December 19, 2009

Rebalanced 401(k)

I just finished rebalancing my 401(k) to move our current asset allocation back in line to ouroriginally planned asset allocation.

The percentages weren't off by much, but I figure this is a good habit for us to get into at the end of each year. Here's what the 401(k) looked like:


Here's what it was rebalanced to:


My wife's 401(k) was opened mid way through the year and is a much smaller balance, so we're not going to bother rebalancing it this year.

December 15, 2009

Increased my 401(k) Contribution

We've wanted to contribute at least 10% to each of our 401(k)'s for a while now. My wife just increased her 401(k) contribution to 15% in August, but mine was only at 8%. I'm happy to say that I've now increased my 401(k) contribution to 15%, effective my 1st paycheck in January.

If we're both able to keep our jobs throughout 2010, we’ll contribute a total of $18,366 to our 401(k) accounts from our regular paychecks. My wife also has 15% contributed from her quarterly bonus checks. God willing, we may be able to break $20K in total contributions to our 401(k)'s in 2010.

December 14, 2009

2009 Roth IRA's Fully Funded

We have fully funded our 2009 Roth IRA's; $5,000 to my wife's Roth IRA & $5,000 to my Roth IRA!

It feels good to hit this goal, especially since we only contributed $3,125 to each of our Roth IRA's last year.

Once our planned 401(k) contributions go in this month, we'll have contributed a total of $19,437.41, or 15.87% of our gross income, to our retirement accounts (401k's & Roth IRA's) for 2009.

December 4, 2009

This Is Only Drill (at least for now)

My wife found out yesterday at 30% of her company received an email that morning explaining they were laid off. We feel terrible for her coworkers that were laid off, especially right before Christmas.

Thankfully, my wife kept her job, but it was certainly a wake up call. So, I ran through the numbers to see how we would have been affected if she would have been part of the lay off.

The 1st negative impact would have been losing the $2,770/month income she takes home and her quarterly bonuses. Next, would be her company car and $110/month in cell phone and internet reimbursements. Finally, she'd lose her insurance and 401(k) plan (which she contributes 15% to).

We took a look back at what unemployment paid her before she found her current job. I was surprised it was a little over $400/week after taxes. That more than I remembered and supplements ~60% of her regular paychecks. Cutting back a bit on our retirement contributions and unnecessary spending would make up the difference. Losing the company car would be tough, but since we just paid off our $450/month auto loan, we're in a better position that ever to take on another (small) auto loan, if necessary. Health isurance is very important, and since my wife is young and healthy, she easily qualifies for good health insurance that only costs $80/month.

Working through this drill was reassuring. Should her company do another lay off in a few months, and if she is let go, we should be fine. One possible wrench is my job. Sales are starting to soften a bit at my company, but we're introducing innovative new products in February that should increase sales. Worst case scenario, I believe I'd be keep on until at least May. In the meantime, we'll start socking away cash for added security. And of course, say our prayers.

December 2, 2009

November 2009 Income Statement

November was a strong income month and reasonable spending month (click on spreadsheet below).


Our expenses totaled $8,434.66, but $2,925.74 of that was to pay off our auto loan. That brings us down to $5,508.92 in other expenses. Not to shabby when you consider we purchased Christmas gifts, took a road trip to see my family, and went over budget in our “Goceries” and “Household Items”.


The big boost in income in November came from a $4,872 ($2,255.97 net) quarterly bonus my wife received. In other good news, my company increased my salary another 2.1%. We also earned $75.00 in credit card cash back rewards and $0.63 in interest income from our online savings account.


December is here already and it’s an “extra” check month for me. Plus, we’ll be receiving $330 worth of reimbursements that my wife is due. Our expenses should be pretty normal, with the exception of a trip out of state planned at the end of December.


November 29, 2009

November Net Worth Update (+$9,438.27)

This was our best net worth increase month ever. Our net worth in November increased $9,438.27 from last month, to a total of $63,650.18 (click on spreadsheet below). Our previous record increase was September 2007 with an increase of $8,496.14.

What Worked
We got a lot done this month. Thanks to my wife’s $4,872 ($2,255.97 net) quarterly bonus, we paid off our 6.5% auto loan! Now we have an extra $450 to save/invest each month. We also contributed a total of $4,257.22 to our retirement accounts (401k & Roth IRAs), a large portion of which was contributed to our Roth IRAs in an effort to reach the $5,000 max contribution by the end of the year. We saw our retirement accounts increase to a total of $6,178.11! On top of all of that, we socked away $500 into our savings account.

What Didn’t Work
Nothing, everything went WAY better than we expected.

Next Month
God willing, December should be another strong month. We’ll likely miss our $75,600 net worth goal for the year by a good margin, but we've made great headway, all things considered. I’ll be posting a review of our 2009 goals next month.

November 21, 2009

Retirement Accounts Just Passed $50,000

As a follow on to my post yesterday regarding our increased retirement contributions, I checked our retirement account balances this morning and we just broke the $50,000 mark. I'll provide the specifics when I post our net worth spreadsheet at the end of the month, but it feels great to be making solid progress. In December 2008, our retirement accounts totaled $23,506.87, so it's doubled in less than 1 year.

November 20, 2009

Step Up Our Retirement Contributions in 2009

We’ve done a good job of increasing our retirement account contributions this year. Thus far, we’ve contributed $3,802.39 to my 401(k) and $3,976.48 to my wife’s 401(k) and a total of $8,400 ($4,200 each) to our Roth IRA’s. That puts us at $16,178.87 in total contributions to our retirement accounts so far for the year.

By the end of the year, another $617.91 will be contributed to my 401(k) and another $1,040.63 to my wife’s 401(k). We hope to contribute another $800 to each of our Roth IRAs to fully fund them for the year. If we’re able to do that, we’d have a total retirement account contribution of $19,437.41 (roughly $1,620/month) for 2009. That’s a huge increase over our $12,111.56 retirement contributions in 2008 and our $12,330.19 retirement contributions in 2007. We’re feel very blessed to be able to sock this kind of money away for early retirement.

November 17, 2009

Car Paid Off

Both my parents and my wife’s have paid off their auto loans early to save a ton on interest. Now we get to join the club. Thanks to my wife’s $4,872 ($2,255.97 net) quarterly bonus and our accelerated payments, we just paid off the 6.5% auto loan on our 2006 car. The loan was originally scheduled to be paid off April, 2012 and at the beginning of 2009 our balance was $15,586.49. It feels great to have this paid off early. We now have $450 a month to save and/or invest.

November 14, 2009

Net Worth Milestone - $60,000

We passed the net worth milestone of $60,000!

My wife's quarterly bonus help us reach this new net worth milestone. We hit our last net worth milestone of $50,000 in August. We've been blessed to have a strong second half of 2009. Based on my estimates, we may hit a net worth of $70,000 in February.

November 13, 2009

Bonus Time!

My wife received her quarterly bonus today. She was 5th in the region in sales and received a $4,872 ($2,255.97 net) bonus! In addition, she received a special Teamwork award.

$730.80 of the $4,872 was deposited into her 401(k). The $2,255.97 check will be spent as follows:
$487.20 to tithe
$1175.74 to our auto loan
$593.03 to savings

My wife is doing awesome in her job and, at this rate, our goal of early retirement is all the more possible.

November 5, 2009

Earning More SkyMiles

Quick update:

I just returned from a business trip, and earned another 6,180 Delta SkyMiles. I now have 57,135 Delta SkyMiles.


November 4, 2009

October 2009 Income Statement

Our income in October was a bit above average and we did an good job keeping our expenses down (click on spreadsheet below).

For the 3rd month in a row, my company increased my salary 1%. In addition to our paychecks, my wife received her $110 company reimbursements, I sold my old gym membership for $480, and we earned $85.89 in credit card cash back rewards. We also earned $0.95 in interest income from our online savings account.

If you pull out the extra $1,150 we paid to our auto loan, our total expenses were only $5,266.53. That includes being dinged with a $342.50 towed bill. I was out of town 2-1/2 weeks of the month, so my wife gets credit for keeping expenses down.

Next month brings more good news. My wife may receive her quarterly bonus (early) and my company will be increasing my pay again.

October 31, 2009

October Net Worth Update (+$675.72)

Our net worth in October increased $675.72 from last month, to a total of $54,211.91(click on spreadsheet below).


What Worked

I received another 1% increase to my salary (3rd time in 3 months). We paid an extra $1,150 to our auto loan, bringing the balance down to $2,907.26.


What Didn’t Work

We pulled $1,393.43 out of savings to pay our credit card bill for the balance of our Hawaii vacation in September. This was planned so it actually should fall under the “What Worked” category. We contributed a total of $1,497.03 to our retirement accounts (401k & Roth IRAs), but only them increase to a total of $367.45.


Next Month

God willing, November should be another net worth increase month. We plan to continue our accelerated payments on the auto loan and invest another $1,500 in our retirement accounts. I will have a large gym membership bill due next month, a portion of which may come out of our savings.


October 23, 2009

3.5% Salary Increase

The Owner of my company just announced he will be increasing everyone's salary again. I'll be getting a 3.5% increase, or ~$2,100/year. This brings me to a total of 6.5% in increases over the past couple of months. That leaves only another 3.5% till I'm back to $70,460/year, where I was in February before the 10% salary reduction.

My company has been doing much better lately, but I'm surprised our salaries have been increased so rapidly. I was happy just having a job in this economy, but am very thankful for the extra money. I plan to increase my 401(k) contribution from 8% to 15% in January (my wife just increased her's to15%). These salary increases will help make that doable.

October 21, 2009

Solid 6 Month

I always feel like we could be doing more to reach our goal of early retirement, but am very thankful for all of our blessings. I'm also thankful for my parents for being such great personal finance role models.

We've been working hard to increase the contributions to our retirement accounts and have done a good job over the past 6 months. Our average monthly contribution since May has been $1,453.

Here's a month-by-month breakdown:
May

$1,025.19

June
$1,675.19

July
$1,743.52

August
$1,181.48

September
$1,592.71

October
~$1,500.00

October 17, 2009

6,216 Delta SkyMiles

I just returned from another business trip and earned 6,216 Delta SkyMiles. This brings me to a total of 49,939 SkyMiles. I also used my rewards credit card for all business expenses during the trip, earning us a $25 cash back reward.

I leave town again in a 1-1/2 weeks and may reach Gold Medallion status, resulting in double the SkyMiles every time I fly for the next 12 months.

October 7, 2009

Another 1% Increase

Once again, my company increased everyone’s salary by 10% of the amount they were reduced back in February.

My salary was reduced 10%, so it will go back up 1%, or ~$700/year. This is the third increase since the reduction for a total of ~$2,100. My company is working hard to get everyone back up to their original salaries.

You can't ask for much more in this tough economy.

October 2, 2009

September 2009 Income Statement

We had a pretty average income and expense month in September (click on spreadsheet below).


Our largest expense for the month was our amazing 6 day vacation to Hawaii that cost $1,787.69 (not too bad, huh?).

Here’s a breakdown of our vacation costs:

Flights: Free thanks to frequent flyer miles

Hotel: $773.70 (wife found a good deal)

Rental Car: $244.55 (wife found a good deal)

Food & Entertainment: $769.44


Other large expenses for September include an extra $1,900 payment to our auto loan and $116.75 at the shooting range.


Our income for the month consisted of our regular salaries and my wife’s $110 company reimbursement. My company bumped everyone’s salaries up again, resulting in another 1% increase to my salary (it was also increased 1% last month). We also earned $1.48 in interest income from our online savings account.


Next month, there are no large expenses planned, other than continuing to pay down our auto loan at an accelerated rate with a goal of having it paid off by the end of the year.





September 29, 2009

September Net Worth Update (+$3,411.14)

We are on a roll; 4 straight months of strong net worth increases. Our net worth in

September increased $3,411.14 from last month (link), to a total of $53,536.19 (click on spreadsheet below).


What Worked

September was a great month. We were blessed with another 1% increase to my salary (it was also increased 1% last month). We paid and extra $1,900 to my auto loan. We contributed a total of $1,592.71 to our retirement accounts (401k & Roth IRAs) and saw our retirement accounts increase to a total of $3,220! We sold 86 shares of our 106 shares of Bank of America stock for a 20% gain. We applied the proceeds to our auto loan.


What Didn’t Work

We took a vacation to Hawaii in September that cost $1,787.69. This should really fall under the “What Worked” category because we had a great vacation for a very reasonable price. Our flights were free thanks to frequent flyer miles and my wife found a great deal on our hotel and rental car. This was a planned expense, but we’ve pulled money out of savings to cover some of the costs and will pull more money out of savings when the credit card bill is due next month.


Next Month

October should be a good month. I will be traveling for 2 weeks of the month, so our expenses will likely be lower than usual. We also plan to make another large extra payment to my auto loan.

September 19, 2009

$1,900 In Extra Car Payments This Month

We are on a mission to pay off our 6.5% interest auto loan ASAP. Last month, we paid an extra $6,250 to principle. This month, we've paid an extra $1,900 to principle on our auto loan. Most of the money for this payment came from the sale of 86 shares of our Bank of America stock. We are making good headway.

September 17, 2009

Sold Bulk Of Our BofA Stock

We sold 86 shares of our Bank of America stock today for $17.50/share. We purchased 106 shares of the stock for $14.00/share back in January, so after fees, we earned over a 20% gain. That's a lot more than we would have earned keeping the money in our savings account for 9 months.

Selling the 86 shares basically cashes out the $1,500 that we originally invested. We're going to let the remaining 20 shares ride. This is money (currently ~$350) can now grow without any risk to our original $1,500.

September 11, 2009

Another Bump Up

More good news! My company again is increasing everyone’s salary by 10% of the amount they were reduced back in February.


My salary was reduced 10%, so it will go back up 1%, or ~$700/year. My company did the same thing last month, meaning I've earned back ~$1,400 of my ~$7,000 salary reduction.


This is a great trend and a blessing in these tough times.

September 1, 2009

August 2009 Income Statement

Our income statement spreadsheet (click on spreadsheet below) for August shows total expenses of $12,685!

While that number is startling, August was, in fact, a pretty reasonable spending month. If you subtract $6250 in extra auto loan payments and $850 for a boat tower, our expenses only totaled $5,585. That’s pretty close to our $4,919.55 budget.

In addition to our regular salaries, we earned $111.35 in credit card rewards and my wife received a $896 ($480.84 net) quarterly bonus and her $110 company reimbursements. We also earned $4.26 in interest income from our online savings account. My wife’s 15% 401(k) contribution (increased from 5%) kicked in her 2nd check in August.

Next month, there are no large expenses planned, but our net income will be less because we increased my wife’s 401(k) contribution from 5% to 15%.

August 30, 2009

Net Worth Milestone - $50,000

I already spilled the beans in my August New Worth post, but we passed the net worth milestone of $50,000! There, now it's official.

We hit our last net worth milestone of $40,000 in 12 months ago, in August 2008. With the depressed economy and short selling our condo, reaching a net worth of $50,000 has taken us a bit longer than expected. Nevertheless, that doesn't take away from how great it feels to hit this goal.

Thank God for all of our blessings!

August 29, 2009

August Net Worth Update (+$5,473.52)

We’ve been blessed to string together 3 strong net worth increase months in a row. Our net worth in August increased $5,473.52 from last month, to a total of $50,125.05 (click on spreadsheet below). That means we've passed the $50,000 net worth milestone!


What Worked

August was full of nice surprises. We received my wife’s $896 ($480.84 net) quarterly bonus a month earlier than we expected, my pay was increased 1%, and we decided spontaneously to pay $6,250 extra to my auto loan. We contributed a total of $1,181.48 to our retirement accounts (401k & Roth IRAs) and saw our retirement accounts increase to a total of $3,814.65! We increased my wife’s 401(k) contribution from 5% to 15%, starting with her 2nd paycheck in August. That's makes her new total 401(k) contribution $346.88 a check or $8,325.12 a year.


What Didn’t Work

August was a great month. Thank God.


Next Month

September looks like it will be good month. I want to take a moment to say that if you haven't seen the movie "Pursuit of Happyness", it's a must see. I just caught it on TV for the 2nd time. It's the true story of a single dad fighting for a stockbroker position at Dean Witter, while facing challenges such as a period of homelessness and trouble with the IRS.


August 27, 2009

Bought New Suitcases, And Got A Deal

I travel a lot for work and have been destroying our suitcases. Actually, I've destroyed a couple by overpacking, but the airlines have also contributed by knocking off wheels and generally beating them up. My wife treats her luggage gently, so I destroyed hers for her.

With our upcoming vacation to Hawaii next month, we realized that we're all out of functional luggage. We decided to see what offers are out there in this beat down economy.

We found 50% off deal on high quality Atlantic luggage at a local luggage store. We bought an Atlantic 25" Expandable Upright Spinner Suiter (normally $240) for my wife and Atlantic 29" Expandable Upright Spinner Suiter (normally $280) for me. In addition to the 50% off deal, my wife had the good idea to ask for an extra discount for purchasing two suitcases. The lady agreed and gave us an extra 10% off.

August 21, 2009

Another Income Post

I posted yesterday regarding my wife's quarterly bonus, which was great news. It turns out we received more positive news today.

My company has strung together a few good months and, as a result, has decided to give everyone a small bump up from our February salary reduction. They increase everyone's pay by 10% of the amount it was reduced. My salary was reduced 10%, so my pay will go up 1%, not big money, but a good sign that my job is getting more secure.

August 20, 2009

Bonus Time!

My wife received her quarterly bonus this month, a month earlier than we expected. Her quarterly bonus was $896 gross ($480.84 net). This money falls into the “gravy” category, since we don’t plan for it.

This next quarter should be even better. My wife’s been selling like crazy and in the first 3 weeks of the new quarter already has earned ~$2,156 gross towards her bonus check in December. Sweet!

Early retirement here we come.

August 17, 2009

Raided our Savings

My wife is kicking butt in her job and my job is seems to be getting more secure. That being said, we’ve decided to throw caution into the wind and pull a large chuck of our money out of savings to pay down our auto loan.

We’re sick of paying 6.5% interest each month on the auto loan and only making 1% on our savings. My parents have always paid their cars off very quickly, and saved a ton of interest as a result. We paid a whopping $6,250 to our auto loan this month, cutting it in half, from $13,383.86 to $6,789.83. Our goal is to pay the balance of the loan off in the next 6 months or so. That will free up $450/month to save or invest.

August 9, 2009

Increased Wife's 401(k) Contribution From 5% to 15%

We increased my Wife's 401(k) contribution from 5% to 15%. This takes her contribution from $2,775/year to $8,325/year. We're still waiting to hear back from her HR department as to when the new contribution level go into effect.

We decided to increase our 401(k) contributions as much as possible and force ourselves to get used to the lower take home pay. We may not be able to put as much into our Roth IRA's, but at least we know the money will be invested before we can get our hands on it.

August 6, 2009

Ways To Get More Frequent Flyer Miles

I went on another business trip at the end of last month and racked up a few more Delta SkyMiles. I'm now at 42,790 SkyMiles total.

In addition to my Silver Medallion status with Delta that earns me a 25% mileage bonus every trip, I found a couple of new ways to earn extra SkyMiles while traveling. I earned 300 SkyMiles for renting a car from Dollar Rent-A-Car. I almost always rent car while on business trips, but I never knew I could earn frequent flyer miles doing it. I also received ~100 SkyMiles per night staying at Howard Johnson hotels. I used to go to Holiday Inns and get points for free stays, but with the economic conditions what they are, my company has asked up to save money where we can (like cheaper hotels). I'd rather get frequent flyer miles than points towards a free night stay at Howard Johnson.

The SkyMiles really add up quick. My wife and I are flying to Hawaii next month for free using my SkyMiles (52,000 SkyMiles each ticket). I'm also close to getting Gold Medallion status which earns a 100% mileage bonus every trip.

August 1, 2009

July 2009 Income Statement

We did a great job of keeping our spending down and bringing money in this month (click on spreadsheet below), that's $1,200 less than last month.


We only spent $5,214.45 this month. That includes $233.50 for 6 months prepaid life insurance for my wife and I, $120.09 on gifts, $149.34 for the 4th of July, and $47.88 on a new tire (pro-rated).


In addition to our regular salaries, I received a third “extra” check, my wife received her $110 company internet and cell phone reimbursements, our old insurance company gave us a $371 refund, and we earned $25.00 in credit card rewards. We also earned $6.50 in interest income from our online savings account.


Next month should be a pretty standard income month, but we may have a couple of large expenses.


July 29, 2009

July Net Worth Update (+$5,033.72)

I know I’m getting lazy with posting, but at least I’m still posting our net worth data.

July was another strong month. Our net worth increased $5,033.72 from last month, to a total of $44,651.53 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked
July was a nice month. I receive a third “extra” paycheck, we deposited $1,000 into our savings account, and we plowed money into our retirement accounts (401k, Roth IRAs, & Traditional IRA). We contributed a total of $1,743.52 to our retirement accounts and saw them increase to a total of $3,835.21. We also increased my 401(k) contribution from 5% to 8%.

What Didn’t Work
Nothing to enter for July; we are very blessed.

Next Month
August should be a good month. There may be a couple of large expenses that limit what we can save, but we’ll see.

July 1, 2009

June 2009 Income Statement

Last month I said we’d tighten our belts in June, and I’m happy to report that we did pretty good controlling our expenses this month (click on spreadsheet below).


We spent just over $6,444.45 this month. This was our first full month of living in our rental unit, which helped reduce our costs of living. One large unexpected bill, we do to switching insurance companies in June. We had to pay a total of $1,296.70 for 12 months of auto and renters insurance. We also had to have my wife’s wedding ring appraised for insurance purposes, costing us $135.94. If you subtract out the large insurance related costs, our expenses for the June drop to $5,011.81.


In addition to our regular salaries, my wife received her $110 company internet and cell phone reimbursements and we received a total of $131.02 in credit card rewards. We’ve both been charging a lot of business expenses to our rewards credit cards. Since we are both reimburse for these expenses, the credit card rewards are truly free money.


Next month should be another very reasonable month for expenses. Incomewise, I will receive a third “extra” paycheck next month but my take home per check will drop slightly because my 3% contribution increase to my 401(k) will kick in. We should also receive a small prorated refund from our old insurance company.


June 30, 2009

June Net Worth Update (+$6,366.15)

After a crazy May in which our net worth dropped $12,703.04. June turned out to be a great turnaround month. Our net worth increased $6,366.15 from last month, to a total of $39,617.81 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked
We piled $1,675.19 into our retirement accounts (401k, Roth IRAs, & Traditional IRA) and saw them increase to a total of $2,110.87. We also deposited $3,815.08 into our savings account, $1,795.08 of which is from our 1st mortgage that we are not clear if we do or don’t owe.

What Didn’t Work
I have nothing to enter here, thank God.

Next Month
July should be another strong month. I receive a third “extra” paycheck next month and my wife may be receiving her first quarterly bonus from her new company. My 3% contribution increase to my 401(k) will also kick in next month, bringing my total contribution to 8%.

June 23, 2009

Traveling Perks

I just returned from a business trip and am happy to be home. Each trip, I try to earn as many “kickbacks” as possible.


Delta SkyMiles

Before my trip, I started with 29,233 SkyMiles (after using over 100,000 miles to get two free tickets to Hawaii in September. I now have 32,928 SkyMiles, but need them to still give me credit for part of my trip. My total should increase 1,500-2,000 SkyMiles once that is done. Since I am Silver Medaliion status, I was also upgraded to first class during one leg, each way.


Holiday Inn Priority Club Reward

I stayed at Holiday Inn’s each night which increased my points from 15,737 to 21,592. I now have enough for one free night. A couple of the Holiday Inn’s that I stayed at will be emailing me surveys to fill out that will give me an extra 1,000 points.


HSBC Credit Card Cash Back Rewards

I spent enough money on business expenses to earn a $25 HSBC Credit Card Cash Back Reward. My company reimburses me all of my expenses, so this is totally free money.


I will be traveling again next month and look forward to racking up the perks.

June 9, 2009

Already Thinking About Next Years Taxes

Since short selling our condo, my wife and I have taken a few steps to help reduce our tax bill for next year, since we won't have the large mortgage interest write off.

  • When my wife started her new job a couple of months ago, she only claimed 1 dependent to have more taxes withheld (she usually claims 2).
  • We just increased my 401(k) contribution from 5% to 8% to reduce our AGI. This will go into effect beginning my July 1st paycheck.
  • When my wife's company has their 401(k) open enrollment, she will increase her contribution from 5% to 8% to reduce our AGI.

We'll still have some mortgage interest we can write off since we just sold the condo, but hopefully these extra steps will help minimize what we owe next April 15th.

June 1, 2009

May 2009 Income Statement

As I outlined in my May Net Worth post, it’s been a crazy month (click on spreadsheet below).


As far as income goes, it’s actually been a above average. In additional to our regular salaries, my wife received an unexpected $1,000 bonus ($536.65 net), $110 in reimbursements, and we received $125 is credit card rewards. Pretty good.


It terms of expenses, money absolutely flew out of our accounts in May. We spent ~$9,500 with our short sale and move. In addition, we spent $980.46 for a new bedroom set, $204.79 for my Wife's medical bill, and $270 for our dog's annual shots and teeth cleaning. Since we were blowing through money, it was easy to get a bunch of misc little things too that added up to a few hundred dollars.


Next month, we tighten our belts.


May 29, 2009

May Net Worth Update (-$12,703.04)

May was the craziest month we’ve had in quite awhile. We ended up short selling our condo and moving into a rental unit. The rental unit is twice the size of our old place and will save us $1,000/month. Because of this, our net worth dropped $12,703.04 from last month to $33,251.66 (click on spreadsheet below).


Since the short sale is better for us in the long term, but not great in the short term, I’m skipping my standard “what worked” and “what didn’t work” in this net worth post. Here are the details for May, good or bad:

The costs involved with selling our condo and getting a new place totally decimated our savings account. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • $5,000 cash to our 2nd mortgage as part of the short sale deal
  • $2,050 for rental deposit
  • $2,015 prorated rent for new place
  • $260 for movers


On top of all of that, we spent:

  • $980.46 for new bedroom set
  • $204.79 Wife's medical bill
  • $270 for dog's annual shots & teeth cleaning


With all of the cash outlay, our cash and savings dropped to $4,122.93. We should be able to start building our cash back up with $1,000 we are saving every month renting. We contributed a total of $1,025.19 to our retirement accounts, and saw them increase $2,945.13. Our taxable accounts also increased $198.76.

I’m not sure what to expect for next month yet. We’ll still be dealing with some of the transition costs from owner a condo to renting. God willing, we should be able to start filling our savings account back up.


May 17, 2009

$1,000 bonus - spent!

My wife and I already spent her unexpected $1,000 bonus she learned about on Thursday. Yeah, it didn't take us long.

We purchased a new bedroom set yesterday for $920 including tax, delivery and set-up. The photo below is of the complete set, but we only purchased the bed, nightstand, and the dresser (without the mirror).

We had planned to pull money out of savings to get a bedroom set, so word of her extra bonus came at a perfect time.

-1MansMoney

May 15, 2009

$1,000 Unexpected Bonus

My wife was informed by her company yesterday that she will be receiving a $1,000 bonus this weekend. This is in addition to regular bonus that she should receive in July.


Her company has exceeded their sales targets and, therefore, they are hooking up all of the sales reps. This is a huge blessing. We're going to use the money to buy a bedroom set that we were planning to pull money out of savings for.


My wife has been doing such an awesome job with her new company. She’s working hand-in-hand with the VP to secure a huge account. They have a meeting with the account next week that will include both the VP and CEO of her company. Talk about great face time!

May 12, 2009

Vacation To Hawaii

My wife and I just booked flights to Hawaii in September using my Delta SkyMiles. This is my first trip to Hawaii (my wife's 2nd) and we're both looking forward to some time off.

It was 52,000 SkyMiles per ticket, plus $10 per ticket in taxes. If we would have had to pay for the tickets, they would have cost $610.64 each.

It's nice to score two free tickets from miles I earned on business travel. Using the 104,000 miles knocked my
SkyMiles balance down to 29,233 miles. I will be adding more miles when I go on my next business trip in a couple of weeks.

May 1, 2009

April 2009 Income Statement

April was a pretty typical income month (click on spreadsheet below) and a reasonable month in terms of expenses.

My wife’s paycheck was reduced because she began her 5% 401(k) contribution and a $50/check HAS contribution. She also received $66.80 Citi cc reward, $100 wife's internet and cell reimbursement, and $14 state tax relief check.

After spending too much last month, we worked hard to keep our expenses down in April. It helped that I was on a business trip for 1 week this month. Our expenses totaled only $6,201.35, but that included a large $1,100 payment for 15 months of my gym membership. So, we would have been well below our $6,040 monthly budget if if the gym bill was not due this month.

Next month should be another average income month. Outside our regular paychecks and my wife’s standard monthly internet and cell reimbursement, we should receive $50 HSBC cash back credit card reward. We have a $204.79 medical bill for my wife and might be spending $160 to get our dog’s teeth cleaned.

April 30, 2009

April 2009 Net Worth Update (+$3,318.51)

We had another really good increase to our new worth this month. It increased $3,318.51 from last month to $45,954.70 (click on spreadsheet below).

What worked:

We invested a total of $975.19 in our retirement accounts (401k, Roth IRAs & Traditional IRA) and saw them increase a total of $2,926.45 over last month. Very nice. My wife's began contributing 5% to her company 401(k) this month.


What did not work:

We are in the process of trying to short sell our house (we began this when my wife lost her job). Our banks are considering an offer now, so our 1st mortgage balance did not go down even though we made our payment this month. We also weren’t able to put any money into savings and actually spent ~$80 from it to cover part of my $1,100 gym membership. We're way off track to meet our 2009 net worth goal of $75,600.


Next month:

May has the potential to be another good month. I'm taking a trip to go see my family, but other than that, the only non-standard expense we have a $204.79 medical bill for my wife.



April 19, 2009

Health Savings Account (HSA)

My wife's has severe allergies and recently began getting weekly injections to help. It's not cheap, so she opened a Health Savings Account (HSA) through her new company.

The HSA is a tax-advantaged medical savings account that allows her to pay for the shots (and other medical costs) using pretax dollars. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account, funds roll over and accumulate year over year if not spent.

She's having $50/check taken out and pays for the doctor visits using a "debit" type card. The HSA should help save us a good chunk of money on the injections.

April 7, 2009

Wife Beginning New 401(k) Plan

My wife's eligible to contribute to her new company’s 401(k) beginning next month. She completed the online forms over the weekend and will begin contribution 5% of her pay in May. It works out to be a $115.63 contribution per check or $2,775.12 per year. I'm currently contributing 5% to my 401(k) plan ($3,171.15/year) and we're hoping to max out our Roth IRA contributions this year ($5,000 each). So far, we've contributed $2,000 this year towards our $10,000 total contribution.


If we’re able to fully fund our Roth IRA’s and don’t make any other changes to our 401(k) plans, we’ll be looking at a total contribution to our retirement accounts this year of $15,946.15. This is 13.41% of our gross income - not including any bonuses that my wife receives. If successful, this will be the largest percentage of our income we have invested to our retirement accounts. Ideally, we will slowly increase this percentage every year.