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We had an expensive June.  In fact, I had to trade out one of my usual 5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week posts for its opposite; a post called 5 Ways We’ve Blown Money This Week.

Eek!

Not how I wanted to reach the halfway point in our #yearofno journey.  But I guess it’s not totally unexpected.  It’s hard to stay motivated for the entire length of a debt payoff journey.  The important thing is to climb back in the saddle when you fall off, rather than wallowing in guilt.

So we’re moving on.

In the meantime, let’s do a check in and see how we’re reaching our goals.

June Check In Time

Smart Goals July Check In Pin

Home and Barn

  • Get a water plan in place.  Tabling this idea for now.  We want to totally focus on debt repayment.
  • 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.
  • Finish the bathroom project.  There are some small painting mistakes to correct, but this is largely finished!
  • Paint baseboards and staircase.  I’ll revisit this in the cooler weather of fall, but for now I’m happy putting even paint money towards our debt instead.

Family

  • Swimming.  We’ve been to the pool a few times, and one of my boys is making big strides in swimming!  Hope to have our daughter and one other son earning their yellow band by the end of this month.
  • Vacation.  We have a good idea of when and where we’ll be going.  It will be a simple camping trip, but we love to camp and hike.  So it will be fun without a lot of cost.
  • One on One Time with Each Child Once+ per Month.  This is going well.  Also, we are being intentional about getting each child involved in the activities that mean the most to them.

Marriage

  • Date.  We’ve been too busy to get this done.  I’d like to take an extra date outside of ball season to make up for it.

Personal

  • Faith.  I’m reading my Bible a bit at night, but not nearly as consistently as I’d like to.
  • Read.  Started Being George Washington (super interesting for this history buff!)
  • Exercise.  Though I haven’t made this a priority, avoiding fast food has caused me to lose a few pounds!

Blogging Goals

  • 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 4,553 Twitter followers, 439 Facebook likes, 3321 pins (and 1413 Pinterest followers).  I’m thinking I should have dreamed up bigger goals for the year!
  • Learn.  Take 12 classes on ways to improve my blogging.
    • Have taken 3 so far.
    • Didn’t take any in March, but did a lot of reading and learning Pinterest info.  That info and using Tailwind has increased my pageviews from Pinterest dramatically!
    • Read Strategies Worth Sharing: How I Grew My Facebook Page from 2,000 to 100,000 in 5 Months.  I wasn’t sure about spending this much on an ebook, but the information was definitely worth it!
    • I found a great deal on the Elite Blogging Academy.  It’s a Lite version, but it will get me started.  I have plans to buy the rest of the challenge when I make enough blog money to cover the price.  I’m so excited about putting these ideas into practice!
    • I have been very slowly working through EBA, but it’s certainly been worth the money so far.  I am started to feel more organized and have a better purpose with this blog.
  • 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)
    • 10,236 in April
    • 11,102 in May (Happy to see it increasing!)
    • 14,063 in June (Yay!)
  • Guest post.  I’d like to start writing at least 1 guest post per month.
  • 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!)

 The BHAG

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.  (Check out this free challenge to help you identify and destroy your own budget busters!)
    • 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!
    • In April we did stop for fast food once.  Something popped up at the very last minute on an already too busy day.  But we chose cheap options and made it clear that we weren’t making this a habit.
    • In May we grabbed tacos one night, but rounded out the meal with drinks and chips that we had in the car.
    • In June, we stopped for a meal after a ball game, grabbed ice cream a few times after tough games, and kind of loosened our belts.  We basically fell off the wagon! But we are already back on it for July.  Our goals are too important to waste on junk food.
  • Bigger pie.  No extra income in June.  We were just too busy.
  • Get creative.  We lost a ball glove.  Instead of buying a new one, we grabbed an extra that a local person was no longer able to use.

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.  

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.

In April we were able to get our balance down 29.1%.  That’s not too bad, but we’d like to be doing better!  Our time is extremely limited during baseball season, so we will likely have to make up any differences in payments later in the year.

In May we were able to get the balance down 41%.  That looks hopeful to me, since we aren’t quite halfway through the year yet.  We are now discussing the possibility of me taking on a part time job in the fall if blog earnings haven’t significantly increased by then.

In June we got down 46%.  It wasn’t a great decrease, but given all of our wasteful spending for the month, I’m just happy to see the number go up!  We’ll have more catching up to do in July.

The plan for July

  • Dig back in to the #yearofno.  We’ve already decided to forego a couple of opportunities our boys had to do some extra activities.  They will get more free days of summer and we get to save money.
  • Find great deals on back to school shopping.
  • Spend as little as possible at our county fair.  There are a lot of temptations to buy there, and I’m not just talking about deep fried Pop Tarts.  😉  Collecting livestock is an expensive weakness of mine.
  • I’m hoping to be able to do some freelance writing.  July will be another busy month, but if I can get ahead on blog work I will pursue this more.

If you’d like to help us meet our goal, it’s easy.  Just share any posts that you find helpful from Medium Sized Family!  Getting this blog in front of a wider audience will help us reach our goals more quickly.

The Identify and Destroy Your Budget Busters challenge is still available!  If you’d like to join this totally free challenge, sign up here.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check it out here.

 

Are your goals for the year still alive and well?  Or do you need to revisit and revise?