Our Pennies. In the post Mr. PoP mentions a stretch goal to learn how to […]