I have loved starting this blog and how much it has changed my life since I started posting in April of 2016. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown so much, and my overall quality of life has definitely improved. I decided that I wanted to share not only my accomplishments with you from 2016, but also my new focus and what you can expect from me now that we are in 2017. Please keep in mind, I do not share any of this to brag. I love reading what others are able to accomplish when they begin to try to change their life, and I know how much their stories motivated me to begin my own journey. I share this post with you in the hopes you will find similar motivation and encouragement.
2016 in Review
So many great things happened to my husband and I this year. Here’s some of our top favorites:
- I kept this blog running since April in 2016. This in and of itself is a huge accomplishment for me.
- My husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary in May of this year.
- My husband graduated from college with his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
- My youngest brother graduated from high school.
- I landed a promotion at work and significantly increased my income
- I started interning with a wedding coordinating company and by the end of the year landed my first paid gig on my own!
- I received $1,928.25 in extra income since April of 2016.
- My husband and I paid off over $7,700 in debt and medical bills in 2016 (not including our monthly payments). One of the loans we paid off put $100 back into our pocket each month that we have now been putting towards the next loan we are working towards paying off.
- I read 63 books in 2016.
- We attended 3 free advanced movie screenings in 2016.
- My husband and I started going to the gym.
- We started participating in a finance research study for couples.
- I opened my first IRA account.
- My husband and I got to spend the Holidays together for the first time since we’ve been together.
- We got to spend some time with all of his family in Williamsburg, VA on a military base this summer. We got to visit Colonial Williamsburg, and Water Country USA while there.
- We got to go on a cruise to the Bahamas with my family
- We got to spend Thanksgiving in NYC with his family. While there we saw the Rockettes and visited the 9/11 museum.
- I was made Queen at Medieval Times for my birthday!
- We got to spend Christmas with both of our families!
Looking back, this year was absolutely fabulous! We had so many struggles, but this was the year we decided to stop accepting our fate and began working towards changing it. I am still in shock of how much we were able to accomplish this past year and it makes me feel so humbled, and proud. We worked REALLY hard to accomplish all of these things and I am so grateful that we continue to stick together and work towards our dreams. I think 2017 is going to be a really great year for us, because I feel like we have worked through the majority of our disagreements on our finances and have learned a great deal about what works for us as a couple.
So, I know I’m a few weeks late in sharing this but I want to provide you with what you can expect from me and this blog throughout 2017.
- I want to focus more on how I can help you instead of just sharing my progress or earnings. I want to provide value that is going to change your lives, and I want to be there to celebrate your successes along the way! You are my new focus this year! Everything I do, I want it to be to improve your experience.
- I am going to start getting more personal. This year, I just haven’t been happy with my writing style. I’m actually a very informal person in real life and I’m never afraid to just speak my mind and tell you how it is. I feel like most of my recent posts have not had my voice in them, and I plan to change that.
New Series That I Will Be Starting
- Debt Repayment Update
At the end of each month I am going to start reporting how much of our debt we are paying off. I will also be sharing where the money is coming from that we are putting towards our debt, and any interest saving or consolidation tips I learn along the way. I don’t expect these posts to be long posts, and I may ultimately combine them with my income reports. But for now, I plan on keeping them as a separate series and seeing how that goes.
- Where and How to Find Freebies
If you’ve been reading my blog you know that I absolutely love finding stuff I can get for either super cheap or even free. I actually am able to do this pretty frequently which is very interesting to me and I always have people asking me how I do this and asking me to provide them advice. So, I plan on sharing once a month what I am able to find and get for free or possibly even just at a great deal.
- Money Making Experiences
In this series, I plan to write reviews about my experiences when trying various ways to make extra money. The interesting thing about this series is that it is fully dependent on how many new side hustles I try. And honestly, I’m not sure how many more I will try, but I plan to write more in-depth about the ones I have already tried, and plan to share which ones just didn’t work for me. I think this will be a series I post every other month or so.
- How I’m Reducing Our Expenses
My husband and I already reduced our expenses quite significantly, but I know that we can do better. So I plan on publishing a series each quarter (4 times a year) on how we reduced our expenses. This can include cutting a debt payment out of our life, cutting back on utilities, basically whatever I find that we are able to spend less on.
- Income Report Round-up
I love reading other income reports, and I’m sure many of you do too. I am going to create a page on my blog that includes a list of bloggers who publish such reports. For the time being, I do not think I have the time to update it on a consistent basis with how much each blogger is making. So for the immediate future, this page will have a static list of other blogs I encourage you to check out. Let me know if you share monthly income reports so I can be sure to include you in this list!
- I am going to start actively engaging with you through email. I don’t like it when bloggers send out daily emails or only send an email to try and sell you something. So I promise I will not do that. For now my goal is to send 1 email a week that will include a link to my latest blog post. Will there be affiliate links included? Yes, because I still want to be able to provide you with opportunities I think you will enjoy. But I plan on only including links that are really going to benefit you and bring value to your life. I really wanted to start doing this because I want you to feel like you can write back in a private forum instead of in a public comment. Let me know your thoughts on this below.
- New Facebook Group!!!
I am working on getting my new Facebook Group “Living Fully and Free” up and running by the end of this month. I am working on creating a daily engagement schedule as my goal is really to start a thriving community for us where we can really start to connect.
- New Youtube channel!!!
I am going to be starting a Youtube channel focused solely on books called Reading Fully and Free (see the play on words and the tie-in to my current blog?) In case, you didn’t know I will be joining the part of Youtube informally known as “Booktube,” and I couldn’t be more excited! This is something I’ve wanted to start since last year, but wanted to get this blog up and running first. I’ve decided that at least for this year I am not going to focus on making much of a profit from it. I am starting this strictly as something I enjoy to do and at the end of the year I’ll re-evaluate and see how things are going. Just so you know, I do plan on reviewing at least one personal development book each month on this channel, but for the most part it will be books that I am reading simply because I love to read and talk about books. So if you like to read, I’ll be sure to share when I have it up and running!!!
I am seriously considering getting rid of my business Pinterest page and switching back to my original Pinterest account. I am considering this because I already have over 15,000 followers attached to my original Pinterest account. The reason I didn’t do this initially though, is because practically all of these followers are attached to 1 specific board where I pinned workout and health ideas. As you can see, this doesn’t connect fully with this particular blog. So my plan is, to spend time each week updating boards, pinning all of my business pins to my personal account, and working on growing that particular account instead of two accounts. Let me know how you feel about this before I take the plunge J
What is Going Away in 2017
- Starting a Blog series
I know that when I first started this blog I was adamant that I would continue writing about my experience of starting a blog for a full year. But I’ve known for a few months that it just isn’t providing the value or enjoyment that I want it to be providing and publishing this series is ultimately taking away time from more important tasks that could be providing you with so much more value. Instead, I want to include 1 blogging tip in my new weekly emails that I hope to start sending out in February, and I want to start including blogging related tips in my monthly income reports. If I’m honest, the technicalities of blogging is not currently my strength and there are so many fantastic bloggers out there who can help you improve your blogs. So for now, I am ending this series in the hopes, that the new series I have planned will start becoming more helpful for you.
Now this may change, as I ultimately change my mind all the time. But, I wanted to provide you with a little sneak peak of what I hope to be able to provide for you in this upcoming year. I appreciate each of that so much and I’m extremely grateful to those of you who keep stopping by or to those of you who are just now finding me! I can’t wait to get to know you guys, and I hope the direction I am taking my blog in this year will ultimately be what’s best for you.
Feel free to talk to me in the comments!