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2020 Financial Year In Review

I wanted to start this year with a general summary of what 2020 looked like financially for me. In this review I’ll share some basic numbers: The debt I started with, my credit score changes over time, and a few key experiences that shaped those numbers.

Why share this? I’ve had a few highlights this year and I’ve had people ask me about them. I also want to be transparent on this budget journey. I’m not an “extreme” in any way…I’m not buried under hundreds of thousands of dollars of consumer debt (although 2 years ago we were sitting at $20,000) and I’m not someone who’s been able to save 60%+ of my income (though I respect you FIRE folks). The changes I’ve had and made are based off of small, every day choices, and I want to share THAT with you…for THAT is pretty much who I am. A small, ordinary gal with small, ordinary abilities, trying to do something with my life that is a little bigger than small and a little more than ordinary.

With that said, let’s get into it!

January:

  • We started the year with $10,481 of consumer debt.
  • My credit score was 735. This is with 20 or so years of credit history. I’ve never missed a payment, although I had been carrying quite a balance for years.
  • I had just finished a $1,000 emergency savings challenge put on by KSL News Radio and had managed to pay down a little over $9,000 of debt the previous year.

February:

  • Debt: $9,961.63
  • Credit score: 760
  • Talks of COVID-19 were becoming more frequent. There was concern it may eventually make it to our state. I spent an extra $50 or so stocking up on gloves, bleach, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other cleaning supplies.
  • Set $500 aside (from soon to arrive tax returns) to take a weekend trip with the family in March.

March:

  • Debt: $9,074.62
  • Credit score: 760
  • On the 13th our local schools were shut down. I was suddenly glad I’d thought ahead and was able to avoid any panic shopping. Husband’s place of employment had a handful of positive COVID cases and he was sent to stay home for a week. Cancelled our weekend trip in preparation for the pandemic.
  • Tax returns arrived. Allocated money to debt and to paying our state taxes.
  • On the 18th we were hit by a 5.7 earthquake. Suddenly I was very glad the kids were not gone at school and that my husband was home.

April:

  • Debt: $7,421.06
  • Credit score: 748
  • My work hours were cut by about 35%. Feeling concerned about the finances, but we did save $150-$200 a month in gas money by not commuting, so that helped. Eating out of the pantry.
  • Stimulus checks arrived. $1,500 went to debt, and we also used some to support local businesses.

May:

  • Debt: $5,892.31
  • Credit score 756
  • Nothing new…spending a lot less on commuting, going out to eat, and groceries.

June:

  • Debt: $4,621
  • Credit score: 760
  • Work hours lowered further

July:

  • Debt: $1,681
  • Credit score: 747
  • We decided to refinance our home and take advantage of the super low interest rates. The entire process went really quickly since we weren’t looking to receive any money and therefore didn’t need an appraisal. We had 18 years left on our loan, switched to a 15-year, saving us 3 years of interest. Monthly payment went down by a tiny bit.

August:

  • Debt: $0!!
  • Credit score: 795
  • With the refinance we received a check minus fees for the PMI. Used it to finish off our debt payments and did a happy dance. Credit score really jumped this month.
  • Our daughter purchased her first car. The loan she acquired ($3,000) was put in our name, but I didn’t include it in our debt total since it was hers to pay.

September:

  • Credit score 800
  • School started again and I opted to keep my son home and do distance learning. Still saving on commute money (what will I do when I have to start commuting again every day?)

October:

November:

  • Credit score: 816
  • Got the chance to work on a project with my second job (I get maybe 1-2 projects a year with them) and it turned into longer term – exciting news since my main job hours continue to be lowered!

December:

  • Credit score: 818
  • Paid Christmas off as we bought it…not about to get into debt for that. Splurged this year and spent almost double what we usually do. (We spent just over $600 this year for everything.)
  • My daughter paid off her car to start 2021 free of debt as well!

So there you have it. 2020 year in review. This next year I’ll be focusing more on building my savings and investing. Excited to share the journey!
Where are you focusing for 2021?

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