Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! I have an old goal to share with you, but one that my husband and I have been looking at with new energy in the past months. We prefer to set goals as inspiration and motivation strike rather than waiting for an arbitrary date on a calendar. But this arbitrary date seems like a good time to share it with everyone, so here we go.
For some time now, we’ve dreamed of owning a home. It’s always seemed incredibly far out of reach. I mean, the rent’s too damn high. Our income is a little on the low side. We have had other things we’ve needed to save for.
But we have a renewed energy. We’re saving. We’ve decided it is attainable. We’ve decided it’s a must and can’t be prioritized off of our list any longer. And most importantly, our income’s started to move in the right direction. We’re not balling or anything, but saving is getting a lot easier now that we’re able to meet most of our family’s day-to-day needs. (Plus I hear banks like when you can actually afford to pay the mortgage they’re extending you.)
We probably could get an FHA loan in the coming months. Three point five percent down in a market like Pittsburgh’s wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. But there’s a few reasons we’re deciding to wait a bit longer, despite my itch for our kids to have a yard to play in now:
- I’ll have a longer period of time to prove my income.
- The educational situation for our kids is ideal now. In a couple of years it won’t be. But we don’t want to mess with a good thing for the moment.
- With only 3.5% down, our mortgage would be near our current rent for the type of home we want and the areas we’re looking at. We know we could afford it, but if waiting a bit longer means we can go in with 20% down and actually be paying a lot less than our rent for the long haul, wouldn’t we be fools to jump the gun?
- If we go in for a mortgage now, we’d have $0 left in savings after the entire buying process was over. I’m pretty sure as new homeowners in a house that would definitely have been built before the year 2000, that’s a stupid idea.
- If we wait, our income will most likely go up. If it does, we can potentially save more and afford more house. I only want to do this once. At least for a primary residence. I’m not at all interested in flipping or even owning a starter home. I want one forever. So more house=more room to grow, and less of a potential need to move later down the line. Also, with our income going up we’d be more likely to get approved for a larger mortgage. Which isn’t a part of the plan. But can’t hurt as the budget we’re looking at now is pretty conservative.
There’s only one problem with my 20% goal: I’ve run the numbers and we won’t reach it within our desired time frame. I’ve calculated in saving every penny of tax returns. I’ve calculated in living on the minimum we can every month. (Which we are pretty much already doing anyways.) I’ve calculated in every penny that we will be able to allot to our cause if things stay exactly the same. And I come up ten grand short.
That’s not the end. All that means is that things can’t stay exactly the same. Something’s got to change. It’s likely not his income. If anything, he will need to cut hours as his coursework gets more intense. (That’s always been a part of the plan in my eyes, though we’ll see if he feels the need for it when the time arises.) It may or may not be my income from my day job. Although I am constantly working to make myself more valuable, there’s no way I can predict any increase or decrease in income at this point. (Which I’m okay with. I’m very happy with my career and where I am at this stage of it.)
That leaves one more income source in our household. That is this blog. It’s been doing well lately, but to come up with the money needed in our time frame I really have to kick things into overdrive. That doesn’t mean much will be changing around here from what you see as a reader. What it does mean is that I have to get a lot of behind the scenes work done.
In order to reach our house goal, I’ve set a goal to double my traffic in the next six months. That’s no small feat considering the traffic I do have has been earned after 3.5 years of work. But I’m going big
or going to go home. If you don’t run a website, the next bullet list might not interest you. Feel free to scroll past it. 🙂 If you do, however, here’s my plan for building things up behind the scenes for the next six months. I’d love your feedback on it all:
- SEO: I don’t write posts for search engines. I do use a plug-in to help optimize what I do write, though. It’s been mildly helpful. My biggest thing will be to start writing longer posts, 1000+ words. It won’t be too big of a stretch, but from my limited knowledge on the subject it will help bring in more traffic from search engines. My other SEO goal is to learn more about effectively learning SEO. I know, vague, right?
- Social Media: I get a fair amount of traffic from social media, but I know I could be doing more. Especially on Pinterest. I just joined a few months ago and it’s already my second highest traffic source. And I only have 300 and some odd followers. So there’s one goal: get more followers. I haven’t found Pinterest to be as user friendly as other platforms, though, to unfollow people who don’t follow you. So I’m following over 600 people on there. And I can’t figure out who to unfollow, because I can’t easily cross examine if they are following me. It’s either going to be a whole process, or I’m going to have to find a better way.
Twitter will be a lot easier. I just have to dedicate time to it. And figure out Tweet Deck. I’m using another service right now and love it, but unfortunately it won’t let me tag people in my tweets. I’d also like to figure out Tweet Cards so that images go out with all of my tweets. Tried it a while ago to no avail.
Possibly looking into participating in more giveaways to expand social media. Not for cheap followers, but to meaningfully expand the audience.
- Alexa Ranking: As I’ve been focusing on other areas of the blog, my actual traffic has gone up, but my Alexa ranking has shot down in the bad way. It’s not a very good ranking system, as it only measures those users who have the Alexa toolbar, but mine used to be pretty dang good, and now it’s back above 200k. This is my least important goal, so I’ll spend the least of my focus on it, but I’ll be visiting more bloggers that I know utilize the toolbar to try to get it back to where it was during the time that I do dedicate to it.
So there’s my “New Year’s” goals. Thank you for reading in 2014! Any success I have in my little corner of the internet is nothing without all of you who open emails, send tweets, pin pins, or simply check in everyday. Without you, I would have quit a long time ago. Without you, I’d never have the confidence to set such high goals for the new year. But with you, I know it’s possible. And for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
If there’s anything specific you want to see on Femme Frugality in 2015, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email (you can find it under the “About & Contact” tab.)
Stay safe for New Year’s, and I truly hope it’s a happy one for you!