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.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Starting Over

A new year is always a time of starting over. For myself, never more so than 2013.

Not only am I starting over as a parent (of a boy, yet! The whole point of adoption was to insure that I had only girls). But I feel like I'm starting over financially as well.

I have no one to blame but myself.

At some point near Christmas, I simply threw the budget away and hauled out the credit cards from the ice tray in the back of the refrigerator. Hmm--maybe Dave Ramsey is on to something when he tells us to cut the darn things up!

I paid for a number of things including transportation and hotels so my grandson could be surrounded by his half-siblings at Christmas. I overspent on the clothes and toys, perhaps to make up to him all the things that were going wrong in his life. And then, to reassure my adult daughters that they had not been replaced, I overspent on them, too.

All in all, not a good financial ending to the year.

So I am now surveying the financial damage, and struggling to get back on track.

2013 promises to be an interesting year. Stay tuned.