Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 301 - Giving Thanks

Felixco, Inc. /
With our final debt payment just a few days away, I am allowing myself to believe this is actually going to happen!! While I would love to take all the credit for my debt payoff success this past year, I feel like I need to acknowledge a certain group of people who have helped me achieve my goal of paying off $60,000 in less than a year. So without further ado, and in no particular order, shout outs go to......

My brother, Josh. Two and a half years ago, my brother handed me Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover and told me he and his wife had started the program with great success. I took the book to bed with me with the intention of reading a few pages before I went to sleep. A few hours later, I had read the entire book!! It was 3am and I was already planning out my envelope system and emergency fund.

I changed that night. I had hope that maybe someday I could actually become debt free - something I never thought could happen. I am happy to report that since the night I finished that book, I have paid off almost $85,000 in debt. I want to thank my brother for not only introducing me to that book, but also being an inspiration for me to keep going. Even though he is extremely busy with his own family, he is always available when I really need him. He helps keep me focused on what is important in life while at the same time reminding me not to take myself so seriously. And for that I am very thankful.

Mike aka Mr. $60K Project. Mike is the yin to my yang. Although there are some philosophies of life where we differ, we always somehow seem to complement each other. Mike has always been responsible with his money to the point where he probably missed out on some incredible life experiences just so he could maintain a sense of fiscal responsibility. He is relatively risk averse yet somehow great at scamming a deal. I, on the other hand, tended to put life experience before affordability in the past. My parents thankfully instilled in me the idea that if there was something I really wanted, I had the ability to figure out a way to get it no matter what. This idea has taken me all over the US, Europe and Russia and provided me a couple of great degrees from amazing schools. Unfortunately, I sometimes took it a little too far and ended up with a mountain of debt.

Mike and I became partners in crime this past year and successfully paid off a boatload of debt. I want to thank him for his brilliant mind, his patience with me through tough times this year and his willingness to be open to understanding and learning about life from a different perspective (mine). Now if he would just propose - I think I've earned it! :-P

My dog, Duke - aka The Beauty.  Duke has been in my life for almost ten years through good and bad. He has taught me to love unconditionally, to be loyal to your family and to make some noise when you really need something. If you aren't a dog lover, you may not understand my tremendous attachment to this animal. He represents all that is good in the world and is the most devoted friend I could ever have. Thanks for always greeting me at the door as if it was the most exciting thing in the world (even if you just saw me ten minutes ago). It feels so nice to be loved with so much passion. I would consider myself lucky if I am able to give the important people in my life at least half the love you have showed me over the years.

My ex-friend Susan. Susan and I met my freshman year of college and quickly became best friends. She came from a wealthy family but seemed to be fairly down to earth about things with a few hiccups of flashiness now and again. As we grew older together, I saw her changing into a person obsessed with money - and I mean in a bad way. She eventually moved to the OC, money-grubbing central IMHO, and married a guy who admitted out loud that he thought driving a BMW made him better than most people (yes, he really did say that). It turned out he wasn't making any money while driving this BMW and they were taking out equity loans on their home to live on (which, by the way, they had received $500,000 as a down payment from her parents). In two years, they went through the half million and ended up in a nasty divorce. Then Susan decided to cut me and other friends out of her life for reasons we are still unsure about. After she changed her phone number and quit returning my emails, I gave up. A year later she resurfaced on Gchat one day asking me how I was doing as if nothing ever happened. Then she finally sent a nasty email telling me how I wasn't there for her, that she had met the man of her dreams and was SO happy, and that she was leaving Orange County to get away from all the superficial people. Oh yeah, and also by the way her new husband had bought her a ferrari and a 5,000 square foot house in Atlanta.

Despite all of the drama and blame game going on in Susan's life, I feel sorry for her. I think she hides a lot of her unhappiness and lack of self confidence behind a curtain of possessions. Yes, I think about money a lot and I would like to have a little more of it (I admit I would probably take a Ferrari if it fell in my lap), but I think I maintain a healthy perspective most days. I want to thank Susan for showing me the type of person I do not want to become. Ever.

My loyal blog readers - you know who you are!! The consistent feedback and support I have gotten from my readers has been instrumental in helping me stay on track with The $60K Project. I truly believe that my accountability to you all was a key factor in keeping me on track the last ten months. It's difficult to go out and spend a bunch of money when you know you are going to report out your financial situation on your blog in the next few days. Thanks for following my adventure and also telling others about it.

The Yakezie. I stumbled upon the Yakezie during one of my mad Googling sessions where I was trying to educate myself about the ins and outs of SEO, website design and blogging tips and tricks. The Yakezie is a group of personal finance and lifestyle bloggers who are dedicated to selflessly helping others succeed. I definitely try to be a "pay it forward" kind of person so this group intrigued me immediately. I skulked around the message boards for quite a while before I got up enough nerve to actually join the Yakezie Challenge. All I can say is wow! There is a forum post where you can announce you have joined the Challenge. I can't even tell you how many welcoming and supportive messages I received in that forum from people who had never heard of me. This sense of community and support is amazing and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. Although I've got some work to do, I hope I can make other new members feel as welcome as I did.

To all of you who I didn't include in this post, please know that I do appreciate all your help. But the Oscar music is starting to play and I'm being ushered off the stage before the commercial break.

Stay tuned,

Who has been influential to you and your personal finance progress? Take the opportunity to thank them right here, right now!
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