$74.52 Giveaway – Community and Charity 10% Monthly Blog Income Give Back # 3 – 100,000 Total Site Visitors Celebration December 2011 Edition

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In case you missed the first (October) and second (November) 10% Blog Income Give Back, after doing some thinking at the beginning of October about what direction I want this blog to grow and evolve towards in the future, I decided that any income made from this blog would have more significance to me at a personal life values level if I knew that a portion were being given back to the following places:

  • 1) The readers – Obviously, without you here to read my articles and interact with my ideas, there would be no blog in the first place (let alone blog income). As such, it is only fitting that you receive a portion of any blog income.
  • 2) Charitable organizations – If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’m a big believer in donating a portion of my money to charity. Each year, I donate between 5-10% of my income to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as part of the Bike for MS fundraiser that I do. Beyond the good that is done by donating your money, getting used to contributing to charity is also a good practice to emulate the actions of affluent individuals (T. Harv Eker discusses this in his book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, which I would definitely recommend reading if you have a few hours).

Because of these considerations, I’ve decided that each month going forward, I’m going to give away 10% of my net (after-tax) blogging income/profit to My Personal Finance Journey readers (5%) and to charity (5%). Listed below is how the process will work:

  • After each calendar month passes, I’ll tally up my net blog income and determine what Dollar value correlates to 10%.
  • I’ll post the giveaway (similar to this post you’re reading now), and you’ll have approximately 2-3 weeks to enter.
  • Once the giveaway is over, a grand prize winner will be announced, and that winner will then select what charity they’d like to have 5% of my blog income sent to. Pretty cool idea, right?! I’m excited just thinking about it! I hope you are too. 
  • So far, I’ve been very happy with the success of the October and November 2011 10% income give backs.
    • In October, $205 total was given away, with $100 being donated to the charity, GreenPeace, selected by the winner.
    • In October, $201.40 total was given away, with $100 being donated to the charity, The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, selected by the winner. If you’re interested, you can view the details of me going to drop off the check at the Food Bank by clicking here.

So, that’s the overall flow of things and a brief recap of what’s happened so far with the give back initiative. Now, let’s get in to the specific details for this month’s (December) giveaway. 

Details of December 2011 10% Blog Income Giveaway

  • $74.52 total blog income to give away – $37.26 to My Personal Finance Journey readers and $37.26 to the charity selected by the giveaway grand prize winner (see bullet point below for additional details on how the charity selection will work this month).
  • $37.26 in prizes available to one reader can be redeemed as follows: 
    • 1) Grand Prize = $37.26 Amazon Gift Card or $37.26 cash via PayPal (since I just found out that international readers cannot buy much on Amazon).
  • This month’s giveaway is also to celebrate two happenings:
    • 1) The coming of the time at the end of each year when people evaluate their performance in achieving their personal financial goals for the year that passed and look towards setting new ones for the coming year. 
      • As such, I’m requesting that entrants leave a comment below this post about a specific financial goal for 2011 that you either successfully reached or still need to work on in the New Year.
    • 2) The milestone of reaching a total of 100,000 visitors on My Personal Finance Journey since this site began back in January of 2010. I’m very proud to have reached this milestone! And, just for the sake of a little friendly comparison, I looked at the SiteMeter traffic totals for WiseBread.com (a very good PF blog that I would highly recommend), and the amount of traffic that I’ve had in almost 2 years is the same as WiseBread experiences in 2 days! Pretty wild stuff! haha   
  • Charity selection for December’s give back – 
    • Because of the success experienced in the November give back with building relationships with local charitable organizations (particularly the local Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club, and Alzheimer’s Association offices), I’ve decided that for December, we’ll keep how we select the charity that receives the 5% blog income donation the same as last month. Continue reading below for more details:
    • Instead of having each entrant specify any charity in the world, the goal for this month will be for My Personal Finance Journey to develop a relationship with one of the 9 charities listed below. The Grand Prize winner will select which of these 9 organizations receives the donation on behalf of the blog. I removed the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank from the running this month since they were picked as by the winner for November’s donation.
    • All of these charities were selected because 1) they are high quality organizations who do very good things and 2) they all have a significant presence/office in the area in which I live and operate this website (Central Virginia). 
    • I have contacted the local offices of these organizations and told them that they are part of the 10% blog income give back in December. After the Grand Prize winner is selected and the selected charity announced, I hope to be able to visit the local office of the organization, meet their staff, and present them with the money personally.
    • It’s been very fulfilling developing a relationship with the local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society through the MS150 fundraising bike ride I do each year, and I’m hoping that this experience will be just as awesome! I look forward to seeing which organization is selected.

How to Enter the Giveaway – Deadline to Enter is Midnight, December 31st, 2011

Like last month, I’ve decided to use the new RaffleCopter giveaway management tool to handle sign-up facilitation for the December giveaway, so simply go through the steps listed in the widget below to enter the running for the prize.

There is no limit to the amount of points you can earn. If you refer 10 subscribers – your name will have accumulated 170 entry points! Or, if you link to the giveaway more than once, you can accumulate those 7 entry points multiple times. You can also retweet the giveaway once per day. In the event of a tie, I will be using a random number generator to select the winner.

Important instructions: After you complete an entry method, make sure to click and fill out the “I Did This” button in the widget so that I have a record of your points.

<a href=”http://rafl.es/enable-js”>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.

Remember, the deadline for entries will end at midnight on December 31st, 2011 (~3 weeks from today – the start of the give back). Good luck to you all! Please contact me if you have any questions. After the deadline for entries passes, the winner will be contacted via email to receive their prize and select this month’s charity organization for the donation.

    ***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/msvg/4260624212/sizes/l/in/photostream/


    1. Theresa Shafer says:

      Goal is being frugal enough this month to save a few hundred. Hindrance is Holidays bring out the shopaholic in us all. So to met this goal, I am giving and requesting gifts that are green which save money.

      tes 1283 yahoo

      • Great idea there Theresa! I need to do a better job at getting green gifts. What are some of your favorites?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    2. Margaret Smith says:

      One finanical goal I had for 2011 was to save 5,000 towards my kids college education funds. I ended up saving a little over $2,000, then lost my job. Anyway, my hopes and goals for 2012 is to put away as much as possible towards this goal. With 3 years to go, before our oldest starts college, I am really motivated in saving as much as possible.

      • Thanks for sharing Margaret! From what I've read, it's actually better to make sure to save enough for yourself for retirement before thinking about saving for a child's college education. The reasoning there is that the child can get student loans and/or scholarships to supplement the tuition fees.

        Do you agree with this priority order?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    3. Debbie jackson says:

      Our goal is to save for our son's college

    4. My goal is to save $5,000 towards IRA. I have been trying to achieve that goal by cutting expenses and working overtime when given a chance. Thanks!

      • That's a great goal Rakesh! Was that for a Roth or traditional IRA? How far did you get with your goal?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    5. I paid off my student loan this year, which was a goal I set in March of 2011. I cut out all extraneous purchases and paid extra on the student loan first thing each month so I had to make do with whatever was left over for monthly spending. I was dedicated to the goal and it felt so great to make the final payment in September.

      • Congrats Jen! I bet that was a great feeling! I am a big fan of paying off debt at the first of the month as well.

        How many years post college did it take you to pay off your loan?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    6. Our financial goal is to focus on retirement in 2012!
      My recent post Rich and single or Poor and In Love?

    7. In 2011, I saved all year, putting a small weekly amount into a Christmas savings fund. I finished my gift shopping by the beginning of December, and it's all paid for! (So of COURSE I'm planning the same thing for 2012.) The best part is that it didn't hurt. I could have easily spent that money instead, but having it automatically transferred out of my checking account was painless and just as easy.
      My recent post 101 Things in 1001 Days

      • Very nicely done MLIS! That's some serious planning execution if I do say so myself! By saving the entire year for Xmas, it's easier to not miss the money that you are putting away!
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    8. Janna Johnson says:

      We have a goal of paying off our debit. This may be hindered since we are both in school and working low wage jobs till we graduate!
      thanks for a great contest! Janna Johnson ” target=”_blank”>http://www.feedyourpigblog.com
      jannajanna@hotmail.com janna@feedyourpig on GFC

    9. My goal was to save enough to decorate my son's nursery and I was able to do so.

      Name: Sarah Walker
      Email: sreis1987@gmail.com
      Twitter: @lover2387
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lv2bspld222
      GFC: sreis87
      Blog: lover2387.blogspot.com

      • Nice job saving up that money to decorate your son's room Sarah! What technique did you use to save that money? Did you save a small amount each month?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    10. setting aside half of my paychecks each week was what contributed to completing the goal to fully decorate my son's nursery

      Name: Sarah Walker
      Email: sreis1987@gmail.com
      Twitter: @lover2387
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lv2bspld222
      GFC: sreis87
      Blog: lover2387.blogspot.com

      • Didn't see this comment before replying above! Did you find that putting aside half of a paycheck was too much to also meet you other monthly commitments?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    11. I had a goal to excess $1,000 in extra cash in 2011.
      And I doubled it! (First year living alone) So I'm happy and proud of myself.

    12. one of our goals for 2011 was maxing out our Roths and we did, thanks in part to using Google docs to track all spending so we knew when we were close to budget limits!

      • Nicely done Steph! I am a big believer in tracking my spending like you did each time my spending patterns change!
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    13. Karen Fields says:

      My goal was to save $1000 for a moving deposit, but as I make less than I actually need to survive, that didn't happen. My new goal is to find a better paying job.


      • That's a good goal to have Karen. One of my friends is currently looking for another job because his current one doesn't pay benefits. Paying for health insurance yourself sure adds up over time!
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    14. Catherine Roebuck says:

      My goal was to help my husband graduate debt-free, which we did–but then we paid our own moving expenses to move out of state for his job and bought a house, so now we have lots of debt. Plenty to work on next year I guess.


      • Congrats Catherine! Graduating debt-free is a huge accomplishments. Congrats on the team effort!

        As long as you don't have too much consumer debt (credit cards, etc), I imagine that you all will be able to pay down your house efficiently.
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    15. Megan Parsons says:

      Our 2011 goal was to pay our truck off and be loan free. However my husband was laid off and it didn't happen, so we are going to pay it off when we get our taxes in a couple of months

      • Sorry to hear about the lay off Megan! In reviewing the comments on this post so far, it seems that a lot of people experienced layoffs in 2011. It wasn't the best year!
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    16. sarah davis says:

      1) a 2011 goal that I still need to work on is financial freedom…achieving as much cash flow from investments as our expenses. That may take a while but its ok! 2) one thing that hindered my success was simply the economy, deals being killed by appraisals coming in too low.
      sarah at realtorsd.com

      • Thanks for sharing Sarah! So you are talking about real estate investments here? I was curious to know how the rental market has been in 2011. Any experience you can share would be great!
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    17. 1) My 2011 goal was to start a budget and actually use it! I'm happy to say that I was able to accomplish this! 2) What contributed to my success was being sick and tired of not knowing where my money was going. It was a total eye opener!

      • Thanks for sharing Angel! Having a budget is a start to moving towards financial freedom. However, I've also found that once you have a budget, it's important to save money towards your long term goals at the beginning of the month vs at the end when all of your money is exhausted.
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    18. I maxed out my Roth IRA for 2011. Setting up an automatic monthly withdrawal from my bank to my Roth account helped me reach this goal.

    19. I maxed out my Roth for the year! (And I am a grad student!) Knowing what the long term job market in the sciences looks like and that it might take years to start making much beyond a grad student stipend (post-docs are paid very poorly and the average number of years post-docing is skyrocketing right now) really motivated me to plan for the future.

      • Wow Beth! Congrats on maxing out your Roth for the year! I am also living on a graduate stipend right now, so I know how tight funds can be.

        What was your secret to freeing up enough excess cash to save and max out this account?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    20. My goal was to make a realistic budget for everything and stick with it.
      lyndadawinda1074 at yahoo dot com

    21. Katharine D says:

      My goal was to save enough to buy new furniture, but that was not reached thanks to a layoff and relocation which wiped out our savings. But we are thankful to have a new job and new home (and having been able to sell our old one). This year will be better if I can get the online business I have planned up and running.

    22. My goal in 2011 is to pay off my 2 smallest debts (one is my BF's and one is mine), we have $1130 left. We are soooo close but I am not sure I will make it because I have to budget out for bills and things, but being focused on paying off those smallest debts did bring the balances down by a LOT. so hopefully we'll have them paid off in the first month of 2012 if not sooner.
      My recent post Book Review: Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

      • Sounds good IamDebtproject! So you and your BF manage your finances together, but you're not married? Does that work well?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    23. We paid off our second mortgage this week by offering them an upfront amount, and they took it! We give all of the glory to God. We could not have done it without him.

      • That's a great step to have paid off the 2nd mortgage! Do you have any plans for the new extra money you'll have each month now?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    24. My goal was to pay off my 7,000 dollar loan on my jeep and i did it. Almost out of debt

    25. The major goal I had for 2011 was to pay off at least $5000 on my student loans by the end of the year, and as of Dec 31, I will have exceeded my goal by a couple hundred dollars or so, which is definitely cause for celebration! I cut corners wherever I could, by getting rid of my land phone line, downgrading my cable and internet services, using coupons and looking for deals more regularly, and significantly reducing my food and entertainment expenses. Thanks!

    26. Thanks!

    27. leann lindeman says:

      We have a wedding to pay for in 2012.. my goal is to get the reception venue paid off!! We only put down a down payment, so have quite a bit to go. I entere lots of sweeps/giveaways.. I want to win some of that debt!

    28. My goal was to save up enough money for a new high end mattress. I was able to do it by thinking about the long-lasting benefits of a new mattress for my sleep and health whenever I was tempted to spend the money on something else that wouldn't have been as beneficial.

    29. my goal is to save 5,000 for a wedding this year. my hindrances in doing that last year were that i didn't have a job

    30. Heather Avery says:

      I need to work on staying on budget. Its too easy to simply say, I’ll spend this now and make up for it later in the month. I suppose the thing that contributed to hindering my success is smoking. I need to quit smoking so I can stop blowing my budget spending too much on smokes. Here in Michigan they are nearly $6/pack. That really adds up and when making a budget, its easy to underestimate how much you’re really going to spend on them. I plan to quit this year. Again. But every time I try, I get closer to succeeding.

    31. The goal we had for 2011 was to save enought money to buy a car to replace our car and we reached that goal and bought the car last month. We did it by not going on a vacation and not going out to eat as much.

    32. My goal was to make much money, so instead of working part-time I decided to work full-time. Not that hard you would think. Seems so, but there's a catch, I'm a full-time student too 🙂 So now I have more money and almost no free time… So the winners money would help me to get a couple of day offs )

    33. my goal was to get out of debt… failed….

    34. darlene bohannon says:

      im working on getting our credit scores up,so that we can buy a house.

    35. My goal was to save up enough to get new furniture, and I did this by spending $20 less each week on eating out!

    36. My big goal is to pay off my debt which hasn't been reached yet. No that I have a job it will be easier to reach.

    37. my goal in 2011 was to have a successful wedding without getting into debt or borrowing money from family – my hubby and i were able to do this (yay!) with a lot of planning and a lot of DIY.

    38. Tracy Robertson says:

      My goal was to add to my retirement fund in 2011. My hinderance was that I just didn't make enough money this year to set anything aside! I will try again in 2012.

    39. My goal was to save and restructure some bills. I made pretty good progress but I still have a long way to go!
      My recent post 6 Ways to Make Extra Money After the Holidays

    40. My goal was to save $1000 for my trip to Chile. I saved $1,300 and had the best trip of my life! Some of that came from entering contests (and winning). Now I have to save for my trip to Vancouver, BC in August. Stay out of stores!
      Thanks for the contest.

    41. Christy Ann says:

      My goal for 2011 was to get out of debt, which could have been easy since it is nothing major, but I was held back by my affinity for new clothes and shoes. Lots and lots of new clothes. And shoes. 🙂 Very cool giveaway, and I love that you're donating as well!

    42. Thanks to everyone for entering! The points have been tallied up, and the winner is Geoff K! He selected the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Blue Ridge as the charity that will receive the donation check for December!

      Be sure to enter the January 10% give back, which I just posted at the link below! Thanks! Jacob
      My recent post $196 Giveaway – Community and Charity 10% Monthly Blog Income Give Back # 4 – January 2012 Edition + 2 Year Blog Birthday Celebration

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