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The year is winding down and we've been looking back over the past year.

During our anniversary trip this month, we reflected on the highlights of 2010 and now I want to review some of our finances.

For the first half of the review I wanted to look at our income and expenses for the year.

For some of you, it'll look familiar as we're a dual income family, but even if you're a single income couple, I'd like to get your feedback and thoughts. 

More importantly, I'd like to hear about your own triumphs and trials this past year.

Company Salary

The biggest source of income this past year was my husband's salaried job. He's been working there for a few years and he's been enjoying it.

While no job is 100% perfect all the time, there are some things he loves about his current:

  • He's given challenging work
  • His manager is very good to work with
  • He's valued in the team

While we're trying to save some money in a freedom fund, there's no immediate rush at the moment. We're still saving since you never know what curve ball at work will be thrown at you.

Right now things look pretty stable with the company and business seems to be growing – all positive signs.

Freelance Work

It's been a solid year with working from home. In case you're curious, here are some of my income streams from 2010:

  • Consulting
  • Writing
  • Site Management
  • Advertisements
  • Affiliate Marketing

I love writing and I enjoy working with different ones. While the majority of freelance work involves writing about personal finance, I do occasionally write on other topics.

Consulting and site management are new hats for me this year and I'm surprised at how much fun I get from it.

I'm fortunate to work with creative people on their projects and see how it grows from there.

As you can see here, Couple Money does accept some advertisements. I occasionally include affiliate links in some of my posts.

This is a great way for me to have control on what's being advertised on the site while maintaining free content for Couple Money readers.

Here's my advertising policies for Couple Money – I try my best to be open with it.

Tax Rebate & Bonus

The biggest news for our tax rebate as the homebuyer's tax credit that we received. We paid $8,000 towards the mortgage, knocking off some years off of it and saving us some serious interest.  How much?

According to the mortgage calculator, the $8,000 will have saved us $23,456.89 of interest payments.

It’s cut 3 years and about 11 months off of the length of our mortgage.We're very happy about that and we're hoping to lower our mortgage length to about 15 years.

We were fortunate to receive a bonus this month, but we haven't decided yet on how we're going to allocate the money. One thing we're looking at is boosting one of our savings accounts.

It looks 2011 will have some more expenses than we originally anticipated so we might want to build our buffer a bit with this little windfall.

My phone is also acting up pretty consistently so that might be another idea, but we have to shop around to see if that's feasible.

Our Biggest Expenses

Here's a recap of our expenses through out 2010:

  • Laptop (gift) – We felt really good about this expense as it was for someone who definitely deserves it. They call us with updates on how they're using it. Supporting a teacher rocks.
  • Car Repairs – My husband needed to get that done as it was a master cylinder problem that was getting worse. The sad things is about a month later we had to replace this car when it wrecked.
  • New (to us) Car – While this was within our budget we were hoping to go another year or so before replacing one of the cars.
  • PS3 –  I promised this to my husband as a gift. We've been reaching our goals  and he's been really disciplined with money, so to splurge here was not a big deal for me.
  • Video Games – Completely contrary to normal spending habits,where we spread out our game purchases, we bought 3 games. One of the was used (like most of our purchases), but we really wanted to get Rockband 3 and The Force Unleashed 2 so we got those new. TFU2 could've been bought used – it was a very short game.
  • Camping Trip – Best idea of October as we got to camp over on the Western end of North Carolina with our friends. We got to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and visited the Smoky Mountains. Our buddies hooked us up so we just needed to buy some snacks, proper shoes, and hats. A fun weekend and lots of great memories.
  • Coats – Yes, coats. I’ve worn out a few of my old stand-bys. I used RetailmeNot to get some coupon codes and we were able to knock it down a good amount. I'm loving the coats especially now with all this freezing weather blasting in NC.
  • Anniversary Trip: We just got back from our trip and it was definitely worth it. Debt free was just the icing on the cake for the trip.

All in all, I'm happy with how the expenses turned out and I think we kept our spending under relative control.

Thoughts on Finances in 2010

So I shared some of our information, how about you? How was 2010 for you income wise?

Did you get a bonus from work this year? What were some of your biggest expenses this year?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

4 comments add your comment

  1. Great control, Elle!
    We had a PRICEY year. Honeymoon to Cuba in February. (we wed in Oct of 2009 so that was pricey too!). Home renos to prep our house to sell – about $3500. A new 2011 Subaru Outback. Moving expenses (lawyers fees, real estate commissions etc). And a new house which is worth about $85,000 more than our last one. We also expanded our stocks/etfs portfolio quite a bit.
    2011 should be much more controlled and our spare money will go toward our savings/investments and some home improvements for the new (old – 100 yr old) house.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Elle!

    This is a great exercise – to review the in-flow and out-flow of money for the year; something I haven’t done before on an annual basis. I’m going to implement it!

    One of the big kicks my wife and I have been on ever since we set our 2011 goals is being intentional about remembering what we’ve accomplished, as well as the unexpected things we’ve had to overcome. Replacing a car before the plan, or replacing a hot water heater before the plan, or repairing a caving front porch unexpectedly (my neighbors just did this), we all deal with these things in life. Reflecting on how we handle them is a huge opportunity to learn.

    Thanks for being so transparent!

  3. Good stuff Elle. Just realized something.. did you not participate in the widget campaign I set up over the past month? If not, let me know and I will inquire with the client. It’s a pretty good 3 month campaign.

    Cheers, Sam