Bullwinkle J. MooseIt was just one year ago that we were in the midst of our biggest home renovation project to date.

Seems like yesterday, but that’s not a good thing. The whole vinyl siding ordeal was an experience I’d rather soon forget.

Financially, though, I’m in awe of how far I’ve come since June 24, 2007.

My total credit card balance (spread amongst 3 cards) was $20018.74. A year later, today, the total balance is $0. That feels pretty good.

I also went back and compared the first 175 days of 2007 to the first 176 days of 2008. That works out to January 1 through June 24.

In that time frame, I earned $21545 more in 2007 than I did in 2008. That number shocks me.

I realize that I’ve dropped a few clients from my side business since that time, but I’m still surprised at the difference in just one year.

On the spending side of things, having made more in 2007, I also spent more.

Over the first 175 days of 2007, I spent an astonishing $52006. Holy crap?!

Making it a little easier to digest is the fact that $20018 of that total was on the credit cards. Basically, money I didn’t actually have. But still, I’ll say it again — holy crap!

This year, I’ve spent $24378. That’s $27628 less than 2007. Taking the $20018 worth of credit card purchases out of the equation, I’ve spent just $7610 less than last year. Not great, but an improvement.

  2007 2008 Difference
$ Spent $52006 $24378 -$27628
$ Spent – CC $31988 $24378 -$7610

So I’ve made a lot less money (over $20k) this year and I’ve also cut my spending (by over $7k).

The two are obviously related and you’d think that I’d be really down about the way the past 176 days have gone. The numbers don’t lie. But if you do think that, you’re mistaken.

It’s the total opposite.I’m in such a better position now than I was one year ago.

Sure, it’s a fact that my income is down. A lot.

And yeah, as a result, I’m not spending as freely as I used to.

But the big difference is that my finances are now in order and it seems that I’ve finally found the perfect balance — working less, maintaining (and improving) my standard of living, and somehow continually increasing my net worth.

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