It is that time of the year. By that I mean that it is the time of the year when a lot of people are setting goals for the next 12 months ahead.
I was never very good at setting goals. If I did, they were usually woefully under-ambitious. I suppose that might be part of the reason why I let life just pull me along for the ride for so long.
Well, not anymore! The ship might still be wildly out at sea, but it is time to try to regain control and steer life in a more targeted direction. At least we will try to! Time will tell.
2018 will mark the first time I expect to have a full-time job all year. What marvellous predictability it brings to personal finances! For the latter half of 2017, I was able to shovel a decent chunk of money into the Norwegian mortgage savings account (BSU). Home ownership is a primary goal for us, so this is something we prioritise.
Since I haven’t been able to save that much in the BSU so far, my savings target for 2018 is to triple what is currently in there. At a measly 70k NOK (about $8.5k or about £6.3k) currently, that should be more than achievable, even if it is still ambitious by my traditional goal-setting standards.
That is still far from hos much we need to buy anything with a garden in our current location, but it does bring us ever closer.
We also want to build a healthy emergency fund. Right now, because we know I have a safe job until 2021, we went ahead and shovelled most of the emergency fund I had built into the BSU in order to get the end of year interest. With the BSU goal as ambitious as it is, I think aiming for an emergency fund of 3 months is plenty.
These two goals together brings our total savings and expenses above what I currently earn, which means there will be some sidehustling required. This brings us on to the second part of 2018 goals, which is:
I am more than a little anxious about setting sidehustle goals. I already have a full time job, after all. But since Mr. E. and my biggest goal is to become employer independent, this is simply something I have to get ambitious about if we want to get anywhere anytime soon.
In January, I aim to launch an Etsy shop for my soaps, and perhaps some other zero-waste crafts as well. Being after the holidays, I can reveal that several soaps, and particularly the holiday-scented soap, became local, zero-waste and shopping mall-free presents for friends and family. This means my stock is rather low, and I will have to order more raw material and get going as soon as possible when the January paycheck rolls in.
I have no idea how a Norwegian Etsy shop will fare. So many shops and buyers are located in the States and abroad, that I fear Norwegian shipping rates will turn a lot of potential customers off. But we don’t know until we try!
I would also love if I could convince our local ethical, fairtrade and zero-waste shop, Etikken (page in Norwegian) to take in my soaps. This would be a big deal for me, as I have admired and supported their concept for years, but it is also intimidating. Here’s to properly articulating goals to the universe!
My goal for this blog was never to grow rich from it. As I laid out in one of the earliest posts on this blog, I believe there is value in striving for cash-neutral hobbies. You won’t see me blogging about how I got 10k views on the blog or 5k twitter followers in the first month. That would just burn me out instantly and turn this from an enjoyable, light-hearted hobby to something I dread. Not a good thing.
So my goal for 2018 is to have Frugasaurus flow cash-neutral. With hosting and paying for a domain etc, there is a small out of pocket expense each month. This is not a significant part of our budget, but it would be fun to build something that actually supports itself.
I mean, I am not going to lie, it would be pretty amazing if the blog continued growing and did more than just support itself. But I am not counting on it.
Then again, perhaps this is one of those instances where I really should learn to set more ambitious goals
I have also been thinking about looking into Tailwind, which a lot of other bloggers have recommended, but only if there is enough positive flow to have the blog pay for it on its own. Right now, I am happy with just carving a small part of the internet where Mr. E. and I can talk about our life and our journey. Writing these posts regularly keeps me feeling accountable and engaged, and I will continue as long as I am enjoying it. Beyond that, I refuse to have goals, as it would instantly drain the joy I get from writing these light hearted posts.
This is, without a doubt, the goal I am the most anxious and apprehensive about. I had to go back and forth with myself several times about whether or not I really wanted to put it on the blog or not. But in the interest of honesty and accountability, I decided to in the end.
I enjoy reading, I enjoy writing, and I really enjoy fiddling with the making and telling of stories. Previously, these stories would never get anywhere. I would dabble at them, write a couple of pages, and then set the project aside for whatever reason.
But a few years ago, I actually finished something! I am pretty sure I would not have been able to do so without the endless stream of encouragement from Mr. E. It is a short story, primarily aimed at young adults.
After self-publishing my tiny little story, I was going to write more. But you know how it is, life happened, I didn’t know what to write, and time went on.
So for this year, I am going to set myself the goal of outlining and typing out one more or less comprehensive draft for a story. I don’t want to commit to more than that, because I do have a full time job and also want to be able to enjoy working on this blog. But an outline and a draft? I think I can do that. I have a skeleton of a story in mind too, so let’s see if I manage to flesh it out.
As next summer rolls around, we will have lived in Trondheim for a year in our new flat. We didn’t get that much done in terms of preserving, but we did get started. A little bit of red currant juice, red currant jelly and meadowsweet juice and spruce shoot syrup definitely set the year off on the right foot. And we have been making sauerkraut regularly for a couple of years already.
But of course, a frugal housespouse is never satisfied!
This year, I hope to bottle up no less than 12 litres of meadowsweet juice, Mr. E. and my favourite. That means there will be one bottle for each month of the year until we can make a new batch next summer.
For that, we need a new, large pot capable of holding 10 liters or more, which is something we continually look for in local charity shops and given away online. The only problem here is that I require all our cookpots to be stainless steel or iron, not aluminium or non-stick.
This is a point I will not budge on, and I will spend my hard earned money on a new pot before I bring aluminium cookware into my house. Time will tell, we still have about 6 months to find a used one.
I also want to make even more sauerkraut during the one week of the year when fresh cabbage is laughably cheap. I made a fair bit this year, but not enough for a whole year’s supply. More glass jars and bottles required. We’re working on it!
I also hope to experiment with, and develop, a couple of new fermentation recipes in addition to sauerkraut. Spiced up cabbage with ginger, chili and garlic is tasty, make no mistake, but I believe there is a lot of potential in other local vegetables as well, such as carrots and beets.
I might, at some point, make another attempt at sourdough bread as well. I keep trying on and off with a year or two in between, but I have not quite gotten the hang of it yet. Perhaps 2018 will be the year?
Last, but not least, I split a garlic into bulbs this November and packed them with dead leaves right outside our terrace door in the small garden patch we enjoy with our flat. I am crossing my fingers for small, tender garlic shoots peeking their heads out come spring. I also hope to plant and grow some rocket and kale, at least enough for a handful of meals.
Babysteps are key.
Have you set your household goals for the year yet? Are you focusing on one particular field? Let us tackle 2018 together!