2012 Goals - 1st Quarter Update

I've made some good progress through the first 3 months of the year, but it's still early in the year and there's always more to work on.

2012 Budeting Goals - 1st Quarter Results
GoalActual through 1st QuarterStatus
70% take-home pay savings rate74.23% average savings (Jan 74.51%, Feb 73.09%, Mar 75.10%)Exceeded Goal
Less than $1,600 required expenses$1,655.81 average (Jan $1,694.02, Feb $1,682.70, Mar $1,590.72)Needs Improvement
Reduce Misc. Expenses by 20% (Exp. < $131.62 per mo)$133.68Close but needs improvement
Reduce Restaurant Expenses by 20% (Exp. < $128.12 per mo)$164.45Needs Improvement
Reduce Grocery Spending by 10% (Exp. < $214.07 per mo)$188.59Exceeded Goal

So far in 2012 I've been very pleased with my budgeting efforts. The 70% take home savings rate has been great and really helped. The great thing about my job is that I don't spend much money since I'm gone from home a lot and aren't as tempted by draws of my money. That coupled with a high monthly pay has helped me average over 70% savings thus far. With the halving of our cable bill that could help push me to the less than $1,600 in minimum expenses. The rest of the budgeting goals that I've tried to focus on have given mixed results. I'm disappointed in my restaurant spending being above my goal and by a significant amount. While the restaurant spending is disappointing, I am very happy with the progress I've made on grocery and miscellaneous spending. However, if you don't know where you're at you can't know the path you need to get where you're going. I'll be focusing more on cutting back my restaurant spending in the 2nd quarter to hopefully push that average down.

2012 Saving Goals - 1st Quarter Results
GoalActual through 1st QuarterStatus
Pay off all debtPaid off 39% of debtOn Target (Should reach in Jul/Aug)
$100,000+ Net Worth$98,548.08On Target (Should reach in 2nd quarter)

I can't wait for July/August to get here so all the money that I'm spending on debt service can go towards making money for me. If the markets cooperate through April then I could pass the $100,000 net worth but that will be a tough feat since wedding payments are coming up. That's a huge step and it's crazy to see the change since July 2010 when I had a -$1,663.30 net worth and have pushed that up to $98,548.08 so far. Obviously I've been there through the whole process but it's still amazing when I look back on it and inspiring to see the changes that can be made in a short time.

2012 Investing Goals - 1st Quarter Results
GoalActual through 1st QuarterStatus
Receive $1,000 in dividends$108.49 received (On target for ~$450)Needs Improvement
3.00%+ YOC for Brokerage Account2.41% YOCNeeds Improvement
Surpass $100,000 in all investments (Brokerage, Roth IRA, 401k...)$84,049.94 ($20,354.56 increase thus far)On Target
Max out 401k$3,042.57 contributedNeeds Improvement
Max out Roth IRA's for myself and my fiance$1,300 contributedNeeds Improvement

My investing goals are behind across the board, but I knew that coming in to the year. That's why I set lofty goals to push myself to reach them. I'm not sure the $1,000 in dividends will be acheived this year but the target annual income will hopefully hit that point. Once the debt is gone that's an extra $2,500+ that will be going towards investing and that will definitely go a long way. I could probably push the dividends received if I was focused solely on the amount received but since the long-term goal is more important than the short-term I'll be looking for the best opportunities at the time. The YOC is another where I don't think I'll get to. That's mainly due to the fact that my ESPP shares get transferred to my brokerage account and due to the tax laws it doesn't make sense for me to sell them yet. Currently I have 30%+ of my portfolio dragging down the rest since it's YOC is 1.23%. I won't be reinvesting those dividends because they can be put to much better use elsewhere.

The max out of the 401k is lagging right now and will be highly dependent on how much I work. I'm pretty set on keeping my contribution at 10% and with the matching (5%) and profit sharing (4%) that's effectively a 19% for my 401k. I'm actually considering reducing my 401k further to where I receive the full match so I can have more money in my pockets and devoted to my financial independence. If I can reach my goal of retiring at 40 then I'll need as much money not locked up in my 401k. My ROTH IRA is currently on track to be fully funded but I haven't started one yet for my fiance. She's wary of investing and I'm trying to get her on board that it's not that scary and can actually free you of worry.

2012 Personal Goals - 1st Quarter Results
GoalActual through 1st QuarterStatus
Lose and keep off 20 lbs.Lost 3 lbs.Needs Improvement
Workout 3 x per weekAveraging 0 workoutsNeeds Improvement
2+ Blog Posts per week3.75 posts per weekExceeded Goal

As far as the personal goals, my weight loss and workout is severely lacking. I'm attributing that to usually working in the middle of nowhere and not having daylight after my shift is over. Thankfully with the time change I now get 2-3 hours of sunlight to be outside. I know a lot of it is still motivation and I'm thinking of ways to try and keep myself on track. The blog posts have been coming pretty frequently so far in 2012. I'm currently averaging close to twice my goal. I fully intend to keep that up. I've been trying to build up some pre-written posts for the times when I just can't get around to making new posts.

All in all it's been a good 1st quarter and promising for what else is to come. I hope that everyone else has been making good strides toward reaching they're goals.