We’ve come to the end of July 2016, and that marks a year since we started the John and Jane Doe Guide to Money and Investing! While we usually reflect on the month and provide updates to previous posts and life in general, we are also taking time this month to reflect on our entire year of blogging.
Happy Blogoversary to Us!
We posted our first article July 20, 2015. Over this year, we feel like we’ve gotten a lot of support to do things that we might not otherwise have done. Things like
- Made it successfully through a 31 day No Spend Challenge!
- Cut our annual expenses by thousands by doing things like cutting back to 10 channel cable, switching to a low cost phone provider, and modifying our grocery shopping habits.
- Watched our child grow more savvy as we experimented with ways to promote her financial literacy.
- Rethought our money habits and decisions..
We couldn’t have done it without your presence, comments and encouragement. Thank you very much.
And for our blog, July 2016 was a fantastic month. When I look back at our top 10 most popular articles, 2 were written this July: 5 Ways to Protect your Kid against Materialism and Yikes! I think I Need a Price Book! Credit Card Mistakes I’ve Made (and How You Can Avoid Them) was published 6/30 and also made the top 10.
We’ve seen our following on Twitter rise substantially this month too, going up by almost 100. (which is about 20% of our total! Thanks guys!) Facebook’s almost doubled (though admittedly, it’s still pretty small). I did my first guest post.
We even got a sketchy monetizing offer. No, we are not interested in selling the opportunity to post unknown unnamed content on the blog, but we’re hoping that as we move forward into our second year, we will get the opportunity to pursue blog income opportunities that align with our values and serve our readers.
So, with that as a goal, we’ll probably be moving back to three posts per week. I plan on reworking some of our older content, as I did last week with our post on target date funds. You can still expect at least 2 fresh articles each week.
Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post!
July Price Book Update
When I started my price book project, I promised I would give an update each month.
I don’t have much of an update to give. While I have been entering our receipts, so far I haven’t added too many new prices.
It’s hard to start a grocery store price book when you really aren’t grocery shopping all that much. We did some larger shopping trips mid-month around the time I started the price book. Unfortunately for the project, both times we shopped at Kroger. We basically bought the same things. We went to Aldi on Friday, and I added a few more prices.
Surprise! Aldi has cheap prices.
Nah, you guys knew that.
I noted that the act of recording the prices made me more discerning when I glance through the adds, though. I quickly picked up on the fact that peaches at the “cheap” grocery store cost 50 cents more per pound that at the “more expensive” store. So the project seems to be paying off even when I don’t add many entries.
On a related note, We got 60 ounces of coffee beans this month for less than $10 by being members of the World Market Explorer’s Club. I had two rewards that Jon and I cashed in this month: a $10 off any (non-alcoholic) purchase and one free 12 ounce coffee for buying 6 bags. We also used their 15% off any purchase coupon twice: once on the initial coffee run, and then a second time to indulge our taste for craft and imported beer.
World Market continues to reign supreme in quality coffee bargains.
Sooo, My Amazon Credit
In June I asked what I should do with my Amazon credit.
My initial $69.84 has dwindled to a mere $7.07. I spent a bit over $20 for Frugality for Depressives and a couple of other e-book treats I wanted.
The other $40 sits in my desk drawer. Little Bit went on an Amazon spending spree with her savings this month. I think she has three dollars left. At least once a week this month she picked out some item and paid me to order it for her.
The spending bug bit her hard. She rented a movie that she didn’t watch. She bought a board game that she’s played twice. We’ve added two Barbies and a Ken to her doll collection.
Oh, and she spent $4 on a dozen mini cupcakes at the grocery store when I told her I wouldn’t buy them. But she turned that last one around by selling them to her dad and I for 75 cents each.
She’s finally drawn her cash reserves down to the point where she can’t just spend as she wants. She really wants a DVD of Wreck-it Ralph. It costs $20, which means a month of saving for her. I’m glad she has a goal again to curb the impulse buys.
Meanwhile, I still have $47, just not all at Amazon.
I really hate returning items, but this month I did it anyway. I even returned it after the store policy said I could!
This represents progress, people. I still don’t like frivolous returns, but I should not feel guilty about returning clearly defective items.
Jon has been teaching Little Bit to play chess for the last 18 months. In June we picked up a travel chess set to give her as a little extra birthday present.
The kid got plenty of presents, though, so it took her a while to pick up her new chess set.
When Jon and Bit went to play, however, there were three black bishops and only one black knight. (I guess Arthur and Patsy got him.)
It’s hard to play chess without the right pieces. Unfortunately, by the time we discovered the problem, the return window had closed. I took it back anyway, hoping just to exchange the game for a properly staffed black army. I expected to have to wheedle just a little bit to get Five Below to go along.
The cashier did not even ask for the receipt. She just sent me to look for another set. Then she just waved me through when I showed her the new one. Woohoo!
Thanks Again For a Great Year
Thanks again for encouraging us, learning with us, and even bearing with us during our year of blogging.
You can keep up with us by connecting with us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. We’re also trying to step up our efforts on Google Plus and StumbleUpon. Please feel free to comment or contact us anytime, to let us know if you have topics you’d like us to cover, thoughts on our blog, or just to say hi!
How did your July go?