Reflections on 2014

I started this blog in January 2014.

I did it for the following reasons:

  • I love tracking our money.
  • I enjoy reading other personal finance blogs.
  • I liked the idea of there being some accountability in the Debt Eradication process.

I did not do it for these reasons:

  • I want to monetize the blog. (Still am not interested in undertaking all of the work that would involve.)
  • I want to change how other people deal with their money.
  • I want to be a part of a community of other bloggers.

No, WAIT! Don’t go! 🙂

Though I didn’t sent out to get lots of readers or start dialogues with others, I have really and truly enjoyed my conversations with other PF bloggers and I want to say thank you to those who comment and have been so supportive! It’s really wonderful to have this outlet (as so many others have stated, personal finance isn’t something that is often brought up in polite company), because I find money so very interesting to talk about. Where else can I lay it all out there (to be judged) and be able to read others’ financial woes and successes?

I have no real desire to help others with their money – I find that I feel most secure when I’m mulling over my specific money issues. Considering how I would deal with someone else’s personal finances might be interesting in the abstract, but I would hate for someone else to depend on me for financial advice!

I’m going to continue with my experiment with this blog, because I am enjoying this hobby (everyone needs one, right?).

So, now the 2014 Mintly Blog Roundup:

The Good:

1. We have paid off over $20,000 in debt this year! I think it deserves a bit of a cheer, eh? WHEEEEE!

The debt eradication (which is obviously still in progress) breaks down like this:

  • Mortgage Payments (though we sold the house in September)
  • Car Payments (paid off in May 2014)
  • Credit Card Bills (now we pay down our credit card bills each month, as we just use them to generate points)
  • Citibank Card Student Loan Transfer #1 (paid off in April 2014)
  • Citibank Card Student Loan Transfer #2 (generated in May 2014 , now standing at $2564)

2. We have saved over $5500 this year! No, not a huge amount, but it’s still something! It breaks down like this:

  • $5100 in our Travel Fund for our July trip to France
  • $500 in our Emergency Fund (no, it’s not even $1000, but it’s something)

3. We snowflaked a total of $3,860.27 this year to Debt Eradication and the Travel Fund! This was money that had previously just disappeared into our checking account or spending!

4. We managed to set aside $500 each month to our Sinking Fund to keep us from going into credit card debt every time we had an expense.

5. We had a positive net income for ALL 12 MONTHS of the year. And often it was by a pretty wide (well, wide to us) margin of over $500! This is a huge change to how we had lived our lives previously (though we had already made positive strides in this area before I started the blog).

6. By setting some (admittedly vague) goals for 2014 and striving to achieve them, we have learned what seems to work and what clearly doesn’t, which has helped inform how we will approach 2015’s Goals and Debt Eradication Plan!

The Bad:

1. We only stayed within my ideal budget one month out of the year. Guess which month? January 2014. WHAT. (Again, on the upside, we did stay in positive net income range for the entire year. Whew.)

2. Once we spend that $5000 in our Travel Fund, it will be GONE. Net worth will go down….

3. I only managed to meal-plan for maybe two to three months (not consecutive – not even consecutive WEEKS, y’all) out of the whole year. I, uh, need to work on this area.

The Ugly:

I mentioned to my mom that H wanted wool socks for Christmas. She said, “Doesn’t he have those slippers we got him last Christmas?” I said, “Yes, but I keep the house cold, so he wants wool socks for inside the slippers.” My mom said, “Don’t be like your grandpa. He was a miser for so long and made the rest of us all miserable.”

This conversation (and some general thoughts I’ve had swirling around in my head) have made me wonder if I’m a bit TOO obsessed? It makes me feel good to be organized and track my money (and try to cut corners when possible), but is it possible I’m going down an ugly road?

H has been more than understanding about my attempts to cut costs, so he isn’t bitter (and I believe he would talk to me before it got to that point). I know that we are just prioritizing some things (such as ballet and piano lessons for L) at the expense of other things (like eating out and having the temperature set at higher than 65 degrees in the house [63 at night!]), but I still worry a little bit that the thrills I get from managing money might end up making me a little …. crazy? Maybe it’s just the fact that I watched The Christmas Carol recently and was struck a bit by my sympathy with Scrooge on some matters. (Sure, his clerk shouldn’t freeze to death, but paying for heat is expensive! And why turn all the lights on in your house when you only need one candle to light the way up to your bedroom?)

Anyway, I’m not sure how I can stay focused on our goals and not tip over the edge into Scrooginess, but maybe you guys can help keep me in line?

The 2015 Mintly Blog Goals:

  • To eradicate over $18,000 of Student Loan debt! (Check out more details on our Goals Page….)
  • To continue with my monthly recap posts
  • To begin posting our estimated budget at the beginning of the month

In Conclusion….

I’m really happy with the accountability that this blog is providing for me monthly. It’s another way for me to get my PF geekiness on – and I really enjoy being a part of the PF blogger community (even if I’m only on the fringe!).

Thanks for a great year, and Cheers to 2015!

 

 

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