January Roundup

Here we are at the beginning of February. It is hard to believe that one month ago this blog was only a small idea in my head mixed with a large amount of fear. Fear that I could never produce a blog as polished or well written as all the others. I came across a blog, Cash Flow Kat a few days ago that made me laugh. Kat outlined all the fears and insecurities that I feel as a new blogger. I acknowledge that I am sharing a piece of my heart and mind with the world and that makes me vulnerable.

The Smart Fi blog flickered to life on January 12th, 2018.  Inspired by a desire to help others progress down the road to financial independence.  In early January, I found the blog Count Down to Tranquility. This blog really inspired me to move forward with the idea of creating my blog for two reasons. The first reason,  the Count Down to Tranquility blog was a brand new blog, only a couple of months old. If someone else could take that giant step and be vulnerable then so could I. The second reason, people had commented on the blog. This blew my mind. You see, that was my biggest fear. Take the time and money to start a blog and no one would read it. But this blog already had good traffic and great actionable content. It had been up and running for a couple of months and people were reading the blog. So I dove in head first. I had no idea what I was doing. I set up two free blogs the first couple of days.  I didn’t like the functionality of the free sites. So I dove deeper and paid for one year of web hosting, and installed Word Press and got to work with the blog layout. This techie stuff took some trial and error. Keep in mind I am a Registered Nurse not a computer programmer. I still have some kinks to work out but I will keep working at the blog design until I get it right.  So with one year of web hosting paid for, the good news or bad news, depending on how you look at it, is that this blog will be here for at least on year.

Now lets get into the numbers from January.

TheSmartFi.com came to life January, 12, 2018. There were 283 page views during that 19 day period. Most of TheSmartFi traffic came from my Twitter account and The Rock Star Finance Blog Directory. 

The February Plank Challenge was the most popular post closely followed by 2018 Spend Nothing Challenge.  

In my post, 2018 Goals, I outlined my intent to save more money this year. My audacious goal for The Smart Fi family was:

  • to max out the family’s two 401k’s
  • Max out the family’s two Roth IRA’s (click this link to learn why you need a Roth IRA today)
  • max out a HSA (click the link to learn about the HSA)
  • save $10,000 in a taxable brokerage account invested in VTSAX
  • pay down $20,000 in mortgage debt

For a grand total savings goal of $84,950 for 2018.

It blows my mind that our family could save such a large sum of much money in one year. It will take the aggregation of many small savings and some side hustle income that will get our family to that goal.

Side Hustle income

While I only have one job at this point, I have the ability to pick up extra shifts at work. I am a Pediatric Registered Nurse. In the winter,  children get sick, and that means a demand for more nurses. We are having an extremely busy year at work due to a rather awnry flu season .  I have picked up extra hours at work like a crazy person. These extra shifts will go away as flu and cold season ends in a couple of months. At that point,  I will have to seriously consider a side hustle job to reach my lofty 2018 financial goals. The good news is, this extra income is helping me to reach my goals. The saying goes, “make hay while the sun shines.”

This is what we saved in January

  • 401k’s-$2800
  • Roth IRA-$840
  • HSA-$440
  • Mortgage- $2150 ($1300 principle from the mortgage payment plus an extra $950)
  • Taxable brokerage account-$1050 invested in VTSAX

Blog income report

The blog income report is included more as a joke. This blog has earned $0 dollars. It cost $20 for one year of web hosting which so far was money well spent. I am in the hole $20. I better keep my real job.

Spend Nothing Challenge Savings

The 2018 Spend Nothing Challenge was my 6th post. I’m not sure which blog to give credit for the original idea but I saw the challenge posted on the Count Down to Tranquility blog. I jumped onboard the challenge. I am always looking for ways to save more, spend less and invest the difference.

In January I managed to avoid spending.
  • Hair clippers $40 (my old clippers, although getting dull, will do)
  • Amazon IPhone 10 foot charging cord $15 (do I really need a 10 foot charging cord)
  • Apple airpods $150 (my corded apple earbuds will work for a while longer)

$40 + $15 + $150 = $205. Not bad for one month.

What can you do in February to spend less, save more and invest the difference?

Featured Blog

I want to give a shout out to another great blog out there on the interwebs, Life Zemplified.  This blog explores the fusion of personal finance, fitness, food and fun. What is there not to like about those topics? When I wrote my first post and published it to the internet,  I was filled with trepidation. Amy was the first to introduce her self and say hi. She was also my first twitter follower. @thesmartfi. Amy is a frequent blog poster with tons of great content. Be sure to check out her site.

There it is, my January Roundup. My first month of blogging. A totally new experience for me since I am generally more on the quiet, introverted side of the spectrum. I have enjoyed meeting new people, albeit through the magic of the internet. I hope that through this medium I can inspire and educate. If you would like these posts delivered to your email, sign up for the email distribution list on the right side of the home page. No SPAM. I promise.

22 thoughts on “January Roundup

  1. Honestly, picking up shifts and working extra hours will probably make you more money than any side hustle. The only people who really benefit from side hustles are those people on salary, and thus don’t get paid extra if they work extra.

    Also, congrats on your first month blogging – looking forward to many more!

  2. Thank you! I am honored.
    And I too agree that Amy is awesome.

    I was scared when I started my blog too. It has gone better than I expected. I know about other blogs who started at the same time and is doing better than mine. But hey, this is not a race. I am happy with where it has reached already.

    All the best. You are doing great. And if you have a similar post next week, the numbers are going to be way better.

  3. Hey – great work in getting this off the ground! It’s not easy to put your thoughts down and then deal with all the mechanics of running a blog. I find it really hard.
    I liked your ‘about’ and I think you will have lots of good advice for people.

    1. I had a couple good days of page views after this post. Traffic has tapered off since that point. I’m okay with that. I feel like I’m still trying learn the mechanics of operating a blog.

  4. Hey Mr. SmartFi, thanks for the shout out in this post! It might have slipped my attention earlier (because, of course, I am a rather challenged blogger myself!). But I’m glad my post struck a chord with you. Blogging is tough, and I wish I could report that it gets easier! It seems more like a tar baby…or maybe Seymour from the Little Shop of Horrors – the more you feed it, the more it wants!! But good luck and it looks like you are on a good track here! 🙂

  5. This is a really cool post, I’ve been considering doing something similar myself, and congrats with launching the blog! I’m actually right around the same phase, just launched mine about a month ago as well (love the income report section haha).

    My big goal for February is definitely spending less. Eating out for lunch and/or dinner has been taking a pretty significant toll on my cash flow and really want to cut that down. Look forward to keeping up with your posts!!


    1. I really like writing the roundup type articles. It is a bit like journaling. After all, you can’t measure how far you’ve come if you didn’t keep track of the journey. I will definitely check out your blog Financialion.com. With your CPA background, you should have plenty of very interesting topics.

  6. As a new blogger and fellow nurse I find this post so relatable. Having no real tech experience outside of electronic medical records, getting my site up and running was a huge learning curve. Yours looks amazing for only being a month in!

    One of the things I think about a lot with nursing and side hustles is that nursing is sort of it’s own side hustle. As you mentioned you can pick up extra shifts, you could get a PRN job working with a home health agency, etc. And the per hour income of the nursing side hustle is pretty amazing. But I really feel that working more than 40 hours as a nurse drains me of my compassion and can make me feel really pessimistic! Trying to find a side hustle that pays just as well but doesn’t feel like a burn out catalyst is something I’m working on.

    1. You really summed up exactly how I feel. I think my Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) goal is more of a per diem retirement goal. I would love to reach financial independence and work as a per diem nurse. I love my job but you are right, burn out is real. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement. Keep the FIRE spreading.

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