November 30, 2007

November 2007 Income Statement

At first glace, I was disappointed with how much money we seemed to have spent in November (click on spreadsheet below). It was more than last month and more than we earned. In fact, we had to dip into our savings to cover all of the bills. However, $1,296 went to paying for 12 months of our truck and condo insurance, $1,000 went into savings for my wife’s taxes while she is 1099, and $475 went to paying down our 0% interest credit card balance. If you subtract out this $2,771, we weren’t to far over budget.

In addition to our standard income, this month my wife received an extra paycheck (three total) as well as a $491.22 commission check and $182.87 in mileage reimbursements. We also supplemented our income with a $25 HSBC credit card cash back reward and a $50 Chase credit card cash back reward.

Next month should be a standard income month, 2 paychecks for my wife and 2 paychecks for me. My wife may also be receiving a commission check for a few hundred dollars next month which we will deposit into savings.

November 29, 2007

November 2007 Net Worth Update (+$2.01)

November has been a crazy net worth month due to the stock market volatility. Many times throughout the month, our net worth dipped over $800 below what we ended October with. We also had a few large annual bills come due this month including a $1,842.84 condo tax bill, $880 auto insurance bill (1 years coverage), and a $416 condo insurance bill (1 years coverage). That being said, we are thankful to have ended the month with a net worth increase of $2.01 over last month, for a total net worth of $27,174.69 (click on spreadsheet below).

What worked this month?
First, we feel great about paying our condo insurance and truck insurance for the year, rather than financing both over many months. Secondly, we’re thrilled to have completely paid off our 0% interest Chase credit card ($999.49), eliminating the last of our credit card debt. Finally, we fully funding my Roth IRA for 2007 ($4,000) by contributing the final $500.

What did not work this month?
Our 401(k) took a pretty good hit this month; it was down $1,105.63 from last month. Our savings also shrunk by $845.04, but only because we pulled funds out to pay off our Chase credit card. With the stock market volatility and our large bills this month, the damage could have been much worse.

What's coming next month?
December should be a much quieter month. There are no large annual bills looming in the next 31 days and hopefully the market will settle down. We've been greatly blessed to have already reached our net worth goal for the 2007 ($22,000); any net worth increase in December will be going towards our 2008 net worth goal.

November 26, 2007

Paid Off Last Off Credit Card Debt

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. My wife and I just returned from spending the holiday with my family. It was a blast! Great food and good times.

In financial news, my wife and I decided today to pay off our 0% interest Chase credit card balance (the last of our credit card debt). This credit card had a clause that if we were late with a payment, they could back-charge us interest. We didn't want to have that hanging over our heads any longer. Better yet, we also wanted to start 2008 with a little less debt.

November 16, 2007

Frequent Flyer Miles From My Trip To Europe

I just returned from my business trip overseas. It was a good trip, but, as always, it's nice to be home. One nice thing about traveling is the frequent flyer miles that I earn. This trip, I earned 15,692 and now have 60,276 Delta SkyMiles saved up.

However, I learned that I was not automatically updated to Gold Medallion status when I hit the 50,000 mile mark. The update usually takes place the following Saturday. So, I only received a 25% bonus for my miles on this trip (Silver Medallion), not a 100% bonus (Gold Medallion). One bit of good news that I learned though is that my Medallion status will be good until December 30, 2008 - a year longer than I thought.

November 10, 2007

Headed To Europe

I am going to Europe for a 5 day business trip tomorrow. I will pass Delta's 50,000 mile mark (for the year) on my flight over to Europe. This will move me from the Silver Medallion level to the Gold Medallion level. At the Gold level, I'm entitled to a 100% mile bonus for every mile I fly with Delta the rest of the year. This means double the frequent flyer miles on my return flight from Europe!

November 8, 2007

Extra Money

My wife just received a $491.22 commission check from her new job as well as a $158.78 mileage reimbursement check. It’s amazing how she is able to pull in some extra money almost every month.

We plan to use $350 of the money to help pay down our 0% interest credit card. Our goal is to have this paid off by the end of the year. The remainder will be put into savings and a portion will be given to our church. Beginning in 2008, we will use her commission checks help us pay down our 2nd mortgage.

November 6, 2007

Finished Husband's Roth IRA

We just contributed the final $500 to my Roth IRA for 2007! It feels great to have maxed out our Roth IRA's this year ($4,000 each for my wife and I). Hopefully we can do the same next year. It will be a bit more of a challenge with the new $5,000 max contribution per person, but it will be fun trying.

November 5, 2007

Decline In Our Net Worth On The Way?

I'm a bit worried that November could be the 1st decline in our net worth since we began tracking it in February. We have a number of large bills due this month including a $880 truck insurance bill, $416 condo insurance bill, and $1,842.84 for our 1st 2007 condo tax payment.

We have been saving $302/month into our Emigrant Direct account for our condo taxes, so we expected to have to pull it out when the bill came due. Thankfully, my wife receives an extra paycheck this month (3 total) which will help cover the truck and condo insurance bills. However, if any other large bills come up this month and/or it's a bad month in the stock market, I'm afraid we may post a decrease to our net worth. It’s not the end of the world, but it would be disappointing. Oh well, 25 more days until we know.

November 4, 2007

Condo Taxes

This year, our condo tax bill increased from $3619.60 to $3,685.68. This is surprising considering the decline in Southern California property values. We purchased our condo two years ago for $333,250. Similar units are now selling for ~$260,000-$290,000.

Our tax bill indicates the county's assessed value pf our condo is currently $340,016. A couple of our neighbors have been successful this year at reducing their condo taxes $500-$1,000 simply by challenge the county's current value of their property. So, we have decided to do the same. We filled out an APPLICATION FOR CHANGED ASSESSMENT, in which we estimated our properties value at $275,000. The form was easy to complete but the approval process can take a couple of months. If we are successful, we will receive a refund on the taxes we paid this year.

November 1, 2007

October 2007 Income Statement

We definitely spent more money in October (click on spreadsheet below) than last month.

Our biggest expense was a $1,000 business expense that posted to my credit card, but that I was already reimbursed for in June. We also began purchasing Christmas gifts.Incomewise, my wife receive a $761.50 commission check from referring customer to her father's company and a $752 commission check from old job. In addition to this, we received 123.47 in credit card cash back rewards and a small rebate. Our interest income continues to grow as our savings increases. In October we earned $20.29 in interest income.

Next month my wife receives an extra paycheck (3 total). Off setting this is a $416 condo insurance bill and a $880 truck insurance bill.