I think a lot of people never expected 2020 to be like it was! And while it was something we never planned for, the year really did fly by. Maybe it was because every day felt like Groundhog Day. I do have to admit that this year was honestly a great year though.
I think the theme of 2020 for me was “Get rid of toxicity”. Early in the year, I made the decision to go no contact with my blood family. I could no longer take the negativity, the hate towards my husband, and the judgement. I think that I finally started standing up for myself and my family and my parents could no longer control my life. They no longer had open access to talk down to my husband, they couldn’t pick on my son under the guise of just playing around, they couldn’t control where and how I spent my money and time. Was it hard to cut my parents out of my life…yes. Some days I still struggle with it. But my home life is so much more peaceful and relaxed now that I don’t have to worry about what my parents will think or say. I did block them (and other family members) on Facebook and blocked their phone numbers so they can’t see how happy I am. I do see daily views on my Juliano Adventure Facebook page and wonder if it is them (as I can’t control who can see a page), but I can’t think about that. I am living my life the way I want. If they want to follow along for the journey and not have the ability to participate, go for it. I might write about the entire situation later, but not today…I just feel that this year I decided to be the best me for not only myself, but my family.
One of the amazing things is that my job allowed me to work from home. Since early March, I have been sitting at home working…and my husband and I didn’t kill each other. There were adjustments, especially with our son also at home, but we got closer than we have in YEARS. Not only did we both cut toxic people out of our lives, we learned how to be together all-day, every day. We had to learn to communicate and ensure our daily activities weren’t disturbing or interrupting the other. We had to work together to get our son in his virtual classes and homework done. And we did it! There were some challenges, but we were able to work through them and come out the other side.
Side benefit of working from home…driving less! Before this “pandemic”, I was going into the office 2-3 times a week, which is a 50-mile drive each way. While I tried to pack a lunch, I didn’t always. So, let’s do the math…
Gas mileage – 15mpg
100 miles a day > 6.67 gallons per day
$2.50/gal > $16.68 per day > $200 month
Eating out (2x week) = $128
Breakfast – $7
Lunch – $9
So…using that math, I was probably spending $325 each month just going to the office. Where else were we able to save money? Well, speaking of food, restaurants were closed in the beginning, so we had to eat at home. We were averaging over $300 a month in eating out. This could be restaurants, fast food, or Starbucks. That changed to under $200. So, there is another $100 saved. The gym was closed, so another $130 saved. Just those 3 things now saved us over $500 each month. Now…what were we able to do?
I made a post a while ago about Dave Ramsey and budgeting. I didn’t do great balancing the checkbook and following the budget to a “T”, but here is what happened. At the beginning of 2019 when we added up all our debt (minus the house), we had a total of $124,000 between cars loans, personal loans, and credit cards. We started 2020 with a total of $80,500. I will admit that we did have some extra money come in during 2019, but still…that is over $40,000 paid off in a year! Now, in December of 2020, our new debt balance is $66,000. In two years, we have paid off over $57,000 in debt!!! Do I wish it was more? Of course! But there are things that my husband and I enjoy and will not give up. Do we watch our frivolous spending more…Yes. Do we wait to buy things until we have the cash to do so…Yes. But we are both so proud of the change in our lives and digging ourselves out of this hole. We were buying to make ourselves feel better and ignoring the real stressors we weren’t dealing with. At the beginning of 2020, I’m going to re-read these books and give myself another mental boost to keep this momentum going. I’m even looking at becoming a financial coach to help others get out of debt as well. If you want to learn more or get help, let me know and we can figure out how to be free of debt!
Overall, 2020 sucked, but only because we couldn’t get out, see friends, enjoy activities, or get out. But there were benefits of strengthening the family bond and paying off debt. As 2021 kicks off, I am restarting my bullet journal to stay organized, hopefully move up in my career, and pay off (or close to) our debt. So join me on the crazy ride of the Juliano Adventure!