Meh. Debt payment progress. Without the progress part.
Yeah, sorry, no trumpets or fanfare here. Not even a parade.
I’ve read a lot of other personal finance blogs with some pretty great reports on what they accomplished last year but that’s not really going to be me.
My debt payment progress has been not stellar. Some of it’s been life stuff. Some if it’s been not great financial decision stuff.
We have paid down things but then other things came up. For instance, we were rear-ended recently and the insurance company wrote the car off. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Canadian equivalent to America’s “gap insurance” for second hand cars. Consequently, we were left with a shortfall on the car loan when we received our settlement. So we bought a new car to replace the old one and now have three car payments instead of two.
We will have to take the owners to small claims court to recoup our losses. We’ll eventually get it back but that will also take time and money.
On the home appliances front, we had an older washer and dryer that just recently went kaput. We were hoping they would last another year but, tragically, they have gone the way of the lemming. Another couple grand there.
The point is not to inundate you with reasons why my life should be a country song, it’s just to emphasize the importance of being prepared. Life is always going to happen; we just need to be more ready for it.
Someone wise once said to me that life will teach you the same lesson over and over again until you learn it. I am a slow learner, apparently. 😉
So here are my totals:
January 2013 Balance: $35,500.00 (approx.)
Paid this year: $8090.00
New balance: $29,300.00
Store Credit Card #1:
January 2013 Balance: $1200.00 (approx.)
Paid this year; $1200.00
New balance: 0
Main Credit Card:
January 2013 Balance: $11,200.00
Paid this year: $6800.00
New balance: $10,085.00*
*This was just awful.
Despite the below average debt repayment progress, I did make some good headway on other fronts. My retirement contributions this year was a great step in the right direction for me. While there’s an argument for throwing everything at debt, I have to take into consideration that I’m in my mid-thirties and need to start retirement planning. Waiting is not going to help me avoid eating cat food in my “golden years”.
Another positive change we made was making decisions that increased our income. We did this by renting out our basement suite and by increasing my work hours to four days a week.
Here are my totals for investment contributions.
RRSP contributions 2014: $88oo.00
While the debt has to be a priority, I’m hoping to diversify a little bit and try out some other options.
2014 Moving Forward:
I realize I need to break down and build an emergency fund. It’s weird. Every time a thing happens, it costs $1000. I don’t know how every single thing costs $1000, but it does. So with those kinds of numbers, we’re just not able to weather the rainy days without some sort of nest egg. I’ll put it in a high interest savings account and junk but the real point is that we need a buffer. Money that we can access quickly for unanticipated events.
Another thing I need to do is accelerate my debt repayment plan. Unfortunately, there are some unavoidable expenses that are going to be happening over and above the regular budgetary concerns – and no, I’m not talking about special occasions or fancy vacations. I’ve got some ideas on how to deal with this but I’ll cover that in my NY (Un)Resolutions post coming up next week.
That’s it for now. My debt confessional is now concluded. Thanks for stopping by.