Year In Review

There are only a few days left in 2011, and it was quite the year for me.  I did a lot of traveling, did a lot of writing, lots of interaction with the yakezie and even my first blog conference.  I’d like to go back and look at how I started the year and how I finished the year (just like last year) to give everyone hope that debt repayment is possible and one reason I think you should focus on it: freedom.  Unfortunately, I didnt pay off as much debt as I did last year, but I was able to thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my labor from last year.  I had more cash flow, and I participated in quite a few weddings and bachelor parties, all out of state.  I didn’t have to say no to any of my good friends when they asked me to stand with them at their weddings or just asked me to attend because I “couldnt afford it”.  That in and of itself was awesome.

Along with all the travel this year, I also got engaged to an awesome woman and someone that I’m excited to share my life with.  I got a new job  so that I didn’t have to drive 100+ miles every day to and from work, and while the savings in dollars didn’t materialize right away, I do enjoy having a 7 minute commute instead of having a 50 minute one (though it sucks when it’s cold out).  Along with all of those, I did tons of work toward finishing my masters, and it should be officially done by May, 2012 – 3 years after I was supposed to be done, and 5 years after I started in the fall of 2007.  Better late than never?  I kept up with my goals for the year 2011 as best I could, and didn’t really totally fail at anything.  Though my spending got off track for a while, it was because I was taking money that would normally be used for debt repayment and spending it on something that I enjoy (spending time with friends and traveling) – which is more than OK with me.  Even though I would have liked to be totally out of debt before I did this, I didn’t add any new debt, so that’s all that matters.

Debt:

At the beginning of 2011, I had debts from 2 student loans and 1 vehicle loan, totaling $33,854(!!!) broken down as follows:

  • Truck Loan: $17,695
  • Student Loans (2):  $16,158
This was a far cry from all the old demands on my paycheck, when I had 7 different debts that I had to make minimum payments on.  That was a lot of people coming after my check before I could use it how I wanted, and the tax man isn’t even in those 7.  I was able to eliminate 4 of those in 2010, leaving me with 3 in 2011.  My goals for 2011 were to pay off the smaller student loan (~6k) and the truck loan.  I was able to pay off the student loan (despite tons of problems), as well as make significant progress on the truck thanks to a low interest rate on the loan and a hail storm.  After all that progress, here’s where I am now:
  • Truck Loan: $9,466
  • Student Loan (only 1 left): $11,359
The total remaining for my debt is $20,825  and it has gone down by $13,209.  Last year, I was able to pay down 17,964.  This year was a little bit lower than last year, but I’m still happy about the total.  The number is going down and not up, thankfully.  The only reason that my debt didn’t go up at all is because I worked so hard in 2010 to make sure my finances were on the right track.  However had I not done that, I would have either had to skip out on close friends weddings and bachelor parties, or put everything on a credit card.
How did you do this year?  Did you build up reserves, pay off debt, or do neither or both?  What are you looking to do next year?

22 thoughts on “Year In Review

  1. You did a great job paying down your debt. You had a pretty fantastic year personally too. Wishing you the best for 2012. Excited to see how much debt you’ll be able to pay off.

    • Thanks niki – though it’s not as much as last year or as much as i had hoped, I’ll still take it! You make a good point – it was a great year in the non financial sphere as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to pay off everything next year!

  2. Congrats on getting engaged. Word of advise from a newbie at The Yakezie Challenge. Be careful on your honeymoon. My son was born 9 months to the day… almost to the hour. 🙂

  3. Congratulations! It looks like 2011 was a momentous year for you. Hopefully you will get the debt all paid off in 2012, though with a wedding, that might be tough to do. Still, I bet your fiancee is glad that you have already kicked so much debt to the curb! Good work.

  4. Wow that is very impressive to be able to pay off as much of your debt as you have this year. Car loans are somewhat easy to payoff because you already have a set payment, what I struggle with is my student loans. If I paid off the minimum it would take me 20 year to pay off my debt. I am definitely looking for new ways to pay more into my student loans. Great post.

    • I totally agree with the student loans. I did good work on my other 2 (I had 3 total) but they were much smaller and seemed to go down faster than the one i’ve got left. I’d also rather pay off the car because of in the event of a job loss or something terrible, I can defer student loans, but they could repossess the truck (not that I’d ever see that happening, but i’d like to be ready for it anyway)

  5. Congratulations on your engagement! It looks like 2011 was a great year for you. I’m impressed by how well you did on your debt payments. That truck is almost paid off! Keep up the great work in 2012!

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