Monday, 1 September 2008

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I started this blog. I was $56,772 in debt, and horrified, so decided to do something about it.

  • I had a personal loan that consisted of a car loan and a previous consolidation loan of my credits cards, which I had run up again & added new ones to – I was so smart – not.
  • I was making decent money but only paying the minimums & then reusing my cards over and over.
  • I was paying for things I didn't need or use and did nothing about it (gym membership, online DVD rentals etc)
  • I was buying my lunch every day, and buying up to 4 ‘bought’ coffees a day too
  • I ate a lot of take away meals & ate out in cafes & restaurants most weekends too
  • I was driving to work every day, and paying $17 a day for parking.
  • I was paying for my broadband service, even though there was a free staff plan available

I got a great new job in October, which I still love coming in to do each day, and pays me a lot more money!

In November I found out I had to move house. I had no emergency fund at all, no savings, so onto the credit cards it all went. Right before Christmas, and in the Sydney rental market, it was a nightmare.

December and January were consumed with the joys of finding a new place to live and actually moving house. I had a couple of nice financial surprises in the forms of some found money in my travel wallet & all my share dividends, as I’d never updated my mailing address. So I managed to still get my numbers down.

In February, all the moving bills came in and my total debts had actually increased to $61,836! Talk about two steps forward & three steps back. The credit crunch has also hit the world hard by this stage & all my interest rates had gone up, many more than 2%.

March saw my Baby Emergency Fund reach $1000 for the first time – Hurrah!

In April I shopped around for a cheaper Greenslip for my car, and knocked the front bumper off in the local KFC carpark – good times…

I bought a snazzy new vacuum cleaner in May, turned another year older and saw a run of 4 months of consistent debt reduction kick in – finally, some progress, small, but consistent.

June was an awesome month, my annual bonus arrived so I was able to make a serious dent on my debt and still put some money aside for my other goals. It also saw petrol prices in Sydney hit record highs.

July saw me get back under my original debt amount of $56,772 for the first time since February, it was a great feeling. I also scored the employee of the month award at work, which is worth $150 and I still haven’t spent it yet.

August was a pretty boring month to close out my first year, I am getting a lot more offers in the mail to increase my limits though and calls regarding financial advisors, so someone’s noticed I’m trying to pay down my debt.

What will the second year bring? Not sure yet, but I’ll continue to reduce my total debt every month, set goals for myself, and blog about it here!

So as numbers go:

  • September 2007: -$56,772
  • February 2008: -$61,836
  • September 2008: -$51,704

Total debt paid off so far: $10,132 – not too shabby, but I can do better!

I've got a new medium term goal, to double that amount in the next year, so my goal for September 2009 is a total debt of no more than $31440, which is $20,264 less than today. Plus still have my overseas trip in May/June in 2009!

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  1. Happy anniversary and well done on your progress.

  2. Good for you! You've come so far!

  3. Hi there-very well done, keep up the excellent work!!

  4. Good progress! Not too shabby at all ;)

  5. You have done brilliantly dd.

    It's not shabby, its great.

    Well done!
    Laura x

  6. Thats Laura at No More Spending by the way ;)

  7. Anonymous2/9/08 05:28

    You have done exceptionally well! Well done yoU!

  8. I really enjoyed this post,a great summary of the year and what you have achieved. I'm looking forward to reading about the next 12 months!

  9. Oh YAY for you! I love reading your blog - I hope I encourage you as much as you encourage me. Nice people deserve good things and I hope the next 12 months sees great things happen for you!

  10. Congratulations! You are keeping me motivated to meet my goals as well. Here's to 2009!

  11. thanks for this very candid post. i'm struggling with my finances as well. hopefully i'd be as prudent as you are with regard to paying bills and making purchases =] well done! keep up the great work =]

  12. You're my new hero. I'm in your shoes, too. A lot of us are. I'm looking forward to the next year and I hope I'm able to tell you next year that I'm a bit more dug out of this pit.

  13. Anonymous4/9/08 02:08

    Wow! I am so glad i stumbled across your blog! What an inspiration! Congratulations on your success!

  14. Wow 10k in your first year that is awesome!
    What is your personal challenge for the next twelve months?

  15. That is great elimination! And I look forward to one day doing the same.

    I just found that due to cutting my family's consumption of water bottles I can save $18K in 25 years if I invest it. All from water bottles! Crazy.

    Glad to have found your blog. Enjoy your posts.

  16. What a tremendous effort. $10k is fantastic and you should celebrate your accomplishment. Look back at some of those older CC statements pat yourself on the back.

  17. Hi, just dropped your site. Drop mine at

    Thank you.

  18. CONGRATS! $10k is huge!

    Good luck getting rid of another $20k in the next year!

  19. jerry@leads4insurance.com12/9/08 18:12

    You are making great leads of progress. We paid off over $20k USD in about 18 months, ourselves, so that gives some insurance that it is do-able... it just requires a lot of discipline and effort. But it is soooo worthwhile!

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  21. juicefairy3/10/08 01:36

    I think that is great progress! There is the expression "every little bit counts" but $10,000 is a chunk! Congrats.

  22. Thank you for such a positive experience! It gives everyone else in the same boat that extra little bit of encouragement to persevere!

  23. I saw your blog and I read about your debt situation. I just wanted you to know my husband Tom helps people completely eliminate credit card debt. If your interested, here is his website Sorry if you think I'm spamming, just trying to help.