People say time goes by faster as you grow older, and I’m thinking they’re right. Maybe it’s because my life has been so full of chaos in 2011, but it seems wrong to be summing up the year so soon after it began. Oh well, I guess that makes me an old lady. Get off my lawn, turn that music down, etc.
2011 hasn’t been my favorite year ever, but it’s definitely been one of the most interesting in awhile. Here are just a few of the experiences I’ll never forget.
Starting a blog. Early in January, I started a Twitter account so I could follow my bank. Nerdy, I know. Then I got the brilliant idea to start a blog – nothing special, just a place to ramble about my newfound financial transformation. So on Single Awareness Day (Valentine’s Day for those of you who aren’t forever alone), I wrote my first post. I never imagined people would actually read my writing or that my blog would turn into anything more than a hobby.
Joining the Yakezie Network. I don’t know what in the world made me brave enough to enter the Yakezie challenge a month after I started my blog, but I’m so glad I did. I get to pick the brains of the PF world’s rockstars, learning all kinds of things that have helped my site grow into something that (hopefully) helps other people, namely single moms struggling with finances and debt.
Paying off my credit card debt. In July, I made my final credit card payment. I’ve used the cards since then, but I’ve been smart enough to pay them off each month (except in November when my financial situation was pretty bleak). The balances are at zero again heading into 2012 and I intend for them to stay that way.
Attending the Financial Blogger Conference. I had only been blogging for a minute when I bought my ticket to FINCON11 back in April. I assumed that a few people might know me by the time October rolled around, and if not I’d sell the ticket. I proceeded to drive to Chicago and spend one of the most educational and entertaining weekends of my life. I came home closer to my fellow bloggers and ready for world domination. Okay, not really, but it WAS a great experience, and I can’t wait for FINCON12!
Declaring myself a spendaholic in remission. You guys know I’m not trying to live a frugal or minimalist lifestyle. I just wanted to quit spending money that needed to go toward other things. And after a whole year of paying no late charges, overdraft fees, or bank fees of any kind, I feel like I’ve made it. I still have to watch myself, but I can go into a mall for one thing and come out with just that one thing. Which is a miracle.
Changing to a job that didn’t pay anything. Who knew that one job could have so many dramatic twists and turns? I took a risk that I thought was a smart one, only to find that it was one of the dumbest things I’ve done in a long time. Honestly, though, I learned more from that experience than any other job I’ve ever held. Like the fact that offer letters don’t always match up with reality because sometimes even HR has no clue what’s going on.
Dealing with my son’s school. I don’t know if every parent of a special needs child has to fight tooth and nail or if it’s just a privilege reserved for me, but this year has been full of drama where school is concerned. I’ve watched my child, who has a near-genius IQ, make Ds and Fs in his classes because he doesn’t have the proper accommodations he needs to learn. It’s exhausting to explain to people that a very smart child can still struggle in certain areas. And it’s heartbreaking to listen to Jayden say he’ll never be able to go to college because his best effort isn’t enough. This battle will continue into 2012, though I think we’re making progress.
Being sued for an old medical debt. This one is still ongoing but it’s weighing on my mind the most. The whole situation just pisses me off because I didn’t know about it until it was critical. All I can do now is make arrangements to deal with it. And keep better track of my credit reports to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Slacking off on debt repayment. Between all the uncertainty with my paychecks and the fact that my car loan balance seems so huge, I kind of stopped the mad dash to pay off my debt. And while it’s great that I’m not taking on any new debt, I need to get serious again when it comes to paying off what I already have. When I get an idea of what my income for 2012 will look like, I fully intend to get back on the payoff bandwagon.
I already mentioned my reluctance to set goals for 2012 because my situation is up in the air right now. So I just want 2012 to be a continuation of 2011, but better. I’m shooting for better relationships with my friends and family (especially my blogger friends!), more earning, less spending, and the ability to step over life’s hurdles without freaking out so much.
You might notice that I didn’t mention anything about quitting my job to write full-time. Honestly, that’s because I’m not sure if that was the smartest choice I ever made or the dumbest. We’ll see what 2012 has in store for me!
Thanks to All of You
I appreciate every single person who takes the time to visit my little blip on the blogosphere. I’m no finance guru, but the fact that people read here tells me that I’m not alone in wanting to hear from REAL people who are struggling with the same things I’m going through. Some people want the opposite, which is fine; I’m just glad for all of you and I hope you’ll stick around to see how the new year plays out.
I hope 2012 is a fantastic year for all of you, and one full of great financial decisions. Just do the opposite of what I’ve usually done and you’ll be fine.