At the beginning of the year, I posted about my new, exciting vision for the New Year and promised to update you. Here’s what how we did at the Centsibly Rich household in February.
Giving and Random Acts of Kindness
Inspired by the generosity of the Rockstar Finance Community Fund (RCF), I committed to doing at least one random act of kindness, and/or give one unexpected gift, each month this year. I didn’t do as well, monetarily, in February. But hopefully I spread some good in other ways by simply being kind to the people I meet everyday. Even something as simple as a smile can help. Here’s what I did in February:
- Contributed $20 to the RCF
- When I went to Aldi’s, I found a quarter in one of the carts. I took the cart and put my quarter in the next cart. When I left, I dug out all the quarters I could find and put them in several carts.
- Gave a $20 gift card to the cashier at Costco to pay for the next person’s order
I haven’t been including charities here because my focus is on random acts of kindness, but I did donate $50 to a great cause this month. Some of my amazing, fellow bloggers are on a mission to raise $10,000 to help bring clean, safe water to communities who, otherwise, don’t have it. The organization is Charity: Water and 100% of the proceeds go directly to building clean water systems for those in need. If you’re interested in helping out, go here to learn more.
I was so thrilled that Centsibly Rich was included in Rockstar’s Up and Coming Blogs list in February. I can’t even tell you how honored I am to be a part of this list! This made my month. 🙂
I mentioned last month that monetizing the blog isn’t a huge focus right now. I do have an idea brewing that could change that, but it will be several months before it’s to ready to announce.
When averaged by month, my income is up 50% over last year (but I made very, very little the first 9 months of the blog), but it’s down 74% over December 2016 (gotta love Christmas). Next month, we’ll see how the quarterly goal works out. I recently took on a small freelance project, so that will boost the quarterly income a little.
Traffic was great in January from the No Spend Month Challenge, but dropped off in February. I did see some great referral traffic from the Rockstar Blog Directory (if you haven’t checked it out, you really should). So far, traffic is down 50% over January. This is disappointing, but January was a really great month.
The search for a rental property is on hold due to a potential surgery/medical issue. We don’t want to be in the middle of trying to reno and rent a property while dealing with health issues (more on that later).
That said, we are still looking. We found one potential property that, from the pictures, didn’t appear to need a ton of work, but would still cash flow. One step inside the house and we knew why it seemed too good to be true.
The more we look at and run the numbers on different properties, the more we learn. And I think this is great – when the right property comes along, we’ll know it!
From the Mad Fientist Laboratory, here is how long we have until FI, if we stay the current course:
That’s 3 months less than last month!
We saw a jump due to market returns and contributions to Alan’s 401k. After I fund the IRAs in March, we should see a decent increase too.
Last year, our savings rate was 46%. My goal is to get it to 51% in 2017. Our savings rate for the year, so far, is at 37%. I still haven’t front loaded the IRAs for 2017, but will in March. Honestly, I haven’t done it because the market had been going up, but I think I’m going to bite the bullet and do it soon. Plus, we have a tax return coming so in March the savings rate will go up.
Digit kicked it up a notch in February, as I had extra money sitting in our checking account from January. Our Digit balance is now $2435 and we just started it in June 2016.
It was a great February in Iowa! Temps hit the mid-70s on several days, which is unheard of this time of year. We took full advantage of the great weather by trimming trees, cleaning up the flower beds/landscaping, and going on multiple bike rides. Bike rides in February – amazing!!!
We’re selling our camper. Alan and I have been camping together for 23 years. We started in tents, borrowed pop ups, and, finally purchased our first camper when the kids were 3 and 5 years old.
For years, we spent every other weekend April – October (along with several entire weeks) in a campground, creating the most incredible family memories none of us will ever forget. I honestly think camping was one of the things that helped us become such a close family.
Camping is good for everyone, but it’s great for kids. Hiking, playing in the dirt, learning about animals and birds, swimming, biking, playing games, running. No television or electronics and no life interruptions, like chores and work. Every family should try it at least once.
But our days of camping together as a family are drawing to an end. It’s bittersweet. The kids are older – Jake will graduate from high school next year and Cait is only 3 years behind him. They just aren’t into camping anymore (especially if there’s no internet or friends).
Alan and I were hesitant to sell it. Letting it go is like letting go of a piece of our family’s past. But, it doesn’t make sense to hang onto a material object, especially one of that size, for sentimental reasons. And we will be able to sell it for over $10,000, so there’s that. Plus, no more insurance or license and we won’t have to store it.
The more we talked about it, the more weight was lifted. It was almost exciting to think about letting it go. Freeing. No more maintenance, no more storage.
What initially seemed like such a difficult decision, now seems right in so many ways. We’re gaining back time, money and space from something that no longer benefits us. It feels amazing. And it may just be the start to some other big changes!
As I mentioned last month, I found out I have numerous cysts in my right leg and have been referred on to Mayo Clinic. It seems like I’ve been waiting forever for an appointment due to a mix up. My doctor sent two MRIs to Mayo – one from an injury on my left knee (in 2012) and the most recent one of my right leg, which shows the cysts. Unfortunately, Mayo downloaded the wrong MRI, looked at the wrong leg and discarded the disk. So, I had to start the process over. And when I finally got a call for an appointment, I couldn’t go on the first available date. But I’m scheduled to see two docs in Neurosurgery mid-April, so I’ll let you all know what I find out then. Until then, I’ll enjoy ignorant bliss. 🙂
There you have it – seems like a lot for such a short month!
So, tell me, how was your February? Did you have those great temperatures?
Photo credit: My son, Jake