Oh How Far I’ve Come…
November 12, 2009 10 Comments
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!