Last year I did an entire week-long series called the 2011 State of the Snob. I started with a 2011 year in review post and then took several days to share personal reflections, website reflections, social media reflections and resource reflections. Then, I made a forecast for 2012.
I didn’t have time to do all of that for 2012, because I’ve been committed to my New Year’s Resolutions series, and to creating new printable resources for folks to use. So, I thought I would do two simplified posts. This one, which will be a look back at 2012 and what I accomplished, and one tomorrow which will be a forecast for 2013.
2012 Year in Review:
In my final post of the 2011 State of the Snob series, I made a forecast for 2012. I thought that would be a good place to start for actually reviewing how 2012 went.
My Personal Goals for 2012 were:
- Quit my Job. I did that! After we adopted our daughter in 2010, I scaled back my hours to part-time. After we adopted our son in 2011, we knew that having me work outside of the home was not actually making us any money. The cost of daycare was eating half of each paycheck, and the other half of my paycheck was going to debt reduction. We made an aggressive plan to eliminate our debt, and I gave over a year’s notice at my job. June 29, 2012 was my last day of working outside my home!
- Eliminate our Debt. We did that! As I just mentioned, we had an aggressive plan to get rid of any debt we had beyond our house payment. We set a strict budget, sold our newest car, made extra payments, used our adoption tax credits and finally made the final payment toward debt in August 2012. We paid off our credit cards, my student loans and everything we owed from the two adoptions. Heck, I even asked Sallie Mae to forgive my student loans! They said no. The debt elimination was key to me quitting my job, and we did it! Now we owe nothing but our house and one car. We have one income, and Mommy is at home.
- Celebrate My Children. I *think* I have been doing this, but I know I could do better at it. Once I quit my job I was able to be home with the kids every day. It was a big adjustment for me, but I’ve tried to tackle it with grace and wisdom, although sometimes I feel lacking in both. One thing I did to help with this was join a local group called Mothering as a Career Club (MACC). I joined in May of 2012, and it was one of the best things I could have done! We have monthly calendars full of activities and play groups to take the kids to, and I get to interact with other Moms. The kids love it, and I do, too!
- Read more Books. I have done this. Not well, and not as much as I would have liked, but I read more in 2012 than I did in 2011. I bought a Kindle Fire in January 2012, and it has been great for encouraging me to read. I devoured the Hunger Games trilogy, flipped through several books on writing, and even read The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Francis Child. First published in 1828, it has now been converted from print to digital form, and is FREE for Kindle readers. Definitely check it out. It’s a trip, and surprisingly still somewhat accurate.
My Website Goals for 2012 were:
- Tweak my layout. I have only minimally done this. I did update the logo for the site, adding the registered trademark symbol. I started the trademark process in 2011, and became officially registered with my trademark “coupon snob” in May, 2012. I also made some updated social media buttons that you can find in the first sidebar to the right, and I’ve moved some widgets up and down, but that’s about it. I like my layout too much to do anything drastic, so tweaks are all I needed to do.
- Create topical buttons. I have not done this. I did actually contact a graphic designer though, and am going to work on this for 2013. I just need to write her back!
- Attend a blog conference. Another one I did not do. Between saving every penny to eliminate our debt and then quitting my job, attending a conference was just not happening. I looked at a lot of them, but between registration, travel and hotel costs – it was impossible. Plus, leaving home with two toddlers would probably kill my husband! I’m not sure it will happen in 2013 unless I get some sort of major sponsor. I can dream though, right?
My Social Media Goals for 2012 were:
- Assess whether Google+ is where I want to be. I sort of accomplished this. I say sort of because I haven’t really figured out my return on investment for Google+, but I haven’t stopped using it either. I’m half using it, I guess. I share my blog posts there, add people to circles, get added to circles…and that’s about it. I don’t feel connected to anyone or anything, but I keep using it. Mostly because everyone else is. That’s probably not a good reason, huh?
- Determine how I want to share my photos. I have not accomplished this. I use Tumblr to share pictures of products I review, plus random cooking and shopping adventures. I use Google+ albums to share shoppertunities I do for companies. I use Facebook to share randomly as well. I was gearing up to start using Instagram, and then they went crazy with their Terms of Service. So, no progress really. I like sharing pictures, but there’s no one place that really gives me what I want.
- Connect more with my fans on Facebook. I think I have done this, a bit. I try to post something to my page every day, and over the last couple of months I have tried to post even more. I’ve had a couple of ladies write me messages on there, and they are very uplifting. I don’t get a ton of likes or shares on things, but I am okay with that. I am connecting as much as my schedule allows. Facebook also did a lot of crazy things on the back end, making it very hard for people who use pages to get their messages seen without paying money for exposure. I won’t do that.
My Resource Goals for 2012 were:
- Successfully promote the launch of my new book. I did this, but could have done better. I released 100 Ways to Spend Less and Save More on Amazon on January 1, 2012. It is exclusively for the Kindle or for the FREE Kindle Reading apps. I sold enough copies to pay for the project and began making profit in February. I really didn’t push it or promote it much for most of the year, but did give away over 1,150 copies in November when my site celebrated two years of existence. I’m very proud of my first commercial book, and felt the launch went well.
- Create more Printable Tools. I have done this! I might have waited until December to get going, but I have released four new printable tools that you can download and print for free! I released a Go-To Recipe Chart, and Pantry, Freezer and Household Inventories. My printable tools have been some of the most accessed parts of my site in 2012, which tells me that people like them!
- Write more Educational Articles. I have only minimally done this. The first half of 2012 was a very stressful time for me as I was gearing up to transition out of my work in higher education. I would post a few things here and there, but nothing of mind-blowing significance.
- Finish my on-going series (about how to use this site, and about various coupon sites online). I did not accomplish this, although I thought about it often. Some of the coupon articles for that series take some time to write, and finding good chunks of writing time in 2012 wasn’t always easy. I guess this one needs to be on the list again for 2013.
I ended my 2012 forecast by sharing three words that I thought would define the upcoming year: hard work, growth and change.
Boy, I hit the nail on the head with those three words. My whole world changed! For the first time in my life I did not have a job that helped define who I was. My family was now defining who I was. That took some adjusting to.
The hard work we did to eliminate our debt this year was hard indeed, but so worth it in the end. We have a solid monthly budget now, and I am hopeful that we won’t have to be in that position ever again.
A few other things happened in 2012 that I am proud of:
I was an invited speaker. I’ve now spoken twice about couponing. The first time was about a concept I started writing about in March called Couponing for Good. The second time was a beginning coupon class. In fact, just yesterday I was encouraged to speak at a Mothering as a Career Club meeting, so I plan to do that, too!
My business made a profit. The Coupon Snob is not only the name of my website, but it is also the name of my company. The Coupon Snob, Inc. manages the work I do for this website, and also serves as my publishing house for my eBooks. Although the profit was not much, and I ended up having to buy a new laptop in November which really ate into the profit, I still had one. YAY me!
I started a second eBook. In November I wrote about how I was going to take one month and write a new eBook about basic home food storage. Well, clearly that was an ambitious goal, because once I wrote out my entire outline, pieced everything together and did some research…there was no way I could finish it in one month! But, at least I started, right!?
I bought a mini-van. Yes, folks, a mini-van. I am officially a parent! I’m proud of this, because it signified more than just getting a new car. I used to drive a very nice car before we adopted our children, and even drove it up until we adopted our son. But, as part of our debt elimination project, we sold that lovely car. It was hard to do, but necessary for us to have success. Buying this mini-van, which was used but still new to us, was sort of like a reward. It’s a very nice mini-van, and happens to be red, so it looks great with my big Coupon Snob magnet on the back end! Ha!
I am sure there are some other things from 2012 that are noteworthy, but overall it was a good year. I did pretty good with meeting the goals of the forecast I set at the end of 2011. Some of them will remain on my forecast for 2013, but others were knocked right out of the park. I did okay!
I share this year in review not to brag, but perhaps to encourage you in the whole goal planning and reflection process. Did you know I even have a FREE printable Goal Planner you can use if you want to do this, too? Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
I hope your 2012 was a success!
I’ll share my forecast for 2013 tomorrow.