Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rethinking Resolutions

   Less than two months after I posted my resolutions for the year, I am beginning to wonder if I aimed too low. As I said, we are primarily focused on getting out of debt. I have talked a little about our experience on this journey here and there. Let me first bring you up to speed.

   We are starting with our credit card debt, focusing on the highest interest rate cards first. While we have made very good progress on this front, there have been setbacks. First was Washington State informing me that, as an independent contractor, I have been delinquent in filing for a business license and paying taxes on such a business (mentioned in This Time Of Year). I reconciled this as quickly as I was able and found that the taxes owed did not amount to anything we couldn't handle. Sometimes it works out in our favor that we don't make a lot of money. Still, it was a setback.

   Our second setback has been Federal taxes. I have been going back and making sure we are including everything and in doing so have been able to bring what to owe to a reasonable amount, but it looks like we will still owe money. That's another setback.

   The third, and most irritating setback came in the form of a credit card debt of which we were unaware. In a nut, a couple years back my wife was in the process of getting her business licenses transferred to Washington State (I swear, this state has a serious racket with it's licensing!), we were in a pinch and agreed to put about $200 in fees on a credit card. By our own mistake, we used a card (Card A) that we had already paid off, intending to use a different card (Card B) from the same institution. Unfortunately, neither my wife nor I can recall receiving a statement on Card A. We naturally assumed our payments on Card B were going toward the debt. That is, until we recently received a collection notice on Card A, which had now run up to almost $700 on interest and fees. It took a couple weeks and many phone calls to both the bank and the collection agent explaining our position and flat out refusing to pay $700 on a $200 debt for which we were never billed before we were able to finally settle the account for about $350. A very frustrating setback and one more reason to hate credit cards.

   All that said, we are making better progress on paying down our debt than I expected. I am making it my goal to be completely out of debt before the end of the year. I really think we can do it if we stay focused.

   I have done almost nothing with the writing project I mentioned in my resolutions. I have been waiting for information from someone on which to base my decision on which project to pursue, but I haven't pushed the issue because I've been depressed and otherwise occupied. I intend to remedy that.

   I also did not want to get specific because some things are kind of up in the air right now. I realize now that I don't need to understand how it might happen, I just need to put it out there. That said, I intend to have a productive garden this year and to put some wild game into my freezer this year. I intend to have a location for the family farm by this time next year. I will learn more about eating healthy and sustainably as we make greater strides this year toward being self-sufficient and sustainable.

   My family will be happy and healthy.

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