2018 Goals + Bingo

Happy New Year to you all!

For those who work, I don’t know about you but this felt like the longest week ever in the office!

I have no idea what this year will bring but just hope that it will be interesting (bubbles and market corrections? Bring ’em on!), with a lot of good stuff and laughs in between! Oh and with me (and you) continuing to head in the right direction with our finances (bubbles and market corrections notwithstanding!)

Anyway, back to the main topic…Goals!

I only set a few goals last year and the focus on just those few worked well for me with little room for distraction so I’m going to do something similar exactly the same for 2018.

So without further ado, here they are:

2018 Financial Goals:

Average 50% Savings Rate*

I know, I know, same old, same old! After 4 attempts, this goal continues to remain elusive, which makes it all the more reason why I must aim for it! This is how I’ve performed against it in the past:

2017 – 42.4%
2016 – 44.9%
2015 – 43.7%
2014 – 46.5%

Not bad going but not quite there, either! I know there are still bits of expenses which could be trimmed but I’m (still) not prepared to make any radical changes to my lifestyle right now which could make hitting the goal much more likely. However, being more organised with my groceries/meals may make some difference, plus I might even get a bit of a pay rise and/or bonus.

£3,000 Total Dividend Income

This income number is ambitiously set at double the target I set last year. In order to increase my dividend income, I shall need to continue to chuck my money into income-paying investments, with all dividends being re-invested. Getting an average of £250 a month would be brilliant as this would cover quite a few of my monthly utility bills.

Earn £4,000 Matched Betting (MB) Income

The same as last year but although I hit that quite comfortably in 2017, I believe this year shall prove to be much much tougher.

As I was unemployed for a while last year, I had a lot more time to do MB and make the most of offers. There’s also the real risk of losing bookie accounts (through ‘gubbings’ – bookies don’t tend to like matched bettors) plus I’m going to continue to follow the risky no-lay accumulator strategy.

MB is still very much a hobby I enjoy doing and I hope the profits continue to roll in.

The £4k itself may not seem very ambitious considering the huge earning potential of MB but it’s a number I’d be well happy with if I was able to achieve it again.

2018 Non-Financial Goals

Borrow and Read 24 Library Books

I’ve added 4 to last year’s goal. Borrowing from the library means that I spend less on books but also means that I am supporting my local library services. I’m going to try to read a total of 30 books this year (I track my progress here via Goodreads), of which at least 24 must be borrowed from the library.

Read 3 Non-Fiction Books

Again, the same as last year’s goal, these will be non-fiction books which pique my interest which may or may not be finance or investment related.  Doesn’t sound like much but as mentioned previously, my passion is reading fiction so even these measly 3 books will be a challenge for me! Of course, if I can borrow them from the library, I can work on two goals at the same time!


In an attempt to mix up my reading a little this year, (though not too much as I don’t want to drift too far from my favourite genres) I’m going to play a spot of Bingo while pursuing the above reading goals:

Will I get ‘House’?!

So, I’ll be marking off squares as I read the books matching the criteria over the course of the year. Some books will enable me to mark off more than one square eg if I read a >500 page book that is >10 years old, that’s two squares. Anyone else fancy this fun challenge?

I think the ones I will struggle with are likely to be ‘A forgotten classic’ (I’m not sure how a ‘classic’ can be forgotten and forgotten by whom?), ‘A book of short stories’ (generally, I’m not a fan), ‘First book by a favourite author’ (might have to re-read a book), ‘A book that scares you’ (not a fan of horror) and ‘A book your friend loves’ (I’m just glad that my friends also doing this challenge don’t count ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ as a book they love…).

Charity Goal

As per previous years, I pledge to donate at least 10% of my MB profits to charity, so if I hit my MB goal this year, that will be at least £400. The main charities I donate to regularly are Age UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and British Red Cross. I also fund ‘charity loans’ via Kiva.

As per last year, I will set myself a charity goal, which will be with Toilet Twinning again:

Tearfund, registered charity No. 265464 (England and Wales)

Billions of people don’t have somewhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the toilet, something that we’ve taken for granted every day of our lives.

Toilet Twinning is a simple way to solve a serious problem and save lives.

You can twin your loo (like towns are twinned) with a latrine halfway around the world, in a country of your choosing. For a larger donation, you can twin with a school block or with toilets in a displacement camp.

My goal will be to twin with a School Block of toilets (donate £240), as well as continuing to support above-mentioned charities. My donation will help build a block of toilets at a school, providing safe, clean and hygienic sanitation and also help fund hygiene education and clean water projects.

Here’s my post of when I twinned my loo last year.

Other Stuff

The following aren’t goals as such but things that I will be doing in 2018:

  • Home Brewing – I ran out of home brew beers a while ago so need to get back to my brewing! Making brews will also help cut my grocery expenses as I will spend less/nothing on alcohol in my weekly shop. As before, I shall document and showcase the fruits of my labour! I hope to make at least 3 different batches.
  • More Exercise – Last year, as well as doing my gym classes, I started playing netball as well, but struggled to attend sessions when I began my new job. I shall either work out a way to attend the sessions again or add an extra gym night to my routine. Actually, my gym membership has just gone up so I might just attend an extra night (or day at the weekend) to get more value for money.
  • ‘Trading’ – I’m on the waiting list for the trading app Dabbl. Whether I will actually be ‘trading’ is debatable, this will just be another of my experiments really (using ‘fun money’). I’m not sure how much detail I will go into regarding shares I buy or sell as I won’t know how much time I’m going to spend on it, or if I’ll even like it.

And that’s it really for my goals.

There’s a lot of other stuff that I think I want to do or aim for but as they’re only halfhearted ideas, I feel it’s a little pointless trying to make them into goals if I’m not really going to attempt them (my friends seem to think New Man is going to be one of my goals, haha!)

Did you set any goals for 2018?

If so, good luck and may this be a happy and prosperous year for all! 🙂

* Note that my savings rate is what I save from my net salary, my net salary being what drops into my bank account each month from my employer.

48 thoughts on “2018 Goals + Bingo

  1. I wish you all the best with your 2018 goals and will pop in to see how you get on. 2017 was a year of lost motivation for me so I think my goals this year will be largely about getting motivated again. I would certainly like to spend more time reading although will focus on genres I like rather than book bingo as ‘true story’ books generally make me shudder!! Also I need to return to the savings habit, I have been quite happy this year with just my automated savings, making very little extra payments, I will do better in 2018. On the plus side my dividend income was over 4k, up 1k from the previous year. I also plan to do more exercise, won’t be joining a gym but will turn to YouTube fitness videos and pounding the pavements! And finally I want to be more optimistic and open to life in general! Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Mr Chai.

      I’m not looking forward to the ‘true story’ book either as they generally don’t interest me (or like you, they make me shudder!).

      Congrats on a fantastic dividend income number – I’m hoping to increase mine by about £1k too, so will be overjoyed if I achieve this.

      All the best and hope you achieve happiness as well as wealth in 2018.

  2. Happy new year weenie. My goal is to do a bit less this year to save more. It’s difficult as I love the memories experiences such as festivals holidays and gigs give but I think I need to be a bit more choosy in what I spend my money on to save a bit more.

    My net worth excluding the house in going g to be about 187000 of which about 50k is non pension. I guess my aim is to get to about 210000 of which 60k is non pension which is doable I think if I cut back on the holidays etc. I should be able to save that much. I’m thinking of taking on more risk in terms of maybe a little extra in peer to peer and I’ve been considering buying individual shares but think I will stick with my simple Vls 100 until my pot is nearer 50k . My pension has always been my largest long term saving vehicle because of tax and I also figure if i do nothing else right this will enable me to retire at 55 all being well with almost a million. I’m also realistic enough to know my job may not always go as well as it is so I’m making hay while the sun shines in case the roof falls in!
    I read alot and really need to start using my library. Im a kindle sucker and tend to spend about 20 a month on books so this would be an easy saving

    • Happy New Year FBA!

      I still enjoy gigs and festivals, but as you have mentioned, I am now more choosy with what I’m attending so spend less on this type of entertainment.

      Good luck with your investments – sticking with the simple VLS is better to start off with. I can’t say that I’ve done particularly well with the individual shares I’ve purchased, although I don’t think I’ve done too badly overall, when dividends paid are factored in. In hindsight, I think I would have bought into investment trusts earlier but that’s what I’m building on now.

      My Kindle is full of books which I have bought but never read, so I don’t intend on buying any new ebooks for a while! Sadly, although ebooks are available in my library, they’re not compatible with the Kindle.

      All the best for 2018!

    • Sorry, posted too soon!
      Lots of free books on Amazon; sign up to a service such as Instafreebie. Some dross, some gems.

      • Re library books being incompatible – if you have a smartphone or tablet, you can read epub files with apps; Moon+ Reader is a good (and free!) one.

  3. Happy New Year to you as well weenie!

    I hope 2018 brings everything you’re looking for. I personally look forward to seeing how your Future Fund and the wonderful dividends that spin off from it develop in 2018. I guess that’s because I’m a bit of Personal Finance nut…

    I’d encourage you to really stretch for that 50% savings rate as it makes such a difference to rapid wealth creation and FIRE. To demonstrate 59% of my wealth actually came from savings over my FI journey. Using your method to calculate savings rate since I started counting my rate has been 83% in comparison. I do understand if you have other priorities but did just want to show how much of a difference it makes.

    • Happy New Year RIT and thanks for your support and encouragement as always.

      I was running a few numbers recently and saw how much just a few percentage made a difference on my wealth. Your own story is proof that saving more is critical to rapid wealth creation.

      I’m going to try really hard this month to push for at least 50% – looking good so far but it’s not easy!

  4. Best of luck for the new year! My goals are limited; enjoy life to it’s fullest and removed the “s” from goals…

  5. Happy New Year Weenie!
    Some good goals in there, and nothing wrong withkeeping more of the same! Have you had your kitchen finished yet to let you do more of the homebrewing?
    Look forward to see how you continue to progress through these this year.

    I still really like the idea of the toilet twinning – I may look into that one once I have repaired my cash reserves….

    • Happy New Year, FiL!

      Err, the kitchen is an obstacle which I hope to overcome very soon so I will get my brewing going again!

      As regards the toilet twinning, instead of committing to twin a school toilet for £240, it’s also possible to twin a single toilet for £60, which you will get a framed certicate like the one I got.

  6. My eyes are ageing. I thought you wrote:

    “Anyway, back to the main topic…Goats!”

    Anyway, lang may yer lum reek.

    • Cheers dearieme – me and my ‘goats’ will be fine!

      PS – I had to Google a translation for that, since I don’t know ‘Scottish’ 🙂

  7. For your story story bingo, “The thing around your neck” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was one book of short stories that blew me away. I had never liked the genre before but as soon as I finished each story I was sad there wasn’t whole novels written.

    • Hi Emily
      Thanks for the recommendation – the book is very different from the genres I read but if I can borrow it from my local library, I will give it a go!

  8. Good luck with your goals this year Weenie. You’ve had a great track record with your savings rate, even thought it’s not quite where you’d love it to be, keep it up and I’m sure you’ll get there!

  9. Weenie,
    Happy new year, and keep up the posts. It seems as though the bloggers have been running out of steam a little bit, as many topics have now been covered, but hopefully you will all continue as you are a real inspiration and help keep us all focused on our own long term goals. Thank you.

    For what it’s worth here are my goals:-
    1. Grow more veg in the garden – become ~20% self-sufficient (currently constructing cold frames from scrounged old pallets).
    2. Year of the Dog = have more fun and laughter
    3. Train properly for annual 100 mile bike ride (too painful otherwise), and target £1000 for MacMillan
    4a. Earn enough from online betting to pay for BT internet! (or simply switch to a more reasonable provider).
    4b. Continue push to eventually live off dividends for all other outgoings.
    5. Hope Neil Woodford and Mark Barnett turn their performance around this year! (Barnett was my worst manager in 2017 by a distance)
    6. Don’t panic when/if the stock market crashes. Mark portfolio down by 20%, 40%, to visualise before and after position. Ready self to be prepared to BUY when others are running away.

    All the best, Kid Cocoa.

    • Happy New Year KC

      Yes, it does seem that some bloggers are running out of steam a little – I just hope that all is well and that they are too busy earning, hustling and investing to update their blogs. I will continue as the blog is a huge motivator for me.

      Good luck with your goals, you’ve listed some great ones there. Perhaps I should consider your goal 6 and visualise what will happen with a big market correction. It’s easy for me to say now that I will be brave when others are running away, another to actually continue to buy!

      All the best for 2018!

      • I know what you mean although in my isa I’m 4500up on a 25k total so even a big drop will see me 20% down which I can cope with
        Also viewing my isa in same way as my pension now I have a big amount in pension (141k) even small movements have started to become big money so that helps my nerve on the ISA

  10. Hey,

    Well you’re definitely heading in the right direction for achieving your 50% savings rate.

    I’d be interested in hearing how you get on with Dabbl. I’ve done a little reading but not pursued it any further. There fee structure looks very simple and cheap, possibly too good to be true.

    Ah home brewing, something I indulge in too. Do you use kits or have you gone the whole 9 yards and got yourself an all grain setup? I’ve managed a few brew-in-a-bag beers and they’ve come out lovely.

    Good luck with the goals!

    • Thanks HTSC

      I’m still on the waiting list for Dabbl but I will post some updates or review after I’ve had the chance to ‘dabble’ on it, so to speak!

      On the home brewing front, I use premium kits. I’ve never tried brew in a bag before, my brews are fermented in a big tub which holds 40 pints and thus far, they’ve all been good (my friends and colleagues being ‘satisfied customers’)!

      • Ah great stuff 🙂 I find bottling the most tedious part of the whole process. I can highly recommend getting a couple of 5 litre mini kegs to speed up the process. Once opened they’ll last for 3/4 days.

  11. Book bingo looks like fun! I’m still trying to formulate some goals for 2018, both financial and personal. It’s weird, last year I was so motivated, this year I’m a bit lost on figuring out what I want to achieve.

    • I found it hard to think of new goals, which is why I chose the same ones as I’m still motivated to try to achieve them. I look forward to reading about what you would like to achieve for 2018.

  12. Happy New Year.

    Really good goals and seem quite realistic too. I have been saving for years but haven’t started to invest yet. That’s my goal for 2018. I want to put some money on stocks and bonds. What platform would you recommend to start for beginners?

    • Charles stanley is a good one or to be honest vanguard itself as you may want to go for a well diversified tracker toll you have a reasonable sum (there are others such as legal and general and HSBC mentioned too) . Or tbh research shows this is good enough at any level. As you get more confident you may want to construct your own portfolio as some of these chaps do in the hope of outperforming the benchmark. I haven’t got enough saved yet (about 25k in my stocks and shares isa) but may dabble when I reach 50k

    • Happy New Year, Drew.

      When I was a complete beginner investor, I found that I was very happy with Hargreaves Lansdown. It is not the cheapest, but they have an excellent website and customer service.

      However, it’s best to do a little research yourself and I would recommend that you check out Monevator’s comparison of brokers – http://monevator.com/compare-uk-cheapest-online-brokers/ so you can see/compare the costs depending on how large your portfolio will be, how much you will invest and what you’ll be investing in, eg funds, shares, etc. Good luck! 🙂

      • Just opened a sipp with hl for my girlfriend as she has v little In her pension to my horror.. 10k ! She’s 34
        I found hl very user friendly. I did also laugh as her workmates underrate her intelligence and they were taking about pensions today and a chap said he was paying 3% a year for Ifa management! (st James I suspect) and that’s without the underling fund charges and how he thought that was good. she smugly told him she was paying 0.45% and 0.25% on the fund. O and that she was using avios points to fly business class to new york for Xmas. There was dead silence

        • Haha, nice one, especially the business class flights! I’ve used my Avios points in the past for flights to Hong Kong but not used any in a while so I should have quite a lot!

          My sister’s just opened an account with HL after my recommendation and is well impressed with both the website and the fees.

          • Cavendish Online is another to consider; it’s basically Fidelity under another name with lower fees. User-friendly website.

            Take care with percentage-based platforms, though; usually cheaper to use flat fee platforms such as iWeb for portfolios over £50K.

  13. Great post, out of interest how long did it take you to generate the £4,000 in matched betting income?



        • No idea on total hours but the fact is that the more time put into matched betting, the higher the chance of making profits.

          The month where I made the most profit (nearly £1.3k) was whilst I was unemployed and I was matched betting on horses during the day, including the profitable Cheltenham Festival. If I had to guess, the time I spend can range from 2-5 hours per week, evenings and weekends only, depending on what else I’m doing in my spare time. I could do more if I wanted to but choose not to.

          Sometimes, the time I put in seems to be ‘worth it’, other times not, which can be frustrating. At the end of the day, it isn’t a job, it’s a hobby, so I don’t think of my profits in terms of an hourly rate; I do matched betting in the comfort of my own home, in my own spare time – sometimes in my pyjamas 🙂 – and the profits are tax free.

          Matched betting isn’t for everyone, I guess you won’t know if it’s ‘your thing’ until you try it yourself.

          • Thanks Weenie,

            That’s really useful at 5hrs a week that would work out to be over £15 an hour tax free so more like £17.50 which certainly shouldn’t be sniffed at and is much more than you’d get paid in other casual labour (and much more fun too).

            Have a great evening 🙂


    • Thanks Sarah. Yes, the 50% average is a tough one to achieve so I shall continue to aim for it. Am struggling with the frugal thing this month…

  14. Always enjoy reading your yearly goals as they are nice and focused, and therefore short and easy to read 😉

    I’ll be following suit again having not really hit many of mine last year… Haha!

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