Let’s face it, January 2021 kind of stunk.
There was an armed insurrection at the Capitol. COVID has now mutated into more spreadable/deadly forms. And my kids haven’t seen the inside of a school building since St. Patrick’s Day 2020.
Normally I try to be all positivity and unicorns and stuff. But I had a hard time summoning that positive vibe when writing this months’ roundup.
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What we did in January
It’s cold here in January. As someone who tries to get outside every day, January always feels like a battle.
I spend 10 minutes putting on the “armor” of boots and jackets and gloves.
Even poor Kenny had to wear boots on the coldest days. While he didn’t protest the booties, he was clear he was Not. A. Fan.
In a typical January, we’d try to have at least one event per day that would get us out of the house on weekends. Hit the library, children’s museum, something (anything!) just to give one parent a partial break. But this month was tough.
It makes me wonder a lot about Little House on the Prairie. How did they not slaughter each other living in a 1 room house without internet or an X-box.
What we spent in January
Right-o. So I said we didn’t do anything this past month. It would make sense that we didn’t spend any money- right?
We spent 47% of our income and saved 53%. The majority of our spending (28/47ths of our income) was spent on daycare and our mortgage principal/interest/property taxes.
The good news is that daycare will end in September of this year. And we are hoping to clear our house from the bank by the end of 2021.
So Mrs. Gov and I splurged and rented a hotel suite for 2 days. Mrs. Gov got it the first night and then we swapped on the 2nd day.
It was the first break either of us has had from being responsible for at least one kid in nearly 11 months.
I can definitely say that it was worth the money.
I thought I’d write a crapload of blog posts but instead I read a book and watched the entire series of Bridgerton.
Ironically the book was about a guy who survived a pandemic and lives in a post apocalyptic world. Maybe that was a little bit too intense for a lazy day in my PJs but I enjoyed the book. (And it seems really relevant now with COVID).
We spent a little over $750 on groceries for our family of 5. This is less than the USDA Thrifty Food Plan budget of $814.20 for a family of our size. (The Thrifty Food Plan is the basis for “food stamps” or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
While it feels good to be lower than the Thrifty benchmark, our grocery bill used to be much lower before the pandemic. While Mrs. Gov used to be a grocery store ninja snagging groceries at the lowest possible prices, we’re now getting groceries delivered through Instacart and other services.
We spent zero dollars on kids this month. Are kids free? Hell no.
It just means that we didn’t spend anything extra on kids (besides daycare). (Daycare for one kid ate up 13% of our <<well above average>> income).
Just for funnies, this year I’m going to publicly report our spending on kids and compare it to our spending on our pets.
I have a feeling that at the end of the year I can write the ultimate clickbait post that says dogs are more expensive than kids.
<Of course that’s a horrible finance take. But maybe I could write it with just the right level of snark.>
We spent $115.45 on pets. Mostly dog food. But we also bought Kenny “Musher’s Paw” to put on his paws before he walks outside in winter. To be honest, Kenny and I aren’t fans of putting anything on his paws.
Mrs. Gov puts his booties on when it’s below zero. And I think the Musher’s Paw is for days when people have spread a lot of salt on the sidewalk but it’s not too cold.
Gas & Auto- 0$
We didn’t put gas in the car this month.
Hell. We hardly even drove it. There’s nowhere to go during the pandemic and nothing to do. (And we can both walk to the office when we actually need to go).
Eventually I’ll have to drive our car whether we need to or not just to make sure a mouse doesn’t nest in it or something.
Blog highlights (24 months)
January marked my 2nd anniversary of blogging. If you read that post, I really opened up about what my traffic numbers looked like on the blog and what my goals are.
So here’s what my traffic numbers look like for January.
I almost got to 10,000 pageviews this past month, which was a big mental milestone. Almost all of my traffic came from organic search. I had a few referrals from social media and the rest came from direct traffic.
I set a goal last year of reaching 10,000 sessions (not pageviews) by March 31st. So I have 2 months to reach that milestone.
My plan is to write three solid SEO’d posts in February. I find that takes a few months to start getting serious traffic from a good post, but maybe I’ll get some traction from February’s posts.
I’m also trying to think of ways to up my social media game. If I could get just 10% of traffic I get from Google, that would put me really close to my goal.
So in December, I finally broke down and bought Matt Giovanisci’s SEO for Bloggers. Shortly afterward, he announced he was launching a membership community for bloggers with access to all of his courses.
I emailed Matt and told him I would have joined the community instead of buying the course and he generously applied the money I paid for the course towards a community membership.
I watched all of the SEO videos in January and am working my way through his Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers course.