Apparently it has! I blogged my very first post exactly 365 days ago.
I was hoping that I could report a great debt reduction over that time, or some significant increase in pay, or, at least, some noble thoughts on the subject of retirement.
It is not to be.
Mostly, this year has been a learning experience about the ups and downs of real life impacting my financial life. While that situation has been brewing for years, this is the first time I've actually paid attention. My conclusion is that there is something to be said for the maxim "Ignorance is Bliss." Knowing the exact state of my finances has not made for a happier Grace.
Apparently that is true of some bloggers as well. Everyone blogs and gives advice when things are moving in the right financial direction. It is harder to keep posting when we're making mistakes or life has hit us with financial challenges our $1000 baby-step one emergency fund doesn't begin to cover. I miss the King and Queen of Debt whose blog, We're In Debt seems to have gone south. Some of my other favorites, listed in my blogroll, have not posted in months, which I interpret (perhaps incorrectly) as meaning that they are not on target with their financial goals.
Right now, I'm in the middle of a number of financial mistakes. My emergency fund was depleted in April, and now has less than $100 in it. I increased my debt by borrowing on my HELOCC in May. I am locked in for a vacation to Japan in October that I desperately want to take but isn't the brightest financial move. I am convinced that things will get better for me in the next few months, but the waiting is killing me.
Still, there are bright spots.
When I started this blog, I committed to making regular contributions to my 401K, and I have not wavered during the past year. I started out putting in $1000 a month. In January, though I did not receive a pay raise, I increased my contribution to $1025 a month. In spite of the stomach-churning stock market, I am sticking with the plan.
I have also reduced my dependence on credit cards. I got hit with a number of high-cost needs during the past year, including repairs to my rental house, college tuition for my granddaughter (I should have budgeted for that one since I knew it was coming), and my daughter's graduation (ditto). These expenses would have happened whether I was trying to reduce my debts or not. But by being more attentive to my everyday expenses (meals eaten out, gas, utilities, etc.), I am positive the damage to my budget was less than it would have been in past years when, if I wanted anything, I just pulled out the nearest VISA card.
I am reading and thinking more about retirement, and exploring things like long-term care insurance, housing needs and costs, and inheritances for my children.
I feel like this past year has been preparation for the actual work of reducing debt and saving for retirment. I finally have a handle on where I am. Now I need to move forward.