2019 Financial Review

Every year since around 2013, I've taken the time once a year to look at my finances and evaluate: what went wrong, what went right, and what are my financial goals for next year? Every year is a little different. Some years are better than others. Nevertheless, the following is my review for 2019.

We will begin with debt. This the main reason for the review in the first place. This is what conquering student loans and car payments is like for us. This is where we stand and, not only an evaluation of where we are at, but it is also an evaluation of how we are getting there.


2014 - $2,067.12 decrease
2015 - $10,026.93 decrease
2016 - $4,196.70 increase
2017 - $13,116.63 decrease
2018 - $4,741.82 decrease
2019 - $9,049.59 decrease
TOTAL DECREASE - $34,805.42


2014 - $1733.85
2015 - $9505.14
2016 - +$1,017.70
2017 - $13,784.46
2018 - $13,753.50
2019 - $10,956.13
TOTAL DECREASE - $48,715,48

Mint says payoff date is 1/2023.
Earnest says payoff date is 3/2023.

We refinanced Justin's loans at 3% rate with Elfi, coming down from a 5% rate with a potential $400 credit for my loans and $100 credit toward Justin's.

Our car was paid off in January.


2014 - $333.27
2015 - $521.69
2016 - -$3,179
2017 - -$667.83
2018 - -$9,011.65
2019 - -$1,906.54

We opened a Chase Slate to move some of the debt around and decrease how much in interest we were paying.


Extremely grateful to have conquered interest. While we did pay more in interest fees than we did in our lowest year to date, 2015, I am grateful we didn't let the banks eat us alive like we did in 2018. That is a lot of money lost to interest last year. And while any amount of money lost to interest is negative, I'm going to take this decrease in loss as a positive. Maybe we will be able to improve even more next year,


green = this year; yellow = last

I failed rather miserably at spending less each month than I did in 2018. I found myself, many months of this year, stressed and depressed. I would buy one extra thing to bring myself joy. Only, to be fair, extra food and extra clothes only brings temporary joy. It's just really hard to think about that in the moment. Hopefully, in 2020, I will more carefully consider how I want my money to be spent rather than spending it on things that bring me temporary joy.

Where Our Money Went

green = this year; yellow = last

Top 10 Categories:
1. Food & Dining (wine, trying new cuisines)
2. Shopping (We bought a camera + accessories, ice skates for 2 + accessories, )
3. Auto & Transport (We paid more for 3 terms of car insurance this year instead of 2, which means we can hold off on looking at car insurance again until July. We also bought car batteries for two cars and tires as well.)
4. Travel (France/Germany/Egypt hotels, Miami in April, DC in May, Athens

 in June, CA in July, FL in August, and NOLA in October)
5. Financial (addition of stock options with Justin's company)
6. Taxes
7. Bills & Utilities
8. Education (French classes)
9. Personal Care
10. Gifts & Donations

Top 10 Stores
1. Stock Option
2. IRS/taxes
3. Electricity
4. Kroger
5. Rent for 15 mos.
6. Costco
7. Trader Vic's
8. Liberty Mutual car insurance
9. Canon (5d mk iv)
10. Amazon


We spent more than we made for 3 months of the year. 

I couldn't remember exactly how that was possible, so I am grateful for my monthly financial reviews posts that helped me break up my expenses into manageable chunks so that I could write this review at the end of the year and have some recall of where my money went and on what. 

See below for a month-by-month summary.

Expenses –

• travel in France, Germany, Egypt
• car loan paid off
• 6 mos car insurance
• DROBO purchased
• increased withholdings for taxes
• Stock option paid for through Justin's work
• taxes
• travel to FL
• travel to DC
• flight to LA
• ice skates
• expenses related to my dad and grandmother being in the hospital: extra gas, extra food expenses, hotel. 
• Justin dropped his laptop so we had to get that repaired. 
• And we had to buy a hard drive so he could work from the hospital.
• CA travel: hotels, car rental, food, wine
• French lessons
• car insurance paid for the year
• Justin received a raise
• FL travel
• Bills increased
• Opened Chase Slate to transfer debt and avoid interest
• tires and rims for the car
• booked NOLA hotel for October for both friends and ourselves
• French lessons
• paying a year worth of rent
• Car repairs: battery, brakes
• travel to NOLA: restaurants, public transportation, rental car
• Bills went up again.
• Started Christmas shopping
• flights to Paris
• replaced truck battery
• shipped Christmas gifts; more Christmas shopping
• purchased Canon 5d mk iv and accessories
• Christmas shopping
• purchased far too many clothes; Justin lost weight and none of his pants fit anymore.
• Interest drop for Justin's student loans when we switched to Elfi.

Luckily, this year, despite taking on more debt, we also grew our assets and networth. We now have more money than debt! YAY!



credit scores:
796, 800 (me)
748 (Justin)

Overview of the biggest impacts on our finances in 2019:
1. First year buying stock options.
2. Huge tax increase.
3. Two new hobbies: French and ice skating
4. Travel: France, Egypt, Germany, FL (x2), DC, CA, NOLA
5. Family in the hospital
6. Electronics: Raspberry Pi, DROBO, Canon 5D MK IV + accessories
7. Bills + rent went up drastically this year making us question whether or not we need to move
8. Car repairs: brakes and tires.
9. Paying for a stock option. 

So where were the downfalls? What went wrong financially this year?
1. Bills/rent going up.
2. Taxes. And not withholding enough last year.
3. Family in the hospital. We had extra expenses related to gas, hotel stay, and food. I lost money because I was out of work for a few days and had to leave one day early. Justin dropped his laptop on the hospital floor while trying to help out, and that was an almost 1k repair.
4. Buying things I didn't need - a camera, clothes.
5. Not getting price adjustments as well as I should have.

* Our debt increased.

What went right this year?
1. Getting my images backed up. Hurt financially this year, but in the end, it could potentially save me money.
2. Paying for the stock option. - Now Justin owns part of the company!
3. Taking up our two new hobbies. Gave me confidence.
4. Travel with friends. Getting to see a wedding in Egypt. Seeing a parade in NOLA. The stuff of memories.
5. Getting Justin's student loans to a lower interest rate.

• Our assets increased!
* Our net worth is now positive!

What are our plans/goals for next year?
1. Open a Chase account for $300.
2. Work on credit card debt.
3. Keep track of travel spending.
4. Continue doing monthly financial reviews.

How did I do on my 2019 goals?
Consider applying for a loan that will lower Justin's student loan interest rate.
Get rid of (or change out) unnecessary credit cards.
Pay off the Mazda.
Lower food spending.
And shopping costs.
Try to find car insurance that costs less.


There was good and there was bad in 2019. Hopefully 2020 will give us a new chance to improve in the areas we struggled in and do even better with our successes.

Will you be reviewing your finances for 2019 or making any financial resolutions for 2020?


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