March Wrap-up

It is the first week of April and that means it is time for the March Wrap-up. This post is my opportunity to look back and journal the progress of The Smart Fi website. This is the third wrap up post, which marks a quarter of a year that this site has been operational. These posts are fun for me to create because I get to log my achievements, however small they may be, while also providing an opportunity for everyone else to get a voyeuristic view of my progress. “A report card of sorts”, says me.

I made great progress towards my 2018 financial goals in March.  Once again, this was due to a large amount of overtime that I worked. The extra overtime left very little time for blog curation, but I managed to average one post per week.

In April, my paychecks will return to their normal size. I have no overtime scheduled for the foreseeable future, but I will be able to spend more time trying to put out financial content that you can enjoy and learn from.

Twitter

  • Current Twitter followers 578. Follow me on twitter here. 

I want to say a word about Twitter for one minute here. Having had an abandoned ghost Twitter account for the past couple of years, I honestly thought Twitter was a dying social media platform.

Since starting my blog though, my eyes are now open to the opportunity Twitter can provide to the average person through access to the thousands of great blogs in the internet universe.

If you are a blogger you probably already know the great benefits of Twitter.  You can move ahead to the next section. If you are a non-blogger read on.

If you do not have a Twitter account or have one you don’t use, follow these easy steps.

  1. Open up your Twitter app and follow me here. 
  2. Twitter will get the hint you want to follow personal finance influencers.
  3. When Twitter recommends an influencer, click on their bio, if you like their message click follow.
  4. Before you know it, you will be following an untold number of bloggers.
  5. Here is the best part, each blogger Tweets a link to their most recent blog post.

It is better than a magazine subscription. You have immediate access to hot off the press blog posts. It is something I wish I would have known years ago. So go on, turn your Twitter account into a learning library.

 

The Smart Fi Traffic

This website flickered to life on January 13th. March was the second full month of traffic statistics. The site had a March traffic increase of 33.7% monthly pageviews. This kind of traffic increase is probably not sustainable and will plateau at some point.

One traffic bump came from my wife and her Instagram account. She is Instagram famous, (in my eyes at least), with her 40,000 followers. You can follow her on Instagram at NurseRunner.

She tagged me in a photo and I had some of those people click through to my site. You can also follow me on Instagram here.

  • The Smart Fi website had 1510 page views for March. This is 48.7 pageviews per day average.
  • Thursday, March 15th, was the busiest day of the month with 117 page views, breaking the century barrier for the second time. I had one additional day that hit 100 pageviews, but the rest of the days were all sub 100 pageviews.

 

The three most popular posts in March were, (in order)

Income Report

Not too much to report here. I had $4.67 from Google Adsense. I think someone was being nice and clicked on a couple of adds in my posts. Thank you, whoever you are.

Challenges

  • 40 Day Frugal Lent Challenge. Tina and Max at 99to1percent started a 40-day financial challenge in homage to the 40 days of Lent. I happily joined the challenge. My wife and I decided to sacrifice wine and iTunes song purchases for 40 days. This will save about $100 dollars from the budget and those $100 dollars will be sent to the mortgage company as an extra principal payment in March. You can read about it here.

Update: The Frugal Lent Challenge was a success with one big exception.  My wife did not buy or drink wine for 40 days. She also did not buy any new songs off of iTunes to listen to while she runs. The big exception to the success was that we failed our cash-only grocery budget. Groceries are our budgeting Achilles’ heel. We did send an additional $100 to the mortgage at the end of March as promised.

2018 Goals Reviewed

January first, I laid out my 2018 financial goals. Here they are:

  1. Max out both Mrs. Smartfi’s  and my  401 k’s = $37,000*
  2. Max out both Mrs. Smartfi’s and my Roth IRA = $11,000**
  3. Max out family HSA = $6850
  4. Contribute $10,000 to taxable brokerage account at Vanguard for my hybrid mortgage payoff plan.
  5. Add $300 dollars per month to the mortgage payment. This gets me to $20,000 of mortgage principle pay down per year.

* 401k and 403b contribution limit increased $500 to $18,500 in 2018.

** HSA limit increased $100 to $6850 for a family for 2018.

Let’s add this up

37,000 + 11,000 + 6,850 + 10,000 + 3,600 = $68,450 savings/investments in 2018

In March this is where I allocated our family capital:

  • $8157 to 403b
  • $846.12 to Roth IRA
  • $440 to HSA
  • $2000 to Vanguard taxable account
  • $1000 to mortgage principal
 March ContributionRunning 2018 Total Contribution2018 Goal
403b's$4,704.03$22,551$37,000
Roth IRA's
$846.12$3,384.48$11,000
HSA$440$1,760$6,850
Vanguard Taxable account
$2,000$7,606$10,000
Mortgage principal$1,873$7,402.13$20,000

Featured Blog

Before creating The Smart Fi, I could only list 3 or 4 blogs off of the top of my head.  After spending a couple of months curating and promoting my own blog, I realize there are hundreds of bloggers that all have a very unique and interesting story to tell. In this section of the wrap-up, I plan to feature a blog that I have found that may be of interest to my audience.

This month we get to meet world’s worst blogger who blogs anonymously at My Sons Father. He is a “lucky husband” and co-founder of two boys. He is an aspiring minimalist, who is seeking financial independence.

On a more serious note, My Sons Father lost his own father at age nineteen. After having children of his own, he set out on a mission to improve his health and journal his version of life.

Now my intention is to live a long life, however, I can’t say it hasn’t occurred to me that my father’s fate would become my own and my experience would become my sons. While there will never be a substitute for actually getting to know my father through the adult stage of my life, if by chance my life (and subsequent death) follow a similar path, I wanted to create a place for my sons to have access to a version of me throughout their life.

Thus, this blog was born. Truthfully, it is less of a blog and more of a public (and very long) letter to my kids.

Recently My Sons Father was featured on the Count Down To FI podcast. You can listen to that podcast here.

Currently, My Sons Father is publishing a week-long series of posts titled Bear Week as a clever parody of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.  These series of posts will help you prepare for the inevitable market decline called a bear market. You can read those series of posts here.

Show some love to My Sons Father’s hilarious blog and laugh while you learn. Plus you will get to see all of his talking Lego pictures that he creates.

The End. Whew!

There it is, a rather long-winded version of the March Wrap-up. If you like this post, or if you don’t, leave me feedback in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list. You can join 9 others who are receiving all of my new posts directly to their inbox.

8 thoughts on “March Wrap-up

    1. The personal finance tweeters (is that a word?) have been so kind and inspirational. NurseRunner will be running the Boston Marathon here in a few days. I’m sure she will be posting updates on Instagram. Thank You, Angela.

  1. Thanks for the feature and kind words. I too was unaware of just how vast this blogging community was. It’s like when you get a car and then all of a sudden you see it everywhere, blogging was like that for me. I’m glad you’ve joined the community!

    1. That is a great analogy. If I knew there were this many great personal finance blogs, I would have just kicked back and read them instead of trying to create my own. LOL.

    1. I think starting this blog has really helped me to focus on my financial goals more than I have in the past. These monthly wrap-up posts hold me accountable. While I anticipate reaching my financial goals by year end, my pace will slow considerably. Thank you for stopping by.

  2. Great progress on your 2018 savings goals. You are more than halfway on several accounts and it is only 3 months into the year.

    FYI, I saw something recently from my employer that the family contribution for HSA went down $50 to $6,850. Seemed odd to see a limit go down, but doing an internet search it seems it is true.

    1. Good catch with the HSA limit adjustment for a family. It looks like the IRS issued a March inflation adjustment lowering the limit by $50 to $6850 as you mentioned. So weird to issue a March adjustment.

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