Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm surprised this site hasn't shut down by now

Seriously, fell off the face of the Earth there, didn't I? Things got kind of crazy busy for me, and while I kept tracking everything and saving, obviously the reporting kind of fell by the wayside. I know you've been shivering with antici-(SAY IT!)-pation [1] without my monthly reduxes (reduxen?), though, so I totaled up everything and am presenting ......drumroll....... 2010 in Review!

TOTAL for 2010:

No-Spend Days: 249
No Eating Out Days: 300
Extra Income: $2150.38 (Holy crap!)($1464.30 from surveys, $200 cash back from my chase card, $118.98 from selling back books, $3 from a rebate, and $364.10 interest)
Progress Toward Savings Goal: 143.75%
Retirement Savings: $3,012.56
“Healthy” Days (eating well or working out): 54.5 or so (lost count the last four months)
Books Finished: 17 (that does not seem like very many, considering the amount of time I spent reading this year!)
Times Flossed: lost count
Letters/Cards/Contacts: lost count of exact number, but completed goal – see below

Progress on 2010 Goals:

  • Always paid off my full credit card balance each month (just used it for the rewards) and did not pay a cent of interest – GOAL MET!
  • Paid cash for all wedding expenses to debt and have stayed debt free – GOAL MET!
  • Aside from about two weeks (waiting on transfers back and forth), kept my Teacher Bank savings & checking balances above $750 to earn the special interest rate – I’m going to go ahead and count this one as GOAL MET!
  • Met the requirements for my rewards checking account every month to earn their special interest rate – GOAL MET!
  • I never did start an ING account for that $25 referral bonus – I just never got around to it. Actually I’m not sure if they have the program still. If I get my balance above $10k in my rewards checking account (ha ha), which is the limit for the special rate, maybe I’ll look into additional accounts. For now, I think I’m doing pretty well.
  • I utterly failed on the Roth goal for 2010, but that was by choice. I decided to just save everything I could so that I can make sure to have enough to pay the wedding expenses in cash, and while I know retirement is important (trust me, it’s my first financial goal after the wedding!), I really want to stay out of debt, too.
  • Contributed at least $2500 to my SIMPLE IRA w/matching – GOAL MET!
  • Kept a “gifts fund” and a “vacations fund” and did not go into debt for either of these two former danger zones – despite an unexpected, short-notice trip to Paris! I call that a major life success, right there! GOAL MET!
  • Contributed $100 to my niece & nephews’ tuition accounts (and did it early, before the price went up in March) – GOAL MET!
  • Kept “Little Emergency Fund” above $1000 (actually above $1500 – I keep this in my Teacher Bank account) – GOAL MET!
  • Did not get the “Big Emergency Fund” to $5000 this year – same reason as the Roth goal, really. It’s grown, it’s shrunk, but it’s didn’t make it that high. I’m okay with it, though – I handled every emergency life through my way this year without freaking out too excessively (fewer F-bombs, Mom!!) because I had a financial buffer to cover things. So I didn’t meet the specific goal but I am still feeling pretty happy about it.
  • Had a goal to “focus on the Wedding Fund” – certainly did that! (I’m not going to tell you how much, because you’d throw up, or I’d throw up, or maybe both, but in any case at least it’s all paid for!) We’re going to have an amazing wedding and a fabulous trip with 25 of our nearest and dearest, and I didn’t have to take out a loan or stack up credit card debt. I’m pretty proud of all this. GOAL MET!
  • Started an Eye Care Fund, a “Fixing Stuff” Fund, and a “Car Maintenance Fund” and prepared myself ahead of time for these big (and infuriating) expenses. It was all a little too much work, though – I think in the future I’ll just have one “Big Emergency Fund” (i.e., money set aside for if Airbear were to lose his job or the house burned down) and a regular bank balance that can handle new contacts or replacement tires. It’s funny, me, going in the direction of fewer things to track instead of more – not what you expected, I know – but between wedding planning, working, going to school, doing homework, working out, and learning Portuguese, it turns out that I do eventually run out of time for even my beloved Excel spreadsheets. Who knew! Anyway, the original point was GOAL MET!
  • Continued posting on the Controlled/No-Spend Thread (and managed quite a few no-spends, as you can see above… Much more than last year’s 222 & 290, respectively. Exciting!). GOAL MET! I kind of ran out of steam with the posting toward the end of the year, but I kept tracking. The boards have all been discontinued at MSN’s site (boo!) and have moved over to a newer site, but I haven’t really had time to figure out how to use it yet. So we’ll see if that ends up being something I continue, maybe after the wedding/school program when I have some time and/or brain cells to spare. Either way I met some great friends there that I am still in contact with and certainly developed some great financial habits. I will always be grateful that I found that place when I did.
  • As far as whether I got to a positive net worth (including the student loan debt), unfortunately I have to say I have no idea. Ha ha ha. That’s terrible. But honestly I haven’t updated that spreadsheet since like January – just haven’t had time – and with money transferring here, there, and everywhere it’s just not something I can stop and figure out right now. Obviously the net worth is solidly in the positive when the school loan isn’t figured in, and so I’m fine with being happy about that and figuring out the rest in a few months. When I write my goals for 2011 (which will be after the wedding & trip are over) and I have fewer, simpler savings goals, everything will be streamlined and this will be easier to calculate.
  • Working out came and went in phases, as I’m sure it does for most people – some months I did absolutely zero, some I did four times a week. I’ve been on a good run lately so I’m pretty excited about that.
  • I still have trouble being “patient and positive” in the mornings (Sorry, Mom) – I have a really short fuse in the a.m. and it’s something I want to try to improve.
  • I found out all the remaining requirements for adding the middle school math endorsement to my teaching certificate, and have everything lined up for a program to do my “internship” (a few BS assignments and an observation or two). What’s more, I finally got a middle school math student! (That’s what’s been holding this process up.) In fact, I could be doing the MS Math internship program right now – but for once in my life I decided not to play on All The Way Hard and am only doing ONE internship in addition to my full time job, instead of two. Aren’t you proud? Anyway, this will be any easy one to finish up post-wedding/post-current-internship.
  • Continued my special ed endorsement classes without going into any additional student loan debt, and so far have maintained a 4.0! That’s TWO GOALS MET!
  • Ha ha – I had a goal in this list (I’m looking at it now) that said, “Research additional mutual funds and continue to diversify my investments” – Uh, nope, didn’t do that! I have learned more along the way (and balanced both mine and Airbear’s retirement portfolios for a second year of larger-than-average returns!). It turns out I make very good investment decisions. So many things I would never have expected. ;)
  • Saved my whole tax return – GOAL MET!
  • Checked my credit reports – GOAL MET!
  • Used each of my 3 backup credit cards every 3 months and paid them off immediately to keep them active – GOAL MET!
  • Did more surveys – a TON more, actually – and found ways to make $2150.38 of extra money this year. That’s like half my annual salary! GOAL SOUNDLY MET!
  • And finally I followed through with my goal of sending both of my grandmothers at least one card every month and keeping in touch better. I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but it feels good to me to do it, and I hope it makes them smile.

All in all a very productive, very busy, and (if I do say so myself) (and I do) financially successful year! That sounds like bragging, but when “financial success” means a lot of hard work, planning, self-denial, and energy (and not, say, just winning the lotto), it is important to stop and say, if only to yourself and your mother (Hi, Mom!), I did a good job. There is still room to grow – isn’t there always – but I worked really hard and I did a good job and I am going to take some time to celebrate that and be proud of myself.

Happy end of 2010!

[1] Lol nevermind, it's a lame reference ;)