What I Did Right and Wrong in 2011

Looking at 2011, I can say that I’ve accomplished a few things (I am not going to talk about any salary increase because there was none) and failed at some.

What I did right in 2011

Family

In 2011 I finally got to see my grandmother. She is 86 years old. I did not see her for about six years! I had to admit to myself that it might be my last time seeing her. So, instead of choosing a trip to some warm and exotic place , Beaker and I travelled  to cold and rainy Lithuania to spend time with my grandmother. It was the best desicion I made in 2011.

Paying Off Debt

We paid off about $18,000 plus in debt. It was not easy, especially taking into account my spending habits. We probably could have paid off even more if not for my shopping enthusiasm. However, in spite of my flaws, in spite of my spending, we were able to pay off a good chunk of debt.  If we stay on this road, if I slow down with my spending, if everything goes according to plan, it is possible that by next June we will pay off all of our consumer debt. We will finally be free.

On a side note: On a side note: we did save up cash for our trip to Europe. I can be quite a good saver if I have a short-term goal.”

Writing

I published my first short story in one of the small press literary magazines. Unexpectedly for me, my short story was nominated for The Pushcart Prize (in literature) Best of The Small Press. No results have been announced yet. I believe the winners will be announced sometime in the begining of next year. Even if I don’t get this award (after all my short story is a weird tale that is not understood by everyone), just being nominated is a huge inspiration and motivation to write more.

In 2011 I also published two short stories on Kindle. I would mention them on this blog but since I published them under my real name, I don’t want to provide any additional information about those stories. If you are interested in reading them, email me.

What I did wrong in 2011

Spending

I shopped till I dropped quite a few times. I acquired things that I didn’t need and sometimes didn’t even want. I spent money when I could have saved it. We could have been debt free by now. Oh well… we still have June ahead of us.

Not Saving Enough

We don’t have an emergency fund. Our focus in 2011 was to pay off as much debt as possible and be able to go to Europe. Not having any savings (I am not even talking about all those IRA accounts or ROTH IRA rules but simple savings in a bank) scares me because if something goes really wrong we will have to use our credit card.

Blogging

My embarrassing debacle of the year was with blogging. I blogged, I joined the Yakezie Challenge, and I left. I came back, I blogged some more. Then I left again. This time for about 7 months. In October of 2011 I came back to blogging again. It sounds somewhat unstable and ambivalent. Believe me it was!

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29 Responses to “What I Did Right and Wrong in 2011”

  1. Tessa says:

    I visited my grandfather this year. He is 92 and though it was one of the most boring trips I’ve ever taken (I mean, really, he doesn’t do much), it was by far the best decision that I made this year. Spending time with grandparents is something that I’m valuing more and more as I-and they-get older.
    Sounds like you did well this year. There will always be those weak moments but it sounds like you’ve got everything under control. Good job!

    • aloysa says:

      I think that sometimes choosing family over fun stuff is so much more satisfying. We definitely tend to value our family time more with age.

  2. That was good achievement to pay off 18k debt. Let’s make a new year resolution to stick to your blog for the full year 2012 without quitting. you are doing great so far, don’t loose the momentum.
    SB @ One Cent At A Time recently posted..Top Tips for Cheap Home InsuranceMy Profile

  3. Well done on the green bits and it sounds that you have learned from the red ones. Well done on the story – keep writing and stop spending (this should count as a New Year’s wish).
    Maria@moneyprinciple recently posted..Dream your goals and plan your dreams: the Walt Disney grooveMy Profile

  4. Charles says:

    paying off debt was key. Keep that up this year and you might be debt free! how much more do you have to go?
    Charles recently posted..MoneyGreenLife Sets Goals for 2012My Profile

  5. Jeffrey says:

    Congrats on a great year! That’s great you paid off $18k in debt! Not an easy feat!

    Have you considered building a small emergency fund ($1,000 for starters) before continuing to pay off debt? That’s one of the points I do agree with Dave Ramsey on. I enjoy paying off debt, too, but it’s not worth getting burned if there really is an emergency.
    Jeffrey recently posted..2011 Goals: What Worked, and What Didn’t in the Year of New IdeasMy Profile

    • aloysa says:

      Yes, I always think about that extra 1K to have but somehow during the Holiday season it dissapeared. Pretty fast. But it is something I will be working on next year.

  6. Lithuania sounds like a great place to visit- I would love to go one day.

    Family is so important and I’m very happy to hear you chose to focus on that this year. I wish I spent more time with my grandma before she passed away. I knew she had so many stories to tell, but she was less able to tell them as her Alzheimers worsened.
    youngandthrifty recently posted..Sure, Save Up for the Big Ticket Items- But Don’t Forget the ExtrasMy Profile

    • aloysa says:

      I felt so good when I decided to go to see my grandmother. It felt so right! I fearred that if I didn’t do it, I’ll regret is later. I am glad I did.

  7. Lisa @ Cents To Save says:

    It is great that you were able to see your grandma! Being able to connect with family is so important. Wishing you a prosperous New Year!
    Lisa @ Cents To Save recently posted..Works For Me Wednesday: Crock Pot LinersMy Profile

  8. Aaron Hung says:

    paying off 18K in one year is a big accomplishment, wish I could do that hehe. great job:D
    Aaron Hung recently posted..I’m joining the 30K ChallengeMy Profile

  9. Buck Inspire says:

    Great review of your hits and misses. Takes a big person to own up to misses. Please follow through with your blog. It would be a shame if you repeated your mistake. Pretty cool that you published some short stories. I wanted to write a book, but got lost in my own ideas and never followed through. That’s my miss. Will look to you for book motivation this year. Happy New Year!
    Buck Inspire recently posted..BI 005: New Logo Results, Remember Your Offline FamilyMy Profile

    • aloysa says:

      Writing is tough. I learned that you MUST make time to write or your ideas will be wasted.
      I am keeping my blog! There will be no walking away this time. It is one of my resolutions for 2012.

  10. Blog walking and came across of your blog. I must say pretty interesting and nice work. Keep up the good work.

    I was surprised to see that you paid off 18k. I am sure that was not something easy.

    Will stop by once again.

    cheers

    • aloysa says:

      Thank you for stopping by. No, paying off debt is never easy. I hate it honestly. But I also hate debt. Something gotta give, right? :-)

  11. It sounds like you had a great 2011. You will never regret going to visit your grandmother! Paying off $18K in debt is a great achievement. I’ll be looking for your debt-free post mid-year.

    I must admit one of my pet peeves is when bloggers disappear without telling anyone they’re taking a break or quitting or whatever. Having said that, I’m glad you came back!
    Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer recently posted..Happy New Year 2012!My Profile

    • aloysa says:

      I know, I know. Disappearing from the blogosphere like I did was not my best move. I still feel sort of … ashamed of it. I totally understand you.

  12. “We paid off about $18,000 plus in debt.”

    Wow. Awesome.

    We’ve got about $2,800 on our line of credit to pay off in 2012, then, we’re done with that. Just the mortgage and a car payment left. That is going to feel much, much better :)

    Great of you to travel to Lithuania. Family first.

    I hope you have a great 2012!

    Stay in touch!
    My Own Advisor recently posted..December 2011 Dividend Income UpdateMy Profile

  13. I’m happy to see you back, and you are a great writer so you definitely deserved that prize. :) I like that you got to see your grandmother as well.
    Invest It Wisely recently posted..Congrats to the Winners of the $300 Christmas Charity Giveaway!My Profile

    • aloysa says:

      Kevin! Thank you so much for your kind words. I don’t consider myself a great writer. But it is always great to hear someone else call you that. :-)

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  17. Joyce says:

    You look to have done more right things than wrong, so at least that in itself is a big positive.
    Joyce recently posted..Save Money on Medical CostsMy Profile

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