Before we dig into the financial failure that was 2017, let me be honest with you. The last half of this year was difficult for me. I fell into a pattern of buying things I had gone without for a long time.
All those times of telling myself no to save money had its long-term effects on my personal belongings and emotions. When I finally felt in control of my money (after separating my finances from my ex-husband), the desire to buy nice things for myself rekindled. My divorce made me feel free and alive again, and I wanted to capitalize on that desire.
It started with new clothes. I didn’t go crazy, but it would be an understatement to say that my wardrobe was depressing. I hadn’t bought jeans in 5 to 10 years. New tops were few and far between, and thanks to all my purging, I had rid myself of a lot of cheap, ugly garments. Every piece I have purchased over the last six months has been intentional and high-quality. The long wool coat I always wanted? Purchased. New sweaters and wraps? Done. Fresh underwear and pjs? Yep.
But I didn’t stop there. I bought new bedding to transform my once “married” space. My laptop of three years was beginning to fail, so I splurged on a Samsung Chromebook (I can’t sing its praises enough and it was still cheaper than the laptop).
I have stayed on top of my spending, sitting at a plateau of paying off everything I purchased, but never decreasing the overall amount. For the past two years, I have eliminated my debt, slowly but surely. At the end of 2017, I can say that my debt is finally under the $60,000 mark.
Even though I have spent a lot of money this year, I am forgiving myself. I understand what this year has done to me and meant for my life. All I can do is move forward.
I am tired of spending money. I am done with school, and I have everything I could need or want now, so there should be no more big expenditures for a while. I feel no more desire to spend impulsively or selfishly. I have big plans for 2018. Failure is not an option.
A Look at the Numbers
In my 2017 third quarter debt report, I owed $61,636. As mentioned above, I spent a lot of money on myself and family (Christmas gifts), making it nearly impossible to decrease my debt. As of today, I owe $59,787.
- My credit card usage went up. I take responsibility for this. It won’t happen again.
- I paid my car loan down nearly $2,000.
- Student loans are officially under $30,000.
100 Day Spending Fast
Progress will be made. Beginning on January 1st, I am starting a 100 day spending fast. It won’t be perfect because there are a lot of things happening in the first three-four months of the new year. By April 10th, I plan on paying off $5000 in debt. That’s an aggressive goal considering the reduction in my income (from losing a dependent). However, my tax return combined with the spending fast should allow me to reach that goal.
Because a lot of things are happening in the first part of the year, it won’t be a super-strict spending fast like the one I completed in September. I will stop eating out and buying clothes. There will be no splurges. However, there will be some gifts I need to buy and some vet expenses for Motley. I will be budgeting for these things, but they will have an impact on my fast.
Overall, I feel good about 2017, but I’m even more excited for 2018. There is a lot of potential for the new year and I can’t wait to see how much debt I can pay off. How were your finances in 2017? Did you reach your financial goals?