Looking Back at November and Improving on a Failed Month

Ohhh November was not such a great month for me. It made me realize that I have been battling a nasty cold the whole month. Usually, I would be pretty good at battling colds, but this time, I definitely lost. Having a cold also made it hard to concentrate which definitely added to my failed month.

Once I would start feeling a cold coming on, I start taking Claritin-D and Elderberry as soon as possible. This combo was awesome at getting rid of a cold fast. This time, however, I ran out of Elderberry and I had 5 Claritin-D left. It wasn’t enough to kick this cold and I am suffering. The worst part is that because I work in an office with cold A/C, it makes my nose super stuffy and I can’t breathe.

Other than catching a cold, let’s see how I did overall for the month of November.

As long as I have some positive improvements, whether it’s big or small, it’s a small win for me. If my improvements pushed me forward, then I’m happy.

Before I continue, I’d like to share that links below may contain my affiliate links. What it means is that I could receive a small commission if you click on a link to the product or service that I use myself and recommend to you.

CURRENT DEBT – Additional Expenses Added to My Failed Month

How was your Thanksgiving weekend? I took off on Black Friday but I did pretty well with avoiding the mall. My boyfriend and I did go to Home Depot to get a toolbox for the garage. His tools were starting to drive me nuts and I got tired of constantly reorganizing the garage.

My son also started preschool! His official first day of school was on November 1 and although it was bumpy in the beginning he has gotten better. So much better, in fact, he told me to go outside once I dropped him off to his classroom. He basically said I had to leave in his language lol. This was coming from the same kid that clung to me crying because he didn’t want me to leave in the beginning.

Being a parent is so hard but it’s definitely rewarding.

My boyfriend and I also got life insurance. In case one of us bites the dust, we wanted to make sure the other parent can survive. We’re both dependent on each other when it comes to finances so if one is gone, the other will not survive. We can now be rest assured that our son and house is taken care of in the event one of us is not there.

How did I do in November in terms of Finance?

  • Preschool was an additional $800 monthly expense
  • Life insurance was an additional $200 monthly expense
  • Mortgage balance is still over $500,000
  • My 401(k) loan balance is still over $6,000

My debt is my mortgage and 401(k) loan but other than that, I haven’t accrued any more debt. I continue to pay off my credit card balance in full as long as I have the cash to do so. If I don’t have the cash, I won’t even use my card. It’s all about being responsible with plastic.

Feel free to check out my previous monthly reports below:

BLOG STATS

I haven’t made the 1,000 mark yet! I’m so close and yet so far away. It just goes on to show that you need to dedicate a lot of time to build your blog.

I haven’t been able to post three times a week like how I wanted to. Posting twice a week has been hard as well. It was hard to be in a writing state of mind when battling a cold. Most of the time I felt slow and cloudy. I definitely wished for more sleep.

My top referrer continues to be from Instagram. I definitely like Linktree a lot for Instagram as it offers visitors an option of what they want to click into. I definitely use it to my advantage. You can try it out Linktree for yourself, it’s free!

Also, just by looking at the image above, tells you the importance of leaving comments on other blogs. You are ‘seen’ by other people and that’s where additional traffic will come from.

Here are my top 5 blog posts

My schedule for new posts

I wonder how writing posts in December will be like. I’m not done with my Christmas shopping yet but I feel like I’m going to lose my focus again because of the holiday season. I’m hoping it won’t be insane and everything will be manageable.

I tried to post twice a week if not once a week. I’m okay with a new post once a week just to keep my blog active, but I did miss one week in November. I don’t want to go back in the beginning when I first started blogging where I rarely had a new post up. You definitely don’t want to be posting randomly. Start a schedule for new posts and stick to it.

Here are my blog posts for November:

Blog Look and Feel Update

I updated the look and feel of my blog a bit. I didn’t like how my main menu was organized, it felt messy and cluttered. I took the time to create pages for topics that I could group together and create some sort of welcome page.

I feel like it made my blog feel more user-friendly and it has a better flow from page to page. It’s a big improvement for me since visitors don’t feel too lost browsing my blog.

Here’s an example of how I grouped my categories based on what’s on my main menu.

Family – Activities for kids, Family, Lifestyle

Money – Finance, Lifestyle, Make Money, Managing Debt, Monthly Reports, Resources, Save Money

MARKETING STRATEGY

I haven’t been on my social networks as much as I would like to. Because of it, my interaction with my followers dropped significantly. I usually spend a few minutes each day to connect with followers and fellow bloggers. I may try a different approach to my strategy in December. It’s all about making changes until I find something that works.

Pinterest: I finally dipped my feet into the Pinterest pool! After playing around with pins in Tailwind, I was able to understand how the process work. Because of time, I only got to schedule pins for one day. I want to take this seriously so this time in December, I want to see real results with my blog traffic.

Commenting on other blogs: I wanted to read at least 5 blogs a day during my lunch break. Well, that’s hard to do now. I eat my lunch at my desk just so I can go on the internet, but because people see me at my desk, I get interrupted a lot. I’m seriously debating if I should buy a keyboard for my son’s iPad and eat outside of the building during my breaks. I would, I just don’t want to pay for a keyboard lol.

Responding back to comments: I want to network with others so I will definitely take the time to respond back to comments. This could be a comment that was left on my blog or a comment that was left elsewhere.

Staying active on Twitter: I tried to spend a few minutes a day on Twitter but I realized that it wasn’t my number one preference when it comes to socializing with other people. I preferred Instagram in this arena. To help me stay active on Twitter, I signed up for Viral Content Bee for Twitter. It’s a free scheduling service where you share other people’s tweets to receive points. As you build points, you can use it to submit your own content for other people to tweet out. It’s a win-win situation for me where my content is being shared and I’m keeping active on Twitter. I spend some time once a week to schedule posts randomly throughout the month.

Deactivated my FB page: I had a page for my blog but when people I know started popping up in my Suggested People feed and my Mommy Finance started popping up in their feeds, I quickly deactivated anything that would connect the two together. I already had 3 people I know find my IG page and I didn’t want more people to find out lol. When I’m ready I’ll share my blog with everyone. For now, I just want to be anonymous to my family and friends.

Follow Fridays: I think it’s pretty amazing to see what others are doing in the debt-free community which is why I like to give shout-outs. I was only able to do one for the whole month! Ugh, not how I wanted to go in November.

Here are the folks that I have given a shout out to @wesmelfamily, @julian_fearlesslife and @resourcegirl

SOCIAL MEDIA STATS

Twitter: 524 Following (+155)

Wow, Viral Content Bee brought on more followers for me. I’ve been using it to stay active at least daily and I also post my Instagram posts to Twitter. I’m just surprised that people somehow find me but I think the scheduler along with hashtags definitely helps with putting me out there.

Instagram: 1,055 Followers (+47)

I have a small increase in my following and its due to me not being so active compared to October. No matter what increases I come across, I’m just happy that people are willing to connect to with me.

CHALLENGES I FACED

Not enough time. Time will always be an issue I face. Unless I don’t work full time then I would be happy to work on my blog full-time lol. That’s a dream that I want to make a reality one day so that I no longer have to say I don’t have time.

Work life. With a secretary gone in October and her job not getting replaced, it caused a shift in my workload. I’m not drowning in work (and that’s a good thing!) but there is a bit more to do that keeps me busy.

Blog traffic. My goal is to hit the 1,000 visitor mark! To do that, I’m going to take Pinterest more seriously.

SOMETHING NEW

I have always wanted to learn how to invest, but I was a bit overwhelmed with all the info out there. Gabe from the Shiny Dollar Wrote a post on Robinhood and with his advice, I signed up. I definitely see this as something a total newbie can do.

I’m working on two challenges right now. I don’t know if you’ve seen the decluttering challenge floating around on Instagram but I definitely wanted to participate. I did, however, forget to take before and after pictures to show you my progress. As of this moment, my home is pretty much decluttered. I still need to dust but I am proud of myself for finally getting things done! I’m also proud of my boyfriend who finally decluttered the garage. His incentive to do it? He bought a new toolbox and he had to make space in the garage.

I now need to do the electronic challenge. The reason why I chose to do this challenge was that I was starting to feel unfocused. I felt like there were too many distractions that were affecting me from reaching my goals. After decluttering my home and getting rid of unwanted stuff, I felt so much better.

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MONEY SPENT ON THE BLOG

Here is a list of everything that I had invested in creating my blog and to keep it running. I haven’t bought anything new, so this section will stay the same.

Bluehost: $95.40 (One-year hosting)

Tailwind: $208.88 (One-year subscription total for Pinterest and Instagram)

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: $197.00 (one-time payment for course)

Blog Traffic Transformation: $50 (Regular price $79 – one-time payment for course)

PicMonkey: $47.88 (One-year subscription)

MY DECEMBER GOALS

I pretty much failed November lol. I was able to complete two things from my list but then again, it’s better than nothing.

December will be a better month with better planning involved.

Which is why my main focus at this moment is to build traffic to my blog and to continue posting twice a week.

What do you have planned for December?

Helpful Resources that I’d Like to Share:

Below you’ll find my top resources for blogging, saving money & more!

Blog Resources: Here is a list of tools that I personally use for my own blog. See all the courses I took to improve how I blog and the list of plugins that help keep my blog running smoothly.

Save Money on Groceries: This has been such a struggle for me since day 1 and I always go over budget with grocery shopping on certain weeks. But as long as I stick with my plan, I have my shopping list, and I leave the boyfriend home then I’ll be fine.

$5 Meal Plan: This has been such a time saver for me! This relates to my resource above on grocery shopping. I struggled with meal prepping because I just don’t have the time to spend looking for recipes. I decided to try this out because I have seen popular bloggers mention it and curiosity got the best of me. The system sends me recipes and a shopping list weekly. The recipes are so easy to cook and it helps me save time.

Personal Capital: Do you know what your net worth is currently? Instead of logging into many accounts to track my net worth, I rely on one service. Personal Capital tracks your investments, expenses, and savings. The best thing about this? It’s free!

Free Printables: I went a bit crazy and created a bunch of my own printables that I use for myself to help keep me organized. I also find some amazing printables online that I’d like to share with you. You access everything if you sign up below. I’ll send you the password and the library is yours to enjoy!

 

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Melanie

Hi! Welcome to Mommy Finance. I'm a full-time working mom of one. Finance can drive anyone crazy and I try to keep it together. Join me as I write about budgeting, money and family.
Join Me On

Hi! Welcome to Mommy Finance. I’m a full-time working mom of one. Finance can drive anyone crazy and I try to keep it together. Join me as I write about budgeting, money and family.




Comments (6)

  1. Hey, I got stuck on your paying $200 per month for life insurance?!? That kind of premium should buy millions of dollars worth of term coverage which is way more than you need. That tells me you either got “sold” whole life policy or you way over term insured yourself. Either one of those choices will really hamper your journey to financial independence. Don’t take my word for it just reach out to your fellow bloggers, you will be hard pressed to find a single one who will tell you whole life is a good choice for or that millions in term life makes sense at your age and income. The smart choice is buy the cheapest term policy that will cover your income and invest the rest or pay off debt with it.

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by! $200 for term life insurance is the total amount I have to pay for both myself and my boyfriend. For the cost just for myself came out super cheap for my coverage, my boyfriend, on the other hand, is more due to his health. Also, the cost of living is pretty high in Hawaii and because we wanted to be safe, we had to make sure that our house is covered as well as other expenses since we’re both dependent on each other’s pay. if only homes here don’t cost over half a million.

  2. Decluttering the home is a major accomplishment!! I find that when my home is declutterind my mind is clearer. Hope you are feeling better now from your cold.

    Your Twitter following is amazing!! I do it all manually (tweeting and retweeting) and the followers come slowly but I find it the most fun social media platform. I don’t think I have you on Twitter yet so I’ll definitely do that!
    GYM recently posted…Eating on the Cheap in Waikiki- Trip ReportMy Profile

    1. Yes! It was a major accomplishment! I feel super good about it too. I just need to dust the home now lol. I rarely do that.

      I think it’s amazing that you built your following manually! I hardly have time for a lot of social media so scheduling helps lol. Also, I am following you on Twitter 🙂

  3. Hey I see my blog as one of your referrals for yours. Hopefully it’s helping to get more page views for you.
    Good to hear that your son loves preschool so far and hopefully that continues, still waiting to hear if we can get our son into daycare. We are still wait-listed since their enrollment is full but maybe sometime next year we can get him in. We loved the daycare when we took the tour.
    Kris recently posted…Expense Chronicles November 2017 – Car Registration and the Steam TrainMy Profile

    1. I hope your son gets approved! The waiting is the most anxious part of everything lol. When they told me my son is on a 2 year waiting list, I was discouraged about ever getting a call. But in the end, I’m glad everything worked fine. Your blog is also coming along great! I’m just amazed at how other blogs can be a traffic referrer lol.

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