Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Assessing the Damage

So much for my New Year's Resolution to blog more often.

And so much for all those resolutions concerning debt in 2012.

I ended the year having reduced my total indebtedness by a not-so-whopping $1530. For those who've been following Grace's adventures in debt, this means I was doing OK until November and December of 2012 when I suddenly added nearly $4000 to the pile.

Ah well, it's a brand new year. January has started off better, with a further reduction of $1346. I don't know that I can sustain that momentum, but that's definitely my goal.

On the Net Worth front, things are definitely looking up. My retirement funds are up a whopping $56,000, only $16,000 of which came from my contributions and those of my employer. To celebrate, I added $10 per month to my regular 401(c) contributions for 2013. I realize that doesn't sound like much, but my income has been static for the past five years. I get the same pay now that I got in 2008 plus a bonus check of $800. Unfortunately, with the return of the full payroll tax, each paycheck is now about $35 less.

More good news is that housing prices are on the rebound in the Pacific NW, so both my residence and my coastal rental have increased in value. Overall, my net worth increased over $100,000 during 2012, and now stands at $659,439. I try to keep that figure in mind when I'm bemoaning my day-to-day finances.

I've never been much for Dave Ramsey's "gazelle intensity," but clearly I'm going to have to pay more attention to my expenses. And I'm going to have to put more money on my debts, particularly in the early months of the year since I can expect a decreased ability to do so later in the year. The past five blogging years have, at least, taught me that. The reasons vary, but the results do not--December is NEVER kind to my financial health.


Florence said...

Grace, I am so glad to see your post! How is your grandson? How are you? I have so often thought about you!
With your retirement accounts up and your property values up and your debt down, things are definitely trending in the right direction.
I have mixed emotions about Dave's gazelle intensity. It is fine for a short period of time but I think we need to be able to smell the roses some too.

itsmidnight said...

Hi regular reader, irregular commenter here :) I can completely relate. In our family everyone has birthdays in either October or Dec/January so the budget gets killed the last third of the year!

I'm determined to be on top of it this year. Saved all my change and $5 bills last year and that helped tremendously. I paid cash for the very first time in my 55 year life!!

I really enjoy your blog and hope to hear more from you this year for sure! Best, Karen

Anonymous said...

You can do it!

I've been having fun playing with Mint (getting ready for a 40% drop in income starting in May when DH stops working).

Jessie said...

Please don't give up on that resolution to blog more often! I love reading your posts. I hope all is well with your family, and good luck on your financial resolutions. Sounds like you're off to a good start.

Tess said...

Hi Grace,

I just wanted to weigh in and tell you that I love your blog and miss you when you're not blogging regularly, for those of us trying to find a path to a meaningful, fulfilling life while living more frugally and saving for retirement it is good to know that there are bumps in the road (cuz there sure are in mine!). And I am eager to hear about your life with your new son.

Best - Tess

Tess said...

Hi Grace,

Just wanted you to know that I read yoru blog regularly and miss you when you're not blogging. Please don't let the bumps in the road stop you from sharing your journey to retirement while living a full, fulfilling, giving, connect life. You are an inspriation to me as I face my own potholes and occasional detours in my efforts to live more frugally and sustainably as I move through the last decade of my working life.

Mutant Supermodel said...

Ugh the gazelle intensity. Sigh. Glad to see a post from you. How's life as a mom-again?