What can I say about 2016? Besides Prince passing in April 2016 has been great. I didn’t actually know Prince, but he was my mother’s favorite artist. I can remember her jamming his music a lot when I was a kid. As I got older, I started enjoying his music myself. It sucks that we lost a great artist at a pretty young age. It also sucks that for one of the few times in my life, I won’t be able to do something that I said I was going to do. I told my Mom that I was going to take her to see him in concert one day. I had the chance to do so in April, but I chose not to because I didn’t want to get into more credit card debt. I figured that I’d be able to take her to see him anytime. Who knew that he’d pass a couple of short weeks later? When that happened my views drastically changed on some things. If you want to do something, especially see your favorite artist in concert, do it. Be a responsible adult some other time. A lot of older artists are passing on. See them in performance while you still can.
Other than that 2016, has been a year to remember. It was the third best year of my life coming after 2008 and 2013. So many things happened this year. I also learned about myself and pushed my comfort zone even more.
My debt went down from $69,919.18 to $66,495.50 this year. It decreased by only $3423.68. I’m glad that I got my debt lower, but I’m pissed that I’m under $60K. Looking back over my notes from this year, I see a few reasons why my debt didn’t go down more. A lot of money that I put towards my Nelnet student loans went directly towards interest. I also didn’t start making real payments on it until August. Before then I was only putting $20-$40 on it each month because it was deferred. That didn’t really help much. Next year, I’m going to see about raising my minimum payments
I also had to slow down on extra payments on some of my debt when I had to get new tires earlier this year. It took a month and a half to put that money back into my emergency fund. My side hustle income wasn’t that much at the beginning of the year, so I didn’t have that much to apply to my debt.
Now that those things are over, I have big plans for the debt in 2017. I will save that for my 2017 goals post that will go live next week.
Used my Passport (2x)
I finally used my passport this year! After having it for FIVE years, it’s not collecting dust anymore. It only took me 32 years to leave the country, but I finally did it, twice. My best friend had a beautiful wedding in Costa Rica. I also went to Havana, Cuba. Getting that first stamp was a great feeling. I can say that I’m hooked. I have another international trip tentatively planned for next year.
Eliminated two Debts
I finally paid off my Wells Fargo student loan this year. It felt great to receive that payoff letter in the mail. I also paid off my Bank of America credit card. Check out my December Debt update for more information.
Networked with More Bloggers
I attended Fincon for the second time, and it continues to open more doors for me. It’s great having a community of people that will assist you and support you. Crystal from Sophisticated Spender and I started the #1KHustle Side Income Challenge in October. I had a lot of fun doing it. I’m probably going to do it again next year. I also want to give a shout out to my mastermind members Chonce, Tai, and Taylor. They help to keep a brother focused.
Freelancing is Continuing to Pay Off
I’ve been freelancing for over a year now, and it’s become my biggest side hustle. I would have never guessed that I’d be freelancing. I’m continuing to get better at it, and I’m acquiring more clients. I went from only making extra money with eBay to now having multiple streams of income. It’s truly amazing. None of this would have happened if I would never have started my site. If you are on the fence about starting a blog or a website, do it. Check out my step by step guide here.
Other Side Hustles
I made some moves with a few of my other side hustles too this year. I had campaigns tip with Teespring. Tipping means that enough people ordered the shirt for it to go into production. I feel like I am on the right track with this hustle. Some designs are hit or miss, but it doesn’t cost me anything to post them on that site. I have big goals for Teespring in 2017.
I also started making money with affiliate marketing. This type of income can be a game changer. There are so many unique opportunities out there. I plan on learning more about affiliate marketing and implementing more strategies next year.
2016 was only just the beginning. I learned a lot through trial and error. I can honestly say that I’m probably the most focused that I’ve been in my life. I think that is due to me finding my groove and knowing what works for me. There was a time when I was signing up for almost every free e-course or affiliate. I was getting too many e-mails and couldn’t figure things out. I was spreading myself thin by trying to do everything. It ruined my focus. Now, I don’t try to do everything anymore. I still sign up for things, but only if I know that it will work for me or and my readers. If you need to eliminate some things in the next year to be a success, do it. There is no time to waste.
How did 2016 go for you?