Monday, September 2, 2013

The Fruits of My Labor

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Happy Labor Day, fellow Americans! I’m enjoying the long weekend away with family, but before I left, I wanted to take stalk of the “fruits of my labor” so far this year. You may remember that I set some lofty goals for 2013. Some I have met, some I have not. Such is life. For example, I don’t use the gym in my building right now. Why? Because it is summer and I exercise outdoors. But, I have knocked my debt way down more than I thought possible in nine months! Let’s take a closer look:

Debt:

  • Started the year hovering around $21,000 in debt.

Now: $6,800
My labors: Long hours working two jobs and strict adherence to my budget.
Results: Contributed almost $6,000 in income from waitressing to this debt while also sending $350 a month from my day-job paycheck. I also threw any other “found” money, such as income from selling unneeded items.

Retirement:

  • Started the year with around $16,000 combined in my Roth IRA and 403b.

Now: $24,000
My labors: Researched better Roth IRA options and made the decision to move to Vanguard. Also moved my work account to Fidelity.
Results: Due to lower expense ratios and a great company match, my money has worked harder for me, which has allowed me to increase my retirement accounts by $8,000 in only nine months.

Health:

  • Started the year promising to do a Warrior Dash, do yoga twice a week, and use the gym in my building once a week.

Now: Committed to yoga twice a week and walking to or from work daily.
My labors: I had every intent to run the Warrior Dash, but an injury prevented me from doing so. I haven’t used the gym in my building since the weather became nice enough to run or walk outside.
Results: Feeling better, physically and emotionally, from getting more exercise. No obvious change in weight - perhaps more muscle tone.

DIY Goals:

  • Started the year vowing to learn the guitar, blog regularly, and work on home projects.

Now: All are in progress and going nicely!
My labors: Stayed committed to blogging, even if it meant setting aside a half hour each day to do a little writing. I also spent most of the cold winter months indoors learning basic guitar. Put in lots of time deciding how I wanted to decorate my apartment, and how to do so without breaking the budget.
Results: I’ve blogged regularly, learned about seven songs on the guitar, and slowly transformed my studio into a place I love to call home!

Overall, my labors have gotten me very far this year! And now on this day of rest I won’t be concentrating on any of it!

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