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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
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?