2016 Goal Review and Debt Update

2016 Goal Review

Hello!

First I’d like to apologize for the inconsistency here at GDTH.  Due to unfortunate circumstances at work, I’ve been extremely busy, like earning 75 hours a week busy, which has made it extremely hard to find time, energy, and motivation to write.  I understand that constancy is important for blog success and I’m working really hard to get back to a routine and am even considering outsourcing and guest post.  If you’d like to submit please let me know here.

June 30, 2016 marked the first half of the year as well as the end of the second quarter.  Since we are already half way through the year, I thought it would be a great time to evaluate my progress on my yearly goals and reevaluate any goals that are no longer relevant, may take longer than expected, or need revising.  Below are the goals I made at the end of the 2015 year for 2016 and the progress made thus far.

2016 Goals

  •  Fully finance our home improvement  FAIL (actually revised) This has been placed on the back burner.  This post explains more.  
  • Establish and build an emergency fund IN PROGRESS This is still in progress but will be completed by December 2016.  
  • Stop using all credit cards and be out of credit card debt by December 2016- SUCESS I’ve stopped using the cards and am on target to have the last two paid off by September 30!
  •  Earn or exceed $1,000 blogging income by December 2016  FAIL I completely lost focus with GDTH, which is so unfortunate because I probably could’ve been making more money from it by now and could’ve potentially met this goal.  Check out my previous Blog Income Reports below.  
  • Lose 10-15 pounds- FAIL
  • Generate or exceed $5,000 in side hustle money IN PROGRESS Thus far I’ve made about $3,000 and unless I lose my PT, I should exceed this amount!
  • Increase my income my 10% SUCESS I recently got a raise and the combination of the raise and my PT income should place me at the 10% increase I need to excel my debt pay off.  
  • Increase my financial knowledge IN PROGRESS Initially, my goal was to read a book a month.  I read one in January, none from February to April, and then 3 in May. Nothing since.  
  • Self improve ONGOING
  • Eliminate overpayment loan SUCESS This was paid in full in April!

 

December Side Hustle Income

November Side Hustle Income

We decided to revise our debt repayment plan.  I will be at the point in August that I can apply ALL my part time income to my debt which should successfully have my final credit cards eliminated by September 30, 2016 or before.  Beginning November 2016, the mister and I plan to both tackle all vehicle debt with the goal to have all paid by December 2017!  Afterwards that will leave my student loans, which I’m still on the fence about actively paying to eliminate while on the loan forgiveness program.

Since we’ve decided to work on eliminating the auto loan debt by December 2017, we’ve decided to DIY as much of the home addition as we can possibly do while saving for a contractor with goals to have it completely funded by December 2018.  However, those plans may change drastically.  My baby boy desperately needs his own room, and I can only imagine the peace we would get with the teens upstairs on their own level.

Debt Repayment Progress

Jan Feb March April May June July
AC 290.9 PAID
PP $1,136.65 $866.11 PAID
BML $1,157.99 $1,092.57 $589.80 $294.00 PAID
CF $1,925.70 $1,948.98 $1,709.10 $1,685.24 $1,659.70 $1,388.95 $900.00
WF $2,562.76 $2,506.96 $2,482.80 $2,455.50 $2,687.35 $2,965.16 $2,873.16
Total $7,283.90 $6,369.62 $4,771.70 $4,434.74 4,347.05 $4,354.11 $3,773.16

Here is the previous debt repayment update posted.

I’m super excited about being close to having my credit card debt eliminated and having that HUGE burden off my shoulders!

How have your 2016 goals been going thus far?

5 Task I Complete at the Beginning of Every Month.

5 Things I complete at the beginning of every month.

July is just 8 days away, along with nearly half of the summer.  Although I hate to see the months pass by, I always get a fresh feeling at the beginning of the month.  If you read this post then you are aware that I like to plan as far ahead as possible so it should come as no surprise that there are certain task that I like to complete by the first of every month.  Honestly,  I usually start planing the next month about the second week of the previous month.   However, several of the below task can not be completed until the beginning of each month.

5 Task I Complete at the beginning of Every Month

Track and total my income

I have a Google Docs spreadsheet that I write down and track all of my income.  This includes income from my full time job, my part time job, doing hair, GDTH, selling items, milage, and any “gifts” that  I may receive for the month.  This is important for me because I would like to know how to better plan for the following year.  Tracking my income also allows me to hold myself better accountable with my debt elimination and savings goals.

track and total my debt payment progress

Tracking my debt payments is a major motivator for me.  To see the numbers continue to decrease and think about the additional money that I will soon have gets me more excited about the future!  If you are not tracking you debt totals, I encourage you to do so!

Check and update my calendar

Checking and updating my calendar is not necessarily money or debt related.  However, it’s as equally important since I have multiple employment responsibilities and a large family.  I make sure to write down appointments, extra circular activities, deadlines, payments, tune ups, even when I need to cancel a free subscription to avoid charges!

Set goals

Setting monthly goals for the month is one of those task that are already completed by the second week of the previous month.  I’m always looking and researching ideas for self improvement which I incorporate into monthly goals. I usually set one finance goal, a personal goal, a fitness/health goal, and a self improvement goal.  With so many goals, I NEED to write them down constantly.

Plan ahead

I’ve said before how important it is for me to plan ahead which is why this task kind of goes along with updating my calendar.  Planning ahead is imperative to ensure that I avoid crisis moments, stress, over scheduling, as well as ensure that life runs as smooth as possible with multiple roles.  Most times, “planning ahead” is done way before the month but at the beginning of month point, I’m making final arrangments and tweaking. The one thing I do plan ahead on a month to month basis are meals.  Meal planning is very helpful.  Meal planning keeps money in my pocket as well as ensures that I’m making healthier choices. I also like to plan blog post and my budget as far ahead as possible.

 

Do you have “First of the month routine?” Please share!

 

 

Why I Quit!

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I’ve quit lots of things in the past.  I quit college twice.  I quit exercising regularly last summer, and I can tell now.  I quit drinking mountain dew every Monday and then I quit quitting mountain dew every Wednesday.  I’ve quit blogging twice as well.  Did you know I have a youtube channel?  I’ve quit that too.  My point is that I’ve quit a lot of things.

Although I’m pretty successful (by my own definition, of course), I have quit all those things above, and more, and therefor I am a quitter!  Umm, I’m not terribly depressed about the things I’ve quit and honestly  I can appreciate the lessons learned from quitting as well as where I am now because of it.   More specifically, I can better understand why I’ve quit and how to prevent it in the future.

  1. You’re in over your head.

Not in a bad way, or maybe.  More like you’ve decided to do something before even having a plan, or any information, or facts or anything.  For example,  those two other blogs I’ve had, I read other blogs, desired their lifestyle of what I thought was just writing about my feelings and taking some pictures.  So I started.  I failed.  I was misinformed and in over my head so I quit.

2.  No Instant results or gratification.

Often times when there are no instant results or gratification, motivation is lost.  After a continuous lack of motivation the result is usually quitting. I worked out regularly to lose weight but when the weight wasn’t coming off fast enough I quit.  With blogging, I read these high dollar income reports that I desire, NOW and I want to quit because it is not happening.  This was the reason, in my opinion, behind quitting college twice as well.  The end result seemed so far away and more difficult than I imagined.  Which leads me to the next reason below.

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3.  It’s too hard.

Most times when we have a “big idea” or embark on a new journey, we (or I) get so excited about the results and often never think about how hard it will be or how much work it will require.  Usually once that first set back is experienced that knocks us off our feet, we quit.  On the other hand, however, sometimes it’s the reality of how difficult it could be that prevents us from even starting at all.  In either situation the end result can still be considered quitting.

4.  Not fully committed.

There are many reasons that can affect your level of commitment to a new project or journey.  Family, life, work responsibilities are just a few.  When I initially began GDTH, my work responsibility and home responsibilities were different.  At that time I was able to blog at least three times per week, however since then things have drastically changed.  We have a new pet, I’ve switched supervisors at work, and the mister works longer hours which as all affected my level of commitment to GDTH. My decreased level of committment is affecting my earning potential and the growth of GDTH which has resulted in me considering quitting GDTH.

5.  Overwhelmed by the work or time

Feeling overwhelmed at some point is unavoidable.  The pressure that comes from being overwhelmed all the time, for me, is suffocating and usually the point that I want to quit or do quit.  In 2012, I nearly quit my last semester of graduate school because of how overwhelmed I was by ongoing revision recommendations of a 20 plus page paper that was required to pass the class.  In my case, pressure really does burst my pipes.

6.  No definition of success or lack of measurements.

It’s important to determine what “being successful” looks like to you and measure your outcomes throughout.  Within the blogging world, particularly, I feel like bloggers quit because they feel unsuccessful based on comparisons to other bloggers.  This was also the reason I quit blogging twice before and sometimes consider it now.

Any or all of the above reasons may have been why you have quit, which I think is perfectly fine especially if you’ve learned from it.  Just about all the above reasons have been my reasons for quitting something at one point or another.  In every quitting situation, I discovered something about myself which has prevented me from quitting now and helped me make better decisions.

What have you quit and why?

February Side Hustle Income Report

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It’s March! A new month means INCOME REPORTS! If you’re new here, I begin posting Online Income reports back in November, after only three months of blogging. The amount was very small and at that point, I still had not broken even with the money I put into starting GDTH. However, I was bold enough to share what I made to encourage other bloggers, as new to the journey as me, or who have recently decided to make a business out of their blog and begin to monetize to continue to work hard and reflect that the hard work and diligent effort can pay off, even if it’s small tokens.

Fast forward to January, and I decided to change from online income reports to Side Hustle Income Report to track all the side hustle income, including what I make from Goal Digging to Happiness.

In February, I made:

$826.62

The breakdown is as follows:

  • GDTH                          $45.00
    • Freelance post        $20.00
    • Sponsored post       $25.00
  • Hair side hustle          $385.00
  • Selling Items               $60.00
  • Milage                          $136.62
  • Gifts                              $200.00

For the month of February, my income sucked!  I’m okay with that however.  I wasn’t able to devote as much time to GDTH.  We’ve had some changes at work, I was consumed by my son’s sporting activities (his team won the championship btw), I was sick, and I had work related training, which all resulted in limited time, and major distractions.  Aside from work, I devoted what little extra time I discovered to writing and pitching guest post.

I plan on returning back to regular schedule of posting regularly, marketing GDTH to increase traffic and followers, as well as increasing my income.  I recently wrote about why I wouldn’t freelance full time, but I still would like to achieve my goal of making $1,000/monthly from GDTH by December 2016.

As for other updates:

It’s been a while since I’ve done a debt repayment update. If you’d like to see where I started click here and my most recent update here.  Before, I would post monthly updates but progress, in my opinion, is so slow that there may not be much progress within a months time. I have a current goal to eliminate ALL credit card debt, an overpayment, and one of the car payments by October 3, 2016.  While I’m confident the credit card debt and overpayment will be gone, I’m as confident about the car and I’m thinking that paying of both cars will become a 2017 goal.  If you can see a better strategy below, that doesn’t include selling a vehicle, let me know!

DEC                   JAN                     FEB

Am             $660.08           $209.90             PAID

PP           $1136.65             $1073.98           $866.11

BML        $1157.99            $1134.29            $1092.57

WF         $2562.76             $2537.01           $2506.96

CF          $1925.70              $1972.61           $1948.98

Total      $7443.18              $6878.79         $6414.62

I’ve discussed my aggressive debt repayment plan here and here.  I’m doing good thus far, however the monotony of rice and beans and avocado and tomato sandwiches recently drove me insane and I ended up spending over $80.00 on fast food these pass two weeks.  Not to mention, I allowed my Mister to purchase me a dog when I really should’ve just asked for that money to apply to my credit card debt.   The dog is cuter!

I’ve decided to switch my method of eliminating debt as well.  I’m now paying according to the interest rates after realizing that I pay nearly $60.00 in interest on my WF card.  The minimum payment is $85.00 and ONLY $30 something is applied to the principal, this is ridiculous!

Finally, my motivation to blog and pay on the debt becomes less consistent.  I feel like there are directly related to each other and when one fades, so does the other.

What do you do to regain motivation? How does lack of motivation to write affect you or your blog?

 

Friday Funday and Give Away Winners!

Friday Funday

Hello Valued Readers!

It’s Friday! For many it may be payday and it’s the weekend before Valentines day! What more could you ask for?

Well, I could ask for all my debt to be eliminated, 3 Beyonce tickets (have you seen those prices?), and some NY style pizza but I’ll settle for a paycheck and all my bills paid.

Have you guys heard the song Save Dat Money?  My daughter, the baby who never saves a dime, loves this song and it resinates (except Verse 2) so much with me and probably a lot of the readers on a personal finance journey.  Attached is the video and here are the words. The concept of video is shoot and “epic video without spending any money, in turn, saving money.”  The song addresses all aspects of financial wisdom that us, PF bloggers discuss often, from saving money, hefty 401k investments, and frugal living!  I apologize for the language, I could not locate the clean version.

 

Give away winners!

Friday FundayGive Away Winners

I recently hosted a giveaway to celebrate my 6 month blogging journey.  I hope you participated, if not there will be another opportunity coming.  The Winners are:

Jamie Donovan

Abby Freeman

Micheal LaRue

Dominque LaRue

Congratulations! Thanks for participating and being a part of Goal Digging to Happiness!  Have a great weekend!

What will you be doing for the Valentines day weekend? If on a financial journey, how is it different from what you’ve been doing? What do you think about the song?

January Side Hustle Income Report.

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January Side Hustle Income Report appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness. This post contains affiliate links.

Hello,

It’s hard to believe that February is already here! If you’re new here, I begin posting Online Income reports back in November, after only three months of blogging.  The amount was very small and at that point, I still had not broken even with the money I put into starting GDTH.  However, I was bold enough to share what I made to encourage other bloggers, as new to the journey as me, or who have recently decided to make a business out of their blog and begin to monetize to continue to work hard and reflect that the hard work and diligent effort can pay off, even if it’s small tokens.

Fast forward to December, and I decided to  change from online income reports to Side Hustle Income Report to track all the side hustle income, including what I made from Goal Digging to Happiness.

For the month of January 2016, I made

$503.39.

The break down for my income is below:

  • Hair        $300.75
  • Milage    $77.64
  • Blogging $125.00
    • Freelance writing $95.00
    • Sponsored post     $30.00

I had a goal to make $400.00/month doing hair.  I didn’t meet that goal this month unfortunately.  I was affected by the snow when the shop closed.

My milage was also significantly less because I was off two weeks in December.  I’m not even sure I should be counting milage as extra income or deducting it from my gas budget because, technically it’s gas reimbursement.

Finally, my online income has increased, nearly doubled for January compared to December as my freelance writing opportunities increased as well.  I focused much more on increasing my traffic.  I spent most of January networking in various Facebook groups, blog commenting, Twitter, and personal emails to other bloggers.  I’ve even collaborated with some bloggers.  Speaking of collaborations, I’m actually being interviewed by Tonya at MotherlyAdventures where I share a more personal side of my frustrations and success blogging, working all while parenting five children. You can check out the interview here.  Below you’ll see a brief description of what their blog is all about.

Motherly Adventures is a blog about the adventures of Tanya and Nara,two students who met in a random hostel while traveling Europe in their 20’s. Fast forward 10 years, they are now married, house owners, career women and mothers. The one thing that hasn’t changed is their love for travel, spontaneity and adventure. Add babies to the mix and you’re guaranteed a good read. Follow their stories as they learn to embrace their new roles as mothers.

I say this every month, however this month I’m not sure if I’ll have any income directly from the blog.  I’m really focusing on increasing traffic.  I’m spending more time on social media, commenting on blogs, even outside of my niche, and even hosting a give away!  I’m also brainstorming on a product to develop to either give away as link to my newsletters or to earn an income from.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own to earn money, I discuss the difference here.   starting at only $5.95 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. Additionally,  with the low pricing, you will receive a free blog domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link if you purchase at least 12 months of blog hosting. 

What are your income related goals for February?

My Blogging Journey: The personal side and a GIVE AWAY

 

My Blogging Journey: The Personal Side appeared
My Blogging Journey: The Personal Side appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!

I did a previous post on My Blogging Journey, the first six months.  In that post I addressed more of the business part of GDTH.  I discussed the difference that purchasing a domain name and switching to Blue Host made in increasing my page views per day.  I also reviewed my online income that I’ve made the last two months.  Jaime, a valued reader, commented and made me realize that, that post may have made it appear that this first six months have been great.  Overall they have been, but I have had many challenges and there have been times that I wanted to quit GDTH as well as the journey to financial freedom.

Motivation

Initially starting GDTH, my motivation was fueled the by enormous debt amounts I had and then the determination to become debt free.   Reading other bloggers journeys towards financial freedom debt elimination success continued to motivate as well.  Then one day I came across Online Income Reports!  After reading the income potential from bloggers in personal finance, I went into overdrive and immediately tried to step my game up, build a bigger audience, present better content, and build relationships.

My motivation would come on strong, as I read and read and read other blogs and attempted to incorporate what I liked into GDTH.  Then I became obsessed with my progress, my page views, and Google analytics and adsense.  I downplayed that obsession here.  After about a month stand still with page views and adsense and no leads for guest posting or freelance writing, that motivation diminished and the efforts where redirected solely to becoming debt free.

The motivation to grow GDTH and earn a semi passive income from blogging comes and goes but the motivation to continue to share my journey is more consistent.

Feelings

Blogging

My feelings about blogging are mixed.  What I love about blogging is the feeling that my journey helps other’s in similar situations and ability to create content that others actually want to read!  However, blogging can take a toll on you.  You put forth so much effort working at night or earlier in the morning (or both) and sometimes the reward is not instant.  Sometimes I feel tired of blogging and the rat race of going to work, paying bills and repeat and feel that my journey is not different than any other person doing the same.  Then sometimes I feel successful because I’ve gotten 70 more page views that last week, or I’ve been introduced to another freelance opportunity.

Blogging community

Then there are the feelings from the personal finance community.  This community that tells you to “get out of debt, become a minimalist, clip coupons, stop spending except for on my book that will tell you everything else you need to know!”  Now I’m not at all knocking anyone’s hustle and I definitely understand that time is money, but with some bloggers I feel that any information  or help has a price tag.  Again, I understand that, but it most likely would not be the path that I take.   But then there are some wonderful bloggers that will help anyway they can and pass along helpful information because of the compassion of once “being in my shoes.”  Overall, I have developed some great relationships and feel that I have a lot to learn from all of them.  I’m excited about my future with them a part of it.

Pitching

I have a love/hate relationship with pitching.  I often beat myself up because of the lack of responses I get back.  I have to remind myself that it’s not personal even if I’ve pitched to a blogger I’ve followed for about three years, commented on every post and shared the content several times.  Pitching makes me feel inadequate so I attempt to avoid it like the plague although, its necessary if I continue to work towards meeting my goal of earning $1000 per month by December 2016.

Overall blogging, like anything else, takes dedication, a successful mindset, and hard work.  Initially, you seek advice and help and you ask questions and get answers that are so obvious, you think that the person doesn’t want to help, but truthfully they have.  I asked so many people how do I become successful blogging and the answer has always been keep blogging and do not focus on the money.  In hindest, I’d agree.  Also determine what your definition of a “successful blog” is.  Focus on improvement and growth and less on the money and I’m sure the opportunities will come!

My Blogging Journey Six Month Give Away

 

The give away!

If you’ve made it this far then bless you!  I’m hosting a give away to celebrate my 6 month blogging journey and it’s progress thus far! In celebration, I’m giving away four $15.00 gift cards to Target! To be entered all you have to do is:

  1. Like the Goal Digging to Happiness Face book page
  2. Click to Tweet from this post or Monday’s post on Twitter. The Click to tweet is below!

All actions are required to be entered.  You may retweet as many times as you like! The give away will last for two weeks and the winner will be announced on Friday February 12, 2016!

Goal Digging to Happiness! is 6 months today! Lets Celebrate with a give away! #blogjourney # giveaway… Click To Tweet

*all winners will be selected randomly using Rafflecopter. 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway