Sunday, November 16, 2008

Year end update (a little early)

Once again I was reading Stretching a Buck and felt inspired to write my own post. Since Tim and I have really been working hard on our 'Financial Peace', I decided to recruit him to help me with this assessment. We didn't have written goals at the beginning of the year, but as we think back we've really accomplished a lot this year. For those of you new to this blog, we started listening to the Dave Ramsey cd's a little over a year ago. The first few months were spent practicing, which allowed us to start full force at the first of the year. Here's a recap of some of our accomplishments:

* Tracked every expense in a monthly budget each month
* Set a budget before the month began and stuck to it (For the most part. We some times have to shift from one category to another, but we stick to the over all limit)
* By tracking our expenses we were able to cut out a lot of excess and focus on debt. Between January 1 and now we've paid off our car loan, my credit card, and extensive legal fees. The car and credit card, alone, freed up $600 worth of mandatory expenses each month.
* By attacking our debt, especially during the first part of the year, we've been able to pay for a lot of things in cash that in years past we would have financed (or struggled paying) including new tires for our car, new windows for part of our house, all our medical bills (which is impressive since we had a baby and 2 trips to the E.R. this year), replaced our exhaust on the car, paid our deductible on our insurance claim, airfare for 3 to Florida, hotel expenses to see family, a temporary increase of $500 in our mortgage escrow, and several other increased or unexpected expenses.
* We shopped around the make sure we're getting the best deal our some of regular expenses, including cell phones, home phone, and insurance.
* Started regularly cutting coupons, shopping deals, and blog surfing to make the most of our monthly grocery budget.
* Started keeping track of some of this in our own blog

We still have a couple things we hope to accomplish before the end of the year. December is a bonus month for us, so we'll probably do a combination of early birthday shopping for Troy and debt reduction. We're debating between paying off our second mortgage and refinancing the house (since we're pretty sure we have 20% equity now) and going after my school loan debt instead.

We haven't set our goals for next year. We'll be working on that over the next month or so. I have things swimming in my head, but will save that for a future post.

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