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2017 Year In Review

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Happy New Year!

Sorry for the “radio silence” over here. We went back to Texas for a week-long visit over New Years and then immediately dove into work upon returning, so things have been chaotic. I’d intended to write up a Year In Review post before the turn of the new year, but better late than never, right?

I’ve now been blogging for nearly 4 years now (I started in March 2014). I cannot even believe it. A lot of life has occurred since that time! For previous years in review, see here:

(Apparently I didn’t do one for 2014??)

2015 year in review

2016 year in review

Here’s a peak at what 2017 looked like for us:

Hubs’ work and school

This year, hubs’ business was ramping down and he started back to school full time (earning straight A’s for two consecutive semesters! Boom!)

Financial

We set some pretty lofty financial goals (which we didn’t hit, for the first year since starting to blog here). Even though we had lots of setbacks and downright financial failures, the whole year wasn’t a bust. We did eliminate the last of our medical bills, closing the door on a scary chapter of our lives related to the medical debt (read here about hubs’ mystery illness of 2013). I also got a huge raise at my full-time job, though it required me to sign a non-compete so I also left my part-time job. The end result is that I actually make slightly less per year (due to loss of part-time income), though I’m happy with the trade-off because I was killing myself working 65+ hour/weeks for 2 years and knew I couldn’t continue forever that way. I make a little less, but I have a much happier, healthier, and more balanced life. Worth it, if you ask me.

Set-Backs

We’ve had a fair share of financial set-backs (and simple over-spending) this year. For one, we grossly underestimated our taxes and got hit hard in April. We also had some car issues: the power-steering went out at one point, we had a tire blowout on the highway, and had to replace other tires later, and we had to replace all our brake pads and rotors. General over-spending occurred, too, explained in some of the posts linked in “Life Happenings”, below.

Kids’ Crafts

The kids were up to their usual crafting shenanigans. I blogged about crafts we made for Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

Life Happenings

A major bummer is that we actually increased our credit card debt this year. By quite a bit, actually. I waxed poetic about my thoughts of increasing debt and facing the harsh reality here. To give some context to what’s been happening in “life” as our debt has increased, I had a virtual coffee date and told a tale of two sisters, where I did some over-sharing. 🙂 I also talked about my general outlook on the process of getting out of debt. After all, I’m 3.5-years deep at this point!

Overcoming Debt

In the past couple months, I’ve really gotten intentional about trying to make some hard changes in an effort to get things under control and eradicate our debt. I talked about making our own yogurt (instant pot edition), saving money by checking receipts, using the cash envelope system, cooking from scratch, doing bulk cooking, taking advantage of free museum day and free family races, and utilizing no spend week challenges as a way to tame our spending.

 

We’ve got a long way to go, there’s no doubt. But with the change of the calendar, I feel a fresh sense of renewal. Rebirth. Start-over. All that good stuff. I’ll be back soon with some tangible goals and action-steps for our financial plans in 2018 and beyond!

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5 Comments

  • Reply debtor |

    Happy new year Ashley. I think the recaps help you put things in perspective and see all the changes that have occurred in your life. You’ve dealt with a lot in 2017!

    Wondering do you just not want to address the increased debt? So many people have asked followup questions and you’ve ignored most of them. It’s fine if you don’t want to or are not ready to share but please just tell us.

    Mostly wondering how the cc went up so high so quick. Sounds like there is so much more going on than just a little bit of lifestyle creep.

    Wishing you all the best in 2018 and don’t worry you’ve done this before so you have all the tools!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks for the warm wishes! I’m not trying to actively avoid addressing the increased debt. But when I get too bogged down in it, it becomes overwhelming. I know 25k in new CC debt out of nowhere is totally egregious and seems impossible (especially in just a few short months’ time), but there really wasn’t any one given thing. Some new blinds, windows, house stuff (Home Depot CC), but the vast majority was simple day-to-day spending. May-July was the worst. My raise didn’t go into effect until mid-August but I’d lost my part-time income and hubs had no income. We were accustomed to having 10k/month for living expenses and ended up with only $3500. We didn’t cut back our spending at all. So we racked up a solid $6k debt every month over the summer. My raise finally went into effect and we started to try to taper our spending (which we should have done all along), but we still weren’t making ends meet, so we continued living on credit cards (though to a much lesser extent….but still probably $1500-$2000ish of new debt per month) for another couple of months. There’s other stuff too – struggling with depression has made it challenging for me to focus on and deal with our finances like I should have, making it less of a priority, etc. But I think a lot of people are expecting there to be some big “thing” – like a $20,000 car or something. Nothing like that exists.

      • Reply debtor |

        Thanks for clarifying Ashley. That makes sense to me now. I didn’t realize the drop in your income was that drastic! Yikes. That would definitely be hard to adjust especially if you hadn’t tried to budget for it way in advance.

        I am so rooting for you. Every experience just adds to your wisdom. Take care of yourself and everything will come in due time.

  • Reply Emily N. |

    Thanks for checking in, Ashley! With the weirdness of the new blog owners, I start to worry that you won’t be back every time we don’t hear from you for a while.

So, what do you think ?