Updated on 11.12.06

Setting and Meeting Daily Personal Financial Goals

Trent Hamm

Ever since I was young, I have had a number of daily goals for myself. Most of them seem rather mundane: commit a random act of kindness, read for at least half an hour, brush my teeth and use Listerine twice, and so on. Most of them have a clear metric for success. However, since I’ve begun to turn my finances around, I’ve added several daily goals to my plate that directly relate to finance. Here are these goals, along with my metric for determining daily success.

Every day, I want to learn something new and useful about managing my finances. Since most days I don’t have time to read the Wall Street Journal or anything like that, this goal simply helps me keep my eye on the ball in terms of being vigilant about my money and my financial knowledge. My metric is simple; I look at my idea diary and see if I have added anything new.

I also try to avoid five temptations to spend money. In our consumerist society, I’m almost constantly bombarded with temptations to spend money, even small amounts of it. If I get the urge to go to the vending machine and resist it, I count that. If I want to go out to eat, but instead make a meal at home, I count that. If I consider renting a movie, but instead find something on basic cable to watch, another checkmark. You get the idea. I try to keep track of these in my memory and sometimes in my idea diary, but mostly my metric is a simple count in my head.

My third daily goal is to take two steps towards improving a secondary revenue stream. Things that I do to help this along are: look for massive bargains, check my consulting flyers on public bulletin boards, collect any coupons I find for trading (I’ve become an active coupon trader and I often get fat envelopes in the mail full of coupons relevant to me), list items on eBay, look for writing markets, and so forth. Each activity helps to improve a secondary revenue stream, which means that if I decide to make some life changes, I will have some avenues to continue to earn money as I make changes. Again, I just keep track of anything that I do that would improve my revenue streams.

Although this final goal isn’t financial, it does relate. I want The Simple Dollar to get more visitors today than it did one week ago. What does that mean? It means I try to continually write good posts here, participate in the blog community, and find new ways to let people know about the site. It pushes me to work on the site some every day. For this, my obvious metric is site statistics: did the visitors for today exceed the visitors for one week ago?

Each day, I wake up with the belief that I’m taking another step towards my dreams for the future. Each of these goals and metrics shows me that I’m making progress in that direction.

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  1. dimes says:

    BUY A TIVO. (Seriously, don’t resist this temptation, either a TiVo or another DVR.) Once you use it, you’ll have more time and you’ll manage to save yourself from being bombarded with so much advertising. I rarely watch anything that hasn’t been TiVoed anymore. In an hourlong program, it saves you 15 minutes of commercials, and in sports presentations it saves so much more. I’m so rarely tempted to buy stuff or go to movies, and I don’t have to schedule my life around CSI or whatever.

  2. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    That’s great advice if you watch television, but we watch virtually no television anymore outside of our Lost obsession and some PBS programs.

  3. dimes says:

    Ah ok, well if the boy gets bigger and he starts watching TV, either get a TiVo then or stick to the channels with minimal commercials. Otherwise you’ll constantly be telling him no no no no no!

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