Okay, so I’m a bit late to the “how much I paid off in 2018” party because it’s fully January 19th, 2019 as a write this, but better late than never, am I right?
So I would say that throughout the entirety of 2018, I basically felt like a complete failure at debt repayment. Now that I look back at my numbers, while I feel like I could have done better for sure, I feel like maybe my feeling like I’m failing constantly is a bit unrealistic.
So a lot of things changed for me this year. I went from living with my parents, basically refusing to have a social life, putting almost all my money into my student loans, and feeling a little bit insane as a result, to meeting a new (wonderful and frugal) man, moving in with him, paying half his rent, and loosening my spending restrictions significantly. As I have talked about before, I used to give myself 40$ every 2 weeks (so 20$ / week) for spending money. That was for everything: restaurants and anything else I wanted to buy. The result was me feeling a bit nuts, and then actually crying when my sister bought us Eric Church tickets for Christmas 2017, because I was just that deprived of a social life that her buying me permission to go out and be a human reduced me to tears. As a side note, when we went to that concert, I ended up getting completely obliterated and drunkenly ordering pizza from the taxi on the way home and then demanding that my sister watch the dominos “real time delivery tracker” while I passed out in the back seat. This was NOT my best moment, but it was a really informative moment for me about the effect that depriving myself of any money and any fun was having on me. Needless to say, after that, I decided to loosen my purse strings somewhat in 2018. I then spent 2018 in sort of a bit of a back and forth pendulum swing: allowing myself to spend a bit more, and then feeling like I was failing for having spent. This same trend continued with I moved in with my new man. Even though he is very frugal, he doesn’t have student loans or any consumer debt, so he is able to spend a lot more than I was used to doing on things like restaurants, while still paying down his mortgage and investing a significant amount. I ended up further loosening my spending restrictions this year as a result of adjusting to my new life with him, and I also had to look at my values and areas of spending, and do some reevaluating.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I also received a tax return this year as a result of finally getting CRA to accept my American student tuition from 2012 to present. I received money back in the amount of 8895.53$. This means that if you take that away, I only increased my net worth by 13,459.47$ So this means that I didn’t do as well as I did last year, but I still consider it a win!
For this reason, 13,459.47$ is the number that I will try to beat in 2019, because I am not likely to magically have another 9000$ magically land in my lap. But a girl can dream…
So here is the breakdown of what I accomplished in 2018:
Overall net worth increase: 22,355$. This breaks down as follows:
- Total amount I reduced my debt: 16673$
- Total remaining in my emergency fund: 1059$
- Total contributed to retirement savings: 4220$
- Total remaining in my auto maintenance (what remains at present after some repairs – I have to refill this now): 403$
So my emergency fund and auto maintenance were higher before, but then I had 3 consecutive things go wrong with my car and I had to pull from both of those accounts. This was discouraging, but hey, at least I had them to pull from! I will have to refill these categories as we move into 2019.
So looking at these numbers, I feel like I could have done a lot better, but I also feel like I have learned a lot, and like I made great strides. Here are some accomplishments that I see:
- I never had an emergency fund before, and now I do, and it has even helped me out once already when things went wrong with my car, so that feels like a win.
- I had (before the car things) about 1400$ in my auto maintenance category for a couple months, and that is more than I have ever been able to say before, when my credit cards were maxed out, and a car issue would have crippled me.
- I have been learning about myself and about what I need to spend, what I don’t, and what my valued are. I am excited to continue to learn.
- I have been contributing to my retirement funds a bit through automatic withdrawals, and this helps me to feel like I am also moving forward toward my future, as opposed to just climbing out of a hole. This has taught me about what helps me to feel motivated, and it feels like another win.
So there you have it. This is my progress for 2018. I feel like there is a lot more progress to make, but I am recognizing my accomplishments and lessons learned, and I am excited to keep learning and hopefully eventually accomplish my goals.
How did you do with your financial goals this year? What were your lessons learned? What were your challenges?
As always, thank you for reading.