Tuesday, February 21, 2006

One Year Ago

A year ago today I made my first post (2005...The Year of Finances) so I guess that means this is my bloggiversary or blog birthday or some such thing. I haven't accomplished everything I set out to last year (still closing in on that emergency fund and I haven't checked my credit report yet) but I've made some decent progress since I had my "Aha!" moment at the very beginning of 2005.

I started blogging because I wanted a more emotional record of what I was attempting than Quicken could give me. I thought that by making my intentions somewhat public that I'd hold myself more accountable (it works for me). And I also wanted to break the silence that many women seem to have when it comes to talk about money.

A brief look back on the year...

Aha! (A prequel)
It was a few days into 2005 when my 2004 bonus check arrived with my paystub. As I looked at the after tax amount my heart sunk because it was nowhere near enough to pay off the $14,000 in credit card debt that we had incurred. I'll spare you the gory details but what really sunk in was that I alone had the power to make sure I never received a windfall like that again...and felt disappointed. Things were gonna change and change fast.

Credit Card Debt
When I started "The Year of Finances" we had $14k in credit card debt. Shortly thereafter I started blogging and it was down to $11k. I had the credit cards paid off by March, but used a card to borrow money to fully fund my 2004 Roth and that took another few months to pay off. It's been $0 since then because we pay the credit card off every month.

Savings
A year ago I had no non-retirement savings. Our emergency fund is now at $7800 (as of today) and we have about $700 set aside already earmarked for vacations, big ticket house items, and gifts. We are regularly saving tax-deferred retirement, tax-free retirement and regular taxable amounts and we continually strive to save a larger portion of our income.

Roth IRA
I had opened a Roth IRA with $2000 several years ago and had not contributed since because I was favoring the tax deductions of maximizing my 401(k) contribution. Last year I got "Roth Religion" in time and I was able to max out both the 2004 and (just recently) the 2005 investing $7000 total in my Roth over the last year.


I'm not out here blogging as some paragon of financial stability. I'm attempting to use this blog to share successes as well as missteps in a search for community. I want to learn from others, cheer on the struggles of those in debt, make some friends, and I hope that I have a few useful things to share now and then.

I still have a long road to travel to get where I want to be...I have far too much junk in the nether regions of my house, I have a backlog of posts that seems endless, and I still struggle with the feeling of "enough".

But it's still been a great year and I thank every one of you that drops by. And yes, I get like this on MY birthday too ;)

[Coincidentally I seem to have picked an auspicious date to begin since this also happens to be Consumerism Commentary's bloggiversary...the 6th to be exact! Congratulations, Flexo!]

14 comments:

  1. Happy Blog-o-versary! Reading your posts has put a smile on my face many a day - Thank you for blogging and sharing your financial story and journey.

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  2. Congrats! One year makes you an old hand at blogging!

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  3. Congratulations on surviving the first year! We should celebrate.

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  4. Great job...
    Happy blog-birthday!
    ncnblog.com

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  5. Your accomplishments are IMPRESSIVE. Thanks for the recap, and congratulations on all you have achieved!

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  6. Congrats on a year of keeping track of what you've been doing. A wonderful accomplishment and I'd venture you've done a lot more this past year with positive changes to your finances than had you not started blogging. keep the ball rolling for at least another year!

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  7. That is a year to be proud of, congratulations!

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  8. Congrats on completing one full year! I've made "some friends" too :) Keep putting your good energy out there in blogland.

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  9. Happy blog birthday Caitlin :)

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  10. Sounds like a great year, Caitlin. And I enjoyed the post a lot. Keep it up.

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  11. yay! let's eat cake or something...

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  12. Congratulations! I am excited to read your blog because I started mine for the same reasons. I was serious about getting out of debt and building wealth and I thought a public journal would motivate me. I've been doing it for two months and it is helping. Continued blessings! And how did you pay off $14,000 in cc debt so fast? Please share the secret with me!

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  13. Oops I actually have an error in my credit card paragraph. We started the year with $11k in cc debt, "added" $3k in March when I borrowed to fund my Roth. So it was $14k *total* not $14k at the start.

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