September 17, 2008

Credit Scores Creeping Up

I neglected to mention that I ordered an Equifax credit report for my wife and myself last month. I had meant to run our credit reports more often, but have totally neglected this. Thankfully, the reports came back without any issues.

I also ordered our credit scores. Mine was 780 and my wife's was 764. We have been able to steadily increase our scores to the current level (click on the tables below to see our current and previous scores). The only reason my wife's score is lower than mine is because she does not have enough credit history.

I hope to run our reports with the Experian and TransUnion in the next 6-8 months.

My credit score history:

My wife's credit score history:

September 8, 2008

Stock Options Package

The company I work for split into two companies a couple of years ago and both are still privately owned by the same person. Since the split, the Owner has hinted that some key people in management may receive stock options down the road.

My company has provided stock options in the past, but not while I have been with them. The recent splitting of the organization resulted in a new Board of Directors and a fresh look at offering a stock option plan. I found out last week that seven of us received a stock options package that will go into effect next September.

I was provided a large packet explaining how the program works and that I can exercise the option to buy up to 16 shares a year (beginning 9/1/09) for 5 years at $1/share. The current value of each share is $500. So, I can obtain up to $8,000 worth of stock each year for only $16.

Historically, when shareholders have left the organization, the company has bought out their shares at the current book value. There’s even been a couple of cases of existing employees selling shares back to the company at a slight discount to get access to the money. In fact, my old GM sold back almost $200K of his shares last year because he wanted to remold his home.

I’m really happy that my company included me on this opportunity, not only for the financial gain, but also because it’s nice to know my hard work is appreciated. This is another piece in the puzzle to reach our early retirement goal in ~19 years.

September 6, 2008

No More Truck

We've finally sold my truck!

We negotiated with the buyer on a price of $12,600. Less than the $12,999 we wanted, but we were eager to quit wasting time. We’ve had four previous offers on the truck and all flaked out. It was starting to eat up more time that I had planned. In addition, the truck was smogged 2 months ago because we thought we had a guy that was serious about buying it. Since the smog certificate is only good for 3 months, we were working against the clock. Our 8 week ad on was also about to expire. It would have cost us ~$100 to get another smog certificate and place a 2nd ad on Auto Trader.

We had to pull $640 out of savings to pay off the balance we owed, but with the truck finally sold, we can begin saving an additional $293/month that was going to the truck loan.

Now, our only debt is our condo mortgages, 1 auto loan, and 1 student loan.

September 5, 2008

Great Deal On A Dinning Table

Once again, my wife hooks us up. We’ve wanted a new dinning table for awhile, but have been waiting until we could buy one that was nice enough to take with us when we get a house down the road. She found a beautiful wood table that regularly costs $500, on sale for only $250. The table includes a couple of leaves, so we can scale the size up when we get a house. The 4 wood chairs she picked out were normally $120 each, but they were marked down over half price.

Unfortunately, there was a mix-up at the store and they neglected to load one of the boxes for the table. After getting home, my wife discovered the error and called the store to ask that they deliver the box at no charge since it was their mistake. The store offered to discount the table further, if she would be willing to come back to pick up the box. She agreed and picked up the final box.

What started off as a table and chair set that cost $1,000+ (with tax), was discounted down to $324 (tax included). What a bargin!

September 2, 2008

August 2008 Income Statement

August was our 2nd lowest month of expenses in this year (click on spreadsheet below). My wife was out of town 2-1/2 weeks for business and I was out of town 1 week for business; all of this business travel helped save us some money. While my wife was out of town, I was able to use her company car and gas card, saving us $125-$150 in gas.

We had another strong income month, which is especially nice when combined with a low expense month. My wife earned an "extra" third check this month as well as a $236.16 commission from her old company. We also received a $200 wedding gift that was totally unexpected, but appreciated, since we have been married a couple of years. With our savings account balance rising, we’re starting to see an increase in interest income; this month we earned $28.05 in interest income.

Next month my wife may receive her 1st quarterly bonus, although if she receives anything, it will be a much smaller bonus than what she can expect down the road. We should also earn cash rewards from our Citi credit card and HSBC credit card. The only major expense planned is a few hundred dollars for a new kitchen table and chairs.