Thursday, January 16, 2014

A New Year, An Improved Me

I have never liked the idea of "A New Year, A New You." I don't want to be totally different I want to be better, to make improvements, not be a totally different person. This year I hope to grow closer to God, change our financial situation for the better, to take steps toward being healthier, and to better prioritize my life.

Financially we ended the year on a pretty good note. Not perfect but a lot better than I thought. All the money we received as gifts, we used to fund savings' account. We added to our emergency savings, started a car, vacation, and Christmas savings and started a new savings account for the irregular spending categories in our budget. I also set up direct deposit for this new savings so money will automatically go in there each time I get paid. We are paying extra on our smallest credit card balance and hope to have it paid off by June and then start really attacking the higher credit card balance and have both paid off by the end of the year. Part of this depends on the size of our tax return. We are hoping to be able to finish paying off the smaller balance and put a good chunk toward the higher balance at that time but we shall see. In case you are curious about where we stand in the whole bankruptcy thing at this point, the holidays have held up Matt filing so we are waiting to hear from lawyer that all paperwork is ready to be signed and such. Also started paying the fees for that this month, thankfully they have a monthly payment plan. Really anxious to get Matt filed and be done with this and put it behind us as best we can and start taking steps to improve Matt's credit. (Update after I started writing this, paperwork is almost complete!)

At the end of December this is how we stood financially:

Debt Balances

Credit Card #1: $435.50
Credit Card #2: $4,116.46
Mariner: $12,924.75
Student Loan #1: $25,080.87 (corrected 2/9/14)
Student Loan #2: $57,328.16
Grand Total: $99, 885.74

Talk about a scary number. We have a mortgage basically and we don't even have a house. We have dug ourselves into this hole by only making minimum payments and making some bad decisions i.e. we spent too much on our vehicle and we never should have gotten a second credit card because we used it when the money ran out instead of planning better. But it happens. I feel guilty that about 3/4 of our debt is my student loans. It is one of the reasons that Matt filing for bankruptcy is the best option, we can't afford to pay his debt because we have to put so much money towards mine.

Here is a breakdown of how much money we spent on variable expenses in December:

Groceries: $440.35
Dining Out: $195.30
Gas: $623.12
Fun: $11.66
Misc: $75.36

Holy Gas Money!! Think most of that is all the travel for holidays and we fell off the car pooling wagon as the month went on. We also had to travel to a funeral. We did better on groceries than in Nov but we spent more on eating out. Guess it sort of balances out....still so far to go but miles from where we started. 

Here is how we did on variable expenses in December:

Car: $461.41
Medical: $15.52
Gifts: $132.98
Clothing: $57.56
Household: $70.55

I was excited when I first started writing this post because I thought I would be able to share that we didn't use a credit card once in December but I was mistaken. Forgot about fixing the Mariner. Some of the work was covered by warranty but still really hurt paying for that. We didn't spend anything on Pets (besides food which is included in grocery) or propane (which I still have to ask my grandparents about the bill). 

Overall in December we went over budget by $469.35 which is basically the car repairs which I felt pretty good about. We still need to really work on reigning in unnecessary spending. I think for financial updates in the blog for this year I am going to focus mainly on our paying down our debt and our progress in that aspect instead of our overall budget, unless there is something I change or feel especially proud of :-D.

In other news I was reading this post over at Pinstrosity and had a revelation. I haven't made resolutions the last couple years for the very reasons she speaks about. So I am going to give this a try, I don't know if I will be able to come up with 101 but I am going to try before February and will post it on here and update on the progress throughout the year. Also I started a devotional at the beginning of the year and have been mostly keeping up on it and started reading Genesis (for the like the 100th time, hoping this time the bible reading sticks!!!). Also started a reading group with some friends to read 16 books that will be coming out as movies this year. Feeling good being busy again. This post has taken me over a week to write already so think it is about time to wrap it up. Will try to post about these other things this weekend.