We are halfway 2015, and I swear it’s still February!
Anyone else feel like that?
In January I did a couple of posts about our personal financial goals, as well as this blog’s goals, and since we’re halfway through the year, I thought it was really time for me to revisit my goals to hold myself accountable and get back on track where necessary
Personal Finance Goals
When I did our 2014 recap and 2015 goals, life was much different than it is now.
Thankfully, our expenses haven’t changed much at all, so we’ve kept our goal the same:
Pay down $30,000 of debt this year. ($11,786 paid down to date, so we’re $3,000 behind)
We’re going to do this by:
- Getting a job that makes more money: I’m working with a recruiter right now, taking my time so I pick the right job. The nice thing about being an accountant is that I kind of have my pick of jobs. Of course, I still have to interview, but it’s nice not NEEDING a job immediately.
- We took our credit cards out of our wallets. Kind of speaks for itself.
- The Big Guy is getting a second-shift or part-time job. Kind of like before, but we’ll have a baby sitter for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
- Finally, we’re bringing back weekly budget check-ins. Not sure if I’m going to feature them on the blog like I did in October, but we’re definitely going to do them. Why? Because at the foundation of paying off debt is sticking to a realistic budget.
All told, we’ll need to come up with an extra $1,000 per month (on top of our regular payments) to hit this goal, but with The Big Guy bringing in $500 – $700 from his part time job, this blog, and my (hopeful) pay raise we may even exceed our goal.
Once-a-Month Dates: the Big Guy and I have dreams, but we also have a kid. A very loud kid who loves to interrupt us every time we’re having a conversation. Plus, it’s really hard to concentrate when you have to keep an ear tuned for her shenanigans at all times. A reader suggested coffee shop dates once a month where we agree to talk about anything but finances. cheap and awesome bonding time. (So far, this has been awesome! We’ve been taking full advantage of the built-in babysitters and doing things like using our 6 Flags Seasons passes for dates, and finding cheap eats in St. Louis)
Food Storage: While we’re not exactly preparing for the apocalypse, we do both believe that having a hefty amount of food on hand (staples, mostly) is generally a really good idea. We actually have quite a bit of basic food on hand, but we need to organize it and make sure its set up for long-term storage. Not a whole lot of money involved, just strategy. (This is going really well! We cleaned up the basement, and bought 2 more storage shelves that have really helped matters. Also, I used my Swagbucks to purchase a few new can racks and other necessities for storing food.)
Haircuts: I’m going to get a haircut every 2 months. At Great Clips, but still. I feel so much better when my hair is freshly cut, and $15 is totally worth it. (I have been ON THIS! I cut nearly 12 inches off my hair and it feels great!)
Potty Train the kiddo: ‘nuff said. Our potty actually came December 20th (pssst, it was only $6.50
on Amazon. As much as I hate them, they do make life easier) (Fail! We started to potty train and then realized that she wasn’t ready. We may or may not try again – we’ll see!)
Find a new job: one with benefits, my own office, and 401K matching. And more vacation. I already talked about this earlier, but I’m super excited about this goal. (Well, I did, but it wasn’t the job I was thinking. I’m not happily self-employed!)
Take a vacation: An honest-to-goodness vacation more than 3 days long. it will be on the frugal side (probably camping at Elephant Rock State Park) but I WILL take more than 3 days off in a row during 2015! (I’ve already done this 3 times! )
Our budget is still a struggle, I’m not going to lie. Like I’ve talked about before, I struggle every single month with our budget. The Big Guy and I both do, really. What is hard for my impatient self to remember is that becoming more frugal and learning to stick with a budget is not a quick process. It has taken us years to get the point we’re at, and it will probably take several more years of improvement.
So far this year, we’ve made $34,976, and spent $21,962 on everything but extra debt payments. This means that we had a positive cash flow of $13,041, the bulk of which has gone towards debt as extra payments – or to paying business taxes.
The only real thing I’ve been unhappy with has been my and The Big Guy’s communication about finances. Honestly, we’ve been on the same page, but I would really like to have him take a more active role in managing our finances. He doesn’t like numbers like I do, though, so I should really think long and hard about this before roping him in!
On the blog front, I crossed a milestone that surprisingly made me very happy – I made my first estimated tax payment! On one hand, that $2,100 payment was so hard to let go, because I know how much debt we could have paid off with it. But at the same time, knowing that I earned enough money already this year to make a payment that big was so unbelievably satisfying. It also made me happy because whether it’s right or not, we love getting tax return. It is, at least for us, an easy and fast way to pay off debt, and I didn’t want to owe when tax time rolled around, I wanted to get a bigger return than ever.
My blog goals for 2015 were:
Goals: All of my goals for the year are based on 10% growth per month. They may seem pretty lofty, but with some hard work, I can reasonably expect 10% growth every month.
Social Media Growth Strategies
- Concentrated on 1 social media outlet per day. Automate all else – SUCCESS! – I’ve been using a combination of Tailwind and Postplanner which is saving me, on average 3 hours per week. Crazy good return for $15 a month total.
- Need to determine the best days and times for each social media. – SUCCESS! – Postplanner and Tailwind have taken care of it.
- Still looking for contributors for my Strategies to Save Money Board. email me if interested! –
- Come up with a twitter sharing schedule like I did for Pinterest – SUCCESS! – this one thing save me literally an hour each week, and I do it through PostPlanner
- Pinterest sharing schedule starts January 1st! – SUCESS! – I’ve gotten very organized about managing my Pinterest account as well as others through my Pinterest Assistant services. Need help marketing your blog through Pinterest? Check out The Pinterest Assistant
- Figure out Google+ (not very specific, I know, but I’ll get a plan together) – haven’t done this yet.
- Delete pins – post on why coming soon – SUCcESSC
Social Media Growth Goals:
- Pinterest: Surpass 15,000 followers – I’m up over 12,000 right now, so I definitely see this happening.
- Twitter: 12,000 followers – working on it
- Facebook: 1,500 followers – SUCCESS
- Google +: 600 followers – haven’t even attempted this yet
- Email Subscribers: 400 subscribers – SUCESS! I now have more than 2,600 email subscribers
- Bloglovin: 250 followers – not quite there yet.
Writing Goals/General Goals:
- Publish an ebook – this is my big goal for the year. I have a couple of things in the works, but I want it to be perfect. Expect to see polls on both the topic and the cover once it’s done! – I did publish Generate Traffic with Pinterest, but I have a bigger, better project coming soon on the topic of creating a profitable blog in less than 6 hours per week.
- Redo (writing and images) 1 post per week – I have really slacked on this one. Actually I had forgotten about it, which is precisely the reason I am doing this goals update.
- Still working on EBA. It’s awesome, but I need to finish it. – DONE! I am still implementing a few things from it, mainly because I am still writing a book, but the course itself it done.
- Pitch 3 companies for sponsorship – I decided to go with several different sponsored post companies. The pay is good, and quite frankly, it’s easier.
- Stop wasting time searching for images. Use Canva to get them for $1.00 a piece. – SUCCESS! – Also, I’m using Dollar Photo Club now too.
- Revamp my Media kit & Advertising page – Ooops…forgot about this one too!
- Work on Ten Minute Savings. December has left this poor blog sorely lacking in attention. – I really only started Ten Minute Savings because The Big Guy pushed me to. I am no longer working on it, but I do have The Pinterest Assistant now, and am working on a couple of other websites that I intend to flip.
- Start an LLC – SUCCESS – I’m official!
Average 14,000 page views per day by 12/31/15, or 434,000 per month. (This number is based on 10% growth per month) – My poor blog lacked attention for the first 5 months of the year, so I’m back focusing on it now. I don’t think I’ll reach this number, but I will definitely work on growing my page views.
Make $15,000 (was $10,000 but as I saw my income go up, I decided to raise my goal!) total from the blog in 2015 – SUCCESS! – As of today, I’ve made $13,443.93 before taxes, so I think I will definitely make $15,000. My new goal is to make $25,000 in 2015
Publish gift guides for every major holiday – on a budget, of course! – SUCCESS – at least for the holidays we’ve had so far.
31 Days of Finances & Fitness – Major SUCCESS – that course alone added more than 1,400 subscribes to my email list. If you’re looking to grow your email list, I highly recommend doing a free email course.
+ Another Free eCourse at some point in the year – I have one in the works to introduce my efficient blogging project, but because I am writing a book to go along with it, the course may not be released until 2016.
SEO: Come up with 4-5 keywords that I want to rank in, and hit them hard! – I haven’t done this at all, but I need to.
The biggest take away, I think, is that it’s completely ok if goals change. Life changes, so your goals have to too. We just have to make sure that we’re working towards something!
That was a lot…
So for now, I’ll leave with this question:
Have you checked in our your 2015 goals? How are they going?
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