Tag Archives: earning money online

Avoid the Christmas Debt Trap With Online Earnings

Debt Is Not Cool

Debt is NOT cool. It can strangle the life out of people. It basically makes you a slave to your lender. Staying out of unnecessary debt is one of the most important steps to take toward financial freedom, because debt brings interest payments that hurt your cash flow. If you pay cash for the things you buy (or pay off the credit card bill in full each month), you’re automatically saving any interest you would have paid had you gone into debt.

Some debts are better than others. For example, a home mortgage can be a “good” debt because buying a home on credit with a mortgage can actually cost less on a monthly basis than renting in many markets. Every dollar that you pay toward the principle of the home loan will also build up your equity, which is a major component of net worth. Student loans can be a “not-quite-so-bad” debt, as long as it is manageable because a degree can lead to higher earnings over time. Most other debt is pretty crummy because it forces you to pay more than you would normally pay for the items you buy on credit.

The Christmas Debt Trap Is Super Not Cool

One of the absolute worst sources for major debt is Christmas debt. Christmas doesn’t really sneak up on people. It shows up at the same time every single year. It’s always on December 25, year in and year out. It should not be a shock. Americans (and people of other nationalities who celebrate Christmas) tend to spend lots and lots of money at this particular time of the year for just about anyone that they come into contact with.

Of course, this is a slight exaggeration, but the average person who goes into debt for Christmas presents takes until April until the debt is paid off. Instead of paying the retailer for the full price of these presents, lots of Americans tend to also pay a nice little chunk to a bank for the privilege of using the bank’s money for the presents.  The bad thing about the Christmas debt trap is the fact that many kids will play with the boxes and other wrapping for as long as they do the toys that are within the packages.

Avoiding the Christmas Debt Trap With Online Earnings

One of the major purposes of this site is to get people (AKA you) to think about ways to increase your earnings so that your financial situation will be a bit less constrained outside of self discipline. One of the benefits of earning more money is more flexibility. Earning extra money before Christmas should allow you to pay off the bill for presents before the credit card comes due, which is a good thing. If you have any left over after buying for everyone on your Christmas list who’s avoided getting on Santa’s naughty list, that’s a great thing.

The first step in avoiding the Christmas debt trap through online earnings is setting up some goals for actually earning the money.  This will require investigating some of the leading places for making money online. If you’re just a few weeks from Christmas, sites that allow for instant or near-instant redemption of funds would be preferable. If you have longer, you can also start looking into sites that pay once a month to maximize your earnings. Here are some of the top options that can allow you to earn some money for Christmas (and all year ’round, for that matter).

Online earnings can help you avoid the Christmas debt trap.
Here’s a check that I earned from CashCrate

The second step in avoiding the Christmas debt trap because of Christmas gifts is actually signing up for some sites that allow you to make some money pretty easily. Here are some sites that I’ve used to some success over the past few years. I’ve even earned more than $1,000 on a couple of them in my free time, much of it while I’m watching TV in my recliner.

Sign Up For Swagbucks

My favorite site is Swagbucks. There are several options to earn money pretty quickly here, and you can cash out when you get up to 500 SBs (the digital currency on Swagbucks) for a $5 Amazon.com gift card.  I usually save up for a $25 redemption in PayPal cash. You can read my review of Swagbucks here.  I’ve earned more than $1,300 from this site.  Kids as young as 13 can start earning money on Swagbucks.

View Webpages For Money On Clixsense

I’ve also been using a site by the name of Clixsense recently. I’ve already redeemed three times, and you can earn money pretty quickly by just clicking on links and viewing the website for 15 or 30 seconds. I actually view the TV while I’m clicking. I’ve not reviewed the site on this blog yet, but I can say that it definitely pays.  The first payout has to be by check and reach $10, but subsequent payments can go on PayPal after reaching $8 and take only 2-5 business days to go through. You can sign up for Clixsense here.  You have to be 16 years of age to set up a Clixsense account.

Try CashCrate

I’ve earned more than $1,000 from CashCrate. This is one of the oldest websites that allows users to complete various tasks. This one only pays out once at the beginning of the month and requires $20 in earnings. I’ve done a more in-depth review of CashCrate here.  One guy that I’ve seen on another site has earned nearly $160,000 from CashCrate, but that would take lots and lots of referral income. A few bucks here and there each month is more likely.

If you’re looking for more ways to earn money online, you might like my list of Thirteen Ways to Make Money Online Without Spending a Penny, but the three listed above are likely to earn money pretty quickly.

Online Earnings Can Pay As Well As A “Real” Job

Some people will complain that it takes quite a bit of time to earn much money. However, it’s important to remember that there are costs associated with going to a day (or evening job) that quickly cut down on your actual income per hour of work, especially if you’re a mom or dad who only makes minimum wage or slightly higher. I recently read a personal finance book** that showed that a wife with kids who worked at an $18,000 per year job only pulled down $0.64/hour when accounting for additional clothing, transportation, and child care costs.

That’s hardly worth going to an office for 8 hours a day. You can make that much or more online pretty easily without even having to leave the house. That’s why I’ve been into earning money in pajamas for the past few years. It’s definitely been very beneficial to improving my standard of living, and by making a few hundred dollars over the course of the year, you can avoid the problem of getting into the Christmas debt trap from buying presents altogether.

*Disclaimer–I may earn a referral commission if you sign up for some of the programs that I cover on this site. I’ve actually used all of them and have gotten paid. You can still earn from the sites without using my link, but I definitely appreciate any support that you give.

**Howard Dayton, Your Money Map: A Proven 7-Step Guide to True Financial Freedom (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006), 95-96.

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Taking the Long View of Personal Finance

Do you want the bad news first, or would you rather have the good news? I’ll start with the bad news. Most people in the United States live for today. The average American is deep in debt, and this debt can really lead to many difficulties in life.  A person’s savings rate is the leading indicator for future wealth. This indicator reached an all-time high of 17 percent of income back in 1975, but by July 2005, the rate was at an all-time low of less than 2 percent. Today, the savings rate for the average American has reached 5.7 percent, which is three times what it was just a decade ago.  The good news is that there are some pretty easy steps to take to improve your personal savings rate and shore up your finances.

The reason for this increase is probably related to what happened between 2005 and today–the Great Recession.  People were shaken by the sudden crash of the economy. While a savings rate of between 5 and 10 percent might seem impressive given where it’s come from just a few years ago, it’s still not all that great. The popular site Mr. Money Mustache has a pretty amazing article on “The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement” that looks at how the savings rate can determine how long a person has to work.  A person who saves 5 percent a year will have to work about 66 years to be able to retire comfortably. Fewer teenagers are working today, so this means that a 20-something who starts to work today will need to work until about age 90 before they can let someone else take over their job.

This math presupposes that there is no pension waiting on a worker and that the doomsday scenarios of Social Security that claim it will pay nothing at sometime in the not-too-distant future will come frighteningly to fruition.  This means that the savings rate of American workers is woefully short of what it needs to be. Even the record savings rate in the post-1959 world that was noted above will require quite a bit of work. A 17 percent savings rate means that a worker can retire right around the “traditional” retirement age after working approximately 40 years, again assuming that there is no pension or Social Security payment coming. Needless to say, this is not a terribly comforting situation.

These numbers are why it’s important to take a long view when it comes to personal finance.  Those who fail to plan actually plan to fail, so getting some goals together is a good idea. I don’t know about you, but having to work until 90 would mean that I’d probably be dead before I can afford to quit working on a full-time basis.  That does not seem like a terribly enjoyable path to take. The time to start planning for retirement was 10 years ago. However, if you didn’t put in the effort to plan 10 years ago, the second best time is now.

This is where earning money in pajamas proves to be a great idea. If your main gig barely pays the bills, there are exactly two ways to save money (outside of having a long, lost extremely rich uncle give you a massive inheritance or hitting the lottery, which is a losing proposition because the house always has to win). These first of these two realistic methods is cutting expenses. With the number of high-paying jobs not being what most Americans might wish, keeping expenses down is definitely an important step to take to ensure that you can build wealth over time.

The second option for saving more money involves finding other avenues to make money. With the advent of the Interwebs, the opportunities for making more money are quite extensive. Here are 11 such options that I’ve shared before for making extra moolah online .  Few jobs require employees to work every waking hour, so most workers will have several hours each week to earn more money. The best part about utilizing the Internet means of making money is that you don’t have to leave the house. You can literally sit around in your pajamas on a Saturday afternoon and make a bit of money while watching football. If you have a connection to the Internet, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t attempt to make more money. The link above has some great ways that I’ve been able to make money. I’ve used a few to make more than $1,000.

It’s important to take the long view of personal finance when thinking about making money online because it’s easy to get discouraged. A few hundred dollars a year might not seem like much, but your future self will appreciate that your current self decided to save some money for the future. I’ve noted before that saving just a dollar a day between the ages of 16 and the “normal” retirement age of 65 will yield an account of around $286,000 if an 8 percent return can be realized.  The power of a simple dollar can be quite amazing.  If you can raise this amount to $2 a day in additional income that you can save, you’ll have around half a million by retirement. Only $4 a day will lead to a cool million by 65 if you can start at 16. Discipline is important through all of this, and it’s important to stay in the market.

Those who are able to engage in both of the strategies listed above can super-charge their trek toward retirement. Cutting $4 in spending each day and then making just $4 extra per day and then saving the $8 would lead to nearly $3000 in savings after just a year and nearly $2 million over a 50-year period if you were able to earn an 8-percent return. Those who do not have 50 years to play with can still make some major progress with just a few small tweaks. Even if you’re only looking at 20 years until needing the money, you’ll still be way ahead of what you would have should you never have started to begin with. The time to start making some money in pajamas is now. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start saving and taking advantage of the compounding process.  Thinking of the long terms is the only way to make this happen, however, so be sure to get started today.

Disclaimer: I can receive compensation if you sign up for some of the programs that I’ve reviewed using one of my referral links. I definitely appreciate the support, but in the interest of full disclosure, you can still get the the same benefits without using my link. 

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Don’t Be A Nattering Nabob of Negativism

Do you see the glass as half full, or do you see it as half empty? It’s usually understood that the former are optimists, while the latter are pessimists. When it comes to earning money online or through financial markets, there are many negative people who think that it can’t be done. I’ll just be able to make pennies, they argue. These people are probably *nattering nabobs of negativism who don’t really accomplish much in life.

Pessimism can bring you down. Optimism, unlike the arguments made by people like Norman Vincent Peale and Joel Osteen, is not a near guarantee of success.  However, it’s important to remember that those who feel that they cannot accomplish a task successfully are very likely to experience what would be considered a self-fulfilling prophecy. Most of the time, they don’t even get started because they figure it’s no use. Those who are optimists will at least try.

These nattering nabobs of negativism are like Eeyore, expecting rain on every sunny day. They are like Rocky the Flying Squirrel who gives Bullwinkle a hard time with every attempt to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Rocky doesn’t encourage the Moose, he just argues that it’ll never work. Perhaps it won’t but Bullwinkle keeps trying. Those who fail to try never accomplish much of anything.

Those who fear the stock market look back to the Great Recession. They might have lost more than one-half of their entire nest egg. There are those who sold out at the bottom because of a lost job. This is understandable, as money is necessary to eat if you don’t have several months of expenses saved up.  Then there are those who sold out at the bottom because of negativism. They lost a bunch of money when others who stayed in the market because of the optimism that the market generally recovers were able to see their accounts reach previous highs and then move on to even greater highs. We’re now near all-time highs.

Warren Buffett Is NOT A Pessimist

Pessimists are always down on the future of the United States.  “It’s never been this bad before.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this argument over the past few years. One of the most successful investors in history, however, is really, really optimistic about the future of the United States. Warren Buffett has done pretty well for himself over the course of his life. He’s seen opportunities that others have missed. His investing strategy has earned him average gains of about 19 percent a year. This means he doubles his money in about 3.5 years on average. Now, as some politicians are arguing that the US is in a horrific economic condition, Buffett would argue otherwise.

Those who are Eeyores in life are probably not nearly as successful as Warren Buffett. This is not to say that there should never be cause for concern about the economy or that people should just throw money at the market at any price. Buffett buys solid companies at good prices. There are some great companies out there that are pretty expensive and should be avoided until there are better prices. There could be a recession in the near future, but this could actually provide  a buying opportunity for those who are willing to take a bit of a risk. The recommendation is always to buy low and sell high. Because of pessimism, however, people generally follow the herd and buy high and sell low. When thinking of avoiding an overly pessimistic outlook, here are three big reasons why optimism can help you achieve your goals.

You’ll See Opportunities Others Easily Miss

Where others see only a snowstorm dumping two feet of snow and ruining their days, the optimist sees an opportunity to make some money shoveling the snow. When it seems that the paycheck barely pays the bills each month, the optimist will start to look for options to make more money. Here are 10 easy ways to make money that people can use without spending any money outside of Internet access. I’ve personally used Swagbucks and  Cashcrate to make more than $1,000 each while sitting in my recliner.

Where the nattering nabob of negativism sees no need to save for the future, because it’s going to be worse than it is today, the optimist sees the opportunity that some extra money saved up over time can provide. After all, a dollar a day can really add up over time when capital gains and dividends are added to the mix.

You’ll Try Again If Things Don’t Immediately Work Out

Things will not always work out. Pessimists will tend to think that they never will work out when they don’t work out the first time.  This outcome is not always a given. Optimists will try to learn from the experience. There is a reason why people fail. Those who pick themselves back up are more likely to achieve their goals over the long term. A quote attributed to Thomas Edison regarding the invention of the light bulb shows this ability to learn from mistakes and try again. It was argued that he’d failed to invent the incandescent light bulb. He retorted that he’d not failed. He’d successfully found 10,000 ways that did not work.  He eventually succeeded. Had he been a pessimist, Edison probably would have quit well before his 9,999th “failure.”

Other People Will Notice

Recessions happen. Downsizing and offshoring are common phenomena. People lose jobs. These situations can lead to quite the competition for the jobs that are left. Who will get the job? A person with a reputation for negativism who comes across with a “woe is me” attitude? NO! Those who have a positive attitude and a reputation for hard work in spite of setbacks are much more likely to get the nod. I’m not likely to hire a plumber or a carpenter who acts like a job is impossible. If I owned a car dealership, I’d want salesmen who actually believed that they could sell cars. Those who are optimists are likely to look for great solutions even if things don’t go quite as well as they might in the short run, and other people will notice this ability in them.

Getting ahead with a positive attitude is pretty difficult. After all, there are only a handful of Warren Buffetts, Sam Waltons, and Steve Jobses.  However, its pretty near impossible to get ahead with a perpetually negative attitude. That’s why it’s important to avoid being an Eeyore who others view as a nattering nabob of negativism.

*The term nattering nabobs of negativism originated in a speech by Vice President Spiro Agnew as he described members of the media.

Disclaimer: I may earn bonuses should you choose to sign up for programs with my referral links. You’ll still get the great benefits by going directly to the site without clicking my link, but I appreciate any support that you might give. 

My October Earnings Report Earning Money Online

We’ve now made it into November, the month with all of the turkeys and stuffing. There’s quite a bit to be thankful for. I’ve been able to successfully earn quite a bit of money online this year. I started the month of October with over $4,100 in online income through a variety of sources. As I have in all of the other months this year, I was able to make some more money in October. So, without further ado, here are my online earnings for the month of October 2014. Some was passive, but most was active. My goal is to increase passive income over time.

Freelance writing: $339.73

CashCrate: $34.01

Swagbucks: $25.00

MTurk: $4.90

TOTAL earnings for October: $403.64. My new total for the year is $4,452.14. I’ve already got some money in the hopper for November, so this total is going to increase. How much is still up in the air, but it should sail over the $5,000 level by the end of the year. My goal is to prove that making money online from home is possible, and I think I’ve done it. I’ve even gone over $1,000 in CashCrate earnings in just over two years.

May and June Earnings Report

I’ve been keeping up with monthly earnings reports for the past year and a half on this site, but alas, I have dropped the ball over the past month. Last month, I was away from home more than I was home, and my busyness kept me from posting a monthly report. Therefore, I’ve decided to combine the past two months into a single report that covers May and June. In case you haven’t read my previous updates, I’d earned $2,201.51 over the first four months of the year as I worked toward my ultimate goal of $450 a month ($5,400 for the year.)

So, here are my earnings from the past two months combined:

Swagbucks: $50.00

Cashcrate: $86.85

Hubpages: $54.30

Qmee: $1.62

Bubblews: $50.07

Freelance Writing: $460.60

TOTAL from May and June: $703.44

Total earnings for the first half of 2014: $2,904.95. I am nearly 54% of the way toward my goal of $5,400 in online earnings over the course of this year. I would point out that I’ve written about Bing Rewards on this site before. I continue to use this site, earning around 26 points per day through easy searches. I’ve been using the earnings for Swagbucks that can be transferred into PayPal cash and frequent flyer miles to keep my accounts current so that I don’t lose any miles. You won’t get rich on Bing Rewards or Swagbucks quickly, but they can definitely add a few bucks to your monthly income.  My hope is to make a few more bucks on here for July than the past few months to get ever closer to proving that I could fully fund an IRA on side Internet work. Summer is still in full swing, so find out how to earn some money on the side during summer here.

Final 2013 Online Earnings

I began 2013 with a goal of earning $5,000 online during the year. I worked hard for much of the year, and made some money each month. Some months, I earned well over $500. Others, I earned less than $200. December was pretty much in the middle. Without further ado, here are my earnings from December:

Freelance writing: $177.14

Bubblews: $25.23

MTurk: $5.15

Total for December $202.52

This income for December, when added to my previous online earnings for the year brings my grand total for 2013 to $4.363.93.

While this was a bit over $600 less than my initial goal, it is nonetheless a nice chunk of change that I was able to make while I was basically sitting at home, many times watching TV. I also should point out that there were some accrued earnings in a few income streams that will have to wait to be realized until 2014.

The question remains, can you earn money by blogging? Yes, you can still earn money blogging. While much of my income came from freelance writing, I was able to capitalize on my blog and actually make a bit of a profit (my estimate is around $500).  I’m going to post on here what my goals for 2014 are going to be. What are your online earning goals looking like?

Can You Still Make Money Blogging in 2014?

Dads can make money in their spare time while watching television.
Earning Money on a Blog is Still Possible, even in 2014!

One of the biggest questions that is probably on the mind of those who are reading a blog about making money is whether it is still possible to make money blogging. I would argue that yes, it is still possible to make money blogging in 2014.

My First (Feeble) Attempts at Blogging

I was late to the game when it came to blogging. I actually started blogging in 2010, hoping to supplement my meager income as I transitioned into a job as a graduate assistant.  Some of the leading bloggers, like Darren Rowse,  who make money started five or ten years before my foray into the “business” of blogging.  Yet, after reading a post on Rowse’s becoming a six-figure blogger, I decided to give it a try.

I realized that the money would not roll in automatically, so I was surprised that I got a click on Google’s AdSense worth a whopping $0.59 within a week. I expected my blog to gather steam because I had something worth saying.  I got a handful of visits for each post, but soon became frustrated because I had earned a total of $0.64 by the end of the year for my efforts.

My first blog was a random, stream-of-thought type of blog that did not really draw much in the way of search traffic. I then learned about the importance of setting up a niche and trying to get search engine traffic that way. Since I was a wannabe academic, I decided to post information on my major field of study. My second blog is still up and getting much more traffic than my first effort.  Yet, it has not really drawn the income that I’d hoped. I also have a third blog on saving money on travel that I’ve not updated much.

Changing to a Paid Platform

My first three blogging efforts were set up on Google’s Blogger platform. This platform is free, but has some limitations as to what you can do with it. I read up on blogging for money on sites like ProBlogger and ChristianPF. Just about every post that I read recommended that would-be bloggers set up with a paid blogging platform with WordPress through a hosting agent. ChristianPF recommended the use of HostGator. Finally, after over two years of little success at drawing traffic with a blog, I set up this blog on earning money online. I took the recommendation of ChristianPF, and set up a WordPress account through HostGator. (Continue below the image)

I paid for my domain name and my hosting through HostGator, and they allowed me to download the WordPress software that I use on this blog. You can get a good introductory deal on this service by clicking the link on the sidebar that looks like the one above. (Please note that I can get a referral if you do, but also please note that I use this hosting service myself with no complaints in a year.)

My First Post on My New Earning Money Online Blog

I set up my first post on earning money in pajamas without leaving the house via the Internet in early January last year. I posted a couple of backlinks on sites like RedGage and Twitter to attempt to draw some traffic. That first month, I averaged a grand total of four visitors per day.  This was a pretty inauspicious start. The next month, my traffic grew by 25 percent to a whopping five visitors per day.

Traffic and Earnings Growth

After a few posts and a few months, my traffic really started to pick up. By the end of the year, I had over 50,000 visitors to the site.  I’d also started to earn money. I estimate that I’ve profited well over $500 in 2013 on this blog alone, and I’m still earning money every day so far this year. My hope is that I’ll be able to grow the traffic and continue to earn and see an increase for 2014.

While I’ve made a few bucks here and there off of my earlier blogging attempts, I’ve really started to draw a more regular income from this site. This proves that it is still possible to make money online through blogging. What are some steps that you can use to earn money by blogging?

1. Select a niche that interests people. (earning money online from home in my spare time was my niche)

2. Set up a paid blogging account. (you can do this through HostGator by using the links on this page)

3. Treat the blog as a business. (i.e., you have to sell something–a referral program or an e-book is a good start)

4. Interact and get your blog promoted on various social media sites.

Can you still earn money by blogging in 2014? Yes, you can. However, I have to give the caveat that it is not really all that easy. Additionally, it is very competitive, and it might take some time to draw an audience. With some trial and error, it is possible to earn money with your own website. The sooner you start, the more time to learn and give yourself an opportunity to start earning money without leaving your home.

Setting Online Earning Goals

A common refrain that people will hear is that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. There is a great deal of wisdom in this statement. Many people want lots of stuff, a great job, or money to sock away in retirement. The vast majority fail to get to where they want to be. Why? In a large number of cases, the reason why people do not achieve their goals is because they forget to set goals. Those who want to earn money in pajamas while working online are no different. Here are some tips toward setting online earning goals.

1. Learn about earning money online

The first and probably most important online earning goal that many people forget when actually trying to earn money online is that of learning about the process. Robert Kiyosaki, in his best-selling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, encourages people to work to learn, not to earn. Knowing how to go about earning money is a very important component of earning money. Read extensively. I did this to avoid some of the more common scams. The online earning opportunities that I share on this site, though they are definitely not be get-rich-quick schemes, are methods that I have used myself with varying degrees of success. I always check a number of mediums before trying a new money-making method. This way, I avoid losing money and can concentrate on making additional income online.

2. Start making money online

Reading and learning about making money online will not get anyone anywhere important. Knowledge is useless unless is is put into practice. I would suggest starting one method in your spare time to start earning a few extra bucks. Of course, those who are unemployed or underemployed may have more spare time to start working on making more money. You can sign up for CashCrate, Swagbucks, or any of the other great sites that allow people to make money without spending a dime. You might also want to sign up to get a cash bonus from a bank that wants to earn your business. Once you start earning a bit of money and see the amount of time involved, you can then start to set tangible goals.

$500 bill with McKinley
A $500 bill, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

3. Set goals that are attainable

Anyone can set a goal of making $1 million in a year. 99.9999 percent of these people will quickly become frustrated when they make a mere $10 in their first day of online work. They will get even more frustrated when they make less than this amount. There are people who make $1 million online, buy they no doubt started small in most instances. It is important when setting goals that you set goals that are attainable. A good goal for this year might be to make $100 per month to supplement your bills, to take a vacation, or to save in a retirement account. You might even choose to set a very modest goal of a dollar a day. Few people truly understand the power of a dollar.  Most people will be able to achieve these amount with a bit of work. As you then learn more, you can start to make more in less time. This relatively easy online earning goal can keep you from getting discouraged and giving up on earning money online.

4. Re-assess goals annually

It is still relatively early in the year, so it is still possible to set concrete goals that will help your and/or your family’s budget. If you have a short-term online earning goal of $100 per month, you should check how you did at the end of the year. Perhaps you achieved more than you thought that you would. Perhaps you earned less. Successes should encourage us to attempt to achieve more. At this point, it might be good to set a long-term goal for the next five years. This does not mean that annual online earnings goals become less important. These are the stepping stones on the road map that will get to the ultimate destination.

I personally set a goal of making $5,000 in my part-time online endeavors back in 2013. I didn’t reach it. What did I do, I set it higher for the next year. What are some goals that you have set for yourself?