Happy July 4th, y’all. Welcome to our State of the Blog post for June 2017. In this month’s edition, we’ll talk about swimming, mojitos, rental property, and my experiments with Instagram.
June was a busy month that started with track-out and our trip to Great Wolf Lodge. Then Little Bit went back to school to finish up first grade, took some swim lessons, and turned seven. Our garden started bearing fruit (or at least zucchini.) I perfected my mojito.
Good news! Being able to stick to a Tuesday post schedule (with one extra post about the garden) meant our numbers didn’t drop again after having mediocre traffic in May. Posting once a week makes it far easier to come up with good content. Plus, I’ve worked on more promotion than I did in the earlier part of the year. As a result, each blog post has more impact.
So, good news, my numbers beat last year. Bad news, last year in July I started writing 3 posts a week and my numbers went way up. That probably won’t happen again.
I still didn’t take any blog classes and need to work on some before my year’s up. I took a tax class instead, but that doesn’t help the blog. However, I did refresh 3 old posts with some much-needed edits and new graphics. I have several more that could use it, but it’s good to make some progress.
I’ll continue posting on Tuesdays, and do one extra gardening post a month. (I’m shooting for next week.) I also went over blog numbers with Jon. I’m hoping that between running around to his property management duties he can scratch out an article. He’s mentioned his frugal DIY, but also modern portfolio theory. I’d say it’s a toss-up.
Most Read Post of June: Three Days at Great Wolf Lodge: A Review
My shiny new Moto G5 still makes me cackle with glee, but it has some blog ramifications as well. First, I’m taking much clearer pictures. I hope that shows up in the photography.
Second, better photos and more memory prompted me to do something with my Instagram account. I’ve had it for a while, but basically just looked at other people’s photos. Now, you can follow me for more garden/family/project pictures. A lot of the pictures are the same ones I’ve been posting on our Facebook page, which has also been more active lately. But not all, so if you’re on both, you’ll see some differences.
That said, I’ve only been playing with Instagram for 3 weeks. Feel free to offer any advice, because I have no idea what I’m doing.
May marked many college graduations, including the graduation of three of our tenants. And with graduation, came their moving day.
Our total rental income from June was less than half of what we usually get, but that’s to be expected for any landlord. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, you’ll have some vacancies every now and then. That means you’ll be missing some income right at the time you’ll need to do some extra maintenance on your rental property.
The best you can do is save your cash, do the cleanup and maintenance as fast as you can, and concentrate on finding a new tenant. We feel fortunate that our former tenants were incredibly conscientious. Clean up went quickly and easily, and while there were a few maintenance issues, they were all cosmetic. As turnovers go, this one was easy.
Jon sent them their deposits back quickly, with the little interest that had accrued on them.
Fortunately, the empty property sits a couple of miles from NC State. Putting a couple of signs in the windows resulted in several calls, and it looks like we may get new tenants in before the end of July. That’s way faster than we expected, but it’s not a done deal yet.
Little Bit turned seven this month. We celebrated with a vacation, a trip to the movies, and a big family dinner. While I can’t say I see the woman she’ll be yet, I certainly see glimpses of the teenager peek through every now and then.
From a parenting standpoint, Little Bit grew immensely in the past year. She can take her own showers and wash her own hair. She can get herself in the car, buckled up, and out again without any help.
New chores, like helping to fold and put away her own clothes, were put on her list. She can now reach the kitchen sink to fill a glass (as long as her dad or I get the glass down for her.)
These are big steps on the road to self-sufficiency.
Little Bit’s current goal in life is to start a YouTube channel, and she’s negotiating how much money we’ll pitch in for a computer of her very own. I’ve tried to convince her to do some car and home repair videos with Jon. (Kid Mechanic. You’d watch that, right?) Or at least help us out with a family personal finance vlog.
Alas, she wants to launch a gaming channel.
Meanwhile, she has a keen interest in computer games and a developing curiosity about coding and animation.
Her classmates described her as “Smart,” “Funny,” “Sweet,” and “Positive.” I agree.
Second Grade starts Monday.
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
I still ate too much sugar and need to get back to no sugar during the week. I blame good sales on Turkey Hill ice cream. (It won Gary’s 2017 SST award for Best Ice Cream!) At least I ate more veggies than usual.
On a positive note, I got at least 2 if not 3 days of exercise each week in June. I love to swim, and we’ve had mainly good weather. Thirty minutes of lap swimming plus thirty plus of chasing Little Bit makes me feel pretty good about myself.
Increase Financial Health
I moved both my IRAs and my brokerage account to Vanguard. Not only is it much easier to track my investments, now that they are in one place, but I should save a bunch on fees. However, I still need to go into the accounts and update my investment basis for each transferred investment. Then I can start the process of selling overpriced mutual funds and buying index funds.
I plan to cut back on the amount of fun money I’m spending this month. I’m not trying a no-spend month, but we can spend a bit less on groceries, entertainment, and clothes than we have the last couple of months.
I started a new side hustle. More about that next month.
Improve the Blog
Do Good Things
I worked the school store after Little Bit’s track out, and will likely do so again after school starts. Bible school comes up this month, and I have a yet-to-be-determined role to play.
Get Rid of Excess Stuff
Not much. Jon and I went through some excess paperwork that had built up. Jon burned a bunch of it, but we never got around to the closets or toy totes.
Of course, not having a birthday party for Little Bit meant fewer toys coming into the house.
My Mojito (It’s Pretty Darn Good)
Make some simple syrup, if you don’t have any. (Boil equal parts sugar and water for 3 minutes and let it cool.)
Take 8-9 good-sized mint leaves and put in a tall glass. Using the end of a wooden spoon, mash them against the side of the glass for a minute.
Add the juice of half a lime and a shot of gold rum.
Yes, I know mojitos are supposed to have white rum. Use the gold stuff instead, it tastes better.
Mash those mint leaves up some more with the juice and rum.
Add 3-4 cubes of ice and the lime pulp and peel.
Pour in soda water and simple syrup to taste. I use a bit less than a tablespoon so it’s not too sweet.
Stir. Wait 5 minutes to let the flavors meld. (This is the only hard part.) Stir again. Drink.
Wrapping Up June 2017
So June was full of celebrations, good food, some accomplishments, and swimming. July should be more laid back, with more work on the rentals, more gardening, and hopefully a bit more progress on the decluttering project.
How did June 2017 go for you? Any Instagram tips?
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*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*