Friday, November 14, 2008

For Auld Lang Syne

I know, New Years is still quite a ways off. But this is even more exciting than New Years, and without the champagne headache to boot. Today[1] marks the one-year anniversary of my Debt Resolution! It's hard to believe, but one year ago I sat down, wrote out all my debts, had a major freak out, and then started making serious strides toward financial security.

I've worked really hard during the last twelve months, and have pinched every penny and watched every dime. I was never really a big shopper, but I stopped doing all the little self-indulgent things like going out for Mexican food when I was having a bad day at work, or frittering money away at the pub when I didn't really need to drink. I even tried to be rational about presents, which is really hard for me, and for which I got a lot of support from my loved ones. Most importantly, I started blogging it where I knew a couple people (hi Mom!) would read it. I need to have accountability[2].

In the last 12 months, I have had some "minor" accomplishments:
* contributed just shy of $2500 to retirement funds
* paid my car insurance (twice) and tuition in cash with money I had saved ahead of time
* drastically reduced the number of times per month we go out to eat

...and some major ones:
* canceled all but four credit cards, the best ones
* doubtlessly improved my credit ratio[4]

Unfortunately I did not pay off all of my debt entirely - that would have been a really awesome accomplishment to list. But at this point, I only have my loan from my mom (which is now more than half paid off!) and my school loan, which I am not going to bother racing down. Its interest rate is so low I actually make more money paying the minimum and keeping money in my savings account. Crazy.

Anyway, down to one debt payment a month, which is at 0% and should be pretty easy to snowball from here on out. I'm feeling really excited about the progress I've made, although I am of course anxious to finish paying off mom. Imagine, no debt... all money toward savings... wow! Only $3,200 stands in between me and total debt freedom (except the school loan, see above). Just a little bit further!

Wanna know the total? I know you do! *drumroll*



[1] Well technically that comes in two days. But I got paid today so I did the whole bill paying thing, and I do my updates after the mid-month pay check. It's close enough.
[2] Or more likely I just get a big enough kick out of bragging about my accomplishments that I knew that would drive me to succeed ;)
[3] Sorry about the overly exuberant text emphasis ... I get a little carried away ;)
[4] I'll have to check this one when I get my scores in January. But my debt-to-limit ratio has most certainly improved!

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