Today's Thursday Talkback question is:

Compared to this time last year, are your finances -
better, worse or about the same?


  1. Frugal Pursuit // May 8, 2008 at 8:10 AM  

    It is a toss up for me. On the one hand, I feel tighter in my spending plan than I did a year ago. In contrast, my net worth has increased over a year ago. So is it perception of the limited money used for expenses more important than a number I monitor once a month? Just two different perspectives I guess.

  2. Nicole // May 8, 2008 at 8:35 AM  

    Better. Even though I've taken a huge pay cut for my current position, spending a little time thinking about money and planning what I'm doing with it makes it feel like I have more!

  3. Philip // May 8, 2008 at 9:48 AM  

    Much better, but more worrisome.

    Just graduated and used sign on bonus to pay off all credit card debt. However student loans are about to come up for starting payments. Also, not having room mates etc. from being a student means that expenses are higher. I can still save more than previously but it is in higher risk if a big problem were to occur.

  4. Eden // May 8, 2008 at 11:07 AM  

    Better! So much better! I have at least $10K less in debt now and both my wife and I are making more money.

  5. nklsmom // May 8, 2008 at 12:23 PM  

    My financial picture looks similar but in reality is completely better. Last year I had 4 cc's with high interest that I was struggling to pay. Right now I have 1 cc and 2 interest free doctor bills. The debt level is about the same but it's no where near as problematic to pay them. I am also more aware of my financial picture and it makes it easier to handle.

  6. vipness // May 8, 2008 at 12:53 PM  

    A little better. We paid off our second car last year, but we had our first child this year. We had to get a bigger place (I mean my wife had to... argh!), therfore higher housing payment. That's basically why we worked hard to pay off the 2 cars, so we could afford a bigger place for kids. Net worth up a little, but monthly savings dropped a little.

  7. Kara // May 8, 2008 at 1:58 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  8. Kara // May 8, 2008 at 1:59 PM  

    Better overall, but it's completely different.

    Last year at this time I was planning and paying for my wedding, so almost all of my income was going towards that. Because of the mad saving last year I paid for the wedding in cash.

    After our September 2007 wedding my now-husband and I purchased a house. So now we have more expenses, but he's also making more money, my salary is about the same but my comute is 1/3 of what it was, and we're able to save. I think we feel a lot better about it, too.

    How about you?

  9. paradigmshifted // May 8, 2008 at 2:00 PM  

    better. further along than i thought with debt repayment, and doing quite well with savings too!

  10. Debt Dieter // May 8, 2008 at 4:10 PM  

    Great question! At this point in time it's a mixed bag for me.

    I earn more money, and have more control over my finances, yet I have more debt! An unexpected very expensive move threw things off for me, but I expect to have less debt than this time last year after getting paid this month.

  11. stackingpennies // May 8, 2008 at 6:59 PM  

    BETTER! I had -4k net worth last year (student loans, not consumer), and now I have 20k net worth. Yay!

  12. Jilse // May 8, 2008 at 10:50 PM  

    Betterm much better. Last year I expected my husband to teach summer school. Well it came as a shock when they offered him a summer school class in the day, when he has a day job, so that meant no summer school checks coming in. We ended up barely making it, charging a lot, and it was sooo tight around here.

    This year I don't expect him to teach summer school. I have put away just about 1,000 to cover the expenses for the three months he doesn't teach and I am adding another 400 to that next month.

    In this past year we have also saved up an emergency fund, an ING account, and a vacation fund. We have much more money to deal with things if something bad were to happen. We still have some credit card debt but we're paying that off as fast as we can.

    Overall we're in much better shape than what we were in last year.

  13. FrugalFreedom // May 9, 2008 at 1:54 AM  

    Not sure! That's totally a function of being rather oblivious to our overall picture a year ago. I tend to think we're better off, more stable income and expenses, an organized debt repayment plan, etc. Lots of inspiration from reading your, and other's, blogs. We're not worried personally by the downturn in the economy, but are concerned for our kids, who will soon officially be entering the work force.

  14. Paul // May 9, 2008 at 10:32 PM  

    My family is better off financially. We're still living about paycheck to paycheck, but by only about a week. Last year at this time, we were paying all of our bills late (I'd say -1 week paycheck to paycheck) and were not able to save anything at all.

    At this time last year, we had a checking account and I was putting 6% of my salary towards my 401k. We had credit card debt out the wazoo. Now, in addition to the checking account, we opened a savings account, I opened a money market account, my wife deals opened herself a "fun money" account (which is what my money market account is for me), I bumped my 401k contribution to 13%, participate in my employee stock plan, and I opened a Roth IRA for my wife and I, putting $100/month (two separate $50 deposits, one on the 7th and one on the 21st of each money). I also opened up a "rainy day" account with ING and I only put money in there when I'm sure we won't need it for any immediate bills.

    There are two big steps my winfe and I need to take over the next year: set up a budget and commit to having at least 6 months of income saved up in the bank - that might take a few years to accomplish.
    On the subject of the budget, my wife and I have talked about it, but we haven't made one up yet. I'm waiting until I've had our accounts feeding for about 6 months before I feel comfortable coming up with a budget.

    Oh, and I have $0 in credit card debt, and I've switched to paying each one off in full each month, which is how I'm able to do all this other stuff!