2008 was a crazy and busy year.
I was traveling almost 100% for work, we still had (and have) the other house we could not sell and work was increasingly unstable (as it was for so many others). We also had some very sick children, which made matters more difficult.
Our goals for the year were simple, minimize expenses and try to bring our spending in line with our unfortunate overhead situation.
All in all, we had net savings and by the end of the year managed to rent out our old house.
I became increasingly disenchanted with my employer and began a gradual job search.
Our new house, we had decided to minimize expenditures, which we did, however, the cost of landscaping and home swimming pool maintenance were still quite large. Inconsistent weather and equipment breakdowns with the pool led us to decide to return to professional care. I hired a landscaping company on a fixed price basis, but overall was unpleased with the quality of their work.
Our house has many appliances and core plant equipment (hvac, water heaters, etc...) that are at or past their expected life span. Although we maintain them regularly, there's little certainty as to when they'll no longer work. we replaced our water heating system. We also shifted to CF light bulbs, which seem to have a $70 impact on electrical fees per month. Wow!
To save interest rate payments as stock market returns wavered, I liquidated much of our non-retirement holdings and used the to pay down our HELOC. This was a fortunate move, as it reduced our market exposure just as the collapse was starting. Though we certainly did not follow this strategy with an eye to timing the market. By the end of the year, I maxed out our HELOC upon hearing of a neighbor who's line had been frozen by his bank. The money now sits in on-line savings accounts. My cost for flexibility is the spread.
Overall for the year, our networth had dropped 71,504.10, mostly driven by substantial declines in our investment portfolio, which had declined about $170,000. This implies we did a good job saving and (most likely) deferring expenses.
We ended the year with a networth of $637k, down from the prior year, which was about $706k.
2008 set-up 2009 to be a year of substantial change and improvement.