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Can you believe it’s already September?  You blink, and just like that school is back in session.

I feel pretty good about the way we spent our summer.  I’m so glad that I set out intentional goals, because without them I’m not sure what we would have accomplished in those hot months.

Let’s check in on our S.M.A.R.T. goal progress.

September Check In Time

 

Smart Goals September Check In. Have you kept up with your goals for the year? It's important to review your goals to keep yourself on the right track. Here's our update.

Home and Barn – No changes to report

  • 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.  I’m so excited that 3 of my kids have received their yellow band at our YMCA.  That means that they can swim well enough to start to feel comfortable in the water.  And for the most part, they could swim to the edge and get out should they fall in the water.  That puts my Mama heart at ease!  The 2 year old is starting to enjoy kicking in the water.  I just have one more boy to go.  (He’s a water hater, so I’ve got my work cut out for me!)
  • Vacation.  We went on our family camping trip and had a lot of fun!  I was amazed at how little cost there was to this trip.  You can read how I saved on camping here.
  • One on One Time with Each Child Once+ per Month.  We had a lot of family time rather than one on one time in August with our vacation and back to school activities.  I’m ok with that!

Marriage

  • Date.  Starting to wonder if we’ll ever find the time to do this.

Personal

  • Faith.  Improved this a bit.  I’ve been listening to EWTN and reading The American Catholic Almanac.
  • Read.  I got through a lot of the 4 Hour Work Week before I hit the due date and it was pulled back out of my Kindle.
  • 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 5,000Twitter followers, 600 Facebook likes, and want to have 3,500 pins to my Pinterest page by year end.
    • In August, had 5,593 Twitter followers (goal!), 469 Facebook likes, 4207 pins (goal!) (and 1710 Pinterest followers).  I’m thinking I should have dreamed up bigger goals for the year!  I’ll need to do some more work to increase my Facebook followers.
  • 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.
    • Didn’t have the time to devote to EBA in August, but hope to hit it hard in September.
  • 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!)
    • 13,434 in July
    • 16,899 in August (Woohoo!  I’m finally learning the things that are most effective for my particular blog and spending more of my time doing those things.  Plus focusing more on creating good content rather than spreading myself so thin.  Hope this continues to increase!)
  • 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.
    • I had two go live in June.  Read my Dollar Stretcher article here and my Money Saving Mom article here.
    • This month was exciting in this area!  I shared a guest post with The Peaceful Mom.  And I’m excited to be partnering with her as a contributor to her blog for the near future!  Be sure to keep an eye out for those upcoming posts on paying off debt.
    • I didn’t get a guest post up in August, but have a few already lined up for September.
  • 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.
    • In July, we ate at the fair and a bit of fast food due to fair week (because fast food was cheaper than fair food).  However, I don’t consider this a problem because it was a planned expense rather than caving in to pressure to spend.
    • In August we got pizza.  Twice.  Whoops.  We’ll be back on the wagon for September!
  • Bigger pie.  In August I was able to sell a couple of things on eBay.  I also sold some items to Once Upon a Child.
  • Get creative.  We got creative with our camping trip and saved quite a bit of money there.

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.

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.

In July we pulled the number down 51%!  A 3 paycheck month helped us reach that amount.  We’re halfway to our goal!  I had hoped to do this by the end of June, but I’m not too disappointed.  I feel like we can still make up the difference and reach our goal by the end of the year.

In August the stars aligned and we brought it down to 62% paid off!  Really excited about our progress.  This isn’t a rate that will have the job done in December, so I’m going to have to bring in some more money somewhere to make up the difference.  But I feel like the finish line is just beyond the horizon now.  We can do this!

The plan for September

  • Push #yearofno more than ever!  It’s been 8 long months on this ride and I don’t to give it up before we reach our goal.  We are busier than I’d anticipated being right now, so we’ll need to make adjustments so we don’t order pizza or stop for expensive drinks.
  • Look for ways to bring in extra income.  I’ve thrown several different nets out, but I think I’d like to focus on doing some freelance blogging and freelance writing.

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 now available!  Sign up for the challenge here:

 

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

Medium Sized Family uses affiliate links, which means we'll earn money to pay off debt if you buy through these links (at no additional cost to you!). Read the full disclosure.
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