It's an early Sunday morning and I'm relaxing with a cup of coffee when I thought I'd post some random thoughts I've been having.
1. What's the point of this blog?
So, I really don't have a point. I love to read other people's blogs, so I thought I'd make my own. At first, it was just to learn how to set it up. But now, it's because I like having it. The most successful blogs have a general theme that they follow. Either most of the posts are about personal finance/becoming financially independent, woodworking, making, sewing, etc. My blog is not like that. I guess my entire blog is just a collection of random thoughts. More accurately though, I look at my blog as a place to put things that I want to remember. Since I only eat oatmeal when the weather gets cold, every fall I'm trying to remember how I made it the last year. Thus, I posted my recipe for oatmeal. If I spent a long time at work or at home, figuring out how to configure something on my computer, I'll write a post about it. It's a very satisfying feeling when I then google that same problem a year or two later and my own blog post shows in the results. This is also why I have the comments turned off. This is really just for me. The information here might be helpful to other people, which is why I let anyone read it. I have had a couple of people send me a tweet that they found something here useful and that's pretty cool. But I'm really not trying to build a community or gather people to a cause. And I find it hard to believe that anyone is really interested in what I've written here. Checking the analytics for my site, over the past month, I've averaged around 500 unique visitors per day. I'm guessing that the majority of these are bots for search engines. However, if you are a real person reading this blog, welcome! I hope you find something useful here.
(Nuts, it took me so long to login to my account to check the anayltics that I forgot what my other points were going to be. I'll see if I can jar the old memory to get the back to the front.)
2. Cars. Since I've been tracking my expenses in software since 2004, I have a lot of information about where my money has gone. I was shocked to find out that since 2004, I've spent over $53,000 on cars. Ok, yes, if I average that over 12 years, it's only around $4400 per year. And two big chunks of that were in 2012, when I started getting a bunch of repair bills on my van and then sold it and used my sister's car (and made her car payment) while she was in Germany and then 2013 when she came back and I bought myself a car. But still, seeing that much money go to cars sort of bugs me. I'm happy to say that as of right now, in 2016, my car expenses are under $1800. I think I have to pay insurance at the end of the month, so I'll probably end up just under $2500 for the year, which does not sound too bad. I'd like to think that I'm getting more reasonable in driving. I have been biking a lot more. Though I will admit that I gave up biking to work somewhat early this year just because I didn't feel like doing it in the colder weather. Yes, I am a big wuss.
3. Gratitude. In addition to this blog, I also have been keeping a written journal. I'm doing this because I like the physical act of writing on paper. I also enjoy working with paper. I made personalized stationery as gifts a couple of years ago and recently I bound my own book. These were totally fun projects. So I decided to use a blank book that I had as a sort of journal. When I remember, I'm trying to include something I'm grateful for. I've read that keeping a gratitude journal helps with happiness and I'm inclined to agree. I haven't been doing this too long (a little over a month), but I am happier when I remember that life is good and I have a lot to be grateful for.
4. Cashflow. I've been increasing the contributions to my retirement accounts steadily over the past couple of years. It's been good because I've felt that I haven't really noticed that I'm bringing how less each month. However, over the past two months, I have felt like I've been a running out of cash a lot quicker than normal. Starting in January, I'll finally be maxing out what I can contribute. While I'll only be bringing home a couple of hundred dollars less than I am now, I have a feeling that it's finally going to start hurting a bit more. So one thing that I'm going to have to look at in my yearly review is what other expenses I can cut a little. I think I'm doing ok, but I feel like I'm still wasting a little money in certain places.
5. Election. I was hugely disappointed with the outcome, but I have accepted that Trump is the president. I don't think he'll be good for anyone in the world, but I'm hoping that he'll surprise me. And I've already made a contribution to the ACLU because I'm thinking they're going to be busy for the next few years.
This post is now long enough, so I'll stop. It's sort of blowing my mind that it's already December and that the year will be over soon. And while I still think that life is good, I'll be happy to see 2016 end.