2006 In Review: A Year of My Money Blog

Out of the 637 posts that I scribbled this year, here are the ones that represent the good, the bad, and the fun of our 2006 financial adventure:

The Good
First, I started it off right by making financial goals (which give you something to focus on all year) instead of resolutions (which you end up looking backwards at).

Marriage and money are tightly linked, and behind the scenes this blog has spawned many a discussion about frugality and priorities. This has helped us limit our excess spending by focusing our energies towards a common purpose.

Of course, once you’ve saved it you still have to avoid the tax man. We maxed out our Roth IRAs and opened up and funded a Self-Employed 401k account. I’m very happy about that.

Finally, through the internet we have also found Modest Needs and Kiva, which give us new outlets to give to charity.

The Bad
Of course, there is always things I need to work on. We are also still on the look out for a method of tracking our spending that works for us, despite finding a bunch of free budgeting tools to help us.

I still need to improve my organizational skills. I believe that good time management is critical to the pursuit of entrepreneurial activities, especially when you are trying to balance a day job and a family in the process. In fact, sometimes I think time management may be more important than talent or skill.

The Fun
Just because one cares about money doesn’t mean they don’t know how to enjoy themselves. This year, we had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, China, England, and France. These were amazing trips, and next year we are thinking of Southeast Asia, New Zealand, or Italy.

We couldn’t have paid cash for all these activities without the proper mindset. In fact, the whole point of managing money better is to do more of what you like, not less!

In the end, our combined net worth increased $31,781 from December 2005 to December 2006. I can only hope that your year has been as much fun as ours. Happy Holidays!

This retrospective was inspired by the Problogger Review Writing Project.

Comments

  1. Hi,
    I just wanted to leave a comment that I received the ipod Nano from the B of A world points promotion that you posted about a number of months ago. It was a good deal. The nano is a 2GB silver.
    The promotion was to sign up for the BofA Worldpoints card and either charge or transfer at least $2k to the card. It was very easy to transfer at least the $2k b/c it was a 0% card. I signed my wife up also, but am not sure if she qualifies b/c I believe one of the restrictions was 1 per household. I will see in the next few weeks since I opened them right after each other.
    Thanks for the heads up!

  2. P.S. the ipod retails for $150 at Best Buy and will make a good xmas gift. ($139 at Costco ;-)

  3. Congrats on the blog! It’s great work. I have also been working on budgeting; after a month of success (which is still good, to give some ballpark numbers) I’ve fallen off the budgeting wagon. What I’ve been doing recently is withdrawing a fixed amount of money each week to spend. I still don’t keep track of all my spending, but it does help me be more aware of it. I got this idea from “Die Broke”, who also recommends keeping an index card in your wallet to write down purchases. Retro!

  4. Great job on increasing your net worth–and you had fun as well.

  5. Hi Jonathan
    In one of your earlier posts, you have said that you pay $10 charges for Vangueard Mutual Funds with less than $10 in it. What happens if you do this through Sogoinvest or Sharebuilder? Do they pool all the money and hence we dont need to pay these charges?
    A very regular reader of your site:
    Hema

  6. Congrats mate..hope you get more success next year…

  7. Really enjoy reading your blog, I think you did well for the year. I assume most of your net gain is from the stock market, but don’t bet it go to happen every year.

    Happy Holiday to you, your family and all the reader !

  8. Good job!!

    I highly suggest visiting Kerala, a state in South India during your trip to SouthEast Asia. You will NOT be disappointed. Check http://www.wikitravel.com also!

    Happy Holidays

  9. Thanks for the great blog.

    People don’t get why someone is frugal or money consciencious. You said it very well: “In fact, the whole point of managing money better is to do more of what you like, not less!”

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! Am I going to be arrested now for not being PC?

  10. Thanks everyone!

    heather – the first month is pretty helpful, but I know what you mean about it being hard to keep up! I think the most I’ve done is four months in a row.

    Hema – I think that you can avoid the $10 low-balance fees if you use another broker, but I may be wrong. However, you may be subject to much higher transaction fees per trade, depending on the broker. So I’d be careful.

    Yes, the stock market definitely helped us.

    I’m in a happy mood, ready for Christmas, so I made an ugly tree! :D

  11. InspectorFox says:

    Congratulations! Awesome job… I visit your blog daily. Best Wishes for 2007.

  12. Hey, Just became a reader a few months ago and love the website!! I stop in daily to check recent posts and they have all been helpful. Here is to a prosperous ’07, Merry Christmas!!

  13. I like your blog, the books you suggest and the hints you share with everyone although I can not apply them (I am in Canada). I am just a single graduate student (~29) and have been frugally living for a while. Since the time I started to invest, tried to use Microsoft money and have been tracking my expenses there which gives me more flexibility. I should mention that I try to spend less than my income and buy mutual fund with 10% of my student income (left around 900$) (Almost ~750 $ gain in these last two years bringing the whole investment to ~ 6800$). I do not like to keep an index card in my wallet and record when I buy, as feel a little bit weird but using Microsoft Money (along with the receipts) has helped me to have a control of what I am spending my money on and I can trace where the money goes.
    Nevertheless, I wish you both a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.

  14. I just don’t understand why you don’t use Quicken. Is does budgeting, tracking, investments, net worth, even asset allocation.

    Get the Quicken Home & Biz version and write it off on your biz account.

    I’ve been a happy user since 1990.

    btw, cheers for the blog.

  15. 637 posts – that is absolutely amazing! Very inspiring post, hope next year is even better.

  16. Quicken and Pocket Quicken on my Palm make budget tracking very easy. I don’t save receipts and I know my budget almost to the penny.

    There’s a learning curve, a book is essential. But it’s worth it.

  17. I know, you’d think if I could blog about money every day I could use Quicken. I even bought the 2005 version.

    It’s a combo of things. Quicken didn’t sync well with all my banks, and not at ALL with some of them. Quicken refuses to import plain csv files, so basically for Presidential Bank there was NO way for me to import my transactions. Also, transfers between accounts didn’t reconcile well (probably my fault for not reading the freakin manual), and I ended up with phantom income and expenses.

    Finally, having to categorize every. single. transaction. was getting to be be a pain, and I tended to fall behind a lot. After a while the guesses by Quicken did get fairly good though.

    I’ve been meaning to try out Yodlee’s new budgeting features, but haven’t gotten around to it.

  18. Congratulations! Great job! I like your blog very much!

  19. Yeah! Using quicken will simplify the whole job.

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