How I Plan to Crush My 2017 Goals

How I'm Going to Crush my 2017 Goals

A few months ago I told you that if you want to meet your goals you might want to broadcast them to people. Because if you do, to avoid embarrassment, you’re more likely to follow through. So here I am, oversharing on my goals.

Because I want to crush them. There’s nothing like being competitive. With yourself.

I’m also going to make it even easier for myself by breaking down the goals into smaller, specific steps. You know how if your boss said you had to plan a holiday party for a thousand people in a month, you might feel so overwhelmed and paralyzed you do nothing? But what if you broke it down into little checkpoints, or tasks? I bet it would seem a lot less scary. By using this same system, breaking a goal down into steps, I was able to get both posts out in the morning this week!

Here are four of my goals for the rest of 2017, and how I plan to achieve them.

1. Achieve a Net Worth of $325K

In case you’ve never calculated your net worth, you add up everything you own (assets), then subtract what you owe (liabilities). Example:
[House + car + bank accounts + investment accounts + retirement accounts] – [All debts]

I don’t have a house or a car, but I have everything else. Right now, Mint tells me I have around $296k:

To me, net worth is a financial snapshot and gives me a way to track my progress. It makes me so happy to see my net worth go up, up, up, and I can’t wait to cross the 300k threshold. Buying clothes is fun and all (I just got a package from Matches!), but let me tell you, watching your net worth grow is IMMENSELY satisfying.

OK, so how am I going to get from here to there?

Just hope for the best?

I could do that.

But I’ll probably be more successful if I break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. You know, coming up with an actual game plan.

So, working backwards, the difference I need to make up is $29,000. That sounds like an insane, impossible amount and is almost as much as my first salary.

Let’s break it down even further.

$29,000 in 5 months = $5,800 per month

So each month my net worth targets look like this:

  • August: 301,800
  • September: 307,600
  • October: 313,400
  • November: 319,200
  • December: 325,000

With the smaller, defined amounts, it actually looks achievable to me, given the stock market doesn’t crash. Also, I actually have to save less than $5,800 out of pocket, because my stocks appreciate by themselves every month.

To make sure I’m checking my targets every month, I set up calendar reminders in my phone for the third week of every month. If I cruise past those numbers each month I know I’m on the right track. But if I’m under, I can try to course correct by looking at my spending and seeing where to cut.

2. Make More Stuff

When I was younger, I used to be a Person Who Makes Shit. But then Internet became a big thing. All of a sudden, I had access to everything at all times. I could shop for clothes at any time at online stores. I could watch shows instantly whenever I wanted. I could learn the perfect method for cutting a mango on Youtube. Speaking of Youtube I was on there last week and found myself sitting through those pre-roll ads where Karlie Kloss shills Wix websites. Then I started to wonder: Hey, when did Karlie Kloss start modelling? And what’s her net worth like? Then all of a sudden I was on Wikipedia and clicking on all the links until I knew every piece of minutiae about Karlie Kloss, including who she’s ever dated, as well as her favorite foods. And deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole I went. Hello, instant gratification.

That’s me now, but let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Once upon a time I quit my job with nothing lined up. During my Funemployment, I decided to spend my time learning how to make things out of leather. Here are some projects I’ve made:

A leather laptop case. I made the pattern myself by tracing my laptop and just approximating the measurements.
Handmade leather laptop case

A leather makeup bag. I used a pattern for the pieces, but I decided to add a lining because I like it when the inside looks nice, too.
Handmade leather dopp kit / makeup bag

Have you ever felt like you gave the perfect gift too early in a relationship? Because now you’ve set the standards too high? Yeah, that’s what happened here. I made this leather wallet for my husband a while ago and now every gift seems so lame in comparison. I spent weeks on it. I looked for a pre-existing pattern, but nothing was quite right, so I ended up designing the pattern from scratch. I had to create 2-3 prototypes to get the pattern exactly right. Then I hand-sewed the entire thing because my sewing machine couldn’t handle the leather. It was singlehandedly the hardest project I have ever worked on. But it reminded me exactly what I’m made of; that if I really put my mind to something that I can do it. That I’m capable of doing difficult things. In a world where everything is easy and fleeting, these old-school skills mean a lot to me.
Handmade leather wallet

The inside of the wallet.
Handmade leather wallet

A leather tassle for my suitcase.
Handmade vegetable tanned leather tassle

Nowadays I make at most two to three things a year. With that kind of sad track record, I can’t say that I’m a Person Who Makes Shit anymore.

Here’s the plan:
I want to complete two projects by the end of the year: one big project, and one small one.

Project #1: A dress. I have a vintage dress pattern already, so all I’ve got to do is start.
Due date: October 31st

Project #2: A leather valet case. It’s easy enough and practical for the little bits and bobs that inevitably make their way into the house.
Due date: December 31st

I’ll track this stuff on Instagram, so follow me there if you want to see how I’m doing.

3. Spend No More Than $1,000 on Clothes

I gotta admit, this is a stretch goal. But I honestly believe that you don’t need to be dropping five grand a year to have a wardrobe you’re happy with. To me, that’s a lack of imagination. So far, I’ve spent $827 on clothes, so I have $173 to play with. And it’s only August. BUT, if I’m cutting it close, I can get creative and sell some old clothes to fund new ones.

4. Drink Less Coffee

I never used to drink coffee…until I met my husband. He needs it to function like a human being in the morning. When we started dating, we’d stop at the coffee shop every day on the way to the subway. At first I just accompanied him there, but all of a sudden I was also grabbing a coffee every morning on the way to work, too, without thinking about it. Operative words: “without thinking.” Any purchasing that happens in conjunction with those words deserves to be questioned.

I love it, but I don’t like how I expect it every day now. If I hadn’t needed coffee for years as an adult, then why do I need it now?

It was the definition of lifestyle creep.

So I’m going to wean myself off coffee. I don’t believe in quitting things cold turkey, because I think it’s too easy to fail. I’m all about the baby steps. Here’s the plan: every week, for 6 weeks, I’m going to drink one less coffee a week, until I’m down to zero.

What about you? Do you need coffee to function like a human being, or am I crazy? What are your goals for the year, either money-related or just in life?

Image: Unsplash

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  • Adventure Rich

    Where to begin?!? First off, awesome job with the Net Worth increases! We are gunning for over $300k by the end of 2017 🙂

    Those leather masterpieces… have you ever thought of making items as a side hustle?!? They are beautiful! I’m sure it takes a lot of work (says the woman who cannot sew a button back on her sweater…) but they are pretty amazing.

    Cutting down on coffee… oof. I’m half-heartedly trying to cut back on coffee. I don’t have the problem of buying coffee (I work from home, so getting to a coffee shop would take wayyy more effort than making it here!), but I often end up drinking way too much during the day!

    Nice job crushing your 2017 goals!

    ~Mrs. Adventure Rich

    • Thank you!

      Oh yes, I bought a sewing machine years ago because I didn’t want to get regular job. I thought I’d try making stuff at home. That lasted a month, haha. They are sooo much work than anyone ever realizes, but it’s really about the process. I love making something out of nothing–makes me feel proud of myself!

      Yeah, my coffee comes with a lot of sugar, which is another thing I need to cut back on. Thankfully, I only take 1 cup a day.

  • Omg Luxe, you are so awesome! Thanks for sharing these goals, you motivate me to be more diligent and savvy with my finance too.

    My boyfriend is just like you. He didn’t use to drink as much coffee as he does now before he met me. At least he drinks his coffee with milk and milk helps him with his backache so I guess he won’t be stopping for a while :p

    My current goal is to save enough for my wedding. Since my boyfriend and I are paying it by ourselves. I also don’t want to touch any of my savings so I’m starting fresh from last month. Hopefully we can make it before the end of the year 🙂

    • Hi Ellya,

      I’m so glad you are motivated to improve your finances–makes me so happy to hear.

      What I didn’t mention is how I’ve made my husband spend more, too. He spends a lot more on travel now because of me, when usually, he’d just hang out at home, hehe.

      It’s great you’re aiming to pay for your wedding yourselves–it’s an accomplishment! Five months is enough time to make a good dent in those wedding savings. Good luck!

  • The Wallet Moth

    Great goals!

    Your net worth is super inspirational, and I love the plan to make more things – that wallet is fab. I’m kind of similar – I’m really creative and always make new things for gifts (candles, soap, blankets, you name it) but rarely make it a habit. Would love to do something similar!

    Be sure to share your creations 🙂

    • Thanks, Yaz! Ha, totally will share creations–I have to now that I’ve told the world about it 🙂 Yeah, being creative is really important to me. I feel like it’s one of those things our society doesn’t really care about, but I see a lot of value in it. Especially when you choose to do something really hard you’ve never done before (like the wallet).

  • Alicia McElhaney

    Do you have a post on calculating net worth? I’m curious as to how you used Mint to do it! I need to get back to making cold brew at home, there’s no way in hell I could actually go without it! ;D

    • i think you just go to the “All Accounts” category under “Transactions”!

    • Hey! Haha, at the cold brew. I guess you’re in the same camp as my husband. He would be a zombie without it.

      Mint has a ton of awesome features! Basically, I connect all my bank accounts, investment accounts and credit cards to it, and it automatically creates these reports for you. There’s a net worth graph that’s pretty addicting. Let me know if you have any more q’s on it! Actually, my friend has a recent post that shows screenshots of what it looks like, in case you’re interested:

      There’s also a calculator here if you want to do it manually. You just have to click on the plus signs to add in your own numbers:

      • Alicia McElhaney

        Thank you! This is all sooooo cool!

  • The wallet you made is amazing!! I would totally buy that from an etsy store hahaha . I still have (and use) a vachetta leather belt that an exboyfriend made for me…SIX YEARS AGO!! It has the deepest patina now and its hard to imagine receiving another gift from anyone that would outdo this

    • Thanks! Vegetable tanned leather is soooo dreamy, and I’m obsessed with it. I should show you a picture of what the wallet looks like now. It has his jean stains on it and mad patina.

      Um, why did you let that BF go? I have had no crafty SOs to make me cool stuff.

      • hahaha it wasnt the right time in my life to uproot my life and move for just a relationship yet

  • Luxe, that wallet is beautiful! I I wanted to make a leather tassle myself a couple months ago, in fact…this is a direct quote from a blog post I wrote in June –> “Should I really buy all these leather making tools. Am I really going to make 20 leather keychains tomorrow?” I used to draw for hours and hours, and now I don’t anymore. I think the blog is a great outlet for my creativity and is probably the most difficult/rewarding thing I’ve worked on lately 😛

    Damn girl, your goals are motivational! I feel like I’m running up against my max savings rate lately, my *reach* goal is +20k to my net worth by the end of 2017!

    • Oooh, I had to go check that post out! Haha, yeah, the tools ADD UP. I could never decide on which ones to order online, so I picked up a bunch when I went to Japan. Obviously, all their tools are super nice! A tassle is actually a good beginner project. I should make a new one and make a tutorial!

      It makes me sad how we grow up and get less and less creative. I had so much energy before. But of course, with the blog and stuff now, my time is limited. And I agree, my blog is a creative outlet too! I’m actually SHOCKED at how much I’ve written. I used to have the hardest time ever completing papers on time in college. Haha, I was the one like, making huge margins and oversized fonts to make the minimum page amounts.

      You have a great salary, even better than even what I have now, so all you need is time. I think it took me 4 years to get to 100k.

  • Your Average Dough


    The pictures of all the leather items you’ve made are incredible! Bravo!

    Also your goals are inspirational! I do the same thing in terms of setting a large goal and setting smaller goals/plans to get there. The small achievement are even more motivating to get you there. We’ve got a goal to reach a net worth of $1 million by 30 (we being my husband and I). We’ve got 2 years left before he turns 30, but I haven’t broken it down into monthly goals and I think that’s a great idea, so thank you!

    We’ve achieved some of our yearly goals already, like paying off my car and taking vacations, so I feel like I need to add some new ones to the list!

    • Thank you! Sometimes I can’t believe I had the patience to sit there and make all that stuff. It’s like a feat of engineering sometimes, literally!

      Wow, a million by 30 would be a huuuuuge accomplishment–could retire by then!

  • The leather tassel actually doesn’t take that long to do! Hmm, let me think about this #sidehustle idea.

    OMG, I can’t believe how much I used to spend on Starbucks. I’d get the java chip frappuccino all the time in the summer. Besides a waste of money, I don’t even want to know how unhealthy they were.

    Yay to us and no more coffee!

    Yeah, at first my net worth goal was 310 but I thought that would be too easy. I hope the investments will throw some mad good returns.

  • Wow! I can’t even fix a loose button! (Really I can’t…) And you can do all that! It’s so cute. Get your own clothing brand going! I’ll be in line lol!!!

    Your goals are amazing Luxe!!! Our goal is similar to Courtney’s. I wanna be a millionaire by the time we’re 30 too. I just want the title. The market can die and crash after but I wanna say we got there :p

    • You can learn how to sew a button on Youtube! But yeah, it’s my job to fix all that stuff in my household.

      Thanks, girl! You are your husband are doing so great and have such a high savings rate you’ll get there in no time.

      And hahaha, at the market crashing and dying. Better take a screenshot on that paper million status ASAP.

  • And I thought I was handy with a sewing machine! Wow, your creations are amazing! I also love making stuff. It doesn’t really matter what it is (clothes, body products, a website), there is just something so satisfy knowing you can be self-sufficient in one aspect of life. Can’t wait to read future updates on your goals!

    • I’ve seen your cute crocheted animals on Insta! My friend tried to show me how to knit (which is different) a while back and it just didn’t click with me. I so agree, making stuff exercises a different part of your brain that is just so satisfying! And sewing definitely comes in handy with frugal pursuits. I haven’t had to bring pants to the tailor to hem in years!

      • They were knitted too actually! I can’t crochet to save my life, but YouTube taught me how to knit a couple of years ago. It’s one of my favourite winter pastimes. I have yet to wrap my head around hemming, so it’s a good thing I have very average length legs!

  • Pia

    I wish I was handy on the sewing machine! I could probably do all the alterations I need done to my clothes myself if that was the case. Maybe that should be my goal for next year, haha.

    I do love making stuff too. Just seem to have a mental block with sewing.

    • Sewing is HARD. There are like, a million steps from start to end, so I totally get the mental block. My issue is making something that I’ll actually use.

  • Stay strong, girl!

  • I think #4 just needs to go out the window. 😉
    I tweeted recently how consumerism kills creatives (or something to the matter). It’s cheaper to buy the thing then make it, someone has already made it better… Oh no, it was consumerism makes artists lazy. I was just thinking about making a macrame wall hanging, when I went to BBB where I found the one I wanted to make for $14. I’m sure I could have found a coupon to make it a cheaper buy. Have fun making more projects. And great goals. I wish you luck on the clothes buying. I spend very little on clothes, but come Christmas time and I love to splurge on a new outfit.

    • It’s so true. It IS cheaper to just buy the thing. I’m sure once I make this dress I would have spent $50 on materials, plus countless hours. But making things with your hands is so satisfying.

      I have faith in the clothes buying goal. I can sell stuff if I want something expensive, because I’m a problem solver 🙂

  • Sophie

    I am so not proud to say this but I need coffee to feel human…but I also enjoy it so I tell myself it’s a nice way to motivate myself to get moving. I can’t wait to see your future creations…everything you’ve made so far looks incredible!

    • I just feel drug-addicted to it now, which makes me feel crappy. Before I would just force myself through sleepiness, but now I just grab a coffee out of habit. And of course I need sugar with it, too, which is something I think everyone could probably cut down on.

      Thanks! Can’t wait to hold myself accountable to the sewing on Insta!

      • I know what you mean! I get terrible headaches if I don’t have my coffee by 11 am. I only started drinking coffee (straight up with no milk, no sugar) in grad school and it has since been such a bad habit…especially for my teeth. And because I’ve associated drinking coffee with “me time” it’s probably going to stick around for a while.

  • BrooklynBread

    I have so many vintage sewing patterns that I have never attempted! I’m pretty good with simple things like pajamas for my kids and drapery and stuff like that, but I would give anything to be able to improve my sewing skills! There used to be a little quilting and fabric store close to me a million years ago and they gave sewing lessons – I wish that place were still around! Can we have a sewing party? It looks like you have some pretty serious skills!

    • Oh yes, I often see them outside of people’s stoops and I have to fight every urge to rescue them. Sewing is one of those things you just have to keep doing, then one day it’s all muscle memory! And yes, would love to have a sewing party!

  • Thanks, I’m very detail oriented so I try not to cut corners when making stuff. And my first salary was actually 33k! A 4k difference, but close enough. I started saving late because I didn’t want to #adult right after college, so I figured I had to make up for it by saving as much as I could. I’m so glad this inspired you to save more!

  • Awesome and actionable goals. Good luck this year!

    • Thank you! The coffee challenge is going well so far, and I just bought a new pair of scissors for the sewing project. Gotta have the proper tools, right?


    You are going to totally nail this one! Why? Because you have a clear idea about why, and how. Cheering for you!!

    • Thanks, DCW! And nice to see a new face around here 🙂 Yeah, I’m doing pretty well with the goals so far and I agree with you–you need an actual PLAN instead of plain wishful thinking to make stuff happen.

  • Looks like we have some similar goals! And your net worth is looking great, so keep it up.

    Thanks for visiting!

  • As a person who also used to make shit (knitting my own designs was my jazz), thank you for inspiring me to get back into it after years of giving my needles “I’m too busy but I wish I had time” looks. Everything you made rocked btw; the wallet and makeup bag were especially A++! Def following you on Instagram to see what else you come up with on that front.

    Keeping my clothes budget down has been my 2017 goal too, though I’m not doing as well as you are with that. I have spent less than I did last year though, and almost all quality secondhand purchases, so progress over perfection, eh?

    Oh, and restarting my own blog instead of just perpetually reading yours (Hi, Internet lol). I had some huge life changes early this year which put a wrench in my writing but I’m ready to get back into it.

    Again thanks for the inspiration, Luxe, and know I’m cheering you on as you make those goals work!

    • Hey Daisy,

      I looked at your site and it’s so clean and calming 🙂 Looking forward to future posts.

      I just bought a pair of sewing scissors because the ones I had were dull as hell. Like, they could barely cut paper, much less any fabric. So I’m making small progress here and there!

      I feel like keeping the clothes spending down is easier for me because I have most of what I need. I have a pretty defined style so I think that’s half the battle with making intentional purchases. But yes, you’re right. Progress should still be applauded over perfection. As long as you’re improving it’s all good.

      Thanks for the compliments and see you on Instagram!

      • Thanks for visiting my site! It’s appreciated. 🙂

        I agree with you about style needing to be hammered down before the clothes spending gets controlled. It helps but it’s still a pain to cull items off my shopping cart before checkout lol!

  • I did a lot of DIY when I was off with Baby Bun but nothing near to your skill.. we’re talking studding and flicking paint on stuff.

    As for the actual 2017 goal.. I think at the end of the year, my goal is to end up with more than what I had when I stopped working last year. *shrug*

    • I don’t understand how any parent can find the time to DIY, so kudos to you!

      Having more money is always a respectable goal to have. But from some of your money, you’re doing pretty well already 🙂

  • Great job on the leather goods! I have a basic sewing machine but it doesn’t handle leather that well either. The most I can do with clothes is alter the fit a bit – I’ve been trying to buy only vintage/second hand clothes, because it’s so depressing to see the mounds of clothing in stores nowadays, it makes be feel better knowing I’m sort of ‘recycling’ clothes – so I’ve been doing a lot of reinforcing hems and stitches, taking in waists and hems, that sort of thing. Definitely not talented enough to sew a dress from scratch!

    I totally failed with my ‘one item a month’ clothes shopping goal, so I’ll have to examine why (I think stress and boredom shopping, probably) and try to set a new goal. Good luck with yours, I’m sure you’ll get there!

    Yes indeed I do need caffeine to function, my parents are coffee-drinkers and my sister and I started early :/ I will say that ever since I bought a Nespresso machine to make espresso, I hardly ever buy lattes and stuff from cafes now. I live right in the center of a city, so wherever I am usually I can just wait until I get home to make myself a latte, and it saves me a ton of money!

    I’ve been shopping around for some finance apps. All of my retirement and investment accounts I don’t really have a hand in, I just let someone else do the work, but I might try to dabble myself just to see! Have you ever used Acorns or Stash Invest, by any chance?

    • Thanks, K!

      I hardly ever shop in person in NYC anymore. There’s just way too many clothes and people. Sensory overload much?

      I tend to go on clothing shopping rampages. So for the first three months this year I didn’t buy anything, but then I bought 3 things in one swoop…I haven’t bought anything new yet, but I will definitely have to sell some things to make my goal for the year.

      How nice to have a Nespresso machine! We have a coffee shop around the corner, so my husband is always sneaking over there to grab a latte.

      I’ve heard of Stash and Acorns, but I don’t think they existed when I first started investing. So I saved up $1k to get the cheapest Vanguard fund and have just stuck with them. Are you looking for something that has low minimums or just one that transfers random money over to the investment account? If you have the funds, I’d definitely do Vanguard because the fees are lower. But I get it’s not the most intuitive interface. I def think you should try it yourself and see. Hmm, I should sign up for both Acorns and Stash and do a review!

      • Thanks! My Merrill guy has Vanguard funds in my portfolio. Like I said, those accounts I leave to the ‘experts’, I was just shopping around for something where I could maybe pick stocks on my own… I didn’t have the best financial education growing up, my parents were more of the ‘stash money under the mattress, we don’t trust the stock market’ type of people. They’d give me my allowance with the caveat, “here you go, don’t spend it!” lol. They did learn along the way with the help of advisers so they’ll be all set for retirement, etc., thank goodness, and you know, they don’t teach this stuff in school! Usually rich kids just get advice from their rich parents, and that wasn’t really my situation, although I never wanted for anything growing up.

        Thanks for the heads up on Acorns and the link to the blog! I’ll check it out. I was looking at LearnVest too, because I’m looking more to teach myself the basics, but I’m not sure about the fee structure.

        • I know what you mean about the lack of financial education. That was me, too. I just saw my mom putting money into savings and that’s it. Investments were “too risky”. Totally hear you on the no-guidance thing. I basically had to figure out everything on my own!

          I can’t seem to find any good investing info for beginners. You could read a book, but you honestly don’t need to know everything to start investing. I never did and just learned along the way. Here is an actionable post about it:

          I just invest in index funds with a few individual stocks here and there just for fun.

    • PS, I found a post on Acorns from a fellow blogger whose advice is always sound:

      He says that the fees eat up a lot of the earnings you’ll get until you hit a certain threshold.