State of the Blog April 2017

Welcome to our State of the Blog report for April 2017. I’ve ended my seasonal job for the year, and we’re gearing up for another track out for Little Bit. We’ll cover the to-do list, hairstyles, and 6-year-olds buying their own clothes.

Blog Stuff

For the first time in a while, I actually did more than I planned with the blog. We had 5 posts in April, but only because Troy from markethistory.org was nice enough to write us a post about his teenaged investing experience. I’ve decided for now to keep posting on Tuesdays and adding any extra content (Jon’s posts or the occasional guest post) on Thursdays when available.

Phasing back a little seems to have given me the time I need to get into a better frame of mind for blogging. For now, though, I’m sticking to once a week posts. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get ahead a bit?

In the meantime, expect a couple of investment-oriented articles coming up.

I also updated my old post on 10 money lessons I’ve learned from Geekdom. One of my goals for this month will be to try to freshen up some of my older content. I wrote a fair amount of posts in my first 6 months or so, but my writing style has evolved quite a bit since then.

I also plan to reboot my weekly emails, which I’ve neglected. If you want a money saving tip and a mini-post each week, you can sign up here.

It’s Getting Hairy

Or not so hairy. After 6 months of a concerted effort to grow out her hair, Little Bit changed her mind. She wanted a summer weight haircut, and she got one. She marched right in and told our hairdresser “Cut it off.”

It looked so cute Angie put it on her Instagram.

That was an easy change. The bigger change…I’ve decided to see if I can stand gray hair again.

I’ve dyed my hair for a while. While I like our frugal life most of the time, I’ve been willing to pay extra for a professional cut and dye job.  My hair dye allergy seems to be becoming worse and at 49, I’ve decided to see if I can handle the gray gracefully. So on my last appointment, I skipped the dye job…and the extra $50 I’ve been paying.

For now, my decision doesn’t really show. That should change soon.

As long as no one refers to Little Bit as “your granddaughter” again, I should be fine.

Clothes Shopping

I didn’t think Little Bit was ready to manage her clothing budget, but she may be further along than I thought.

The other day, we cashed in our Children’s Place Cash for a few pairs of shorts, and Little Bit decided she wanted a tank top. I said no.

“You need shorts, not t-shirts.”

“What if I buy it with my allowance?”

“Then you can have it.”

‘$6. Yeah, it’s worth a week.”

Little Bit, when you can start comparing the value of something with how long it takes you to accumulate the money for it, you are likely ready for larger financial responsibilities. I may have to give her more control when it’s time to shop for Fall clothes.

 

State of the Blog April 2017

The To-Do List

To recap, my goals for the year were to:

  • Live Healthier
  • Increase Financial Health
  • Improve the Blog
  • Do Good Things
  • Get Rid of Excess Stuff

Live Healthier

Darn you, Easter and all those delicious Cadbury eggs!

I did not do as good a job avoiding sugar during the week this month. Fortunately, the most tempting Easter goodness is gone, leaving only Peeps. Green and pink marshmallows do not tempt me.

Nor did I do much exercise, until the end.

I’ve decided I need to try exercising with someone, and my favorite kiddo decided we could be exercise buddies. So towards the end of the month, we started doing some kid-friendly yoga. Despite how silly pretending to be a mermaid or a banana made me feel, I could feel my core muscles working.

Considering Little Bit was extremely enthusiastic, I’m hoping she’ll push me to exercise more frequently than I did when I was trying solo activities.

Increase Financial Health

I changed my main investment account from my maiden name to my current name. It’s ready to receive my other accounts, and in a week or so I should have all the other ducks in a row to move them.

It’ll be good to all the investments in one place with one low fee structure to worry about.

I noticed, though, that our grocery bill has started to creep up again. We’re not spending anything close to what we were mid-2015, but we’ve been adding a few more little luxuries lately: raspberries, mango slices, the good cheese, and wine that isn’t $3 Buck Chuck. Nothing major, but an extra $15-$20 in the cart each week puts us a bit over budget. Fortunately, we have a little wiggle room, but it’ll need some attention going forward.

Improve the Blog

I mostly talked about my plans earlier in the blog stuff section: one post a week, plus back to the weekly email. 

I need to get on more blogging classes before my year of access runs out, though.

Do Good Things

While I didn’t make it to my old gig volunteering at the school store last month, I did volunteer for “Super Kids Day” at Little Bit’s school. Watching Kindergartners play soccer is good for the soul.

I’m signed up for one school store day this month and should get back to the swing of things in June.

Get Rid of Excess Stuff

I did less than I’d hoped to do, but more than I had other months.

We sent lots of toddler stuff to my nephew for his first birthday. By all reports, he really enjoys the books and ridable Thomas the Train.  We also sorted out the shoes in Little Bit’s closet (and got her some new ones) after she explained that several pairs I suggested she wear to school were really too small.

As for my stuff, I went through my drawers and reorganized sweaters, t-shirts, pajamas and underwear. I didn’t get rid of too much, but at least I can see what I have.

Goals for this month include sorting through my sock and winter accessory drawers and going through at least 2 of Little Bit’s toy totes.

Wrapping Up April 2017

I’m not sure April was a bragworthy month for us, but I do feel I’m in a better frame of mind than I’ve been in a whileWith luck and a little determination, I’m optimistic that the better framework will result in more of a sense of accomplishment when we come back to review May.

Thanks for coming by. You can follow us on  TwitterFacebook. Pinterest,  Google+ and StumbleUpon. Also feel free to let us know if you have a topic you’d like us to cover. or just want to say hi!

How did April go for You?

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

36 thoughts on “State of the Blog April 2017

  1. Thanks for sharing Emily. Your health is your true wealth!!

    April was a great learning experience for me. I put an offer in on a house, had it accepted, then had buyer’s remorse, and then found foundational issues to get out of it. Interesting 10 days!!

    I also read 6 books in April. I’m on pace to read my 75 books this year! 🙂

    Erik
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…Blog Traffic and Income Report – April 2017My Profile

    • I nearly put my reading list on here, Erik, but read about 4 books. The best was David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell (entertaining, if a bit anecdotal).

      Interesting on your house. Glad you were able to discover the foundational issues and get out of the commitment before it was too late.

  2. Glad to hear you’re getting back on track Emily. Hope May is even better for you. The Little Bit work-out buddy sounds like a great idea, quality time with her and I’m sure she’ll keep you busy! We are head down on all of the end of the year school stuff, glad to have some of the big decisions behind us.
    Brian recently posted…Net Worth Update: April 2017My Profile

    • Little Bit is pretty enthusiastic, and she certainly has a lot more energy than I do! Enjoy this last month of high school with your twins!

  3. It’s great you’re feeling better, Emily! With summer coming, I’m looking forward to the boost in Vitamin D and energy!

    April was expensive for us and I got a little behind on blogging. But, I’m determined to turn it all around in May! Here’s to a fantastic May!!! 🙂

    • Weather helps (though we had a pretty mild winter here.) So does better sleep…while Little Bit is still having some nightmares that necessitate waking us up and crawling in our bed, I guess I’ve gotten used to them. But the biggest thing is probably to have my days back…my seasonal job turned out to be a lot more hours and responsibility this year than last. I’ll be more prepared next year, I guess.

      Good luck on your May, Amanda!

  4. I’m 8 months into growing out my grey, or as I prefer to call it, silver. If you are on Instagram, @grombre is a great account to follow with tons of inspiration from women all over the world growing out their silver proudly. I was tired of the expense as well. And frankly, at 51 years old, I’m ready for a change. Feel like I’ve been hiding under this hair dye for too long and not being authentic. Hopefully my husband will be on board when more silver comes in!

    • I like the idea of silver more than gray. I’ll have to adopt that attitude, Holly.
      My hubby pushed me to dye the hair, but after the last allergic reaction, he was pushing me to stop. I’m not really sure which he prefers. He’s 8 years older than I am and has almost no gray hair…at least on his head. Maybe I’ll have to push him to grow out his gray beard for a while for balance.

    • Thanks, Vicki. Letting myself take a step back seemed to have been more productive than not accomplishing what I wanted and then feeling bad about it.

  5. I’m so glad you’re feeling in a better frame of mind…that really does make everything else so much better. Little Bit’s “clothing math” is impressive. You’ve done really well helping her to understand financial matters. As for me, after a bit of a roller coaster first quarter (blog highs and financial lows), April was much quieter. It looks like we came in under budget, and I managed to get rid of some clutter at a yard sale on Saturday. Easter provided a lot of sugar in my house too, so it’s time to get back to some better eating and more exercising.
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…Yard Sale 2017 or How I Cleaned Out the Closets…Again!My Profile

    • Thanks, Gary. Yeah, Little Bit does well sometimes, and I was pretty proud of her for buying the shirt. I don’t think I bought any of my own clothes til I was a teenager.

      Congrats on a good financial month in April, and good luck on your health goals.

  6. How great that Little Bit will be your exercise buddy – IRL. The bigger deal is to avoid sugar (my big challenge) since at least 80% of weight loss results from what we eat, not whether or not we exercise. I admire you for going naturally gray. I’m 4-5 years ahead of you, and I still haven’t taken that step. I’ll be interested to know how that goes!
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…The Unexpected – Is it Making You Nervous?My Profile

    • I’m a little concerned about the silver, but also a little relieved. The allergy seems to be getting stronger over time, and though my hairdresser said there were other dyes we could try I’m kind of over it…at least until I figure out how the hair color shakes out.

  7. My beard has been going gray for the past year. I’ve just started noticing more and more gray hairs on my head now as well. Time marches on I guess?

    I’ve been thinking that I may need to dial it back a bit on my own blog, so your comment about phasing back was good for me to hear.

    I was super impressed with your 6 year old’s ability to equate her time with money – that’s great!

    • Ty, I won’t lie. The traffic on the blog dropped quite a bit, but I figure I now probably have more folks seeing the posts I do…and it’s a little easier to keep my post quality with one post a week. It’s dropped some stress while allowing me to keep going, and I had really questioned whether I could keep going. Now I’m pretty sure that I will.

  8. I’m really impressed that Little Bit already made that connection between the time you have to wait and the money you earn! While I’m hoping to avoid shopping with JuggerBaby for many years yet, I do want zir to learn this kind of lesson. I’ll probably do it with groceries 🙂

    Even if April doesn’t feel like you did a great deal to brag about, all those things you did seem to add up to a nice month’s work. I’m also an advocate of accepting the grey/silver. I’ve had them for years in small numbers but I’m telling myself now that I will take them as they continue to come over the years. Like wrinkles, they’ll be my sign of a life lived fully. 😉

    Our April was full as well, even if they weren’t all big things either, there was a lot of moving parts that we kept moving and that was as much an accomplishment as anything. I also got us on track to hoard a lot of cash from various sources so that we have it ready for when the spending trigger has to be pulled, so I’m proud of that. If I can get through May without staying or getting sick again, that’ll be a win.
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Net Worth & Life Report: April 2017My Profile

    • It works well at the grocery store, but it also works well with other things. We’ve even had the discussion of “How many weeks of allowance does it take to pay for our electricity each month.” (Of course, we did this after Little Bit had her allowance for a while, and she had developed pretty good number sense by then.)

      I let the gray hair come in for a long time before dying it, so I have an idea of how it will come in. In my case, it might reflect more living than I want it to. I’ll live, though, and it may look better now that I have less natural brown.

      Good luck on your health and house hunt this month!

  9. I am very impressed with your daughter Emily. That’s pretty young to have that sort of grasp on her own earning/spending choices. I am sure this has to do with the messages you instill!

    • Thanks. Like a lot of kids (and adults for that matter) she’s not necessarily consistent in applying her lessons, but at least she seems to understand them.

  10. You seem much more cheery in this post. Hey, if Jon doesn’t feel like writing I think a Little Bit may be ready for her own weekly column! Is there a way to download the blogging classes somehow?

    Sometimes you just have to spend a bit more on groceries and to hell with the 3 Buck Chuck (you and ZJ introduced me to that but I haven’t tried it yet. Has Lidl opened near you yet?
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…That Time I Lied and Fake-Cried to Save My Family $1,000 in Airline FeesMy Profile

    • I’m not sure Little Bit’s up for writing (I can barely get her to do her 15 minutes of weekly homework) but she’d love to do a YouTube channel. Unfortunately, it would probably be more about Minecraft/Roblox than personal finance.

      No Lidl yet, although I think Durham has one. They’re hiring, though. On the other end, we just got Sprouts, but I have yet to go (and probably won’t while our neighborhood produce stand is open.)

  11. I’m always impressed with Little Bit’s financial awareness and the financial education you give her every time you post about it.

    Great idea having Little Bit as your exercising buddy. Accountability, quality time, better health! It’s a win-win-win.
    Jax recently posted…Weekly Accountability: The Side Hustle EditionMy Profile

  12. I think I said before, but I put a load of pressure on myself to publish 2 posts per week and lost my love for it. You could tell in my writing. Now and then I still publish two, but generally I’m happy with once. 🙂

    I’m reasonably pleased with my level of physical activity… just by stepping up walking for the sake of walking. Hopefully I’ll keep going with it over the summer.

    Otherwise, I don’t have anything big or exciting to announce. Quite often, that’s life. One day, we realise these little boring routines were what made us, us.
    Sarah @tortoisehappy.com recently posted…Wanna get rich? Hitch a ride!My Profile

    • I’m going to have to figure something out for summer activities, though we do a fair amount of swimming. It gets hot enough here that doing much after about 10 can be difficult. Maybe I’ll start taking Bit to school and then heading to the park for a walk after.

      One post seems to be working better for me right now. I’m not ruling out extra weekly posts, but I’m kind of enjoying having the opportunity to go rework some of the old ones and do some other blog work.

  13. I love that little bit bought her own shirt! That says a lot of what you are teaching her about money.
    I need to exercise more but I just can’t get out there to do it. I’m hoping that volunteering at gardens this summer will get me rolling. Your walks with little bit I bet will be enlightening. Walking and talking go hand in hand. Have a great day!

    • Yeah, I think I was 15 or so before I started buying clothes with my own money, but she really wanted the shirt.
      Gardening is probably a good way of getting some activity going. I need to schedule my exercise in a bit more (and probably earlier in the day) to make it happen regularly. Little Bit and I have great talks when we go for walks, but I’m hoping for some more strenuous exercise. At the least, though, walking (and talking) beats sitting.

    • They’re fun. Her money sense is coming along but there are also some areas we need to work on. For instance, I’ve been saying for weeks “We’re going on vacation soon. Don’t you want to have money to spend on vacation? Maybe you shouldn’t buy that fidget spinner/fancy pencil/random treat.” And yet, she still spends every time unless she’s out of cash. I may need to work on my phrasing to coach better, and she may need to be broke at the beach and not be able to buy anything.

  14. You’re raising a smart girl that can already associate money with time and work! That’s a life lesson most older kids can’t figure out. (To say nothing of adults…)

    I’m toying with the idea of cutting back to blogging twice a week, at least during the busy summer months. We’ll see how that goes! I think it’s great if it makes you enjoy blogging more to feel less stressed about it.
    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently posted…5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week 75My Profile

    • Thanks, Jamie.

      I know for me, cutting back has helped relieve some stress and freshen my outlook. In some ways, busier times make it easier for me to blog (I have more to write about). On the other hand, they make doing the rest of the blogging stuff a lot harder. I probably won’t go back to more weekly posts unless I can get 3-4 posts in reserve.

    • Hah, she’d say she’s more of a budding Jimmy Buffett…she’s more of a beaches, boats, and ballads kind of girl (though no bars yet.) Of course, he’s managed a pretty good living too.

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