Taking the time for new year planning in relation to your financial goals is a fantastic habit that can pay dividends for years to come. Here at Get Rich Slowly, we're proud of the content we brought you this year — and we're excited to go on exploring the topics of personal finance into the years ahead. We'd love to hear what you'd like us to dive into, but first, some highlights of the year that was:
January: Career guide and job strategies
Career choice is certainly an important aspect of personal finance, so it's important to approach it intentionally. That's why, to kick off the year, we unveiled the fastest growing careers 2015 — a Get Rich Slowly interactive tool and guide. It helps students compare occupations by their national growth rate and then sort the universities that offer degrees leading to those careers on the basis of tuition cost.
But we didn't stop there. All year long we looked further at the many aspects of career management, exploring such topics as what to consider when accepting a job offer and how to decline a job offer (or resign from your current job) gracefully.
February: Travel and large purchases
On the major purchases front, we covered topics on home improvement — namely my HVAC replacement — weddings, and Valentine's Day issues of love and money. The best things in life may not be free, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have to be expensive!
March: Measuring progress and playing the long game
March was all about measuring progress. Achievements like paying off debt or saving for large goals don't happen overnight; so in addition to knowing how far you've come and where you stand, it's important to have a plan for how you'll achieve your long-term financial goals.
So we discussed how to be prepared to make your financial dreams a reality, whether that means making sacrifices, using coupons effectively, or participating in the sharing economy.
Related >> Frugal Ways to Prepare for an Emergency
April: Economic cycles, both large and small-scale
In April, we took a long look at economic cycles (and how to profit from them) in an important four-part series.
We know that you can't time the market; but you also can't time emergencies, which is why preparing in advance and learning to recognize and take advantage of opportunities is so important. So in addition to understanding macro-economic cycles, we also investigated the boom and bust of personal economies in pieces ranging from when to use intermittent FMLA, to why bankruptcy should be your last resort, to how to build wealth from scratch.
May: School's out — or is it?
Despite the fact that the school year was almost over, education was on our minds in May. We covered everything from the pros and cons of homeschooling, to summer camp, to a dorm survival guide, to how to minimize your grad school debt.
Education is vital not only to your career, but to a rich life lived well. So we created articles to help you discover ways to maximize the quality of your educational experience while minimizing the associated costs. Hopefully our content helped you create a solid foundation that will put you in good stead in the years to come.
June: Vacationing on the cheap and other fun summer activities
Once the dog days of summer were (finally) upon us, we turned our attention to ideas for a cheap vacation, covering everything from camping, to waterfront rentals, to entertaining your kids.
Since June also seems to be packed with celebrating many of life's milestones — weddings and graduations, just to name two — we also asked you for your tips for frugal festivities. Fortunately, most milestone events come with advance notice, so you have time to either save up or learn how to politely demur activities you can't afford.
July: Getting practical with your finances
Understanding the philosophy of personal finance is one thing; but if you don't apply that knowledge, you're not going to get rich (not even slowly).
That's why, in July, we learned how the Economides family achieved major savings on a minor budget, and covered tips on topics ranging from protecting your financial information from hackers, to having a productive staycation, to paying yourself first. Taking action and tactics for the win!
August: Food and finance
Bearing in mind that food is one of the biggest line items in most people's budgets (the other two being lodging and transportation), we started to tackle the subject of food and finance. Whether you're thinking about trying meal plans and delivery programs or just trying to pack a lunch your kids will eat, getting a handle on this spending category is one of the quickest ways to get your finances under control and start making progress toward other goals.
September: #adulting and financial responsibility
When you're just getting started as an adult, it's easy to become overwhelmed. The trick is to take things one step at a time. We published an article that could help you, if you're still in college, be strategic about applying for scholarships that can help you graduate with less student loan debt.
If it's too late for that, read the best practices guide for repaying student loan debt very carefully. We also covered other topics of relevance for “new” adults, including top-rated side jobs and the best cities for millennials interested in an urban lifestyle.
October: Taxes and retirement
For those of us who are — ahem — a little older than others, issues of taxes and retirement may be at the forefront of our concerns. In October, we covered how to incorporate retirement into your planning if you're in your 30s or your 40s.
We also outlined year-end tax-planning strategies of importance, provided information on things you might not have known were taxable, and gave information on the Affordable Care Act's potential tax implications.
November: Open enrollment, REPAYE, and the ethics of student loan repayment
Speaking of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we explained how to shop for health insurance during open enrollment and covered other health-related topics, like what you can spend your FSA dollars on if you're trying to spend down your balance before the end of the year.
We also gave a breakdown of the new federal student loan repayment option, Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), and discussed whether it's ethical to artificially lower your adjusted gross income (AGI) to qualify for income-driven plans and simultaneously maximize your tax-advantaged retirement savings.
December: Money matters
In December, we kicked off a series on what money is and why it matters.
We explored how to save money on holiday meals, why we worry about money, and addressed how to avoid the conflict that often occurs around inheritance. And we also thought through how to live comfortably (and happily) in retirement and how to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year.
Otherwise, please tell us, what was your favorite article or topic this year?
Honey Smith has been reading GRS since at least 2008, right when she got her first â€œrealâ€ job and started getting serious about finances. She and her husband Jake are in their mid-30s and recently bought a home together. Currently, she manages graduate programs at a large state institution, and he is an attorney at a mid-sized firm.
Between them, they have paid off approximately $30,000 in consumer debt since she started writing for GRS in 2012. However, they still have nearly $200,000 of student loan debt, so she will continue to chronicle their debt-paydown journey. In addition to personal finance, Honey is interested in vegetarianism and cooking, gardening (despite living in the desert and having a black thumb), issues in higher education (including the student loan bubble and the slow death of tenure), and animal rights; however, her heart lies with fantasy novels, trashy TV and Skyrim.