Goodbye 2017: The Year In Debt Review

See my past end of year reviews here:  2014 Review  |  2015 Review  |  2016 Review

2017 In Review:

In the Winter, after declaring my 2017 goals, I soon developed a new found interest in beefing up my emergency fund. After waiting for months following my promotion at work, I finally learned what my pay raise would be, and it was disappointing to say the least. I bounced back from that let down, and set aside some money from my bonus to fund my sinking funds. This included a ‘health maintenance fund’ for doctors visits and medical tests, as I was getting concerned about some chronic health issues.   Read More

Goodbye 2016: The Year in Debt Review (+ Net Worth)

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It is that time of year again. Check out my past reviews:

  •  2014 Year in Debt – I still want to be the ‘umm, no’ cat in that post when I grow up.🙂
  •  2015 Year in Debt – What an emotional and financial roller coaster! It was a year of health and job loss scares.

 

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In 2016, I started off the year with worthy goals and lots of optimism. In January, I got hit with a $750 bill for short term disability over-payment because my employer hadn’t calculated taxes properly following my surgery in 2015. Next, I paid off the last bit of medical related credit card debt and was now credit card debt free AGAIN. In February, I had a temporary panic about potentially losing my cheap (for this area) rented room. Panic is the right word, given that so much of my potential to make progress on this debt hinges on my ability to continue paying below market rent for my room.

By March, I focused my attention on my student loan debt. As the Spring season began, Read More

Goodbye 2015: The Year in Debt Review

 

BYE-BYE-2015

It is that time of year again…

My 2014 Year in Debt post summed up the happenings of 2014.  And I still want to be the ‘umm, no’ cat in that post when I grow up. 🙂

2015

In 2015, I started off the year in high hopes. I was eagerly awaiting the grizzly end to my evil credit card.  By the end of February, I’d paid off my credit card debt. $30k in credit card debt gone! I felt great about my accomplishment. Two weeks later, I landed in the emergency room. I had developed a health condition that could no longer be ignored. Several tests and doctors visits later, it was determined that major surgery would be required.   Read More

Goodbye 2014: The Year in Debt Review

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As the clock ticks down on 2014, it is a natural time for reflection on the wins and losses and ups and downs of the year. It always seems as though the year flew by, and this was no exception.

I started off in 2014 with high hopes of finishing what I started in 2013 – finally killing this infernal credit card debt. In January 2014, I had $22,770 left in credit card debt (of my $30,340 total) and measured optimism. I knew that the single woman with double debt faces certain additional challenges to being able to turn around her finances. I also knew that in my case, the key to getting rid of this credit card debt within the year would hinge on lowering my living expenses.

I was not happy in my living arrangement for most of 2014. I really wanted still want to have my own place, but that is completely impossible in my high cost of living area. To live in a nice place, and in a nice area, many people spend on rent what I bring home in an entire month.

Ummm, no.

umm no cat

Sadly I can’t afford that. So, if I must live with roommates then, I knew I needed to make it as financially worthwhile as possible.  I couldn’t wait to get out of the onerous lease that I was trapped in.

At work, my awesome direct manager left to work at another employer and…

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Yes, she did. And I was afraid of reporting to the senior manager as she was quite intimidating to me. I was afraid that I might lose my job if I displeased her. I am happy to report that the senior manager and I have since worked together on a couple of projects and I no longer find her quite so intimidating at all. She has been quite kind to me, however I do know that I have room for improvement.  In other words I’m not shaking every time I get called into an unplanned meeting, but I’m not still naive enough to think that I can get comfortable in my role. The job is challenging and is at the upper range of my skill set, so it will continue to be draining as I develop professionally.  I also have a new direct manager who is also great. Things are not perfect, as it is sometimes very stressful at work, but I am grateful to have an income.

By April, I’d paid down half of my credit card debt to $15,000. It was a proud moment for me, as the first half of the journey is the hardest. The balances are at their highest and payments appear to have the smallest impact. By April, I was at the midway point. I was finally gaining momentum. I was starting to see a life beyond this credit card debt. I was starting to dream of doing something that I’ve wanted to do for over a decade — take an international trip — once the credit card debt was gone. While most of the leaders in the personal finance blogosphere warn against such choices, as it could lead to a life of reckless and out of control behavior…

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…I got some good words of encouragement from you guys to help me keep things in perspective.

I’ve realized that travel is important to me, and that I don’t want to wait another 10 years before I can see the world. That is a prison sentence. I plan to take a trip in 2015 or 2016, depending on when I have the credit card debt gone for good and have cash saved up for the trip. So daydreaming of exotic locales also keeps me motivated these days.

In June, I found a new room to rent and was over the moon happy to spend $1,000 less on rent every month. Seriously the cost of living here is ridiculous. My new living arrangement with my three Craigslist roommates is far from perfect, but much better than what I had before. I’m having to put up with things that I ordinarily would not put up with, but that’s the price I have to pay for such reasonable rent. With that extra money going toward debt, I was able to pay down my credit card debt to $9000+ by August. Breaking that 4-digit mark was a great psychological boost. Now with 4-digits of debt, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It helped me to renew my resolve.  I continued to make my payments. My debt dropped slowly to $6,000+.

In the last few months of 2014, I feel like I’ve been on a debt carousel. I’ve stalled at the $6,000+ mark. Unexpected but necessary medical expenses, along with a poorly controlled food budget have slowed my payoff.

Spending confession: Holiday Hangover

One step forward…two steps back. Is that how the saying goes?

hangover

After reaching an all-time low credit card balance of $5,567 at the beginning of December, I now have $7,190.47 in credit card debt. Ugh! I want to strangle myself sometimes.  What the hell happened? What did I even spend it on?

I just looked at my statement and did some eyeball calculations. Numbers are approximate.

$285  Groceries & food
$100  Credit card interest  (My 0% transfer rate has now ended.)
$300  Holiday Gifts
$333  Handmade Bed Quilt
$100  Books (work-related)
$500  Clothes  (Half of which I will likely send back once they arrive.)

With my next paycheck I will pay some of this back down. All in all, however, it’s been a pretty good year financially — down from $22,770 to $7,190  $5,990 in CC debt.

Addendum:

Woot! I got my last 2014 direct deposit paycheck this morning and promptly put the bulk of it toward the credit card debt.
With only hours remaining in 2014, my ending credit card balance will now be $5,990.00

With more careful planning, it should have been zero, but I’ll take what I can get. Now that interest has kicked in on my credit card again, this really needs to die, and soon.

Thanks guys for reading along and sending kind words my way throughout the few years that I’ve been posting here.

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Goodbye 2014!

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)