First, I want to congratulate everyone

on ANY successes this year. Heck, even if it was merely treading water, or not sinking in deeper, or not sinking in as fast, or bailing the boat faster than the floodwaters were coming in, ANY progress is still progress! Just being on the list I think is sign that we know the monster, and the monster is us, and we’re working on changing our nature. That’s light-years ahead of most folks. So, no matter what happened in 2012, good bad or ugly (and we all had some of that), pat yourselves on the back because you’re still on the DR list. That means you’re still working on how to be better than you were. And that needs recognition no matter what.
I’d also like to formally introduce a new concept that I think we collectively could work with a bit more often. We’ve talked about Murphy quite a bit, and it’s been helpful to know that any one of us isn’t the only one with a bullseye occasionally painted on our proverbial hull. But what about those moments when opportunities unexpectedly come a-visiting, either in the form of a cash windfall, a new job, a new direction in life, a generally piece of unexpected good news? We all have those too, and I think they might often go unrecognized. So I’d like to introduce Millie, who is the anti-Murphy. Millie is the friend we don’t expect to show up, but who always brings good news when she appears on our door.
Having said all that, 2012 has proven to be The Year Of Taking Stock Of Our Lives. Goodness, did we take stock. Financially, emotionally, business-wise, personally, career-wise, spiritually, family-wise. Nothing was untouchable and nothing was sacred and nothing avoided the glare of “why are you in my life? Do you warrant a place in my life?” Without going into excruciating detail, we jettisoned a whole lot of emotional baggage in the form of friends/family who take more than they give. No, we didn’t tell them to jump off a bridge, and we didn’t sever connections with anyone. But we make a conscious decision that we weren’t going to play the drama games anymore. That gave us emotional energy to go deal with the rest of things.
Secondly, DH and I have been working really hard to improve our own relationship. How we interact for money, for business, for household needs, for personal needs – all of that got some intense scrutiny and changes/improvements are ongoing. I don’t think we could have made the progress in other categories, without that part of things.

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Well I’ll start out saying we’ve been bad this year

We have pretty much been not sticking to our budget. We’re not buying “stuff” but just not following our plan. We have an adult child that’s been only part time at work and struggling. We have been helping him by having him do work for us for the money we give or he pays it back within the month. He may be going full-time in January where he works and that will help get him off our payroll, although it’s been really nice to get some of the things done that he has done for us that DH just doesn’t have time or knowledge to do. We ARE getting back to it now that the holidays are through though.
We did something that Dave would not recommend this year, but so far it’s worked out great for us. I don’t want to encourage anyone else to do this but I do want to be honest with you guys because I see a lot of people on this list being honest.
We took out a home equity loan with 4% interest to refinance our debt because most of the cards we carried balances on were at about 20% or more after all the changes in interest rates we all took a few years back. I did try to do a regular loan refi on it but being unsecured they would not extend that much credit to us. We weren’t making a lot of progress on our credit cards with the interest and amounts and with our not following our budget certainly that didn’t help. Anyways in the 3 months that we’ve been paying on this loan we’ve already paid it down about $1300 just making the minimum payment. January we need to take to get our emergency fund back up to the $2500 I like to have and then we’ll start nailing our debt big time in February.

So my goals for this year are:
1) to STICK to our budget on a monthly basis.
2) to get really GAZELLE and nail down this debt in a major way.
Don’t know if you want to hear non-financial goals but here they are:
1) Get back to church and get spiritually healthy.
2) Get physically healthy, making a commitment to do SOMETHING every single day, even if it’s only 15 mins of Sansone.
I am going to try to check in here and post weekly how I’ve stuck to my goals in an effort to stay on them and be accountable.

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