::Losing all of our equity, when we sold our last home during the economic downturn, made us feel blessed to be able to purchase the home we live in now (+ blessed to sell our previous home for what we owed on it). We'd really like to pay off this mortgage as soon as possible + sent extra money toward our mortgage every month this year. I made it a priority, and I followed through. I just wrote the line item for mortgage as the amount I wanted to pay...so it was already built in (instead of waiting to see if any money was left over at the end of the month). It involves sacrifice, but that money is worth so much more now. (It cuts down significantly on the number of payments we'll have to make into the future.) (Plug different extra payment amounts into an amortization calculator + get inspired by the months needed to pay it off disappearing!)
::My "replacements only" commitment hit a few large snags. We had to replace a set of tires, a toilet + a stove this year. (The stove actually caught fire!) I'm so glad that we had our buffer for these expenses. (No credit card debt!) I'm working at building that back up now (tax returns help).
::I really tried to look ahead + add up all of the expenses involved with my daughter's activities. The total was divided by 12 + now the money is put aside monthly, so it's there when I need to pay it. The expenses come in large, irregular chunks...and I would try to eek them out of our miscellaneous budget. This threw things off for months at a time + made me feel a bit defeated. Now our miscellaneous budget has shrunk significantly, but at least I know what I really have.
::I was able to lower my monthly cell phone bill when my contract was up. My phone still works, so I don't need a new one. The phone company is not going to tell us that we can renegotiate...so it pays to remember + do the work of making the changes.
::I must admit that I lost sight of the "replacements only" commitment quite often this year. I went looking for a little excitement in my wardrobe + in my home + in my circumstances. I returned most everything bought this way...but my restlessness showed. I'd like to be much more focused going forward.
::We went on a lovely vacation paid for mostly with airline + hotel points. This was all thanks to the foresight of Mr. Tribe, and it was a long time in the making. I don't generally like making things more complicated than they need to be, but am now a believer in these things. :)
We are still doing most of the things mentioned in the simple budget posts in order to keep our bills as low as possible. I have some plans in this area for the year to come + they involve a lot of awareness + discipline. At the moment I'm feeling up to the task. Onward. :)