A year with no surprise expenses

As I looked over our budget from last year, several expenditures caught my eye:

Car repair:  $ 481
Scooter:      $ 900
Dentist:       $ 389
Car repair:  $ 850
Dentist:       $1,314
Scooter:      $ 250
Car repair:  $ 224
Car repair:  $ 292
Dentist:       $ 191
Car repair:  $ 125
Second mortgage settlement: $5,000

That is $2,049 spent on car repair (does not include fuel, oil changes or car washes). We spent $1,894 at the dentist and I purchased a scooter this last year that ended up costing me over $1,100.

Some observations:

My Craigslist mistake

Last month, I wrote a couple of posts on the subject of shopping on Craigslist. I wrote on on the subject of selling on the site and one on the subject buying on Craigslist. I listed several suggestions and helpful tips. Also, several readers chimed in with still more advice on finding a good deal through the site. On a related note, I also ran across this story about a teenager who started with a used mobile phone and over the course of two years, traded his way up to a 2000 Porsche Boxster S.

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.

Share your story: What's the most expensive thing you've ever purchased?

As part of a new series I’m starting, I asked you last week to share your story about your dumbest purchase. There were lots of great replies about cars, clothes, food, and even falling for scams. I found everyone’s replies really interesting to read and my hope is that everyone’s stories are not only fun to read but beneficial to others by helping them make smart decisions.

This week the Share Your Story question is: What is the most expensive thing you’ve ever purchased?

Share your story: What is the dumbest thing you've ever spent money on?

While driving to work, I often enjoy listening to the various morning shows. One of the common themes is to ask the listeners a crazy question and have them call in and share their story or experience. I thought it might be both fun and interesting to do something similar here on Gather Little by Little. This post is the first in on ongoing series I am going to run called Share your story, where I’ll throw out a question and you can share your answer. If you have a blog, I encourage you to blog about your story and I’ll add a link in.