Friday, December 4, 2009

Three months later, I'm back

Obviously, I haven't posted here for several months. The main reason is that we've had an insane number of big-ticket expenses lately, and I just wasn't up for talking about them. They drained our savings account and prompted us to re-evaluate our sailing goals.

Basically, we've decided that as much as we love sailing and as confident as we are in our belief that we'd love the liveaboard lifestyle, sailing will have to wait. I don't know how long, but for the next five or 10 years, it's not going to be a pressing goal. What we've learned is that sailing is extremely expensive, and the boat is just one part of that. Boats need places to live. Boats need parts and repairs. Boats have to meet certain government standards and requirements. We started to understand the oft-repeated assertion that boats are essentially drains in the ocean.

We've also learned that we aren't willing to give up everything to save for this dream. We like to travel; we like to explore new places. Are we going to stop doing that for five or 10 years in the hope that we might be able to do it by boat? Apparently, the answer to that question is no. For New Year's, we're going to New Orleans with some of our friends, and next June, all three of us are going to celebrate Trent and my 10th anniversary with a trip to western Montana (a special place to us, as that is where our son was born). I am excited about these excursions, and I don't feel guilty about spending money on them. I grew up taking yearly roadtrips with my parents; those are among my happiest childhood memories. Those adventures were learning opportunities. I want the same for my son. (We've been careful to pay for these trips with money we actually have.)

Like I said, we've had a lot of unexpected expenses in the last few months: dental work to the tune of $3000, a water-damaged wall, a broken sink, a broken toilet, an ER visit for a deep gash to the forehead, visits to the doctor, increased health insurance premiums, etc. etc. etc. It's been discouraging, but I think we're back on track.

That said, despite the obstacles, we're still on the right track. I am happy to report that while we've used our credit cards, we've paid them off in full every month. We still have a cushion in our emergency fund. We're now documenting each and every expense. Our credit scores have increased. Our school loans have decreased (albeit by only a small amount). We've been contributing ~15% of our income to our 401Ks. Trent found a new contract gig and a side gig, too.  

I like writing about money and finances, so I'm going to start writing here again. Some of our goals might have changed, but what hasn't changed is that we're still dedicated to pursuing financial freedom.