Planning

7 Things I Regret About 2010

All week, I’m running 2010-themed posts to ring in the new year! Stay tuned.

I’m not very big on regrets–I try to understand that every decision I make is the right one, given the information available at the time. So this post could have just as easily been titled “10 Things I Would Have Done Differently in 2010, Now That I Know X…”

Semantics aside, it’s good to look back once in a while and realize what lessons I was supposed to learn this year from my many mistakes.

Here are seven things I could have definitely done better in 2010:

  1. Not buying a rental car sooner. Deciding to sell our non-working car after sitting on it for 3-4 months was a great decision, but it didn’t come soon enough. We wasted a lot of time and money driving around in one car, and the time especially is something that’s not┬áreplaceable.
  2. Not paying attention to my investments. The markets used 2010 to post healthy gains, and while I was completely invested in the recovery with the majority of my retirement funds, I didn’t pay attention nearly enough to what I was doing, how things were performing, and any changes I needed to make.
  3. Jumping around between personal finance software. When I decided to switch to YNAB earlier this year, I didn’t think ┬áto trust my gut feelings instead. Mvelopes was a much better choice for how our family worked, and after 6 months, I’ve learned that lesson painfully and switched back. Read my updated Mvelopes review.
  4. Not reading nearly enough about money. 2009 was “the year of the RSS feed and personal finance book,” but ever since the birth of our son in January, I’ve found myself with much less time to focus on reading. I’m now re-learning how to use my time even better so I can get to most of the important stuff in my life (my son included, of course!).
  5. Overspending on “big stuff” for the baby. While we have been very frugal with the daily necessities of baby life, there are a couple of big baby purchases we could have definitely done without, like the rocking chair. The nice thing is that having learned the lesson, we won’t repeat the same mistakes with future kids.
  6. Letting the food budget get out of control. We are doing a much better job of controlling restaurant spending over the last few years, but our food budget is still much higher than we expect every month. Our love of culinary “adventures” is part of the problem, but so are basic staples that we consistently overspend on.
  7. Procrastinating on using coupons for groceries. I’ve been really interested in using coupons for several years, but have focused almost exclusively on clothing, car care, and eating out. Having seen what Joyce House can do with grocery coupons and how crazy our food budget is, I’m more motivated than ever to start learning how to use them effectively.

I’ll dig into the details of many of these lessons throughout the upcoming year and show you how we’re working to change things.

So what about you? Do you have anything you regret doing last year, and how do you plan to fix things in 2011?

Photo by jurvetson

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