The 3 Biggest Personal Finance Mistakes We Made in 2016

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Personal Finance Mistakes We Made in 2016Like any other personal finance enthusiast, both of us (I and husband) spent few minutes to put together all our financial records and see how much we earned last year.

Overall it’s been a great year.

His business grew with about 40% compared to 2015 and mine also grew substantially, even if I can only work about an hour/day (small child, household chores and a dog I need to take care of).

So, we are VERY pleased with how 2016 went, financially speaking, and hope we’ll be able to at least break our current records the next 12 months.

Yet, looking back, there are 3 main personal finance mistakes we made and I’d like to share them with you.

We tracked our income/expenses only partially

Husband is really not into all this PF stuff, so he cannot be convinced to track anything but his income (which is great, it would be difficult for me to care for all his invoices as well). So I was the only one to do some budgeting / tracking.

Since I get to work maybe an hour and a half (in those good productive days), you can imagine I don’t feel that inspired to spend that time writing down each expense we make, so I tracked only my business related incomes and expenses and just ignored the rest.

This means we know EXACTLY what we earned, how much we paid for taxes, cars maintenance (gas, insurance and all that jazz), everything that was purchased for our company, but we don’t know how much our groceries cost us exactly each month.

It’s indeed not the most inspired thing to do, but we came to the conclusion that, as long as we kept within some reasonable spending limits, it’s OK to just make sure we don’t overspend.

We are currently debt free and intend to stay that way, after me going through some rough times in the past because of my debt. (You can read more about it: Debt on a Low Income and The True Cost of Being in Debt – Wasted Opportunities). This means we can be a bit more relaxed when it comes to our money, but still try to earn a decent income, so that our lifestyle doesn’t have to suffer.

I cannot promise I’ll do better this year, since my day-to-day tasks list is still pretty extensive and work-hours limited. This is why we’ll probably keep on tracking our business related expenses and try to earn more money.

We didn’t save money as aggressively as we’d had hoped

Each year I make a resolution to save more money.

2016 was no exception, but we didn’t achieve this goal.

The reason: husband got a new car (well, it’s not new, but he needs it for his business). We also purchased a new home (actually a shack in a nearby village), which we plan on completely renovating and then making it our retirement haven in few years.

Since we both have a flexible schedule with our businesses, this is a good opportunity to breathe some fresh air and stay away from the city’s mad life. Not to mention that, by renting one of the city apartments, we’d be able to secure a decent income during retirement.

We got a dog

OK, you’ll think I am crazy to consider adding a dog as a PF mistake, but we all know dogs can be expensive.

After getting our rural ‘shack’ and starting visiting the village, to get some work done on the home, a small dog appeared at our gate.

He was emaciated, yet very friendly and cute.

As you can imagine, my 2 year old (back then) instantly fell in love with him and we kept on feeding him every 3-4 days (when we’d go there).

Suffice to say this wasn’t enough.

After few weeks, when he appeared to get better, we found him one Sunday morning almost dead.

He was barely moving, refusing food and water.

I knew it’s the end for him and, after spending almost all day crying and beating myself up for not doing more for him, I decided to take him home in the city and see if I can save him. I felt it was OK if he died there, at least I’d known we tried everything.

Let’s say he didn’t die (was extremely close to, but he made it through that first night) and is now close to 70 Lbs (at 11 months). Apparently he’s a Carpathian Shepherd Dog and has grown A LOT in the past months.

That’s how he looked on the day we met him (he was about 5 months old and a bit bigger than a cat).

This is a recent photo with the pooch at 66 Lbs:

Saving Gu is by far the best thing that happened to us as a family, especially for my little Nadia, who’s absolutely in love with him.

Yet, from a money perspective, this is costly.

He eats A LOT, needs medical care, you know the drill.

So, these would be our personal finance mistakes in 2016. We’ll probably repeat them this year as well, since we don’t plan on getting rid of our four-legged friend and we’ll probably spend about 2 months traveling.


How did 2016 go for you?

Are you pleased with how you handled your money? Would you change/improve anything?

2 COMMENTS

  1. Holy bananas dogs can be expensive. We have a french bulldog who is now eight and yeah they add up over the years. But there’s nothing like having them by your side.

    As to the saving more, it’s tough to do it, but if you automate it, it’ll happen.

    And I think not tracking all expenses is a good thing. People in the PF space get neurotic about this, but if you track everything and save 5%, you’re not doing better than someone who tracks nothing, but manages to put 20% away into retirement every year.

    All the best,
    Buck

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