Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 in Review

Inspired by Money Beagle's 2011 in Review, I'm going to do one of my own!


I started the year by making 11 New Year's Resolutions for 2011 - an ambitious list! I struggled with spending money on drinks at brunch and yoga and dance classes. I got a pretty significant hair cut (over a foot!) which was also the most I've ever paid someone to cut my hair (verdict: worth it, but I prefer it longer). Behind the scenes, Peanut and I started seriously thinking about leaving New York.


I explored what I'm really saving for and the type of person I want to be. While privatizing my blog a little, I learned a lot about the excuses I used to make that kept me from saving more. I copied Cordelia by officially listing some quits - things that stuck with me all year long! (Maybe it's time to make some more!)


I opened up about being shy about how much I make (which garnered me a link from The Simple Dollar!), I found classes available for barter, and disclosed why I think automating your finances is a terrible idea. I stumbled upon the How TV Ruined Your Life series from the BBC and was really gobsmacked by it. Behind the scenes, Peanut and I officially decided to leave New York as soon as he got a job...and then he got one a week later.


I began two months of living alone, while packing up everything we owned and quitting my beloved job. I announced our plans to move in a series of hints. I attended a super swanky Spa Week event (my first perk from being a blogger). I turned 30.


Peanut and I started paying dual rent on our respective apartments, an experience that I am hoping not to repeat. I hoped that after moving cross-country, we'd move again in a year or two with less stuff than we had before. The Little Miss Moneybags that's currently packing up all the same things just SIX MONTHS LATER is quivering with joyless laughter.


We moved! I started my new job. I talked about how frugality carries over to spending other people's money as well as our own, reported on hiring full service movers and debated four scenarios for handling our debt/savings priorities.


I ran the costs on our new-to-us car. I explained how I earned money while in school and why wardrobe items aren't investments. I discovered that Minnesota summers include some of the most consistently gorgeous weather I've ever experienced. Because of that, the entire state government shut down for most of the month to enjoy it - that, or there was some sort of budget negotiation break down, I can't remember exactly. :)


Bored of money (our motto: we earn, we save, we wait), I talked about the free things I did this summer. I expressed conflicting emotions about Groupon (I've still never bought one, though I did buy a Living Social deal this fall). I wondered who the "real me" is and why I'm not living her life - and then I gave up caffeine so I could try to get her life after all. (I will drink regular tea now, but not coffee, and I prefer uncaffeinated tea when it's available. I sleep SO MUCH BETTER.)


I complained about deceptive junk mail and defined myself by something other than "consumer". Behind the scenes, we attended five weddings in five weeks and celebrated our first wedding anniversary.


I overscheduled myself (again) and questioned the costs - both financial and time - of some of my hobbies. After taking the bus to work one day, I considered the cost of public transit. My student loan company made gigantic errors switching platforms, double charged me and got me hit with an insufficient funds fee from a bank account I'd revoked their access to. I praised skepticism and talked about spending within our means. I made lists of things to do with time off and to my car. We applied - and got approved - for a mortgage! I spent the entire month researching dental insurance.


We bought a house! Since it was sooner than we'd originally planned for, I got a little defensive about putting only 10% down and paying PMI - but ultimately I realized that it shows how little I really know about financial situations I've not yet faced.


I started focusing on the one resolution I basically ignored for the previous eleven months. I spent money to save money, realized I have the world's sharpest left elbow, and stressed about becoming a grown-up. I survived taking a significant other home for the holidays for the first time ever and managed to have a nice time despite my nerves.

In Summary

2011 has been, in general, a year of high points. I'm happy, healthy, and in a good place in my life. My thirties are turning out to be so much better than my twenties would have indicated, and I plan to enjoy the hell out of the rest of them.

For 2012, I hope for more of the same. We'll move into our house and discover the joys of homeownership. I have plans to travel with my mother and sister as well as for work, and I am working on some goals that will create more time and space to really enjoy where I am in life. Peanut and I will continue living off of one income while using the other to save and pay down student loans and mortgage debt. Of course, as I can see from 2011, anything can change in a year's time - but hopefully even if the circumstances turn out differently than we would have predicted, everything will be all right - or better - when the dust settles.

How was your 2011? Do you have any big hopes for 2012?


  1. I also turned 30 and celebrated my first wedding anniversary in 2011. I had a great year and my husband and I will be moving into a new house together at the end of January, the end of two months living apart because of work. are we your mirror couple? Especially since our plan for 2012 is to live off one income while using the other to save for a house deposit. Also we are starting to talk about starting for a family once we hit our second anniversary. 2011 was a great year for us that included saving and a holiday in Thailand. All the best for a successful and happy 2012, I'll be reading with interest.

  2. Wow, you are our mirror couple! Or maybe we're yours!

    Hopefully our luck carries over into 2012 and beyond.

  3. I love this breakdown. What a great way to look back at the year. You had a good one.


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