2008 The Year of Change

This year will undoubtedly go down as a year of change for a lot of people. The markets crashed, companies failed and America elected their first Black President. Although I saw all of these events occur they really had little impact on me because I was living my own year of change. For me this was probably the most eventful year in a long time; this year I:

  • Changed jobs twice
  • Bought and moved into a new house
  • Struggled financially
  • And most importantly my wife and I had a baby

All in all this was a good year and one I learned a lot it its also one that I will remember for many years to come. The above items are some of the key items that I remember when I think about this year; there was a lot more that occurred but these are the items that I really remember.

Changed Jobs Twice

I have worked since I was 19 years old and gotten firmly entrenched in the rat race. For me this translates to needing to have a job at all times just to keep my bills afloat. I am still living from paycheck to paycheck and I probably will for a couple years more. With this said having a job that I like is important to me, not to mention one that pays well. The first job change this year was not by choice the company I was with was constantly in flux and I fell out of being needed, so I ended up with a smaller organization which I really enjoyed unfortunately they didn’t pay me as much as I needed. By the time our daughter was born I was starting to feel the financial crunch. I went back to a position that that I both enjoyed and was good at with a larger organization. So far I think this is the best conscious choice I’ve made this year.

Struggled Financially

When I took the job with the smaller company they weren’t able to pay me very well, the experience was great but when it came to paying my bills things were starting to suffer. I haven’t gotten a credit score in a couple months but I think I might have hurt my credit rating because of all of my difficulties. I really learned the meaning of want and need because of this and I believe that I am better for it now. The good thing here is that I was able to keep everything mostly on track where in reality things could have been far worse. With the baby and knowing what its like not to make a lot of money I am in a far better position to get out of debt and hopefully in time the rat race. Being broke is not a way I want to live my life anymore, the stress of it isn’t worth it and I am capable of getting out of this situation.

Bought and moved into a new house

When I met my wife she already had a place and I moved in with her, because we were expecting a child we needed more space and decided to move. For me this was the first time that I bought and moved into a house I owned. There was a lot of work that went into this and I’m thrilled with the house. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done and that will happen over the next few years. We managed to get a great deal on our house so the bursting of the housing bubble really hasn’t impacted us and as we make improvements and update this house over the next few years we should be able to make some money off this investment. Though I have to say there is a lot of work that goes into maintaining a house rather than a condominium or an apartment.

Having a Baby

Back on October 4th my wife gave birth to our daughter and I know that this day is and will be the most profound day of my life. Everything has slowly been changing in our lives as a result and I wouldn’t give any of it up. She’s precious and demanding but neither of us would trade this away for our old lives. She still requires all of our attention and the work and effort is made worth it by a single gummy smile. For her I am grateful and she makes me want to be a better person and I know over time she’ll succeed in making me one.

I have grown up a lot this year and my priorities have shifted around a lot; this isn’t better or worse than what my priorities were last year they are simply different. I have a new perspective on life and I am glad I have it. Next year will not be the year of change but the year of settling down. It doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of change, there will be but I am hoping for a little stability and hopefully getting some of my finances under control. This year has been a year of change for a lot of people and each one of them has a story, this was mine and it wasn’t controlled by the markets or politics, it was also my year for growth. Tomorrow I’ll post some goals that I have for the New Year.

Have a great New Years everyone!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Happy holidays everyone! Its been a while since I managed to find time to post though I hope all of you have had good holidays up to this point. Our babies first Christmas has been very eventful with all sorts of new activities and new people around to entertain her. Its meant we’ve been busier than expected too; but that’s ok (babies only have a 1st Christmas once).

Overall this has been a very eventful year for me and I really hope things will start to calm down a bit in the new year. I am really enjoying the new job and with the baby getting bigger hopefully I will have some more time. Since have posted so little this month I should at least close the year out with a few good posts. Tomorrow I’m going to post about my year and maybe throw in a comment or two about the economy. Wednesday I was thinking that I should write about my goals for the new year including for this site.

Spending Less Money this Christmas

The economy is taking front and center as the biggest news story of the year and its particularly telling this Christmas season. A lot of people are cutting back on their expenses this holiday season keeping their costs down. I will be one of those people who are spending less this year but its not as a result of the economy. My finances will be playing catch up for a few months, the good thing is that my new job will help me get caught up. This is the main reason for lowered spending for me; there is simply not as much money available.

One thing the economy is impacting me is the fact that I won’t place any Christmas expense on credit cards. I am trying to keep my costs as low as possible for the next few months and spending on my credit card won’t help me at all. The economy has solidified my belief that credit cards shouldn’t be used if you can’t afford to spend the money. This type of overextending yourself financially is something that has gotten me and a great many people into financial trouble over the years.

Here are a few things that we’ll be doing to keep costs down this Christmas:

  • Setting limits on gifts (quantity and price)
  • Planning who to actually buy gifts for
  • Letting people know we’re spending less (hopefully this can lower gift expectations)
  • Finding alternatives to expansive items

Are you cutting costs this holiday season? Do you have any suggestions for spending less this Christmas? (I’m still having issues with the comments on this blog – email me you suggestions at matt@onemillionandbeyond.com and I’ll post them as updates to this post)

Weekly Budget – Week 28 (Dec 1-7)

Last week was budget was thrown into a bit of turmoil since I didn’t remember when I made the budget up about a couple x-mass social events. We don’t get out very much with the baby but we are starting to visit with her and have people come by. This brings with it additional costs and that is exactly what I ran into last week. Other than these additional costs the past weeks budget was pretty reasonable. Here are the final numbers:

Weekly Budget
Nov 24-30
  Budget Actual
Alcohol $30.00 $133.75
Food-Lunch $0.00 $15.72
Food $125.00 $40.00
Gas $25.00 $39.16
Entertainment $0.00  
Smokes $30.00 $19.95
Misc $40.00 $59.18
Transportation $15.00 $2.75
Stupid $10.00  
Total $275.00 $320.27

This weeks numbers will be a bit inflated since it’s the first of the month an I have a few new costs. One of these new costs will be getting a transit pass to get to work. The nice thing about this is it’s a one time cost for the month; because I won’t be driving to the office or paying for parking this month my overall costs should be reduced. I am going to add some additional funds into the alcohol and food categories for the balance of the month mostly because of the holiday season. Although we’re not expecting guests or going out for the balance of the week the chance is definitely increased at a last minute. Here is my budget for the week:

Weekly Budget
Dec 1-7
  Budget Actual
Alcohol $50.00  
Food-Lunch $20.00  
Food $125.00  
Gas $15.00  
Entertainment $0.00  
Smokes $30.00  
Misc $40.00  
Transportation $175.00  
Stupid $10.00  
Total $465.00  

Other than the added costs for transportation and increased food and alcohol amounts gas should be a bit lower but everything else should be pretty much the same. I am looking forward to this week because I’ll be starting my new job which looks to be both challenging and rewarding financially.