Success and Failure from 2009
What went well:
0% APR Balance Transfers: Believe it or not, I did several 0% APR balance transfers throughout the year to help us over the rough patches. So far, with no problems. This is really a risky strategy, I do not recommend it, but it has worked for us in a pinch. Unfortunately, these credit card balance transfers do not come free anymore. I had to pay a 3% balance transfer fee for all three that I took out.
Blogging: I have been a blogger in one sense or another since 2006 and 2009 was the first year that I earned regular income from this “hobby”. I hope to continue this trend.
Health: Poor health may have been the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for the Stew household in 2009, but fortunately, we had very few expenses in this area.
Child care: This was a lot of work for Mrs. Stew, but we would not have made it through the year without her hard work taking in children during the week.
Selling our house: The house was on the market for 16 months and the realtor only showed it three times in that time and it sold on the third showing. I am glad that we continued to stay current with our payments even though it was extremely difficult.
What didn’t go so well:
Budgeting: Spending did not go out of control for us in 2009, but we fell out of the habit of keeping track of our financial picture through the use of a written budget. To a certain extent, this was because just before we sold our house, the picture had become so bleak that I avoided looking at it.
Cashing out my SIMPLE IRA: I wish I had not done it, but faced with the same scenario, I probably would have been forced to make the same choice. Tough call, but we needed the money . . . still waiting to find out the exact tax ramifications of this decision. Of course, the market rebounded significantly since I shut down the account. Figures.
Ya’ win some and ya’ lose some.
Article by Stew
Photo by gluemoon