***Thank y’all so much for your kind words and prayers during this difficult time. I’ve appreciated every uplifting word y’all have given me after losing my Daddy to cancer. Sincerely thank you. ***
One of my blogging goals that I have never listed here because honestly, I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen, was realized this past month. I got to meet Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom! I’ve been following Crystal for a very long time…about 5 years, and when I found out that she was going to be in Atlanta speaking at a local church, I jumped on the chance. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much, expect hoping that I could maybe get her to sign my book and take a picture with me.
And y’all, when Kim and I walked up to her and I introduced myself, she actually knew who I was. I was like uh…wait a minute, “you actually know who I am”?! Seriously, I couldn’t believe that she recognized me and that she knew my blog. I was having a total 12-year old fan girl moment. It was amazing and if you ever get the chance, make sure you go hear Crystal speak, she is truly motivational and incredible. She’s also one of the sweetest people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting!
Anyway….this past month, I worked hard at keeping my income up by taking on way more than I honestly should have. Although I’m thankful for the sponsored posts I had this month, it is stressful nonetheless to try to have as many as I did in a short time span. Lesson totally learned.
My total income after expenses was….$1,512.39!
If you’re interested in how I work my affiliate sales, you can sign up here to grab my free Affiliate Marketing eBook!
|Proof Copies of Book
|Branded Business Materials
Kim (of Thrifty Little Mom) and I at Crystal’s Say Goodbye to Survival Mode event.
Here are my blogging goals specifics:
Finish creating my pinning schedule and strategy.I am now using Boardbooster and I cannot recommend it enough to you. It will seriously save your sanity with your pinning strategy. It is $5 a month and totally worth it in my opinion but you can sign up here for a FREE trial! 🙂
- Create my Facebook sharing strategy. (I’ve been doing pretty well with this but I still need to come up with a solid plan.)
- Keep pageviews at 200,000 and increase to 500,000 by the end of the year. (You can read how I more than doubled my pageviews here.) (Even though my pvs were not 200,000 I’m just grateful that they finally went back up a little! My pvs in June were: 188,209. )
Professional blog design. (Currently working with Pixel Me Designs )(Done)
- Find three brands to establish a working relationship with for underwritten posts. (I have so far worked with one brand this way…still need to add two more by the end of the year!)
Complete media kit by April 1st.(Done) Complete Business Plan by April 30th.(Done) Finish my next book by my birthday (March 29th ) and publish by June on Amazon.(It’s done and it’s currently FREE on Kindle!!!! Grab it here.*) Increase my minimum writing goal from 500 words per post to 700 words per post.(I managed to make this one happen consistently this month.)
- Keep editorial calendar with at least three months of posts, written and scheduled. (Okay, so I’m finally admitting that this is just unrealistic. So I’m changing my goal to keeping my editorial calendar at least two weeks out with scheduled posts and a month out with planned posts. )
- Attend one blog conference. (Just waiting on FinCon!)
Research and implement better SEO tactics and improve search engine traffic on my site.(So, I’ve definitely seen tremendous improvements with SEO over the last few months so I’m crossing this one off, but I know that this is one of those things that you never truly “master”.)
- Bring Alexa Global rating below 100,000 and U.S. rating below 15,000. (Maybe one day I’ll meet this goal….. Global is currently:185,991 and U.S. is currently: 43,372)
My book is finally done and it feels a little surreal to have a physical copy of my book. Real Life on a Budget is meant to be a practical guide to budgeting your way through life and the response that I’ve already received from it has been so inspiring! Helping to pull people up out of the trenches of financial hell is what God made me to do. I knew it all those years ago while having dinner with my best and her husband that he was calling me to share my story, my struggles, and let others know that life doesn’t have to be consumed by the darkness of financial insecurity.
Thank you to those of you that have stood by me while I worked on Real Life, it seriously would have never taken off without y’all’s help.
Here are my personal goals specifics:
- Begin working out using the Tupler Technique to fix my diastasis. (I am following the workouts in Lose Your Mummy Tummy *) (I have had to stop doing these but I’m going to leave this on the list as I plan to pick it back up after I have Charlotte.)
Work out three times a week for ten to fifteen minutes and then increase length of workouts to thirty minutes to an hour and to simultaneously increase the intensity.(Changed to the goal below)
- Spend 30 minutes every day in active play with the boys (walking the neighborhood, playing hide-n-seek, “monster”, or other games they want to play). (I keep struggling with making this a priority as this pregnancy is kicking my butt. )
Write in gratitude journal every day. (I am using Money Saving Mom’s gratitude journal, Choose Gratitude * – amazing!)(I FINALLY picked this back up! And y’all, I’m loving it! There really is something to be thankful for everyday and starting your day off with an attitude of gratitude is life changing. I also am adding the below goal to this list because, well I need it and you probably need it in your life too. 😉 )
- Read daily Bible reading and journal about the scriptures read every day. (I loved doing this during Lent this year and when I was discarding like a crazy woman this past month, I found an old notebook that I hadn’t used that was perfect for using to keep as a Bible reading journal. I look on BlessedisShe.net for the daily devotions and read the daily Bible readings out of my Bible instead of on my phone. )
- Schedule a paid date night and paid family night/event once a quarter. (My hubs and I had a “stay-at-home” date night a few weeks ago while the boys were at Grandma’s. We used some promotional credits I had for Amazon Prime to rent a movie and just snuggled on the couch and watched a movie together.)
Increase daily water intake to full eight glasses of water a day and continue detox regimen with lemon essential oil. (Nailed it for this month!) Spend thirty minutes to one hour two times a week working with Conner on preschool learning activities. Spend same time working with Collin on tot school activities.(So, this hasn’t worked out as structured as I think I wanted it to, but honestly, Conner is learning so quickly just by me engaging with him while he’s playing. What I love most is that Collin is picking it up and Conner is helping me to teach his little brother. It’s so amazing watching brotherly love. ) Drastically reduce the amount of personal time spent on Facebook, by leaving groups and un-liking pages that just clog up my newsfeed. Use the News Feed Eradicator extension for Chrome to keep me from being sucked into Facebook’s “should-have-left-it-in-high-school” drama.(Apparently I’ve been doing a pretty great job at this as I’ve heard from a few folks “where did you go? I don’t see you on FB anymore”. I consider that #winning. 🙂 )
So, while using the #Konmari method for discarding and organizing (see what I read this month for more about this), I discovered the above workbook from 2013 when we started The Total Money Makeover *. Y’all, that’s $55,365 of debt!!!! Holy cow…that’s a lot. And today the only one of those debts left is my student loans, which you’ll see the balance below. Debt-freedom is 100% possible, don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not or that you have to have it in order to have a great life – you don’t.
Here are our financial specifics:
- Pay off student loans by December 31st. Total balance at the beginning of the year: $20,106.81 (Student loan balance as of today 6/30/15: $9,413.70 )
Contribute the max allowed percentage to hubs’ 401(k) plan and continue contributing $30 a week to my Roth IRA. Will increase my contribution amount if goal of paying off student loans is met before the end of the year. We will be decreasing the amount contributed to our emergency fund in order to build up our retirement funds.(Done.)
- Go back to carrying cash only for all purchases. (Okay, I started the month off strong but then faltered again towards the end of the month. My hubs are in discussion over what the best move here is.)
- Plan and implement a spending freeze. (Still have not done this…..)
Set aside $10 every week towards our Christmas fund for a debt-free Christmas (it will be our third one!).(Done! We have enough Swagbucks* earnings to pay for Christmas this year – seriously, that is amazing in my opinion. 🙂 ).
- Complete Financial Peace University by September 30th. (We’ve finally started working on this! It was tough getting my hubs on board but we both agree that this has already opened up money conversations that never would have happened without it.)
I read a lot in June, mostly due to the super hot days spent sitting outside trying to not melt while watching my boys play in the sprinkler. Seriously, Georgia heat is a beast….
The Fringe Hours * by Jessica Turner – God put this book in my life at the right moment. My blog over the last few months has grown and although I’m extremely grateful, my blog started to take up a lot of space in my life and I wasn’t exactly sure how to get back to, well, my life. I mean, I love blogging, I especially love helping to pull others up on this financial freedom journey, but I still gotta live my life. The problem was, is that I wasn’t living my life anymore. I started living and breathing The Budget Mama and not in a “oh I’ll save so much money”, or “we’re going to pay XYZ extra this month”, or “we’re so financially fit”, but in a constant replying of comments, emails, dousing out fires in the form of all things website and social media related. It was exhausting and this book was just what I needed to find my peace again.
Debt-Free in 24 Hours * by Aja McClanahan – Y’all this book is written by one of my mastermind group buddies and can I just say, wow! What inspiration! If you’re on the debt-free journey or want to be on the debt-free journey, I encourage you to read this one!
The Great Debt Dump * by Toni Husbands – Seriously, I needed a lot of inspiration this past month to keep going with our debt dumping because honestly, I want a vacation….like yesterday, but it’s not in the budget because we’re currently dumping debt and this book, is incredible. This is another book written by a mastermind group buddy of mine based on how her and her husband used the power of community to dump their debt. It took them 7 years, but they are 100% debt-free and the practical guidance given in this book is just want I needed. If you’re on the debt-free journey, know that you are NOT alone and that maybe building up a community is just what you need to reach your debt-free dream.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up * by Marie Kondo – Oh this book rocked my world! This is the #Konmari method that I mentioned earlier in this post and all over my social media. 🙂 My house is so much lighter, it takes me way less time to clean, and there is way less stuff for my boys to pull out and destroy. If you haven’t read this book, read it. It will change the way you view organizing for the better. There’s a reason why this one is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and Internationally acclaimed read, it’s truly life-changing.
ProBlogger * by – Bloggers, you need to read this book. Point blank period. I’ve read a lot of books on blogging and this one is King. Ruth from Living Well Spending Less credits this book with what helped her change her blog to the six-figure machine it is today.
Breakthrough * Addi Ganley – Another great resource for bloggers! This one was written by blogger Addi of Frugal Fanatic and she shares all of her awesome bloggy knowledge with you!
Drumroll Please!!! This was by far my favorite book —
The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life * by Melanie Shankle – Oh.my.word. y’all. If you’re married, you need to read this book. You will literally laugh and cry from laughing so dang hard. It is amazing! Melanie’s writing style is so funny as she shares her and her husband’s story and honestly, it probably doesn’t look too much different than yours – especially if you’re married to a hunter. 🙂
Oh and in case you missed it above….my new book, Real Life on a Budget is FREE on Kindle until July 5th! You can grab it here. 🙂
3rd Annual TBM Reader Survey
I can’t believe that it’s been THREE years since I start TBM! Seriously, where has the time gone?! Once a year I host an annual survey to give y’all the opportunity to let me know exactly what you like, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to see more of here at The Budget Mama. Your feedback is super important to me, and I use it to help improve this site and to make sure that I am meeting your needs!
Would you mind taking a few minutes to answer the following questions?
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If you have issues getting the survey to load automatically, please click here to be taken to the survey page. Thank you again for your time!
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