My New Year Resolutions For 2018 – Family, Finance & Blogging

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2017 musings

As 2017 came to an end, I have had a lot of musings about money, life, and family.

2017 was an eventful year for the FAF family.

First, Mr. FAF finally finished his PhD after spending six years in grad school.

He got a job and moved to DC permanently. 2017 marks the end of our long-distance marriage.

Second, our son came back from China after spending a year away from us.

Third, I started a personal finance blog after 12 years of hesitation.

I was blown away by all the feedback and encouragement from you all.

Fourth, I went on my first international business trip to Asia.

I was nervous about the assignment, but it turned out much better than I had expected.

And last but not least, Mr. FAF and I had the biggest fight in our marriage two months after we were reunited.

Yet, we managed to talk things through and reached a mutual understanding.

We have also taken actions to improve ourselves and our relationship.

As 2018 is finally here, I want to take this time to think about my goals for the new year and how I will achieve them.

This is my first time having new year resolutions. I gave up on having too many goals for myself years ago. After dropping out of a PhD program four years ago, I’ve always told myself to just try my best at what I do.

Although goals can motivate me to become a better person, they also stress me out and make me depressed when I can’t accomplish what I set out to do.

2018 new year resolutions

Without further ado, below are my 2018 resolutions.

1. Work harder and smarter at my day job

Financial independence is a goal many personal finance bloggers, including myself, aim to achieve. However, in 2018 I will try to work harder at my day job to get promoted or transfer to a better-paying and more challenging position.

Mr. FAF and I are not financially secure enough for me to leave my career, and I’m not sure if I want to after staying in school for 22 years. Also, I want to keep climbing the career ladder to see how far I can get and what opportunities I can attain in the future.

2. Max out our 401(k)

In September and October of 2017, Mr. FAF and I started investing in our retirement. With the help of the Vanguard 401(k) v. Roth calculator, I soon realized that we would become millionaires in 25 years by doing only one thing: maxing out our 401(k) and 403(b).

In 2018, we will try to continue this saving arrangement. Money out of sight is money out of mind. And money out of mind is most likely money not spent on unnecessary purchases.

3. Keep our food expenses under $500/month

This, I think, is one of the most ambitious goals for 2018. After our family were reunited in August, our monthly food budget has stayed at around $750/month, about one third of which was eating out.

My MIL is going back to China in early 2018. That opens up two possible scenarios for our dining plan. Our food expenses might go down since we will be a family of 3 instead of 4 . But it could also be that Mr. FAF and I will get tired of cooking by ourselves and will eat out more.

My goal is to convince Mr. FAF to keep our eating out and grocery bills under $500/month.

4. Not buy new clothes

I really love Mrs. Frugalwoods’s idea of a clothing ban. I have never done it before and really want to give it a try in 2018. I spent quite a bit of money buying work clothes in 2017. I rarely wear some of those clothes and sometimes regret such purchases.

In October, I took a break from blogging and cleaned out my closet. I was shocked to find at least 4 dresses I had never worn in my entire life. But I will try to turn my buyer remorse into a motivation not to buy clothes I don’t need or wear in the new year.

5. Spend more time teaching Baby FAF math, English, and Vietnamese

In 2018, I want to spend more time with our son to teach him math, English, and Vietnamese. Baby FAF has made great progress in English after coming back to the US from China.

Once his English gets better, I will start talking to him in Vietnamese so that he will get used to the language. I will also teach him how to write in the language as well. I hope it won’t be too confusing for him to learn how to read and write English and Vietnamese at the same time.

Mr. FAF is in charge of teaching Baby FAF Mandarin Chinese , but I’m not sure when he will start. I will also teach Baby FAF arithmetic. It’s a competitive world these days, and it’s not a bad idea to start early.

I won’t force Baby FAF to learn, but he at least needs some exposure to learning.

6. Be more patient and understanding with Mr. FAF

I will try to be a better wife to Mr. FAF. Over the past four years, we have gotten into multiple fights. Some of them helped us understand each other better. Some also did damage to our marriage.

In 2018, I want to minimize the tension in our relationship by training myself to be more patient and understanding to my husband. It takes two to tango. I admit that I started half of the fights between us.

But I myself got tired of fighting with him all the time. Hopefully, we will have a better line of communication and more marital bliss in the new year.

7. Blog three times a week

As I continue to chug along on my blog, I gradually realized that I have began to cover a lot of the topics I had come up with initially. In other words, sometimes I feel like I ran out of things to write about.

However, one advantage of keeping my blog personal is that it will grow with me. As a person, I grow every day with new events, plans, and surprises coming my way.

I plan to document my financial journey on my blog and will share with you all the major updates that we have. I currently have content written until May 2018. From now until then, I think I will be able to document more stories in our lives to keep the 3x posting schedule going strong.


I’m excited about the new year. I’m not sure if I will be able to accomplish all or most of the goals above. But I won’t stress about it.

After all, at this point in my life, I believe that goals should give motivation instead of stress. And I’m happy to have shared my new year resolutions with you.

What are your new year resolutions for 2018? Is there anything in particular you really want to achieve in the new year?


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29 thoughts on “My New Year Resolutions For 2018 – Family, Finance & Blogging”

  • I just posted my own goals for my blog this morning and I’m quite happy to see we share something in common, I also want to post 3 times per week consistently.

    On foods, I am currently spending below $500 and o guess it’s because I’m not married.

    I also intend to work harder and smarter and probably learn a new language using duolingo (I’m still wrapping my head over it).

    I wish you luck with your resolution and hey! Happy New Year.

    • Happy New Year to you too! 🙂

      Those sound like great goals to me! I’ve heard great things about duolingo as well. Learning a foreign language can be fun. Best of luck in the new year!

  • Great goals 🙂 Keeping food under $500 sounds really difficult FAF! Before my father moved in, I was (on a good month) spending $300ish on food for just 2 people. Anything around $600 is a win to me for your household. Cut yourself some slack for a family your size!!

    • I know! I’m a bit nervous about that goal too. I don’t want to give up early, but I have a feeling I won’t be able to achieve it. I guess we will know for sure in December 2018 hehe. 😀

  • You’re awesome, Mrs. FAF. I don’t know what gave me a bigger CMLT. A $500 monthly food budget for three? Or Baby FAF learning English, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese? Love your goals, love your blog. Best of luck in 2018.

    • Thank you, Mr. Groovy! I’m glad to see your ranch shaping up. I look forward to future updates!

      I feel like those goals are a bit ambitious. Hopefully, we will get somewhere in 2018 with those resolutions. 😀

    • Thank you, Joe! I think it will be tough too. I just went window shopping on Jan 1 and tried on some dresses I thought were cute. Fortunately, nothing looked good on me, so I didn’t buy anything. 😀

  • Good luck on your goals! I did an alternate month shopping ban and it helped me not buy clothes without really thinking whether it was needed. $500 a month including eating out is ambitious 🙂 especially if baby FAF starts to eat more since he’s a growing boy.

    • I’m feeling a bit nervous about the $500/month food budget goal already 😀 Baby FAF is def eating more than before. Will keep you posted on our progress 😉

  • Great summary of goals!

    I’m also going to be focusing on your goal #1. Similar to your circumstances, Mrs. BD and I are not yet in a position for one of us to leave our “day” jobs. Additionally, staying as long as possible in our current jobs will contribute toward our ability to reach other goals sooner than later.

    Good luck in 2018 and thanks for continuing to share your thoughts!

  • 新年快乐 ?

    Working smarter definitely makes things easier. Teaching your son about his heritage is great, everyone should understand ones culture and be proud of it.

  • You have a lot of great goals set out for 2018. Yes the $500 grocery budget is definitely very ambitious, but I’m sure you can do it if you set your mind to it. Looks like you accomplished so much in 2017. Congratulations!

  • I need to commend you that you are very hardworking. I wonder how you still keep your job with the demand of updating this blog on a regular basis. I guess you want to fill up the years you hesitated before you finally decided to start your blog. I can’t imagine you locking all these ideas within yourself all these years. Well done

  • I love ur 2018 goals. Especially keeping the food budget @ 500.00 a month every month. Thats good u thought big and trying to keep it under 500.00 a month. This way if u fall short of ur goal it will b close- i.e 550.00 a month. What helped us was not going weekly but going bi weekly. we go weekly for the essentials like bread, milk, eggs…but go bi weekly for our normal grocery shopping. See u will spend a lot less a month when u do that. For ex. say u were going weekly and spending 175.00 each week. Well spend now $ 225.00 bi- weekly. Thats 450.00. then the 30.00 u spend weekly at the store= $ 570.00 every mo.!

  • Ms. FAF! Happy New Year! New reader.

    I binge read all of your blog ignoring my family through the Xmas break but I was hooked! You are an amazing personality and so strong to be without your husband and son for so long.

    You’ve motivated me to up the amount of hours on my own blog cos clearly I am not being productive enough!

    Here’s to an amazing 2018 for you, Mr. FAF and Baby FAF!

  • Great post! Number #1 and #3 are at the top of my list as well. I would like to be able to leave corporate america and blog full time one day soon! Good luck with your resolutions this year, interested to see how they all work out.

  • Under $500/month on food would be awesome. We’re a family of five and even though all our kids are 13 or under, I feel like I’m feeding 3 giant football players. Man can they eat!

    I’d also like to post more content as the more you have the easier it is for people to find you but my real blogging goal is to socialize and network more. I’m spending too much time writing and tweaking things and not enough time promoting. I definitely want to start doing some guest posts and get to know other bloggers better.

  • Number 4 is awesome and I think I’ll take that too. I have more than enough clothes and I don’t need a single article of clothing. I think I’ll actually donate some more clothes this year and free myself from closet and drawer space! 🙂

  • Happy New Year! Maxing out the 401K is very impressive, so is teaching your kid about math and languages. A different language expands one’s horizon, and it’s cool.

    I just set up my New Year resolutions. One of them is to lose weight, another one is to push my Spanish to the next level.

  • I think everyone in the FIRE space spends less on food than we do! That’s an area I’d like to improve on in 2018. I’m going to give Aldi a serious try along with better meal planning.

    Also, I couldn’t agree more with your last statement regarding goals and stress. Motivation > Stress = Happy

  • Wow, those are some lofty and awesome goals! I’m excited to see how you do the $500/month food challenge! That’ s one area I should do better at but I’m too obsessed with food and haven’t put any effort into cutting down at all. And also yay for blogging 3 times a week! That’s hardcore. Happy 2018 and hope you accomplish all your resolutions!

  • I like your resolutions, especially the personal ones. I love that you are focusing on relationships and making them more peaceful. Oh and Baby FAF is going to be so well rounded. Fluency in three languages?! That boy will make an awesome spy, blending in around the world. The gift of language is one that keeps giving. I wish I had it.

    My only resolution for 2018 is to generate income without getting a job. Tis all.

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