Champagne & Capital Gains is 6 Months Old! Q2 Blog, Money & Life Updates

Champagne & Capital Gains is 3 Months Old!.png

As Mr. Jamie Griffin reminded me much to my surprise, his infant daughter is actually older than the blog! Hard to believe. Last quarter I outlined some of my successes and failures from the first quarter and goals for this quarter. I’ll do the same today plus a little bit about FinCon! (Full review of FinCon here)

My life has been hectic the past three months. Engagements, international weddings, keeping up with blogging, a destroyed laptop and dead cell phone, a move, work travel, and more weddings are only some of the happenings that have filled my time for the past few months.

BUT THE BLOG NOT ONLY BEAT THE 6-MONTH BLOG ANGEL OF DEATH, it CRUSHED its second quarter! And for that I am grateful (to myself and everyone else who has made that feel feasible and worthwhile). So here goes!

Financial Highlights

  • Q3 Goals Review

Last quarter, I had these goals:

  1. Decide whether to move or stay in my apartment

  2. Hit $50,000 in my investment accounts

  3. Reduce my car insurance costs.

Let’s see how I did!

1. I moved!

A friend of mine bought a house and needed a roommate. This was a great opportunity to reduce my housing costs, give my dog the backyard he deserves, solve the problem I was having with lighting in the the apartment (the total lack of natural light was measurably affecting my mood), and reposition me in a social living situation, which will benefit me in many ways. 

If you’ve ever lived alone for more than a couple of years, I’d suggest seeking a roommate in the near future. It helps you remember how to compromise :) (apparently my first compromise is agreeing to let the CIA spy on us aka use Alexa in the house)

2. Hit $50,000 in my investment accounts.

I’m close! $47,000+ before the market dipped today…woof. I actually think this was intended to be an end-of-year goal, because I’ve stated that other places. If that’s the case, I’m definitely on track to surpass it! Unless Winnie the Pooh kicks Ferdinand offstage. Then it will be time to buy!

3. Reduce my car insurance costs.

I DID THIS! My insurance was going to be about $800 with Geico, my insurer for only one year. I switched to Progressive and ended up paying only about $660 for the same coverage. Pro tip: Enroll for your new insurance plan before calling to cancel and tell them that before they start trying to get you to stay. 

Overall, I did well with the basic financial goals I outlined last quarter.

Other Financial Highlights 

  • I’m going to hit American Airlines Platinum status through January 2020! 

You guys, this has changed my life. As a self-admitted extrapants, I have absolutely loved the Platinum status benefits. My Founders Card membership (which you can join if you have a small business - I have a special code for readers & more info here! (affiliate)) offers a FREE (normally $500) Platinum status challenge during which you actually have Platinum status. Here’s a bit more on status challenges from The Points Guy. I earned continued status during the challenge for 2018, but my travel this year is going to get me there, challenge aside, through 2020. 

Related Post: How I Made Money on a $1400+ American Airlines Flight to Hawaii

Anyway, status is awesome. I’ve been earning so many more points, getting upgrades, priority boarding, lounge access to OneWorld lounges internationally (WHICH MEANT A SHOWER on my South Africa trip layovers…I was a new woman, let me tell ya.), TWO free checked bags (and as you know, I’m not into minimalism), priority customer service, and the list goes on. It it going to be difficult to fly without status if I ever lose it in the future.

How do I return to regular people life after this???

How do I return to regular people life after this???

Getting the fancy treatment for basically no extra money out of pocket? Now that’s champagne with a beer budget!

  • My spending. (A lowlight)

Spending has been out of control. Much of it is travel-related, but some of it is self-inflicted. I’ve reduced a couple of bills by good amounts, but a hard look is in order for 2019 if not sooner. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve never really budgeted seriously. That’s catching up with me again, and it’s time to crack the whip on myself. Fortunately a good bit of the spending is classifiable as a business expenses, so I’ll likely receive a large tax refund.

Financial Goals for 2018 Q4

  • Sell $50/month of clothes or other items. 

This might be rough. I haven’t made a sale on Poshmark since May. MAY! Yall, I have nice stuff on Poshmark. Is anyone else having this issue? I haven’t ventured onto Facebook much, but it might be the time.

  • Set up a budget for 2019

As I mentioned above, I’ve been hemorraghing money this year, and I’ve basically put my head in the sand about it. I had mostly 0% consumer debt left to pay, and now I have a little bit of debt at 4.99%. I’ve had several unxepected financial disasters (which were totally preventable), and neverending travel. Anyway, it’s time to take a hard look at my expenses and set myself up for success next year.

  • Use Travel Rewards for Flights/Travel + No Travel Hacking

I still have several flights this year for weddings, personal travel, and potentially a funeral. Since my expenses have been out of control, I am going to try to use rewards as much as possible. This is why I travel hack, after all!

That said, I’m going to lay off hacking new credit cards for the sign up bonuses for this quarter. I’m planning a post about it for Blogtober, but I spent TONS of money I shouldn’t have somewhat related to a credit card spend I was trying to meet (which I don’t normally do when I open cards for the points), and that tells me it’s time for a break until I can get myself in check on that again.

Blog Highlights Blog Q2

Last quarter, I specifically listed a few of my goals: (1) Rockstar Finance feature, (2) Another feature on The Financial Diet, (3) hit certain follower/content numbers, and a few others. Here’s the full post if you want to read them all in more detail. 

1. Rockstar Finance Feature & 2. TFDiet Feature

Guys. With TWO DAYS to spare in the quarter (and AT FINCON WITH MY FRANDS), I got both Rockstar’d and featured in The Financial Diet weekly roundup (links). This was beyond exciting for me. When I wrote the post they featured, I had a feeling it might be the one to go all the way, and it was so validating to see how many people got something out of my work. The page views didn’t suck either! 

The badass women of WomenWhoMoney, Chief Mom Officer and CampFIRE Finance also featured my work this quarter! 

3. Hit 1500 Twitter/500 Instagram Followers + Publish 20 Post

I also FINALLY hit my metrics for my giveaway (1500 Twitter, 500 Instagram, and 20 posts) - I’m actually almost at 2000 Twitter followers (!!!), which blows my mind. Engagement is a bit harder, but having those numbers grow is only a good thing…particularly my content library.

THIS MEANS IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME. Any ideas??? Seriously, hmu.

Other Blog Highlights

Here’s a screen grab of my views for July-September:

Q2 Blog Views.png

While I didn’t post as often as I’d like to be posting long term, I stayed decently consistent and the last post before my travels contributed to a month of silence (the minimalism post linked above!) has been a barn burner, and that’s reflected in those numbers above! That’s a significant improvement over the last quarter! Just the thought that 3,000 people viewed my blog in 3 months is a dream coming true. For real. If you knew me in real life, you’d know I’ve been dreaming of this blog for YEARS. Eek!

  • Pete from DoYouEvenBlog interviewed me for my first podcast appearance (*squeals*) which is TBD on release, but I’ll keep you updated! 

  • FinCon18

I almost stayed home because I haven’t been able to give my day job the attention it deserves this month, and my hours reflect that big time. Instead, I negotiated with my boss that I would work remotely for the first two days and take Friday off. This allowed me to meet some of the most fabulous people in the world.

You can tell a lot about a movement by the people. Same with political candidates. Some of the best humans I know were volunteers or staffers on John Kasich’s Presidential campaign (and he’s my favorite). FinCon was no different. My internet blogger friends are warm, talented, professional, fun, and looking for ways to build each other up in life and our financial media endeavors.

Besides being an absolute blast, FinCon reignited my resolve to get to work for real on this thing. Pros who make six figures from their money media businesses went out of their way to talk to and advise the new kids like me. Seriously, no one was too big to talk to anyone else. I didn’t meet a single overactive ego…I hear there were some but I avoided them :)

Brainstorming with other bloggers, podcasters and writers, listening to longtime experts’ advice, and hearing from people I respect that my brand has potential was exactly what I needed to get this going. 

Blogging Goals Blog Q3/2018 Q4

  • Complete 13 Posts in October

October is “Blogtober,” which is supposed to be when people write one post for each day of the month (31). I decided to participate in a modified format: 13 posts in 31 days! A spooky number that isn’t too scary!

  • Syndication with The Financial Diet

I’d love to have regular posts with them and/or a paid piece. That’s REALLY speaking some #goals into existence right there, yall.

  • Another Rockstar Feature

Self-explanatory yet again.

  • 150 subscribers!

My subscriptions have picked up since the Rockstar post, so I’m hoping to keep the growth steady! If you don’t subscribe yet, join the Champagne Gang! I have fun freebies coming soon for current and new subscribers, so don’t miss out! Plus regular emails will resume next week probably (10/18 week).

  • Basic business-building plan 

This is part of the not chasing squirrels I talked about in my FinCon recap. I need to distill my vision for the direction of my content and business and work on a plan to put that vision into action. 

It’s going to be a BIG Q4, 2018! You’re on notice. Champagne & Capital Gains is comin in hot! Or cold and bubbly. Whatever.