Super-creative title, right? But this post does what it says on the box: here’s a look back at what happened in 2017.
(I only just learned how to embed Instagram photos, and what a gift it is—adding photos without having to upload them to WordPress is definitely the lazy/easy way out!)
And because I’m a huge nerd, I’m starting with:
Books I read
I read a ton of books this year and for the first time ever kept track of all the ones I finished. I’ll keep doing that in future years, since I’ve decided I like being able to go back and see what I read over the course of a year.
The ones I finished in 2017 (this does not include any re-reads of my favorites or the multiple books I’m still in the process of reading #bookwormproblems):
- The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg
- Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson
- Happy City, Charles Montgomery
- Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh
- Walkable City, Jeff Speck
- Hillbilly Elegy, JD Vance
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
- You Only Live Once, Jason Vitug
- The Fringe Hours, Jessica Turner
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Ramit Sethi
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Richard Carlson
- The Complete Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyzyn
- Rising Strong, Brene Brown
- Easier Than You Think, Richard Carlson
- The New Frugality, Chris Farrell
- Creative Confidence, Tom Kelley and David Kelley
- This Is How, Augusten Burroughs
- Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton
- Happy Money, Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton
- 10% Happier, Dan Harris
- Love Your Life, Not Theirs, Rachel Cruze
- Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig
- The Opposite of Loneliness, Marina Keegan
- The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated, Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
- The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, John Izzo
- Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
- Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin
- Daily Rituals, Mason Curry
- How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran
- Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
- A Matter of Magic, Patricia Wrede
- You are a Badass at Making Money, Jen Sincero
- The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle Luna
- Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham
- Broke Millennial, Erin Lowry
- The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
- The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
- The More of Less, Joshua Becker
- Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson
- Felicity, Mary Oliver
- The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
- Essentialism, Greg McKeown
- Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed
- Help, Thanks, Wow, Anne Lamott
- What Happened, Hillary Rodham Clinton
- Chasing Slow, Erin Loechner
- Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay
(Heh, this post would’ve been a good reason to make an Amazon affiliate account!)
Lots of money books, lots of self-help books. I suspect 2018’s list is going to look a bit different since I’m pretty burned out on those genres. I wanted to prioritize non-fiction this year since in the past I’ve been pretty exclusively a fiction reader, and I did maybe too good of a job there. I’ll be adding more fun reading to my roster next year.
All of these new-to-me books were checked out from the library. A quick, unscientific tally of how much each of those books currently cost on Amazon reveals the library saved me the approximately $569.09 it would’ve cost for me to buy all 48 of these.
Podcasts I listened to
Podcasts were a new thing for me this year. I spend a lot of my life walking around various places and historically spent that time not listening to anything—music on walks was a rare thing. That changed this year, when I finally accepted that there was a ton of good content I could be listening to instead. I still occasionally walk around without headphones in (sometimes I worry that listening to things while I walk means I deprive myself of time to think and reflect), but I do spend a lot of time now listening to podcasts while walking and cleaning and cooking.
Most of them are financial podcasts because in case you haven’t noticed that’s a thing I’m kind of into, but some aren’t.
- Mad FIentist’s Financial Independence Podcast: the first podcast I ever listened to! I’m not sure how I found it or why I decided I was going to listen, but it introduced me to a ton of other people.
- Modern Love: sadly this one has taken a backseat lately (so many podcasts, so little time!)
- Budgets and Cents/Honest Money Conversations: two friends talking about money, but also more than money. The show’s evolved since Cait and Carrie released the first season and I’m here for it. I’m looking forward to the official rebrand when the next season starts in January!
- The Slow Home Podcast: this isn’t a money podcast, per se, but it’s very tangentially related (I actually listed this as my third money podcast when Rockstar Finance asked for people’s favorite ones). In the process of taking control of my finances, I’ve started thinking about what I spend money on, avoiding impulse purchases, and making sure I’m making conscious decisions with my purchases. Slowing down and simplifying my finances is one aspect of a slower, simpler life overall. This year I’ve started decluttering my possessions, am trying to cultivate gratitude for everything I have (and thus avoiding the temptation to buy new things when I’m not feeling great), and am aiming for a daily meditation practice.
- Real Talk Radio: I absolutely love everything about this podcast. Sometimes I’ll read an episode’s description and won’t think I’ll be interested in it, but it ends up being a good listen anyway.
- Fire Drill Podcast: two badass ladies, one badass podcast with an awesome range of guests and topics!
- The Fairer Cents: there are not enough words for how much I love what these amazing ladies are doing with this podcast. Go subscribe to it now.
- The Hilarious World of Depression: I mentioned this one in my last post—I’ve only been (binge-)listening for two weeks but it 100% makes the list.
Because this is fun, my top 5 posts are:
- I got a part-time job. Yay! Yay?
- November 2017: raking in the cash, spending all the cash
- What are your trade-offs?
- Failing upward and looking towards 2018
- The intersection of money and mental health
Most of these are fairly recent, so either it’s that I have more readers now than I did when I started, or I’m getting better as a writer. 😉
I got to travel a fair amount this year: I went to the Azores with family, drove to New Jersey for a friend’s wedding, roadtripped from Grand Junction to Vegas, visited the west coast for the first time ever, and went to Ohio two weeks ago to see family. I drove home multiple times and went to the beach for a week with the extended family as usual.
Travel is very, very high on my to-do list for FI, and I’m glad I was able to do so much of it this year! The international trip was especially nice because I only ever need my passport once every year or two these days (look, I studied abroad twice in college. My passport got a lot of love during those four years and I’m still adjusting). In addition to visits back to NC and the annual beach week, my hope for next year is to travel to NC for a friend’s wedding, possibly go to Florida (or someplace warm) in February, visit a friend in LA, and possibly go to FinCon in Orlando next September!
Wins in 2017
On the money front, I unofficially set some ambitious goals for 2017 and didn’t reach them; I officially set some ambitious goals for 2018 so I can continue failing upward. I opened a Chase Sapphire to start some very elementary travel hacking. I also strategically got some cash-back credit cards so that my everyday spending is earning me rewards. I started tracking my net worth and my spending every month. I came within striking distance of trebling my net worth. I got a part-time job and am using that income to pay off my debt. I started regularly contributing to my Roth IRA and taxable accounts. I got a 3% raise at work earlier this year (all it essentially did was raise my 401(k) contributions and negligibly affected my take-home pay, but a raise is a raise!). I uh…now own some cryptocurrency (#giftsforpersonalfinancenerds).
On the general life front I decided to address my mental health, which has changed everything. I’m going to therapy and letting go of perfectionism, conflict-avoidance, and people-pleasing habits; it’s a daily struggle not to fall back into these old patterns but I’d like to say I’m making progress. I’m on medication for my depression and anxiety. I’m going to a sleep doctor to help figure out why I’m what seems like the world’s lightest and worst sleeper (in the meantime I’m on a medication that’s not perfect but hey, I no longer remember waking up multiple times a night!).
I’ve started meditating. I’m working on decluttering my apartment (and made some money on Craigslist that way). I tried to go to barre more often this year. I’m eating out less and making more of my own food.
I’m not waiting until I get to FI to start building a life I love.
For months I prioritized getting out of the city to hike during weekends this year, and I’ll be doing more of that next year (I’ve got a car and a brand-new national parks pass that I need to break in. Consider this an open invitation for those of you in the area to join me on hiking adventures!).
After a few months of sitting on the fence, I decided to buy a domain name and a year of hosting and published my first post a few days later. Fifty-four posts (more writing than I’ve ever done in my life, except possibly a semester or two in college, and I was a liberal arts major) and nine months later and here we are!
The personal finance corner of the internet has some of the nicest people and I feel lucky to have connected with many of them. I’ve attended seven meetups so far and did a Christmas goodie swap. Hello to all the friends I’ve met in person and hello to all of those who remain internet friends (for now)!
On to 2018
And that’s about it for the highlights! There was a lot this year that wasn’t great, but looking back, there were quite a few things to celebrate, too.
I hope your holidays have been good so far and Happy New Year to everyone! I’ll see you in 2018, friends.