Checkup On 2009 Goals

2009 is now about 45 days old, so I thought I would put together a brief checkup on where I stand with my goals for 2009.  To be brutally honest, I’m not doing that well.

Some of the early struggles have been influenced by outside events, and some is attributable to my just plain being lazy.  For those who have been following for a while, you may remember that my mom suffered a life-threatening aneurysm and stroke last fall.  She had a setback recently and is currently hospitalized.  When things like that happen it makes tracking blogging income seem trivial, but in some ways it motivates me even more so that I can be there to help my mom when she needs it.  That is what family is about, and that’s why I am thankful I started blogging when I did.

Goal One:  Downsizing Our Home

We’ve decided to sit tight on this one, despite my desire to lessen the mortgage payment and cull some of our stuff.  We are considering a way to accomplish both without moving by refinancing with a little money down, and having a massive spring cleaning over the next few weeks.

Whether or not we refinance depends on a number of factors including my mom’s health (we live very close now, and would be reluctant to move if she needs our help, long-term), our local economy (the money we would use to refi might be better off stashed away in our emergency fund), and things like school zoning and a few other minor considerations.

We will probably stay put through this summer and reevaluate this goal later in the year.  However, we still plan to get rid of some of the stuff occupying our space and cluttering our lives.  I’ve come to really enjoy giving things away and having yard sales, something I’m told terrifies a scrabooking wife with a small fortune invested over the years in various supplies!  It’s okay honey, I promise not to toss anything scrapbook-related if you promise not to mess with my unsightly collection of scrap wood.  After all, some things are simply “off limits!”

Goal Two: Wake Up At 4:30AM

Remember the part where I blamed laziness for failure to accomplish some of these major 2009 goals?  This would be that goal.  For a while I was consistently getting up around 4:30-5:00am.  But over time my bedtime slid further back, the alarm clock seemed to ring earlier and earlier, and my bed felt cozier on these cold winter mornings.

I’ve been a night-owl my whole life – staying up late to finish a movie, or work on side hustles, or read a good book that I can’t put down. I seem to function better staying up later than I do getting up earlier, assuming the amount of sleep is the same.

So perhaps my new goal should read, “Go To Bed At 1:00am.” Sounds kind of strange, doesn’t it?  The point is that I need a few hours of quiet house to write, and I can either do it late at night or early in the morning. I think I’ll stick with burning midnight oil for now, but maybe this summer I’ll try to switch back so I can workout in the morning and get in a little writing, too.

Goal Three:  Double Blogging Goals From 2008

Of the three goals, this is probably the one I’ve made the most progress with, thanks in large part to all of you!  I still have some work to do on the income side, but subscribers and traffic stats are increasing steadily.

Attract 7,000 subscribers:  With close to 5,800 subscribers (depending on which day you visit), I’ve already added close to 1,000 subscribers this year.  Of course, that pace will slow, but it is a good start.

Receive 250,000 page views per month:  I finished the last couple months of 2008 averaging 125k page views per month.  FrugalDad.com broke 150k page views in January (151,242 to be exact), and is on pace to come close to 150k in this short month of February.

Earn 100% of my regular, full-time earnings from blogging:  Earnings were up slightly from 50% to 56% of my full-time income, so still plenty of work left to do here if I ever want to become a problogger.

I started a second blog, SideHustleBlogging.com, in an effort to diversify my earnings from blogs, and I received my first payment for an offline freelance article published in Acreage magazine.  The article appears in this month’s edition, and is titled 25 Ways to Save Money in 2009.  Hopefully this will lead to additional freelance opportunities, so I can diversify my side hustle earnings from writing in general, not just blogging.

I’m blessed to have this safety net from blogging, and hope that sharing some of my success along the way will encourage you to find your own side hustle.  If I lost my full-time job for some reason, we could eat on my blogging earnings, but not much else at this point.  Unfortunately, there are some folks out there that are looking for their next meal.  I am reminded to be thankful that I do have a full-time job and a part time gig that pays relatively well.

Comments

  1. I was wondering how that 4:30am wake up call was going! It sounds like you’ve made the effort to define your peak work hours and make use of them!
    Go FD!

  2. You’re doing really great! Your goals were slightly sidelined by your mom’s health, but goals are supposed to be flexible. You’re doing a great job evaluating what’s important and living by those priorities.

    I’ll continue to pray for your mom.

  3. I was struggling to become a day person and finally just gave up. I spent over 20 years working nights and my body reverts back to night person in a heartbeat. I’m working two long daytime shifts on weekends and was trying to be a day person seven days a week. I finally gave up and now force myself to be a day person only two days a week. I’m much more productive now when I allow my body to function as it wants.

  4. FD, Cut yourself some slack! You are so kind to be involved with your Mom’s care and needs. She’d do the same for you. My thoughts and prayers go out to both of you.

    On a humorous note, I thought that waking up at 4:30 AM goal was out of the ball park! ;-)

    Hang tight!

  5. I, too, was finding it more difficult to wake up on cold mornings, however, all this changed with my new mindset which I have just aquired through a personal development course.
    I also found a good trick I got from an ex night-shift nurse – plug in a lamp (with daylight globe) to a timer and set it for 15 mins before the alarm goes off so you have light on when you “wake up”…also, I found that if you are a coffee lover, plug a perculator or dripper to another timer to turn on ½hr before your alarm so you wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee….sure saves money as well making your own….sorry to the staff at Starbucks or McDonalds :) )

  6. Waiting to sell the house sounds like a good idea. Where we live, it seems like *nothing* is moving. I wonder how long it will take the real estate market to recover.

    4:30 a.m. is a great goal, but I could never do that over the long term. I’m a late night person myself.

    As for your blog, it’s terrific. I’m glad we found it!

  7. I completely understand about needing to stay close to your mother. After my divorce, I moved 5 minutes from my mom, and for 6-1/2 years while she was in an independent apartment and then a nursing home, being that close was a huge blessing. May I give you something else to think about? I’m not sure if your mom is living independently or in assisted living, but you may want to think about if it would be an advantage to have her live with you, if her condition allows. (My mother’s did not, for several reasons.) Assisted living is horribly expensive, and it may be that she could contribute to your household expenses, helping you out, while saving thousands of dollars herself. You would also have the peace of mind knowing that she wasn’t alone, and a few hours of Home Health is also less expensive than assisted living. When I was a preteen, my grandma lived with us for a year, and that was also a special time to get to know her better. This type of arrangement isn’t for everyone, but it is an option.

  8. Hi, I just found your website! I was intrigued by your goal of downsizing your home, although I understand why you’re putting that idea on hold. Exactly three years ago my family downsized from a 3000 s.f. plus full basement to a 1600 s.f. three bedroom split level. Our mortgage went down by almost a third, our gas bill was about half. I can vacuum the whole entire house in 20 minutes. I would say we had to get rid of about half of our belongings, and the ONLY thing I miss is the air hockey table. Amazing how everything else is almost forgotten. The fact that you’re even thinking about downsizing is good. It wouldn’t even occur to most people. Well, maybe it would now. Anyway, I”m always glad when I read about people doing this, because when we made the move I think a lot of people thought we were nuts.

  9. I’m moving in with my mother this spring, and I’m really glad I am. We’re buying a smallish (1800 sq ft) manufactured home ($67/sq ft with “upgrades” like maxed out insulation, a to-be-finished attic, maple cabinets, etc) My mom is still working, but we’re thinking of the future. She’ll have her own entrance and exit onto the screened in back porch, as well as her own bedroom, living room, laundry area, and a 6×13 closet. We’ll be just across the hall, and my 15-month old daughter will be able to enjoy grandma (and mom and dad will be able to enjoy more quiet time!)

  10. A Goal is not something set in stone, but rather an ideal to strive towards. As long as you are still working your way there, give yourself a pat on the back! You had major sidelining issues this past winter, and are after all only human, not a machine, and therefore just look at the goals again, adjust where necessary, and keep on going! Any improvement is progress! Keep up the good work!

    Hopped over to your 25 ways article and enjoyed it! Hopefully, more of those articles will come your way now!

  11. I love your goals and I love you how you have been working towards attaining them. My goal is to switch to morning writing, but I also need to adjust my bedtime to make that happen! It is hard for us night owls!

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