Oh How Far I’ve Come…

It has been a year and 2 months since I started this blog. I was going to do a summary like this in January (and I probably still will) but a post at M is for Money got be inspired to look at my life and how much has changed.

Here is a picture of my money-time line:

September 7th 2008 – I started this blog. At this point in time my spending habits are atrocious. I have $32,661 worth of debt and $13,882 of assets (all in mutual funds and stocks that have been given to me). My savings account has $13 in it – and I’m piss-ass broke. I’m overspending by about $250-500 per month – and consider it perfectly normal and justifiable to fly to San Diego every month to get laser hair removal done. Yup, laser hair removal.

January 2nd 2009 – I’m no better off than when I started. My car needs $1,400 worth of repairs, so I open up a new line of credit. To pay for this new line of credit I pull out $500 from my stocks. Oh yes, and I also have $350 worth of overdraft fees charged to my Bank of America account. As crazy as it sounds, this was the day that changed my life. I knew I needed to change since September of 2008, but it wasn’t until I had been blogging for 4 months that I realized I hadn’t changed at all. And the day I started to take financially responsibility was actually the day I opened my ING account. Things weren’t perfect, but not having overdraft fees has saved me SO much money and has kept me afloat. However… 4 months after starting the blog… I now have $1,000 more debt then I did the day I started (I paid for some of the car repairs in cash). And I still only have $13 in savings.

March 9th 2009 – Invited to Vacation In Europe. I’m sure very few personal finance bloggers will tell you that their debt recovery began with a vacation to Europe. But mine did. Here is how: I knew that I needed to get $2,500 to pay for this vacation with my grandma. She was going to pay my airfare and for my cruise, but I wanted to pay for my souvenirs, activities on the boat and for 10 days of travelling on my own afterwards. And I was leaving in June. So I had three months to save $2,500 from nothing! The goal of saving for this trip changed how I spend money. I didn’t see every trip to Starbucks as just +/- $3.80 , no, now it was the difference between me getting to have a nice time in Europe or not. From March to June 2009, I saved to my emergency fund ($100/month), paid off three of my small credit cards AND saved $2,118 for the trip. It wasn’t my goal, but I still did pretty well. Also, I came back with $132 left. That’s right – I didn’t even use the entire amount I budgetted for the trip!

July 31st 2009 – One credit card left! Because I had learned how to live within my means and make extra money while saving towards my European vacation it was able to pay off all of my small credit cards this day. It felt GREAT to finally just have my one BofA credit card left!

August 11th 2009 – Interest rate rises. Because of how my paycheck fell in August and my fear that I wouldn’t get it because I was transitioning pay sources, I was one day late paying my credit card in August. It was due on the 3rd and the payment went through on the 4th. Bank of America raised my interest rate from 10% to 27%. My minimum payment went from $300/month to around $500/month. I had a few options, but eventually decided that I needed to make more money, pay down more debt and get my interest rate lowered in February. I did eventually get a job at the local community college, I started tutoring in my spare time in person in addition to online. And I’m currently paying at least $1,000/month towards my credit card – which is TWICE what my minimum payment is and SO MUCH MORE than I would have if my interest rate hadn’t gone up.

November 3rd, 2009 – New Net Worth. After all is said and done I’ve redone my NetWorth. When I started this blog in September 2008 my Networth was -$18,779. In May of 2009 my Networth was -$20,672. Today my Networth sits at -$13,360. $5,000 higher than it was a year ago and $7,000 higher than 6 months ago.

I have also:

  • Saved $2,100 towards a fantastic European vacation
  • Saved $1,125 towards my Emergency Fund
  • Paid off $3,285 worth of “minor” debt (the $2,285 I started with + the $1,000 from my car emergency in January)
  • Paid off $2,375 on my 27% interest credit card

So as far as I see it, in the past year I’m $8,885 in the positive compared to where I was when I started this blog. And as I’m mentioned recently, there are good things to come in my future!

How far have you come from when you started your blog? I’d love to hear your stories. Please leave them as a comment, or even just as a link to your blog posts. It is so encouraging to me to hear the progress that people have made and celebrate each others victories!


10 Responses to Oh How Far I’ve Come…

  1. I’ve only been blogging for a little under 8 months. When I started I had about $6,000. I added a retirement account, invested a lot in the market, switched jobs (increased my pay by 30%) and started saving aggressively and now my net worth is $15,777 (as of yesterday). I know, where did all that money come from? I’m still a little shocked myself, but it happened!

    • SS4BC says:

      Wow that’s fantastic! Good for you for not having a lifestyle inflation when you increased your salary! That is going to be my biggest challenge when I get my next job.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! It’s really interesting to see how far you’ve come. You can do it!!!

  3. InDebt says:

    Awesome how far you’ve come in 14 months! You are an inspiration by proving that hard work and constant awareness of how life events effect your finances is what it takes to turn a situation around!

    I feel confident that when you update a year from now, that net worth will be in the black. You go girl!!!

  4. Ann says:

    Congratulations! You have made amazing progress and are an inspiration to me! I’m on my 2nd month of budgeting and 3rd month of blogging and have a lot of work to do . . . your story about how you significiantly changed your spending for Europe definitely makes me think that if you can do it – I can do something similiar!

  5. Revanche says:

    Oh goodness, I really wish I had tracked NW when I first started blogging. As meticulous as I am about things today, I didn’t actually chart my net worth when I first started because I was just trying to keep my head above water but I know that I’ve made 1000% improvement over the past 4 years. I remember that I left my college job with about $7-8k to my name, paid off about 50k of debt accumulated by my parents and brother, and supported the household to reach the 6-figure NW mark. I won’t have that for long, esp w/o a full time job, but at least I’ve touched it briefly. 🙂

  6. Jessie says:

    You have come so far in such a short amount of time!! I’ll post and link up to you soon!

  7. mo says:

    hum- am not meticulous enough to know, exactly what I have achieved…… But off the top of my head I have
    saved about £2000 into an ISA account (tax free savings)
    switched the account to a better rate of interest
    paid off a £2800 credit card debt
    got my husband to set up a standing order into the joint account so that I can manage the household finances without having to ‘beg’ for money all the time and also, I have budgetted at the top end of spending, so I should over the months be able to pay back our £1000 overdraft on said joint account. This achievement took months and months and months
    I have paid off about £1500 of our mortgage
    I have set up and organised 2 successful baby boot fairs (community events that recycle baby clothes toys and equipment and let mum’s earn a bit of money, and new mums save a bit of money etc etc)
    Taken on a playgroup
    earnt about £5000
    set up an etsy account

  8. Pingback: Nothing like imminent death to focus the mind « End Debt Now!

  9. SP says:

    So impressive!

    The day to day, and even month-to-month changes sometimes don’t feel so great, but when you look back over a long period of time, you really can see how all the things you did are adding up.

    I just checked — my first (horrible!) blog post included a rough net worth calculation of -$6,300 in May 2007. Amazing!

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