November 24, 2014

Yep, We Bought the $30K SUV

As I indicated the other day, we have been considering purchasing a newer vehicle for my wife.  While she chickened out on doing the deal initially, we have decided today to pull the trigger.  We'll be picking up a 2011 ML350 in excellent condition (55K miles) tonight.

We have already received the loan via bank wire from LightStream (a company that we used to finance our last vehicle purchase).  Here are a few of the details:
  • $31,768 Vehicle cost out the door
  • $26,000 loan (2.59%, 72 months)
  • $5,000 trade-in (2006 Honda Accord with 120K miles)
  • $768 down payment
  • $390/month payment
We've been without a car payment for quite some time, so $390/month is going to be a bit of a shock to our systems.  That being said, my wife works incredibly hard and spends most of her day in her vehicle, so it is well deserved.

Opulence, I Has It,  Consumerism,  I Has It Too.

November 23, 2014

Does Shaving My Head Save Money?

I had hair down to my chest during high school and college (picture a surfer, not a heavy metal freak).  Over time, it has been cut shorter and shorter as I grew older and older.  At some point in my 30's, I realized that I would be following my families long standing tradition of going bald.  No problem, I thought, I have a great personality that will make up for the lack of hair.  Lol! 

Now that I am pushing 40 and the thinning is here, I realize that losing your hair sucks.  I've tried hiding it a modern day combover, the a faux hawk, but have been losing the battle.  I don't consider myself vain, but seeing photos of the poor state of my hair made me cringe.  So, I shaved my head last week.  This is not the first time that I have shaved my head, but each time it is a bit of a shock.  Waking up in the morning and walking into the bathroom, I flinch a bit when I look in the mirror and remember what I did.  Plus, my head is so newly shaven right now that my scalp still has that white pasty look.  No good, but I am going to OWN IT and get used to the idea of looking like Kelly Slater or Jason my dreams.  Haha!

But, financially, having a shaved head makes some sense.  Hair cuts cost $15-$30/month, styling products, shampoo & conditioner are $25-$50/year.  I think the big win is the time savings.  All I have to do it use the clippers once a week and I'm done.  It must save ~30 minutes a day of washing, conditioning, & styling.  That's 3.5 hours a week that I can use to earn money.

See what I did there?  I took the sad situation of going bald, turned it into something that I controlled (shaving my head), and rationalized it as a way to save money to make myself feel better.  I'm going to go run the clippers's time for a trim.

November 22, 2014

$30K on a New (Used) Car Today

My wife drives a lot for her job and uses our 2006 Honda Accord to get around.  The car is paid off and her company reimburses her $800/month and gives her a gas card.  Needless to say, we've been loving the deal.  Lately, however, my wife has been yearning for a newer vehicle with more room, integrated navigation, Bluetooth, etc.  Things that would make her day a little easier.

With how well my wife has been doing in her job ($200K+ this year in salary, bonuses, and reimbursements), we decided to begin looking to upgrade her vehicle.  Long story short, she found an ML350 that she LOVED tonight, negotiated the deal (including a $1K reduction in price and $5K for trading in the Accord), and worked out financing. 

So, do we have a new (used) SUV...nope.  She chickened out!  Lol!  She said she needed to sleep on the idea of a $417/month car payment when we've gone without car payments for so long.

November 21, 2014

Wife's quarterly bonus $12,490

My wife has been doing absolutely amazing at her job.  She just closed another successful quarter, earning a bonus of $12,490.00 gross ($7,664.17 net).  This brings her 2014 bonus total to $110,280.00!

I am so proud of her well-deserved success.  In addition to her bonuses, she also receives a $97,000/year salary, $800/month auto reimbursement (and gas card), and $100/month internet reimbursement.  I knew she was extremely talented, but this is beyond what I ever could have hoped for.

I am so bless to have a beautiful, smart, and successful wife!

November 1, 2014

October 2014 Income Statement

October was the first month living on just my wife’s income, and we blew the budget.

Our total income in October was $7,392.08. In addition to my wife’s paycheck, she received an $800 auto allowance and a $100 company reimbursement for internet service. We also received $45 credit card reward, $100 from a laptop sale, and $115 from Husband's mom.  We earned $4.95 in interest income from our online savings account.

In October, we spent a total of $9,707.57.  We had a $174 windshield repair, $220.62 for clothing, and $2,170.61 in “household items”.   We will have to work harder in November to get our expenses inline.

Next month, my wife should receive a $12,000 gross quarterly bonus.  Last month, we reduced our nanny’s work schedule to four days per week, saving $320/month.  We have decided to reduce her schedule to three work day per week, beginning November 1st, saving another $320/month.


October 30, 2014

October 2014 Net Worth Update (-6,226.76)

The first month of me not working was a tough one financially. In October, our net worth decreased $6,226.76, to a total of $286,529.53 (see table below).

What Worked
We saw small gains in our IRA’s, savings, and 529 Plans.

What Didn’t Work
We contribution at total of $242.50 to our retirement accounts, but saw them decrease $566.41. Our 0% credit card balance increased due to purchasing a new HVAC system.

Next Month
November should go a little better because my wife will earn a quarterly bonus of ~$12K gross. We plan to use the proceeds to pay down our 0% credit card debt from the HVAC system.

Assets Sep-14 Oct-14 Change % Change
401(k) Accts       77,552.57       76,840.58          (711.99) -0.93%
Roth IRAs       10,764.61       10,891.89            127.28 1.17%
Traditional IRAs       45,693.65       45,711.95              18.30 0.04%
Taxable Brokerage Accts         1,148.00         1,148.00                    -   0.00%
Cash & Savings Accts         7,720.37         7,814.70              94.33 1.21%
Son's 529 Plan / Upromise       10,445.00       10,576.31            131.31 1.24%
Daughter's 529 Plan / Upromise         3,297.21         3,313.44              16.23 0.49%
Home     489,000.00     489,000.00                    -   0.00%
Car 2         8,697.30         8,610.33            (86.97) -1.01%
Car 3       13,999.23       13,859.24          (139.99) -1.01%
Total Assets     668,317.94     667,766.44          (551.50) -0.08%
Liabilities Sep-14 Oct-14 Change % Change
Credit Card Balances         3,509.80         9,834.11         6,324.31 64.31%
Home Mortgage     372,051.85     371,402.80          (649.05) -0.17%
Car 2 Loan                    -                      -                      -   0.00%
Car 3 Loan                    -                      -                      -   0.00%
Total Liabilities     375,561.65     381,236.91         5,675.26 1.49%
Net Worth     292,756.29     286,529.53       (6,226.76) -2.17%

October 4, 2014

September 2014 Income Statement

September was another very good income month, but we had a few last minute large expenses that blew the budget.
Our total income in September was $13,739.35. In addition to our regular paychecks, I received $2,049.71 PTO payout and last weeks pay.  My wife’s company paid her an $800 auto allowance and a $100 company reimbursement for internet service. We also received $95 from Verizon and a $30 for our daughter’s 529 Plan.  We earned $5.38 in interest income from our online savings account.

In September, we spent a total of $16,789.56!  Not something we expected the month I quit working.  Some of the larger, non-typical expenses include $6,366 for a new HVAC, $500 for a new laptop, and $310 for new brakes and rotors.
 am very interested to see if we can dramatically reduce our expenses in October.  My wife’s  net income each month is $6,300.28 plus an additional $900.00 for auto allowance and internet service.  So, $7,200 or less is the goal.