Thursday, July 9, 2009

One Year Blogoversary (Plus a Giveaway!)


Today is my one year blogoversary! It's really crazy how fast this past year has flown by, and how we were in such a different place last year. At this time last year we were getting kicked out of our apartment by my crazy uncle, and were in the process of buying a co-op! Our rent was $1275 for a too-small one bedroom (raised to $1375 soon after by the crazy uncle). I remember feeling so stressed and anxious all of the time because the pressure was on and we really had no idea what we were going to do and where we were going to live.

We looked at countless co-ops, since we had somehow become convinced that it would be smart for us to just buy a place. Mostly that had to do with the fact that we couldn't get thrown out on someone's crazy whims, and that we would have a place that was truly ours. The financials would have been super tight, but could have probably worked. The mortgage would have been $1200 a month and the maintenance would have been around $800 a month.

Anyway, we were all set to go through with buying the co-op but I was still having some doubts. I wasn't able to figure out if these were regular buying a home jitters, or something more serious. We met with a lawyer and were all set to sign the contract, but something needed to be revised. I mentioned to the lawyer that I was really nervous about the financial situation of the co-op itself and asked him to look over the contract again. (Basically with a co-op you own shares, rather than actual property. Theoretically the shares could become worthless and the co-op could go bankrupt.) When the lawyer looked it over, it turned out that the co-op had a 10 million dollar balloon loan due at the end of 2010. It wasn't great but he still thought it would have been okay to proceed.

Basically my husband and I looked at each other and knew that we couldn't go through with it.

All I can say is thank goodness that we hadn't. While we both still have our jobs, it was a little questionable for awhile and I know that if we were trapped with such a responsibility. We ended up finding our current apartment on Craigslist and moved in August 1. It was pretty overwhelming at the time.

Thankfully things seemed to have calmed down a bit. We signed our lease for our apartment for another year. We even got our rent lowered from $1500 to $1450!

I think what I've learned this year was that we have to do things in our own time. It would have been SUCH a bad idea to buy an apartment just because we felt pressured into it. This past year we've been able to pay off our car loan (about $15k!) and we've been able to get our emergency fund up to around $9k. Now when we are ready to buy a home it will be on our terms.

So now, on to the giveaway!

In honor of my one year blogoversary, I am giving away a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate. :)

Here's how you can enter to win:
  • Leave a comment telling me the most important financial lesson that you've learned this year.
For additional entries:
  • Tweet about this contest on twitter and leave a comment with a link to the tweet.
  • Blog about this contest and leave a comment with the link to the post.
  • Subscribe to my feed and leave a comment, or let me know that you already subscribe.
I'll choose the winner on July 31 using Random.org. Thanks for reading and good luck!!

114 comments:

vandyrie said...

The most important financial lesson I learned this year is to keep track of your spending and budget. Those overdraft fees are KILLER!

Debbie said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned this year is that it is SO important to at least have a little bit in your savings account, just in case something happens that you weren't expecting!

Debbie: rebbiedeed@hotmail.com

Amber said...

My lesson was to create a budget and stick to it! Also to keep track of all purchases via checkbook, or credit card. Overdraft fees and check bounces are NOT cool :) Thanks! Happy Blogoversary!

shevilkenevil1 at aol dot com

Amber said...

I subscribe to your RSS feed via Yahoo reader.

shevilkenevil1 at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

The most important financial lesson I have learned this year is to use COUPONS!! haha. I just started learning how to use/combine/make the most of coupons and am having a blast learning how to save tons of money and also get some great freebies!

Laurel
laurelmooresc@hotmail.com

RR said...

Keep an emergency account that will cover all expenses for at least 6 months, and preferably for a year.

Effie said...

Couponing! I had never tried it until this year and I am saving tonz! effieloren(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sarah in MO said...

One thing I've been encouraged with this year is that every little bit that's saved helps no matter how small.

Thanks for a great giveaway!
misterjimmy at sbcglobal dot net

Anonymous said...

the most important financial lesson i learned this year is to add extra money for principal to each mortgage pymt if it's at all possible!

~eunice
rsmile2u@ dejazzd .com

Shanna said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned this year is that I'm not quite ready for "using credit wisely". We had finally paid off one of our credit cards and kept it at a zero balance for quite a while. We decided to put the cost of my summer class on the card instead of seeking separate financial aid, assuming we would pay off the card in the fall with the refund for 09-10 financial aid... but one thing has led to another and now we've used the card for other things again. Bad! So, once we get it paid off again, we need to chop it up or hide it and vow not to use it unless it is a REAL emergency that our emergency fund doesn't cover.

shanna.berube at gmail dot com

Shanna said...

I also subscribe to your feed!

shanna.berube at gmail dot com

marlatiara said...

This year I learned that it's important to pay attention to every single dollar you spend so you can see where your money goes!

Also:
http://tiarasaves.blogspot.com/2009/07/great-giveaway.html

Also:
http://twitter.com/marlatiara

Saving Cents in the City: said...

Marla's entry :)

Saving Cents in the City: said...

Marla's entry :)

Dolphin Girl said...

The best way to stop using credit is to take the card out of your wallet!

Steph said...

I've learned to only buy what you can pay for right now--no credit cards!

Candie @ broke and not so fabulous said...

I've learned to not give anyone access to your cards. EVEN husbands or boyfriends. Because you still have to pay back their mistakes!

Connie said...

I've learned I can control my grocery spending if I use coupons/sales and the stockpiling method.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh... I can't believe how much I saved by using coupons! I made a budget and stuck to it.
Thanks for all your advise.
Tinap
tinajanet1@verizon.net

sarah buki said...

never underestimate the power of coupons and rebates. i got on the bandwagon a bit late but was amazed at home much free stuff i was able to walk out of walgreens with!
sabeckstrom at yahoo dot com

Emily N. said...

I learned to not let my internet searches go to waste. Now I use swagbucks and earn with my searches.
email in profile

Sally said...

I learned that paying off debt is possible if you stick with it! I paid off my first student loan (~$18,000) this year.

Laura said...

I learned that "doing it yourself" can really save money over time. At first it seemed like we'd always mess up our home projects and have to call in a pro, but now we're actually starting to figure out how things work ourselves!

Emily said...

One of the most important things I've learned is to keep checking the interest rates on my savings, checking, and money market accounts. Some earn more than you think (and some earn a LOT less)

e.estt[at]yahoo[dot]com

Alicia said...

This year Ive learned to only use cash! It cuts down a lot of impulse buying.

alicialovessweeps at gmail.com

Thanks!

Lisette said...

Mine was to start using a notebook to keep track of my spendings. Yes I know, I know shame but I have a pretty darn good memory so I didn't think I needed it. Well, I was wrong. Now I use it ALL the time for every little thing I spend. :)

lc_intocable[a]yahoo[d]com

sarah swingset said...

yaaay! happy blogoversary! i love your new layout!
also, thank you so much for your email darlin! it was really super sweet to hear from you and find i was missed in blogland! :) i have just been working on an intense new zine that is kinda like my blog that i planned to have done in two weeks for the zine symposium, so i have been all zine all the time...but back the blog i will go soon! :) and and and! i will be on the east coast in mid-september so i hope we can have some coffee and you can guide me to some good penny pinching NYC things to do! <3

oh! and yay contest! my most important financial lesson this year has been LISTS! make lists, stick to them and keep a budget! i have also been loving mint.com to help track my spending!

Sarah said...

Financial lesson? Don't count on getting that child support every week because it throws everything out of whack when it stops coming.

And I totally subscribe to your blog. :) I'm going to Staples now to get some more deals!

Saving Cents in the City: said...

Sarah's entry!

JC said...

Use coupons and cash is the most important financial lesson I learned this year!

VanderbiltWife said...

I've learned that shopping sales + using coupons can save a TON of money. And that I can be happy planning my meals around what I can get inexpensively rather than whatever suits my whim. We've learned to eat simpler and are much richer for it!

Anonymous said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned is to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gain, like putting money in savings FIRST and paying off loans. It may be a bit tight for a bit, but the end result will be well worth it!

Jill / moneyminders.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

I just started using coupons in January. It has saved me so much money. I am now fine tuning the budget.

denise_22315(at)yahoo(dot)com

Yori said...

Really think about what you are buying....Do I really need this. Lots of times I put things back. And save some serious Moolah.

Laura said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned is to PLAN AHEAD and expect the worst, but hope for the best. We now have a 2 1/2 month old, and I'm no longer working outside the home. It has been so great to have a bunch of money saved up to cover all of the unplanned expenses!

Lori Sifuentes said...

The most important lesson is to keep track of my spending. You really have no idea how much you spend unless you write it down.

Laura said...

I subscribe to your RSS feed. Thanks for the giveaway!

Karen said...

Don't buy what you don't need. I've been learning this the hard way!

Angela said...

I learned how to save on groceries. I took our grocery budget from about $600 a month down to $200-300. You can see that here, http://thesuburbanjungle.blogspot.com/2009/06/save-money-grocery-shopping.html

Kristen said...

The most important lesson I've learned is to differentiate between needs and wants.

Lizz1583 at AOL dot com

whittakerwoman said...

Financial lesson: Pay your bills on time, you will save a ton! :) H
whittakerwoman@yahoo.com

Lorianne said...

Most important lesson learned: Don't buy stuff you don't need even if you have a coupon for it! loriannehooper@hotmail(dot)com

Jawan said...

Most important financial lesson I'VE learned this year is to stick to an ONLY-CASH envelope system. This is working wonders for our family budget and is helping us pay off debt. Thanks!

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned is that credit card companies are jerks. Seriously. And they do not want to work with you, they do not want to help you and they will do everything in their power to destroy you (sorry I'm bitter about all the dirty pool my credit card companies have been playing the last six months). If I ever get out of debt I'm doing cash only for everything...including upgrading my house.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogoversary! I'm kind of new to couponing and deal hunting, so the most important lesson I've learned is that I don't have to buy something JUST BECAUSE it's on sale. I've learned to evaluate what I need and what I'm willing to pay a little more for.
Thanks for doing the giveaway!
-Leslie
carykhepburn@yahoo.com

Kaylen said...

Congrats on the year!!
My most imp lesson this year is to pay double payments on the smallest card so I have one less payment..then I can make THREE payments on my next smallest, etc...until I am making lots extra on just one card!!!

Summer said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned this year is not to buy something just because it's on sale. To ask myself if, even though it's only .50 cents or what not, do we really need it. Because that's still .50 cents we'd be spending.

chad and chrissy said...

We've learned not to buy anything that we cannot pay cash with. We actully use a credit card so we can get 1% back but we pay it off every month and will not purchase anything if we cannot pay it off at the end of the month.

Stephanie said...

The most important lesson I learned this year was to match coupons with sales to maximize savings! I can't believe I didn't know that last year and I spent so much more money than I should have.

etoiles@hotmail.com

Whitney said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned this year is to have a budget, and actually follow it. I usually got lost around the "following" part :)

rebecca said...

I am perfecting couponing for me, and that's important to our budget. I've also learned that for me, taking cash out for my grocery budget at the beginning of the month makes me much more likely to not overspend. Handing over those pretty green bills is much harder than swiping a card.

gitrecca at gmail dot com

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

The best lesson I learned this year was to use the 24 hour rule when wanting to make a purchase. If I am in a store and want something I see I go home and sleep on it. If I still want it I can go back and get it.

Most of the time I don't!

:)

ndisilvio @ gmail .com

Marybeth at www.babygoodbuys.com said...

My best lesson is that I CAN pay cash for a new car. What a great feeling!
babygoodbuys at gamil dot com

Cindy Brick said...

I posted about your anniversary contest on my blog!

http://cindybrick.blogspot.com/2009/07/win-summer-read-or-cd-or-dvd.html

Cindy Brick said...

And one of the best lessons I've learned is --
never spend more than you earn.

Hard to do, but is so basic...and so helpful.

Happy Anniversary!

Becky said...

I have learned that money is just money, and when big things come up that you didn't plan for, you just have to move on and not spend too much time wishing you could change something you cant.

Becky: kandy.kayne@hotmail.com

kerrykatiecakeskeb43 said...

The most important lesson I learned had to do with the use of credit cards - if I can't afford it now, I likely can't afford it later either!
Hugs,
Kerry

CABean03 said...

This year I am definitely learning to KEEP TRACK OF WHERE THE MONEY GOES! So easily at the end of the month we were finding we had no money left afer paying the bills, and yet we couldn't figure out where it all went. No we are more aware of where we are spending and finding we don't need to spend as much.

Pat said...

Most important lesson learned is if you use coupons when an item is on sale, you can save a lot of money.
pkildow at gmail dot com

Casey said...

This year, the most important thing I learned was to ask for discounts. I got my cell phone bill from $50 to under $20/month! (Wish I'd done that sooner!)

ilovemandathismuch at gmail.com

Macey Kay said...

My lesson is to br careful with cash-it can go so fast, but it is also great to limit yourself by only having so much to spend.

Christie said...

Most important financial lesson this year? I do SO much better on a cash system. I tend to stick with my grocery budget SO much more closely!

Blakesmom said...

Don't spend money before you have it! Thanks for the chance.

Jenny C said...

I have learned that eating out can lead to a lot of unnecessary debt. I guess I have always kind of known that but never paid much attention to it. I recently wrote a budget out on paper and saw how much my eating out was costing me. That was the end of that habit...so far anyways.

Smart Cents Mom said...

I have learned to trust my own instincts. I wanted to get out of the stock market in August 2008 but I let my financial advisor talk me out of it. My biggest and most stupid mistake cost me about $85,000 !

skstigger@hotmail.com

Smart Cents Mom said...

I am a subscriber!

skstigger@hotmail.com

Mary in MN said...

I've learned it's important to STOCK UP on essentials with coupons!

Anonymous said...

I am still learning to be more thankful for things I already have, not constantly wish for more!
dorinicoll@yahoo.com

Lauren said...

The most important financial lesson I learned this year was to STOP paying overdraft fees! We stay much more on top of our bank account now.

{eleise} said...

BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET & stick to it!

Stephanie said...

I've learned that opening store credit cards isn't worth it, even if I can manage credit well! scg00387 at yahoo.com Thanks!

hibyscus said...

The most important lesson for not only myself but for everyone to take note of...build and maintain an emergency fund of money, at least 6 months. You never know when unemployment will strike and unemployment DOES NOT pay the bills. If you don't have an emergency fund, start building it now.

Nichole said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned this year is that I am thankful for what I already have and don't need any more. Thanks for the chance to win. nandjdonabar AT yahoo DOT com

Jackeline R. said...

I learned to keep all my receipts! It REALLY helps when there is a questionable charge on the credit card.

tink122595(at)hotmail(dot)com

Meredith said...

I have learned to always get pre-approved by your insurance company in these tough times they are denying alot of claims. I was sad to learn this after I had a procedure.

Julie VW said...

Great Blog!!

The lesson I started to learn this year (and need to keep learning) is to talk to my new husband about financial things. I've been making my own decisions for so long that I don't always remember that I have a partner in life!!

jvwspam*AT*yahoo*DOT*com

Julie VW said...

I subscribe via bloglines

julievw*AT*yahoo*DOT*com

Lydia said...

I learned to print coupons on the back sides of already used paper and get my ink cartridges refilled at Walgreens for cheap.

Lydia said...

I blogged this! http://thriftyfrugalmom.blogspot.com/2009/07/giveaways-galore.html

Carrie...On The Cheap said...

I just bought Quicken - so hopefully that's my biggest financial lesson of this year! Congrats on the one year!

Macey said...

Pay your credit card bill on time! It's the worst to pay a late fee :(

Christy Lee said...

Paying bills on time to avoid late fees, my husband is such a stickler for this and I wasn't. It's something we've managed to come together on this year! Thanks for the giveaway, and happy blogoversary!

Christy
sheridesthatbigredhonda@yahoo.com

brightleigh said...

I have learned that saving money does take time, but it is definitely time well spent!

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

robandleighbright@suddenlink.net
Leigh

Amiyrah said...

Save your change and your dollar bills! This has been a great way to save for the past year. We've saved hundreds just from the change alone. Almost 900 from saving dollar bills.

Jawan said...

The best financial lesson our family has learned this year is to pay cash for most everything. We are currently using "the envelope system" and it's working wonders for our budget.

CrystalGB said...

Happy Blogoversary! The most important financial lesson I have learned this year is keep your checkbook balanced and remember that all the debit card purchases need to be written down.

Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot]com

Sarakastic said...

I've learned that I can be happier with a $50 state park pass than I can with all of the shopping and expensive concerts that I used to wish for.

Courtney said...

I already have enough! I have so much stuff I can't even keep it all organized - I just need to stop shopping!!! And get organized - which saves me money. So I have frozen much of my spending on frivolous things and stuck to buying groceries and necessities. It's freeing to just be content!

Bek said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned this year is watching how much we spend. I've realized that, when I am intentional and keep track of our spending, we spend a lot less, even on everyday things like groceries.

Rachel said...

Thanks for offering this contest. Hope we win.

Keep all receipts. you never know when you need to return something

Cha Ching Queen
www.chachingqueen.com

Jenna Z said...

When it comes to your home and home improvement, it's best to take action early. And even though you are spending a lot of money now, any improvement you make will at least increase the value of your home!

Tracey said...

Pay cash for a vehicle and buy used. Thankfully we were able to get a good deal and replaced my husband's vehicle without going into debt.

Alicia said...

I think I did this right. I clicked feedburner and subscribed through igoogle.

alicialovessweeps at gmail.com

Megan Gray said...

Learn to resist and say no!

Heather said...

The most important lesson I have learned is that you don't need to "keep up with the Jones'." It's okay to buy just about anything you need used!

Bunny B said...

My most important lesson is to keep track of expenses and have a budget!!! Also, have an emergency 8 month fund!

bunnybx at gmail . com

Bunny B said...

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/bunnyb/status/2928018970

bunnybx at gmail . com

Bunny B said...

Blogged: http://bunnymoney9.blogspot.com/2009/07/hump-day-goodies.html

bunnybx at gmail . com

Bunny B said...

RSS subscriber!
bunnybx at gmail . com

Mikki said...

The most important lesson I learned this year is your job is never as secure has you think it is, so I should always have an emergency cash fund. Thank you! moneymakinmama85@gmail.com

McCraine Family said...

The most important financial lesson I learned was to stop going out to eat, and cook at home every single night!

jana_mccraine(at)hotmail(dot)com

independentmami said...

DOn't spend money you don't have yet...money might not come through.
super_alba_star@yahoo.com

independentmami said...

i tweeted
http://twitter.com/independentmami/status/2941957995
super_alba_star@yahoo.com

Shawna said...

The most important financial lesson I've learned - don't assume autopayments are going to work! We've had a couple of issues with bills ending up late when there was a problem with the auto pay. I'm not going to let that happen again!

thanks for the great giveaway

shawna at couponladyonline dot com

Shawna said...

I tweeted here:
http://twitter.com/couponldyonline/status/2944261469

shawna at couponladyonline dot com

Shawna said...

I blogged here:
http://www.couponladyonline.com/2009/07/giveaway-time.html

shawna at couponladyonline dot com

Shawna said...

I subscribe to your feed via email with address sfmcoupons at inbox dot com

shawna at couponladyonline dot com

Clarissa said...

Most important lesson: Every little bit counts. Instead of throwing a dollar at a vending machine, keep it. Resist twice, and you've got a gallon of gas.

clarissa at digitaldeacons dot com

Mrs. Rachel said...

I have learned that it pays to eliminate debt.

cheap_chick@hotmail.com

Erika said...

Best financial lesson I've learned is to keep a budget!!!

queen4bee(at)gmail(dot)com

matanic said...

I've learned that I can actually spend MORE on groceries following all the great deals than I would just buying what we need when we need it. The key is to make a budget and stick with it. I don't have to get every great deal every week.

mm75guard-freebies AT yahoo DOT com

one18fifteen said...

The most important financial thing I learned this year is to challenge all of my "fixed" expenses. I tend to get into a rut/comfort zone. Doing this in the last 12 months has cut my insurance, my cable/net, my phone and my utilities.

Thanks! And congrats on the Blogoversary!
one18fifteen@aol.com

VegaPunk said...

The most important financial lesson I learned is never by new car. it pays to buy used ones.

Olivia @Independent Beginnings said...

The most important financial lesson I learned this year is to start saving for retirement EARLY in a Roth IRA. flipchick1127 at yahoo dot com