It’s hard to believe 2016 is almost under wraps! This year has been one of growth for me personally and for the blog, so I’m reflecting on that here today. Plus read on to find out how you can win a $25 gift card of your choosing!
This was my second year of (very part-time) blogging, and this blog has become such a source of enjoyment for me. I love to share inspiration for living a rich life on a budget, and I’m so happy y’all read what I write. 🙂
This year I chose “intentional” as my word-of-the-year. I focused on making my words, actions, and finances consistent with my ideals. This ended up being a significant challenge, but I feel as though I’ve made tremendous progress!
For example, I have struggled with being distracted when I’m at home with my daughter (which is a lot of the time). I felt like I was always multi-tasking when I was with her, since there were seemingly so many things that needed to be done.
I’ve learned to work some intentional and focused time with her into our daily schedule, and it has helped so much! For the first 20 minutes or so after she wakes up in the morning and after her nap, I set ALL other things aside and focus on totally being present with her. I found I had to automate this by making it a habit, and it then became an easy and natural part of our day.
I experimented with a “no-spend” month this year as a challenge to be more intentional with our money. It really opened my eyes to what I feel compelled to spend money on and helped me rein in any spending that wasn’t consistent with our goals.
I also discovered the 50/20/30 principle of budgeting, which REALLY helped me align our budget with our priorities (Watch for a blog post in early 2017 about this awesome approach to budgeting!)
This year I documented my tidying efforts here on the blog and am happy to report that I haven’t done any backsliding – at least not yet. The spaces that I de-cluttered in earnest (my closets, bathroom, office and kitchen) remain tidy…. hooray! However there are a few lingering spaces I haven’t tackled yet, and they are still a frightening mess. I plan to get to those in early 2017 but I’m not looking forward to it!
I also decided to not buy any new clothes this year, and purchase only second-hand if I found I needed something. This actually ended up being easier that I anticipated! I was able to find gently used clothing at Schoola and Swap.com any time I needed something. I liked the results so much that I plan on continuing this in 2017.
It has been a year of growth here at The Frugal South. I published two eBooks this year, one as a Kindle book on Amazon and one exclusively for email subscribers. They were a lot of work but I’m so glad I took the dive and wrote them!
I’ve also seen huge growth in traffic to the blog. In 2015, my first year of blogging, pages on The Frugal South were visited about 6,000 times over the course of the year (this number is referred to as “page views” in blogger speak). This year I saw page views jump to about 230,000. My brain hurts thinking about what percent growth that represents, so I’ll just say that’s a big increase!
I’ve been working on choosing my word for 2017 and I’m having a hard time making a decision! I definitely want to work on my focus and productivity. While I have gotten better about using my planner, there are still tasks that I want to do that either never make it in my planner, or that get moved from week to week and never accomplished. I also still feel like I am FAR less productive that I could be when I am in front of the computer.
I’ve also been thinking hard about how I want to contribute and give back this year. I want to contribute more financially to our family this year through money earned on the blog as well as what I earn from side jobs, such as watching/teaching other little ones at our home.
I want to really focus on the positive contribution I make to the lives of you, my readers. I want to help you in any way I am able, from sharing money-saving advice to helping you plan an incredible family vacation on a budget. When I put anything out there on the blog, I really want it to contribute in a positive way to the life of anyone who reads it.
And last I want to give back to myself! I am one who can (if I’m not careful about it) run myself into the ground and ignore my own needs. When there is an opportunity to take care of myself and contribute to my own well-being this year, I want to take it. I want to work on treating myself to a cup of tea in the afternoon and asking my husband for a evening off so I can do something nice for myself, like take a hike or read a book.
And of course we will be doing a bunch of traveling in 2017! I shared some of our travel plans in this post and I am working on the details for more. We continue to travel for little to nothing thanks to my points & miles hobby and I plan to keep that up as long as possible.
In 2017 I’ve decided to be more transparent about the blog and how it works. I’ll be sharing my first income report soon (yikes!) along with a detailed explanation of how bloggers make money. The number one question I get asked about blogging is “How does a blog make money?”, so I’m going to answer that right here.
How to Enter the Giveaway
To celebrate my second year of blogging, I’m giving away a $25 gift card. I’ll even let you pick where you want to spend the money!
Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. You can enter up to 5 times to increase your chances! If you already are a subscriber or are already following me just click the “Enter” buttons and you are all set!
Thanks again for reading and following, I appreciate each and every one of you.