Last year was all about changes on almost all fronts of my life. I moved jobs, leaving the judiciary after almost 5 years to try my hand in the legislative department. With the job change came the requisite 2 month wait, although in my case it became 3 months, for my first salary. The moment I started receiving my pay and backpay, we pushed forward with condo constructions, in effect doubling our home space from 30sqm to a more palatial 60sqm. Two nieces were born a few months apart from each other, giving my parents a total of 10 grandkids to spoil and fuss over.
For the financial side, I was disappointed to see that my networth increase wasn't substantial and I attribute this to condo constructions, my cavalier attitude about money and helping out some family members deal with debt. I always thought that I was careful with money, but ever since I began tracking my spending for the past few months, I was shocked to discover where our money was going. It was humbling to see that I was the reason why we could never complete our target emergency funds, or why our credit card bills always make me do a double-take every month. For someone who writes about personal finance and dishes advice like she knows what she's doing, I sure didn't know sh*t.
This year, I intend to continue with listing down my expenses as it has made me more careful and intentional with my spending, since you can't really argue or play blind with the end of the month tally. The numbers don't lie.
Our vacations were also part of the reason why we weren't able to allocate as much towards savings and investments. We went on 4 out of town trips last year (Baguio, Taal, Bacolod and Biliran) and each trip cost us between Php10,000 to Php20,000. We didn't spend on lodging or food for our Bacolod and Biliran trips, but we did spend on airfare. On the flipside, we didn't spend on airfare for Baguio and Taal, but we did have to spring for accommodations, food, gasoline etc. I really should adapt a new strategy when it comes to our vacations, my usual style of putting expenses on credit and paying for them after the fact is clearly not helping increase our networth.
As for my job, there's a big possibility that I'll be moving again when my boss steps down in June, when her term ends. I would love to stay in the Senate because I still have a lot to learn about legislation, but in the event that I'll have difficulty finding a new boss, I am also looking towards other government agencies and am even considering a return to the private sector, preferably in the banking/financial sector. It looks like 2016 will also be marked by changes in the professional front.
I'm happy to note though that my personal life was pretty boring last year. No one was seriously ill, although my husband had to contend with some back problems that still pester him every now and then. My son loves his playschool. My parents are enjoying their retirement, although they always make parinig for their grandkids (not their kids:p) to visit them. One of my siblings faced money issues and we all helped out as best as we could. My sister and her family are moving back to New Zealand this year, and it's making me sad but I know that it's the best move for them so we'll do as the British do and keep a stiff upper lip. My son's yaya is moving back to Bicol by the end of this month to give birth and set up a carinderia with her mom. This means that we'll be welcoming a new yaya very soon (as in tomorrow!) and I'm crossing my fingers that we all get along with each other.
For 2016, my number one goal is to save more and making savings a habit. My rockstar dream is to save/invest at least 50% of income per month on a regular basis, but for now I'm starting with 10% and working my way up.
I think I'll leave all talks of New Year's resolutions at that. The simpler and less complicated, the better.