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2008 Year in Review

December 29th, 2008 at 08:31 am

This may be a little early but I just got my last paycheck for 2008. It's been a little over a year that I have been on this site. The thing I find most interesting about this site is the helpful comments, the encouragement, and thoughtful alternative. Even if you disagree with people, their views, etc, this site continues to offers disagreement in a respectful way.

You also have a community here where people try to elevate themselves above petty jealousy and try to be truly happy for you and what you accomplished.

Enough of that and on to the review.

My original goals for 2008 were:

1) Pay of $6,000 in CC by May 1st
2) Pay of one car by August 1st (currently $5,700 is owed and last payment is 2/09)
3) Invest $10,000 by year end in Taxable assets
4) Invest $15,500 in 401(k)
5) Review and reallocate (if necessary) retirement funds by end of Q1

They quickly mushroomed to these:

1) Pay off debt (except mortgage) by October 1st
. a) Pay off CC
. b) Pay off Car
. c) Pay off Car 2
. d) Pay off wife's braces
. e) Pay off son's medical
3) Invest $15,500 in 401(k)
4) Review and reallocate retirement funds by end of Q1
5) Will by end of Q2
6) Life Insurance by end of Q2

MOVED TO 2009
2) Invest $15,000 by year end
7) Save $4,000 for college

Could I have done more in 2008? Probably. But as people here point out, you have to find a balance in your life with your family.

All and all, I experienced huge changes this year. I am out of debt (except for the mortgage), living below my income, living on a budget, have great communication with my wife, and truly feel as a team.

For people starting this journey, I think the biggest two things to start is to be honest and non-judgmental. What does this mean? You have to be honest with yourself and spouse about how much debt, expenses, and income you have. That second thing is not to blame each other for the problem. The truth is the both of you are to blame and you both have to work together to get out of this mess.

If you can do those 2 steps, the rest are easy.

The next step for me and my wife were setting up goals and the budget. We also set up some ground rules for the budget. Any changes to the budget after it was set, we would both have to agree. If one of us didn't agree, the budget didn't get changed. The first few months were tough on the budget. We forgot this expense or another. I actually had a line item called "Things I forgot to put on the budget" and I would fund this with a couple hundred bucks.

Once the budget started settling down, we could really start tracking our goals and looking at the progress. At this time, our relationship started to really change from the universe revolves around me to us. We were both making sacrifices for our common goals.

We still have a couple of common goals left, but soon we will be prioritizing are own goals into the mix. She wants new furniture and I want a riding lawn mower and shed. 2009 should be interesting as our individual goals come into the mix.

And thanks again everyone for your encouragement, thoughts, and advice. The journey hasn't ended. It's just starting.

8 Responses to “2008 Year in Review”

  1. lizajane Says:

    When the goals are very different, like the furniture vs. mower & shed, how do you decide which comes first? Someone has to "give" and agree that their goal is not as important as the other goals, and I'm just curious how you decide that.

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    Great post! Really good thoughts. Glad to hear that things sound like a good year for you.

  3. merch Says:

    Lizajane - that's what I'll be struggling with in the later part of 2009.

    Thanks BA

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    Congratulations on this past year; it's been remarkable! Totally agree with you about this blog site. Civility and graciousness are scarce in cyberspace; it's discouraging how when people have anonymity, they tend toward verbal abuse, sarcasm and picking apart other people's thoughts just for the sake of feeling smarter. SavingAdvice is a welcome oasis.

    I'm looking forward to the next year for you; I'll get a glimpse into being debt-free and not having to do damage control; using the money positively and proactively instead.

  5. swimgirl Says:

    Yep, it's great how we are all non judgmental friends here, but we are also able to give one another a nudge when needed (or asked!)

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments! At this point, it will just get better, right?

  6. Ima saver Says:

    Congratulations, you have really done well this past year. good luck in 2009!

  7. scfr Says:

    Congratulations, Merch!

    I'll weigh in as a neutral party on the riding mower vs. furniture issue.

    Just ask yourselves when is the optimal time of year to buy each.

    Do you want to buy when they are at the deepest discount? If so, then maybe the furniture would come first (winter sales), and then the riding mower (after summer sales).

    But if "optimal" to you guys means when you would get the best use out of them, then go for the riding mower first (so you can use it during the summer lawn mowing months) and then the furniture (after the kids have gone back to school so it will stay cleaner longer, but in time for holiday entertaining).

  8. fern Says:

    Sounds like you're doing great. I feel the same way about SA; it's really a virtual community. It's always nice to catch up with bloggers you've "known" for several years, and there are some awfully nice newcomers, too, who i hope will stick around a while.

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