Wow its hard to believe that 2012 is almost over! What an amazing year it’s been. The end of the year sort of crept up on me, but now that I’m looking back, this year couldn’t have gone more spectacularly.
When 2012 started, I was in a mountain of debt, and struggling to get my financial house in order. I owed $36,732.00 in student loans and a car loan. I was living in a temporary living situation, and was still getting used to my new life as a recent university graduate and all the bills that came along with that. I had no idea what was in store for me this past year.
I couldn’t have imagined I would achieve so much.
The year got off to a great started when in February, my boyfriend of eight years proposed to me on a deserted beach, in our favourite park, on a weekend trip to our favourite city. It was even in the middle of a light snowfall, which I’d confided in him, was my ideal weather condition for a proposal. It couldn’t have been more perfect and I spent that entire weekend grinning from ear to ear.
Also in February, I wrote my very first post on My Alternate Life. I started the blog because I needed an outlet for my frustrated energy. I was unhappy with my situation, after all, I’d done everything I was supposed to do to ensure I had a good life, where was that life? Instead all I had was a load of debt to pay off. Even though I was starting to take steps to get out of that situation, I needed to express myself, to get those feelings of despair out. The personal finance community has been nothing but welcoming and I credit this blog with helping me achieve my financial goals in 2012.
The Tax Return
March was the month I really kicked off my debt repayment. I received a monster tax return and was able to throw $4,000 towards my student loan debt. I was able to take my student loan debt from $24,000 to $20,000 in one fell swoop. This move gave me so much enthusiasm for debt repayment!
The 10k Race
May was an equally stellar month, but for different reasons. After training for three months, I ran my first ever 10k race. It was incredibly difficult for me, since I’m not naturally athletic, but I did it! Even better, I beat my goal time and got a pretty medal to match. This was something I’d dreamed about and worked hard for, so to achieve it really showed me that I’m capable of accomplishing things I put my mind to.
In June, we were just settling into our new 400 sq. ft. digs when we decided to get a dog. This was a moment I’d been anticipating for years, and I wasn’t disappointed. After many hours agonizing over what type of dog to get, my fiance and I visited the SPCA and found the perfect dog waiting for us. We brought Molly home and she’s proven to us how amazing she is almost daily ever since.
The Blog Income
The summer flew by, with camping trips, family events, settling into our new location and adjusting to our new canine family member. I did manage to earn my first $100 off my blog though, and it was nice to see some return on my time investment.
The Photography Class
In September I started a my photography class. It was intro to DSLR photography and I was so excited to finally learn my way around my camera. It was a lot of work but totally worth it. Plus I took some sweet pictures. (No pun intended)
The Staff Writing Job
In October, I was extremely lucky to land a staff writing job with Michelle at Making Sense of Cents. I am so happy to have to opportunity to contribute to such an amazing blog and to finally have the opportunity to really kick my side hustle up a notch. I also got my personal injury car insurance settlement from my car accident last July, which enabled me to knock a ton off my student loan debt.
The rest of the year simply flew by. I ended completing my running goal, with a year end total of 437.9km run. I kept plugging away at my side income, and earned $2,600 before taxes. Finally, I paid off a mountain of debt, ending the year with $20,368.00 owing, a difference of $16,363.79. I never thought myself capable of any of those feats, never in a million years. I did that while managing to save over $2,000 towards my wedding, keeping my emergency fund well funded, and maintaining a fun and rewarding lifestyle.
It’s been a hell of a year. I’ve gone through some big life events (proposal, racing, first dog) and made some lasting life changes that are going to affect the path my life takes for years to come.
I can only hope that 2013 turns out to be as amazing as 2012 shaped up to be. I sure hope it’s going to be. If I play my cards right, I should be able to pull off a fun and debt free wedding, run a half marathon, and finally say goodbye to my student loan debt. It’s going to take a wild effort, but I’m up to the challenge.
This might not be the life I was anticipating growing up, it’s not ideal after all. But this is my alternate life, and it’s turning out to be pretty awesome itself.
How did your 2012 shape up? I want to know!