01 January 2011

He's a big dumb animal, isn't he, folks?

I'm going to post about my financial year and future, but before I have to post about my amazing idiot skills:

Last night I got home from a KC New Year's celebration at approximately 3am. At that point, I attempted to operate my brand new humidifier.

I'm in love with this humidifier, okay? It's the best purchase I've made in a long time. I woke up with a sore throat for so long I thought I was just going to learn to deal with it as one of those "I'm getting older" things, but then the humidifier changed that. My throat is still dry in the morning, but in a normal, non-painful way. I love you, humidifier.

Now, I'm not going to pretend I was at 100% brain capacity at 3am. It was New Year's- one might imagine what was happening with my brain. But I was in no way tripping over my couch or anything (that didn't happen until a complete 100% me went to make a bagel this morning). So I filled the little tank with water, like I think I've done before, and I turn on the fan. After falling asleep for about 15 minutes, I heard the fan gurgling. I looked down and, even in the dark, I could tell there was a large pool of water on the floor of my studio apartment. I turned the machine off and cleaned it up, but this morning when I woke up, there was another pool.

Then, after tripping over the couch to make a bagel this morning, I tripped on a chair leg and my bagel fell butter side down on the top of the couch. It's been an adventurous morning.

So money. Let's look at the highlights and lowlights of my money in 2010:

Highlight: Getting my car payment reduced.

That was fantastic. It was cut in half, saving me approximately $200 a month. More importantly, I got to keep my car! I was genuinely worried for a moment about that. Even to the point to where my dad and I went to a local Ford dealership to see about trading it in for something used and cheaper. So that was super awesome.

Lowlight: Student loan explosion.

This is still happening, but I'm getting a hold on it. Due to a ridiculously complicated series of events that my graduate school screwed up like mad, I had to start paying my loans in September of this year. The payments are over $500 a month. I was able to pay them initially, but as the year went on it became clear this was an unrealistic expectation of my monthly budget. So, in order to address the situation, I have completed a student loan consolidation form. One of my loans, I discovered, is not able to be consolidated, but its payment is only $77 a month. Not too bad. But this, if it goes through (and Lord knows I'm praying it does), would save me over $250 a month. That's huge! And I would still be able to put money back into savings. The only problem, and the true reason this is a lowlight, is that I'm behind on a few of them now because the payments were too high. What sucks about that, and what sucks about falling behind in general, is that I can't afford to catch up. This consolidation needs to happen soon. I'll keep you updated.

Highlight: My amazing financial success in going on vacation.

I have taught summer school the past several summers in order to finance a trip to New York City. I'm very blessed to have a friend to stay with in NYC, so that saves a huge amount of money each trip. The most expensive part is the flight. Other than that, I made a special effort this year to make the trip financially feasible. And I did it with tremendous success. I came home with way more money than I expected, and that was after going on a tiny little shopping spree at Macy's. It was a really memorable trip, as always. The afternoon Erika and I spent on the beach on Long Island was one of the best days of my life- ridiculously relaxing!

Lowlight/Highlight: The bankruptcy itself.

It was a difficult decision. It obviously will impact my credit and financial future for years to come, but considering the ins and outs of my situation, I still feel there was not another choice. So the negatives are clear- screwed up credit for the next ten years-ish. The positives, however, are being able to get my financial life together for the first time... ever, really, having a way out of my financial black hole, and (the biggest/best one) FREEDOM. The bankruptcy gave me much needed freedom. The weight that was lifted from my shoulders was tremendous. It was physical. I felt it. I still feel it.

As for 2011, I have a few money goals:

1) Have my student loans completely figured out. Hopefully this happens soon with the consolidation going through.

2) Not be behind on any bill. That, again, can be solved with #1 happening.

3) Continue adding to my savings. Thanks to my savings, I didn't have to use any of my monthly paycheck on Christmas gifts. I was able to pull from savings. Unfortunately that did deplete the savings account a bit, but I'm back on the war path to building that up.

So here's to 2011 being fantastic. Better than 2010. Way better than 2009. The best year I've had. The past two have really sort of blown- I'm due for a really good one. And I'd also like to thank you all- thanks to your generous ad clicking I got a payment last year that I put toward those awful student loans! Since then the money has been scant at best, but that one push was meaningful and much appreciated. You guys are the best. :)

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