It’s already time for another check in on our yearly S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timed) goals! Can you believe how quickly time is flying? We’re already a quarter of the way through 2016. The days are so long, but the years are so short.
Our #yearofno is still in full swing. We’re adjusting to it pretty well, and we’re seeing some improvements in our finances because of that.
April Check In Time
Thank heavens that our March was a much better month than February was! (You can read the March check in for more on that mess.)
Home and Barn
- Get a water plan in place. Need to make a phone call to start this process.
- Barn driveway. We have decided to scrap this idea. It would be really helpful to get this up and running, but it just isn’t important enough to invest our money in this #yearofno.
- Improve goat pens and fencing. We got the lamb pen fixed and reinforced. Very soon we’ll have a new big pen put in place to start weaning our baby goats.
- Finish the bathroom project. Some finishing touches left to do on the ceiling, and then on to decorating! If we have some rainy days (no baseball), we should be able to finish this this month.
- Paint baseboards and staircase. All I can say is that I must really hate the thought of painting, because I could give you 100 lame excuses as to why I’m not doing this. 😉
- Swimming. This will be a summer goal.
- Vacation. Need to discuss a destination and date, probably will scale this back to a very simple trip.
- One on One Time with Each Child Once+ per Month. Yes!
- Date. We tried, but didn’t get it in this month.
- Faith. Didn’t do as well with keeping up with my Bible readings this month. Need to reinforce this habit this month.
- Read. Still haven’t finished my book for the month.
- Exercise. If you count working in the barn and hauling water, then sure!
- Improve social media. Would like to have 5,000 Twitter followers, 600 Facebook likes, and want to have 3,500 pins to my Pinterest page by year end.
- Now have 3,060 Twitter followers, 323 Facebook likes, 1915 pins.
- Learn. Take 12 classes on ways to improve my blogging.
- Have taken 2 so far. (Didn’t take any in March, but did a lot of reading and learning Pinterest info.)
- Views. Right now I have about 6,000 pageviews per month. I’d like to increase that to 18,000 pageviews per month by the end of the year. I’ll do this by adding the best content I can write, encouraging my readers to share when they like what they’ve read, and getting out into the blogging community as much as possible.
- 9974 for February
- 8990 (down from the bump I got from my MSM post)
- Guest post. I’d like to start writing at least 1 guest post per month.
- Done in February! Read it here.
- Submitted one in March and already started another
- Monetize. I need this blog to earn some money to help with our BHAG, so I will be exploring ways to monetize when I can. The main goal of this blog is to help people as much as possible, so I will only explore ways to earn money that are truly beneficial to my readers. (Otherwise, I’m sure I won’t have those readers for long!)
- Need to learn more about ways to bring the best value to my readers.
Our family has a BHAG this year. A big, hairy, audacious goal. That goal is to pay off some debt that amounts to 19% of our take home pay. Our plan for this goal is…
- #yearofno This has become our mantra, and the whole family is behind it now. They know that if they are asking for an extra (Can we have fast food? Can I have this toy? etc) that the answer is going to be #yearofno. It’s kind of turned into a running joke, and it needs no explanation.
- Be prepared. Not eating fast food is a running theme on this blog, because it’s always been a problem for us! Pizza, stopping for drinks, these things are our family’s worst habits.
- In January we were able to go totally without fast food.
- In February, we bought fast food and had pizza. Both of those things happened due to an extended visit to the ER with a sick child. Therefore, I’ve amended this to say “No fast food or pizza runs unless you’ve been in the ER in the past 24 hours.”
- In March, we stopped for $1 ice cream cones as a special spring break treat. No fast food otherwise, no pizza. Woohoo!
- Bigger pie. I was able to set up a yard sale, even though I didn’t bring in a lot.
- Get creative. We enjoyed our holidays using some pretty frugal methods.
So how did we do on our BHAG?
To bring down 100% of our goal this year, we need to be paying 8.3% on this debt every month. Here’s how it’s going.
Because it’s hard to show percentage paid while accounting for interest, I’m going to just tell you the total percentage of the original bill rather than individual percentages for each month. We are discussing moving the balance to a 0% interest card, but only if we can get a credit card with no balance transfer fees.
In January we were able to bring down our debt by 8.2%. (Read about that here.)
In February we took it down a running total of 12.9%.
It is progress, but not what I was hoping for! The good news is that I have learned a lot from this (read When Paying Off Debt is Discouraging).
In March we brought the balance down a running total of 22.2%. This made up for the rough February number! We reached that amount by investing the tax return money we had planned to spend on our driveway. We also made a few smaller “snowflake” payments due to an unanticipated refund check we got from a utility company and the meager yard sale earnings I made. And obviously we made our usual planned payment.
The plan for April
- Keep up the good work we’ve been doing with the #yearofno by avoiding “want” spending. During baseball season, this means packing a lot of drinks and food for on the go meals and snacks.
- Continue lowering our grocery bill by careful and creative shopping. My shopping method has been giving me plenty of wiggle room for stocking up, and I think my bill will continue to go down over time.
- Consider the balance transfer mentioned above.
- I’ve decided to learn more about freelance writing and User Testing. Hope to put some of that in action this month. Also will continue applying to research studies.
If you’d like to help us meet our goal, remember that any click through referral or affiliate links on this blog gives us a small payment without changing your out-of-pocket costs. (However, I would never ask you to buy anything that would put a speed bump in your own frugal journey!)
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