Me *talking about 2015, only half kidding*: "I'm seriously considering burning the calendar in effigy. You know, as a kind of closure. This year has been terrible and I want to make sure it's over."You know, I'm darn lucky to have wise people, like my step-mom, in my life. They really help to hammer home a better perspective on things.
My step-mom: "Now hold on. Wouldn't it be more productive to reflect on the good that happened this year. I know there was some. Think about all the good that has happened with regards to the kids. Your daughter has grown more independent and has caught up in school. Your son has finally started to get means to communicate and is getting more of the right kind of help. See, there are two good things right there. Think about it."
So, after our conversation I sat down, pulled out a pad of paper and a pen (other people still use those right?) and made a list of at least one thing per month I was grateful for. I won't break it down by month, but I'll share those twelve things as I review the year. So, be prepared to be bored as I "thrill" you with the details of my year in review *cue dramatic music*!
2015 Financial Review:
- Phone bill was figured out and adjusted with a new plan, saving us at least 12.00 per month and we have better internet as a side benefit of doing so.
- Food budget was adjusted down by 50.00 per week and was able to beat that budget numerous times throughout the year.
- Paid off last "official" credit card (Care Credit, since it's specialty credit, I don't count as a credit card, but as a health expense) saving us 157.00 a month.
- Replaced most light bulbs with LED's, cutting energy consumption and saving us money.
- Despite not making much money, by being frugal and me being stubborn to the point of stupidity, we were able to pay 12,000.00 off of our dental bills.
- Despite paying 12,000.00 in dental bills off, we have another 11,000.00 to go, part of which has to be paid by April and the other part has to be paid off by December to avoid financial deep hurting (and this is coming from me here).
- Between dental bills, electric heat with the really cold weather we had through November and December and our mortgage going up due to our home owners insurance increasing (due to adding so much credit after making so little the year before my husband's credit score that the insurance goes by, tanked) our monthly bills have increased by 600.00 per month (that hurts REALLY bad to even write it), 500.00 of which is permanent until dental bills get paid off.
- Due to sporadic employment and pay our savings is gone and tax return for 2016 is still uncertain in amounts...anyway it's been a stressful year in the bill department.
So, now onto the good points of 2015!
1. While we acquired a lot of debt for dental bills, my husband finally got his teeth fixed, which was 10 years overdue. He's much happier being able to chew food without pain and actually smiles again where before he would hide his mouth because all of his teeth were broken and awful looking. And he lost the lisp he'd acquired from his top teeth being broken and worn down so much.So, there you are folks. My "2015 Year in Review". I pray I didn't bore you too much, but I felt it necessary to put some positive feelings about it to start off the new year right :).
Also, with the dental bills, we had to pay for braces for my daughter, but her cross bite is getting fixed so she can chew food properly, which has helped her stomach a bit as well as she's chewing her food more thoroughly. Her cross bite is actually adjusting much better than they had thought it would, as well, so she might be out of braces quicker than they had scheduled. And she's actually been really good about being responsible for taking care of her mouth and her braces, which has been nice to see.
2. I am grateful I was able to get our phone bill adjusted and was able to get unlimited long distance. It's been really nice to be able to pick up the phone to call my mom or my step-mom and not have a mental meter going in my head on how much the conversation would cost me.
3. While we had nuisance sicknesses last year, there was, once my husband got his dental work taken care of, not a lot of need to go to the doctor's for things, which I am grateful for as I know a lot of others are not so lucky.
4. I am grateful the garden did so well last year especially the tomato plants. It was wonderful having so many tomatoes.
5. While I had to use some creativity in figuring out how to pad out stores in some areas, I stepped up to the challenge and got it done. Double benefit was that I found wildflower jelly is actually really tasty! I also found that the more you have to do the more you find you can do. The year tested my limitations, my creativity, sometimes my sanity, but I persevered. And it changed me. For the better, I think.
6. I am grateful I started to mess around with embroidery more and came to find a real love of it once I threw out the patterns and started to "color outside the lines".
7. I am grateful for finding so many great sales at the thrift stores last year as they really helped to save money in both our everyday lives (such as used clothing) and for special occasion things (making gifts, etc).
8. I am grateful for the free dresser my husband fixed up for me. It's nice having my clothing put away in wood, versus plastic Rubbermaid, again.
9. I found a real soul deep love and gratitude for my mom and step-mom this year. My step-mom's conversations and pinata boxes really brightened my life and my mom helping where she could and her conversations really helped to shore me up as well.
10. I am grateful my children have changed in good ways this year. My daughter continues to grow and mature and my son has made a lot of progress this year. My daughter has come to realize that material things are not the most important thing in this world and that spending time with family can be just as fulfilling as a new toy or something, which I consider to be a big lesson to learn in today's materialistic society.
11. I am grateful for friends who have helped us out by giving us hams (thanks, Davina) or giving us freebies they aren't using (thanks, Stephanie) or just offering to help (thanks Shannon, Megan and countless others). Even when you are broke, just an offer of support from a friend can make you feel rich.
12. While I lost my grandmother last year I am grateful that she is now on the other side reunited with her husband who she missed so very very much.
And as a bonus bit of gratitude I am very grateful that I started this blog. It has allowed me to connect with so many great people. Thank you for reading, everyone!
And by the way, I didn't burn the calendar. I threw it away like a normal person. With a much better attitude about the entire year.