Today marks the first anniversary of this site and my attempt to really grab the reins of my financial situation and steer it in a better direction. In the meantime, the world has seen the greatest financial peril in decades. I’ve managed to remain relatively unscathed and while I’ve build up some better financial habits—sadly, none have even been documented here—I’ve let this site slip considerably and I’ve actually increased my amount of debt instead of reducing it.

It’s time for a regained push. I was previously getting uncomfortable with the looming debt before me, but I’m now getting dangerously close to slipping over the edge. So, I’ve renewed the domain name for another year (cost: $15.50) and am back in the driver’s seat urging the horse forward again.

A classic digital short from Saturday Night Live.

“Well, let’s say I don’t have enough money to buy something, should I buy it anyway?”

“No.”

Simple and straightforward to follow. We may not all be in debt because of buying ‘stuff’, but we surely don’t need to buy more when we don’t have the money. I’m guilty of this.

[Via Smarty Pig]

A wonderfully arranged 11 minute animation giving an even broader overview of the credit crisis than the FRONTLINE documentary.

Note: He got slammed with a $6K hosting bill over the weekend due to it’s popularity, so buy a shirt to help him pay the bills.

Update: Embedded the entire video from Vimeo instead of the two-parter from YouTube, for your viewing pleasure.

[Via Daring Fireball]

This afternoon’s episode of American Public Media’s The Story starts off with an interview with a Barbara, a member of Debtors Anonymous. Eye-opening.

How does she manage now that she’s off credit? Cash-only. She has a strict spending plan, tracks her checking account carefully, and only uses a debit card for the few times when she’d need a credit card (at the gas pump, online purchases, etc.)

Do you feel you’re addicted to credit? It’s definitely a crutch I need to get off of.

[Via VPR]

This documentary is excellent look at where more and more of us are heading and some of the predatory lending that helped get us there. It doesn’t really provide any answers, but it’s reassuring that we’re not alone in this situation and it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls.

I streamed it from Netflix, but you can also borrow it from your local library or buy it from Amazon and iTunes.

I’ve been seeing the bizarre ads on Hulu for FeedThePig.org and finally broke down and visited the site. It turns out that, “the goal of the campaign is to encourage the 40 million Americans age 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances.”

Considering how off-putting the commercials are, I’m concerned about their effectiveness. That said, they do have useful links to financial calculators on their Resources page. Especially helpful are the Roll-Down Your Credit Card Debt and Don’t Delay Your Savings tools.

Leo Babauta on getting out of debt:

I highly recommend that people get out of debt and stay out of debt, especially as the economy hits difficult times. It’s not a good position to be in if you lose your job while burdened with lots of debt. Better: become debt-free, with a good emergency fund and a small budget. That’s recession-proof personal finances.

He has more helpful and inspiring articles in the Finance & Family section of his site.

A Consumerist reader on how she payed off $14,300 in debt over a period of 20 months:

Instead of making a bunch of changes at once, I did things a little over time[…] It’s maybe not in the order that makes the most sense to a financial planner or in the order that someone else would do things; I just know that it worked for me.

Includes a summary of the first 6 months of her plan, much of which is what I plan to do. It’s always good to read success stories.