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Setting Goals To Achieve Success

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. This is a common refrain that I’ve heard many times in my life. Another example is the statement that those who aim for nothing will hit it every time. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to fail to hit anything. This is why I’ve decided to start setting goals. The beginning of a new year is a good time to set up new goals.

Consider How To Get There

The most important step in setting goals is knowing where you want to go in life. Perhaps you want to become an engineer. This would require going to school for an engineering degree. The same goes for becoming a teacher, a lawyer, or a doctor. If you’d rather become an entrepreneur, schooling might not be quite so necessary. There are many successful entrepreneurs who haven’t completed a degree, among them are such billionaires and Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. However, these innovators had big ideas and the technical know-how to achieve their goals.

Set Up Checkpoints To Measure Success

It’s a good idea to break up major goals into smaller chunks. This is where short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals come into play. In the example of getting an engineering degree, the long-term goal is getting the degree and getting licensed. A good short-term goal might be passing Calculus 1. After getting through the short-term goals, the medium-term goals will become the new short-term goals. Evaluating goals is a constant necessity.

Here are some goals that I’ve been interested in.

Setting Goals for Passive Income Can Lead to Financial Success

I recently read the book Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin. Questioning some of the purchases that we frequently make can help us cut expenses that require life energy to pay for. When we make more money than we spend, what’s left over is capital that we can use toward an emergency fund or toward building passive income. I’ve decided after reading up on blogs like Dividend Growth Investor that trying to build up a portfolio of dividend growth stocks like Omega Healthcare Investors and Coca-Cola can provide a growing stream of passive income through growth in the annual dividend payments and through the deployment of additional capital. My long-term goal is building up enough passive income to pay for living expenses. My short-term goal might be to get to $1,000 in forward dividend income by the end of the year.

Setting Goals Can Lead to Passive Income
B&O Stock Certificate, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Online Earning Could Be A Smart Goal

While it’s possible to build up passive income with many jobs, many people will have a problem having enough excess capital to grow much passive income on their main salary. This is where earning a bit of money on the side can help. This excess money can then go toward savings if it’s not required for paying ordinary living expenses. It’s also possible to earn quite a nice sum from making money online. There are many lists online that offer ways to make money, some without spending a penny. I’ve used these methods to earn thousands over the past few years.

Paying Off Debt

Debt can really be a drag. The more you have, the closer you might be to financial ruin. It’s hard to grow a strong stream of passive income and a solid net worth with massive amounts of debt. Setting goals for paying down debt over time can lead to a great achievement that can definitely aid in your overall financial success.

Achieving Travel Goals

I love to travel. Therefore, some of my goals have to do with visiting some cool places around the US and the world. I had a goal of taking my family to Europe on the cheap, and I was able to do so. However, before I could, I had to figure out a way to pay for most of the trip’s possible expenses with frequent  flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. I achieved this goal with some well-timed credit card signup bonuses like the ones offered on these five credit cards that you could get in 2017.  I’m already strategizing two trips ahead with the credit cards I’m using.

The process of setting and achieving goals can be a great process that can help you gain the success that you’re looking for.  Setting up mileposts along the way can help you gauge how you’re doing in the process. If you don’t set any goals, one thing is certain. You won’t accomplish them.

Have you set any goals this year? Let us know in the comments.

Also, if you’d like to keep up with new posts and ideas for maximizing your resources in life (including time), be sure to sign up for email updates in the box at the top of the page and via our Twitter account @moneyinpajamas.

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Saving Money in Pajamas with Credit Cards?

One of my favorite pastimes is travel. I’ve had the good fortune to visit a wide range of countries over three different continents. I’m hoping to get to more next year. I’ve also been on trips to Hawaii and California at prices that most people could only dream about. For example, I got tickets to LA from my home in the Midwest for a whopping $11.20 each. I also got three of my five nights at a Hyatt House hotel for $0. I paid for two nights out-of-pocket.

How do I do this? I use points that I’ve earned from various credit card bonus programs. This is not for everyone. People with bad credit will not get approved for a card. People who tend not to pay off their bills in full every month should not get approved for a card. Those who only buy what they can afford and then pay it off every month can get some great awards. There are several different options that can help you get to the destinations that you’re looking to get to.

1. Airline or Hotel Co-Branded Cards

These cards are tied to a specific airline or hotel. For example, Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt all have their own credit cards that give you a certain number of points per dollar spent. They usually pay bonus points when used to pay for a hotel room at the hotel company that the card represents. All of the major US airlines have a co-branded card (or cards) that can help you get to the destination of your dreams quickly, be it Orlando or Oranjestad. Of course trips to exotic locations like Australia or Tanzania might take more points, but they can be had. I’ve flown to Aruba, Denver, and LAX on miles, and I’ve stayed in Honolulu, Aruba, and Anaheim on hotel points.

2. Flexible Point Cards

These are the gold standard amongst those who are really travel hackers. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Citi Thank You Premier fall into this category. Chase, Citi, and AMEX all have their own point systems that allow you to transfer your points into a chosen travel partner (or get cash back). For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 rate to airlines like United, British, or Southwest, among others. They can also get transferred to IHG (Holiday Inn), Marriott, or Hyatt at the same rate. Only certain Chase cards work like this. I used these cards for my recent trip to see Mickey and Minnie, and they saved me over $1,000. If you’d rather have cash back, some of these cards will offer a bonus of up to $500 after meeting a minimum spend over 3 months. Of course, if you have to pay interest to get the bonus, it’s not worth it, so make sure that you can pay off your account IN FULL each month before applying.

3. Cash Back Cards

These cards come in two major varieties. One is the straight cash back card. The old Discover It card would fall into this category. Basically, users get 1% cash back for every dollar spent and 5% cash back on various rotating categories each quarter that can involve merchants like gas stations, travel, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. The other form of cash back card is the travel reimbursement card. The Capital One Venture Miles or the Barclay World Arrival Mastercard would fall under this category. These pay a cent or two back for every dollar spent, redeemable for a statement credit on travel expenses.

Before getting these cards, it’s important to remember that credit cards can be a very good employee, but they can be a very bad master. Do not go applying for credit cards if you have a propensity to be a spendthrift. If you’re fairly frugal, you pay off all of your bills every month, and you can avoid the temptation to spend money you don’t have just because it’s on plastic, these cards can help you save money on travel or get some cash back on a regular basis. They can get be a great way to get into debt, but they can also be a great way to get some great experiences for a fraction of what you’d otherwise have to pay.

For more information on how to game the system, I regularly read popular travel blogs like

The Frugal Travel Guy and Million Mile Secrets, among others.

Apply at your own risk, but if you’re disciplined, these cards can really pay off.