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.
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.
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!]