Bert’s Fourth Quarter Finance and Life Goals

This quarter I want to try something different.  Sure, I set my annual goals back in December.  Those goals are the big goals that I want to make sure I can accomplish over the course of twelve mounts and  they are supposed to take time to complete (which they definitely are).  However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of other short-term goals that I want to accomplish along the way.  During the fourth quarter, I want to create some shorter term personal finance and life goals that I also want to complete over the next three months.  Some are large and some are small.   But all will have a meaningful impact if I can accomplish them.  

First I can’t take credit for the idea.  This inspiration for trying this came from some awesome conversations that Lanny had with one of his close friends (you know who you are!).  Lanny was telling me about the conversations and they have been on my mind a lot over the last few days.  I want to hold myself more accountable and start crossing some items off of my growing “to-do” list.  Putting together this listing should help me focus more on crushing these goals that are designed to bring me closer to financial freedom, become healthier, or even just enjoy life a little more.  There is no reason why I cannot accomplish these goals and if I can’t make enough time to complete them, than shame on me.  I know you all are at the edge of your seat eagerly awaiting what I have in store for the next three months.  So enough talk, here are my fourth quarter goals.

Financial Goals

Solve My Cable Situation –  I am in the battle of all battles with my cable provider.  This may be reminiscent of when Lanny finally became so frustrated with his situation that he ditched the services of one of his favorite stocks (AT&T) in favor of another provider.  Here is the situation.  Last year, I signed a 2 year price lock contract for $99.99 per month plus taxes and fees.  My interpretation of a “price lock” is that the price does not change for 24 months.  My cable company has a different interpretation.  To them, a 2 year price lock means that  the first 12 months of my contract are at the agreed upon price and the second 12 months of my contract are $25 more expensive per month.  Their customer service has been a pain to deal with throughout this process, so I am considering paying the $110 one time termination fee for other services.  All options are on the table.  This includes cutting the cord and finding a streaming service for the right price.  I have been reluctant to do so; however, I am finally pissed off enough where  I am willing to consider any option!

Shop My Insurance and Reduce My Insurance Cost – Ah yes, insurance.  The expense that we all find ourselves having to pay.  With two cars, a house, and some expensive personal items we want insured, the monthly bill has added up quickly.   Even with bundling, I know I am probably paying too much for my insurance through State Farm.  I know State Farm is pricier, but I have been willing to tolerate this because they have provided me with awesome customer service over the years and have quickly handled every claim I have thrown their way.  

That being said, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t shop their services.  There are plenty of great insurance companies out there that offer great customer service.  I have been thinking about  shop insurance over the last year and a half.  The reason I have not actively shopped services is because we have planned on purchasing a new car and house during that time frame.  I didn’t want to receive a quote over a portion of the items to insure and have to deal with the negotiating process each time I wanted to add a new line.  What if I would have switched providers before purchasing my house and learning after my purchase that my new premiums would have skyrocketed with the addition of homeowners insurance?  My wife and I have all of our big purchases behind us now and any quote from an insurer that we receive will reflect our complete customer needs. They won’t have the opportunity to make up a discount when we add an insurance line later on. Now that the purchases are out-of-the-way, I am really looking forward to shopping these services around and seeing how much I can lower these costs. 

Life Goals

Drink More Water Each Day –  Everyone knows the benefits of being properly hydrated.  You feel better, have fewer headaches, increases your energy, and so on.  What’s funny is that I have known these benefits and yet, there are many days where I do not hydrate enough.  On top of it, I drink a lot of coffee and this just compounds the problem.   My body can tell when I am under-hydrated and the results are not great.  I’m lethargic, angrier, and just feel terrible.  Not conducive to living a great life, blogging, or enjoying a casual conversation with my wife at the end of the day.  

This quarter, I am making it a goal to drink enough water each day.  Hopefully this will become a habit after three months and I’ll never have to think of it again.  I’ve read websites today that offer a wide spectrum of recommend ounces of water to drink in a day.  The lowest total  on one website was 64 ounces while the highest  total was 125 ounces on a different website.  Another website suggested that you   multiply your weight by two-thirds and add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes you are active to calculate the number of ounces to drink in a day.  This would require me to drink about 112 ounces of water each day.  

I thought it was crazy how large of a disparity there was on the topic.  But to be safe, my goal is to drink between 90 and 125 ounces of water each day and I’m sure this amount will fluctuated based on how active I am.  This should be quite the change and like my insurance goal above, I am really excited to report the results and how I am feeling after three months.  

Take My Wife to Her Birthday Dinner…Finally – Last but not least, a goal that should never have been on this list to begin with.  This will definitely be the easiest to accomplish on my list; however, I have been slow with crossing it off my list.  My wife’s birthday was August 31.  I know what you are all thinking.  You are a terrible husband.  How could you not have taken her out for her birthday dinner over a month later?!  Well, it isn’t that simple.  We actually moved houses on her birthday. So we were busy unpacking our new house and getting set up throughout the whole day.  By the time dinner arrived, we were both wiped out.  Our weekends after have been crazy too, so we haven’t had a great opportunity to have a nice dinner together.  She is a nurse that works night shift and has worked a lot of weekends recently.  Plus, when she hasn’t worked the weekend shift, we have been busy working on our house every chance we get and a few family parties/friends birthday parties have taken up the limited free time that we have had.  Rather than trying to cram a dinner in, I have opted to wait until we have a nice night where we can relax and enjoy the night out.  So my goal is to take her out to a nice birthday dinner at SOME point over the next three months.  That shouldn’t be that tough to accomplish, right?

Summary

Four goals that I am as determined as heck to knock out during the fourth quarter.  These should complement my annual goals very well, particularly the finance goals.  Every dollar I can save by switching cable and insurance providers will help me pay down my debt that much faster.  Then, once the debt is behind me (or at least my wife’s student loans), you can tell my portfolio to watch out because it will hopefully get one heck of a jolt.  I just have to remind myself two lessons.  First, every dollar counts and I need to be relentless in my pursuit of achieving lower monthly rates. Second, it can’t hurt to ask for a discount or a lower price. Even if the company tells me they provided me with their best offer.  What’s the worst that can happen, they tell me no?   Now it is time to act and make these four goals happen.  LETS GO!

What are your thoughts on these goals?  Any advice as I get ready to battle cable/internet and insurance companies?  Do you have any suggestions for great insurance providers with affordable rates?

-Bert

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22 thoughts on “Bert’s Fourth Quarter Finance and Life Goals

  1. All great goals. For sure cross off the bday dinner task first. That should be a priority haha. I have the same water goal. Being healthy is always a good goal to strive for. Interesting that all your financial goals are savings based instead of investing based. Unless you just didn’t list those because we already know your year end investing goals. Keep it up, plenty of time left to accomplish these.

    • Thank you Dividend Daze. Don’t worry, I’ll definitely cross off the dinner task as soon as possible. I just want to make sure it isn’t rushed and we are able to relax and enjoy ourselves that evening. Oddly, that has been pretty darn tough to come by as we have been so busy recently. The reason I left investing goals off this list is because they are so heavily represented in my annual goals. 3 of my 5 annual goals are investing oriented, so I felt like I needed a few savings related ones as well.

      Don’t worry, I’ll keep you all updated with what happens. Take care.

      Bert

  2. I call my service provider every 6-12 months and threaten to leave if they do not give me a discount. So I either get money off (last time I reduced from 62.50 to 18.70 for 6 months) or a free subscription like HBO. I plan to repeat this until I finally cut the cord somewhere in the future.

    • Mr Robot,

      Those savings are amazing. That is one heck of a decrease in savings from month to month just by calling. I just don’t get why that doesn’t work for me? I have called and threatened to leave and they couldn’t seem to care less. They are a very aggravating service provider and I may be moving to AT&T for internet and a streaming service for cable/other needs here soon.

      Bert

  3. Bert, I think it’s great that you’re looking at shorter term goals. Annual goals are great, but we still have 12 months to live through and, as human beings, we make short term goals naturally, anyway. Definitely looking forward to seeing how well you do at meeting your short terms goals. Good luck on drinking more water. That definitely should be one of my goals. I just got back into working out, but I still need to work on drinking more water (and eating right).

    • Dividend Portfolio,

      Thank you. Just out of curiosity, do you set goals this way? If so, I’d be curious what some of your short term goals are. I’ll keep you updated with how much I am able to save and I cannot wait to start attacking these cash outflows. I’m a week into drinking more water and I feel great. I am more energized and my coffee consumption has decreased dramatically. Now, I want to keep drinking more water to maintain this feeling. This will be step 1 and once I stop traveling for work and can have a routine schedule, I will begin step 2 and begin focusing on healthier eating. What’s your current workout routine that you are trying out??

      Thanks for the comment!
      Bert

  4. These are some very practical goals! My goals are just one big list of to do’s where I change things whenever priorities change as well 😉

    I can vouch for drinking enough water. I’m only drinking cold and hot water (without the tea) throughout the day, nothing else. This might be a very important, yet often overlooked, goal you have set here.

    • Thanks Divnomics! I like how you keep a running list rather than a few goals. Kind of reminds you of the full population of things you need to complete and check off your list over time. Have you felt better since you started drinking a lot of water??

      Bert

  5. Hello Bert,

    I just received an email from Google last week offering me a month-to-month subscription to YouTube TV for $35 a month – “All of the TV. None of the commitment.” YouTube TV includes ESPN, EPSN2, ESPN news, ESPN U, Fox Sport, FS1, and FS2 which would be the most important consideration for me. There is unlimited cloud storage to record shows and provider access for up to 6 separate accounts. There are a handful of other popular channels as well. For asking price, I am willing to consider, but have yet to make a decision. I noticed on the FAQs that the service is available in Ohio so you may want to give a look.

    I currently don’t have cable and have been doing just fine without it for the past 3+ years. I have a TiVO along with Amazon Prime and Netflix, just don’t have access to live sports that are not broadcasted OTA.

    Best of luck!
    PIV

    • PIV,

      Thank you for the suggestion here and sharing your experience. I’ve looked into all the streaming services and don’t worry, I’ll have a nice article coming down the pipeline soon discussing this in greater detail haha The one nice thing about Youtube TV is the unlimited cloud storage, which would be nice for recording for sure.

      Bert

  6. That cable dispute sounds terrible!
    The pricing model for cable is awful. I wish they’d just stick to a simple pricing structure, but they don’t because it’s easy for them to get away with.

    Have you looked into YouTube TV? From what I’ve seen, it looks like one of the best options around.

    • Nick,

      Thanks for stopping by! This cable dispute is terrible and I’m pretty pissed off because of it. I just hate how they only value new subscribers and tend to treat their current subscribers like sh*t. But hey, there are a ton of consumers that are willing to do this dance every 12-24 months, so they must be doing something right.

      I have looked into Youtube TV and I will have an article out here shortly. Stay tuned!

      Bert

  7. Hi Bert, some thoughts on your water drinking, which may not be all that important after all:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=myths+ripe+for+busting&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_pulse_read%3BM3C5H%2FOtSMS%2BLx4NzNEY2g%3D%3D
    and
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Valtin+2002&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_pulse_read%3BM3C5H%2FOtSMS%2BLx4NzNEY2g%3D%3D

    Not trying to undermine your goals here, but just trying to help you (if this goal is not a real/valuable goal you have more time and energy for the other goals!) 🙂

    • You aren’t undermining at all. I appreciate you sending over the research and analysis. Regardless of the amount I drink, I know for a fact that I would not drink enough water on a regular basis. Sure the ounce amount may not be as important in the long run as discussed in my article. But overall, I think I will improve in the long run based on the fact that I am improving a health habit. I’m one week in already and I feel so much better than I did before I started drinking less water regularly. My coffee intake has been down and I feel much more energized. I’ll take it!

      Bert

  8. Bert, Good luck with the goals. Can relate on the telecom bill. Seems like ours goes up a little every month. My wife will periodically call and complain and sometimes we get a discount for a while, then it goes up again. Agree on shopping your insurance. I got complacent with Allstate a few years ago. When I shopped it through an independent broker, we saved a nice chunk of money. Tom

  9. Great goals Bert! I can relate with most of them actually. I am due to negotiate a lower cable bill as well. I hate making the call but when I am done, I feel good about the money savings. Better in your pocket than theirs!

    Regarding insurance, it is VERY important to shop around. I am lucky to have a good friend that is my agent. He is constantly looking for carriers that will save me money but provide good coverage at the same time. He’s saved me a lot of money over the years. It’s nice to have someone that you can trust too with that stuff. Here’s to your continued success with the goals!

    • Thanks Mr. Defined Sight! Hopefully you will have better luck negotiating with your cable company than I did. Agree with your point about insurance and it is nice to have someone with the access to different insurers. I just need the time to sit down and as you said, find a cheaper option with nice coverage. It will be a time suck, so I am going to brace myself for the battles.

      Take care!

      Bert

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