It’s confession time. For the past six months, I’ve been coasting. After more than a decade of focusing on our personal finances, I took the gas of the pedal and relaxed a bit. I spent rather freely, wandered away from our budget, and stopped writing. It was fun (sorta), but the time has come to get refocused and rededicated. The new year is coming fast and we want to be prepared and excited, not broke and unorganized.
I have a plan for the next few weeks – a plan that will hopefully help us reach our financial goals for 2017 – and beyond. I have outlined what I hope to accomplish, both with our finances and with my various web sites.
This post will serve as an anchor post – and I’ll link to it and from it, as I move step-by-step through each part of our plan. Bookmark this post and check back often – and subscribe to No Credit Needed to keep up with our progress.
First Update: Day One, Getting Started
Leave comments with suggestions and thoughts about our plan. My stretch goal is to eliminate by 25% of our monthly expenses – and increase by 25% our monthly income.
The following is a basic outline of our plan – some quickly-typed-out ideas. Over the next few days, we’ll flesh out each idea, each step, and I’ll write corresponding posts. I literally have dozens of ideas for improving our finances and removing clutter. I’ll be writing about these over the next few weeks!
1. I need to update our list of financial accounts – including credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, mortgage information, and insurance accounts – with current information.
2. My wife and I will then create a brand new zero-based budget, incorporating current expenses and income.
A. We will take a look at both fixed AND variable monthly expenses. We have already decided – we need to be eating more meals prepared at home – and we need to reduce our daily convenience spending.
3. I will login to Credit Karma and Discover and check our current credit scores.
A. I need to do some research on the impact of credit line increases on credit scores. If there is a positive benefit, I will contact each credit card company and request an increase in our available credit.
4. I need to start gathering documentation – tax and salary information – for a possible mortgage refinance. Any positive change in our credit score should impact any new mortgage rate.
A. We are considering slowing our debt reduction progress and stock-piling a bit of cash. We have several major purchases in the next few years and we do not want to have to borrow any more money.
B. We will explore several options for refinancing. Our goal is to increase monthly cash flow, because we have several major expenses coming up in the next few years. We will crunch the numbers and (hopefully) make the wisest choice.
1. I plan to create a publishing schedule for my main site – No Credit Needed.
2. I need to do a much better job of monetizing No Credit Needed.
A. I will research and apply for content-appropriate advertising and affiliates.
B. I will write periodic posts, seeking site-wide advertisers. By the way, if YOU are interested in advertising your family-friendly product on No Credit Needed, contact me, and let me know what you have in mind!
4. I plan to learn more about promoting my site(s) via social media – and growing relationships with other content producers and consumers. By the way, please take a minute and follow me via twitter.com/NCN and facebook.com/NoCreditNeeded.
5. I need to regularly encourage readers to sign up for No Credit Needed updates, via email.
6. I have an inventory of unused domain names. I plan to research possible resale value – and consider launching new sites.
7. I may begin to create video-content and audio-content for several of my sites.
A. I need to research the best audio and video tools available for content producers.
B. I need to promote new YouTube channels – but ONLY after I have learned how to produce user-beneficial content.
Remove Clutter, Reduce Monthly Expenses, And Make Some Extra Money
1. I will sort through our closets, my shed, our attic, and various other “storage” areas in our house – and we WILL sell, sell, sell the things we no longer need, use, or want.
2. I will contact every, single, one of our service providers, including, but not limited to, our cell phone provider, our satellite television provider, our internet provider, and ask for discounts and reduced rates.
A. The time may have come for us to cut-the-cord and eliminate our television package. I need to do a bit of research, because there are some sporting events that my son and I really enjoy.
3. I have a couple of opportunities to take on some extra work – mainly part-time stuff in the evenings. I need to run the numbers and decide if these opportunities are worth pursuing.
4. I need to contact other content-producers and seek out writing opportunities. If you are a fellow personal finance writer – and we’ve never connected – or it’s been years since we last chatted – contact me and let me know what you are up to. I look forward to meeting new folks – and reconnecting with others!
Take a minute and bookmark this post. I’ll also link to it in the right-hand column of this page. I am excited about our new focus – and I’m looking forward to developing the above mentioned ideas. The new year is right around the corner, and we plan to hit the ground running, energized and prepared.
I will update this post with links and plan-modifications, as well as results. Blessings!
Side note: Just so you guys know I’ve not been a complete slacker – I’ve been dealing with some now-resolved health issues, which were affecting my ability to sleep. I’m all good now – and have a renewed focus and lots of energy.