Yay for June!  It’s so nice to have made it through another school year.  I try not to overschedule our summers to make sure that we get some much needed downtime.

It’s much easier to stick with the #yearofno when life is calmer.  If you have no idea what #yearofno is all about, read on!

Time for a check in on the #yearofno. See what is working in helping us meet our big goals this year, including paying off a big sum of debt.

June Check In Time

 

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.  Reinforcements done, big pen built.  One more permanent repair to make here.
  • Finish the bathroom project.  There are some small painting mistakes to correct, but this is largely finished!
  • 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.  ????  (The craziness of May is my excuse this month!)

Family

  • Swimming.  We’ve taken steps towards this!  I’ve decided to invest some money into joining the YMCA so we have regular access to a pool.  It will take away some money I could have sent to the debt, but it won’t add to our debt.  The investment will be worth it.
  • 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.  Not done this time, but with our anniversary coming up, I’m hopeful that we can make the time to get out again soon.

Personal

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 4,258 Twitter followers, 407 Facebook likes, 2917 pins (and 1141 Pinterest followers).
  • 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.  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 Challenge.  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!
  • 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!)
  • 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
    • Submitted another.  It wasn’t published until May, but you can read it here!
    • Aside from the May post above, I’ve also submitted 2 more that should go live soon, and 1 that I haven’t heard back on yet.
  • 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!)
 [Tweet “Checking in on the #yearofno. Are we still making progress? #debtfreeoneday”]

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.
  • Bigger pie.  The blog was able to bring in a few extra bucks, but I’ve chosen to reinvest them back into the blog.  We were able to pay off our van!  This has helped us make an extra debt payment every month.
  • Get creative.  This month I’ve made efforts to borrow items that I don’t have to keep on hand for regular use.  I also have done a lot of research to find the best price on even smaller purchases.

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.

The plan for June

  • Keep up the good work we’ve been doing with the #yearofno by avoiding “want” spending.  Continue to plan ahead by choosing easy crock pot meals as often as possible, and taking along frugal snacks on all of our trips.
  • Continue lowering our grocery bill by careful and creative shopping.  My shopping method has been giving me plenty of wiggle room for stocking up.  We are also finding more frugal foods to eat to keep costs down.
  • I’m hoping to be able to do some freelance writing.  I’ve had so much extra blog work lately that I haven’t been able to find the time for this.

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.

Exciting news!  The Identify and Destroy Your Budget Busters challenge is now live!  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.

 

Be sure to drop a comment telling how your own goals or debt payments are going!

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