December 30, 2010

December 2010 Net Worth Update (+$7,007.82)

It’s hard to believe the end of 2010 is already here. We ended the year on a strong note, increasing our net worth $7,007.82 from last month, to a total of $115,300.07 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked
We passed our 2010 net worth goal of $105,700 last month, so December gave us an opportunity to make terrific headway on our 2011 net worth goal of $138,100. In December, we contributed $1,219.50 to our retirement accounts and saw them increase $5,437.42 to $83,594.59. We also increased our savings account balance by a $1,715.00 to a total of $9,215.82.

What Didn’t Work
We spent a ton of money this month, but I’ll get into that when I do our December income statement post in a couple of days.

Next Month
In the next few days, we’ll be reviewing our 2010 financial goals and posting our 2011 financial goals.

December 2, 2010

Net Worth Milestone - $110,000

We just passed the $110,000 net worth milestone! Yippee! I will update our net worth meter (on the left side of the screen) at the end of the month.

We passed our last milestone of $100K, in October. Based on my forecasts, we should hit the next net worth milestone of $120K around April.

December 1, 2010

November 2010 Income Statement

We were doing so well being fugal most of November, but we broke the bank the last couple days of the month. Thankfully, we had a nice income month to support our overspending.

In addition to our paychecks, my wife received her Q3 bonus of $1,680 gross ($941.14 net)! She is doing amazing. We also received a $75 reimbursement from her company for internet and cell phone, $275 from selling our old tires, $100 gift from my parents, a $25 HSBC credit card reward, a $50 Chase credit card reward, and another $40 Chase credit card reward.

We spent $6,689.43 total in November, but here are my excuses: we bought new tires for both of our vehicles (one set was a “gift” to me) and completed most of our Christmas shopping. We also bought a new camera, a new suit for me, new shoes for the wife, etc. etc. Okay, Black Friday kicked our butts.

I’m so happy Christmas is almost here. God willing, will pass the net worth milestone of $110,000. I will receive an “extra” 3rd check in December and my wife should get another bonus of ~$500 gross. However, the spending will continue a bit more because we plan to buy a nice piece of jewelry for my wife as a combination Christmas/birthday/5 year anniversary gift.

November 30, 2010

Wife's Q3 Bonus Arrived

My wife's Q3 bonus arrived a little early and is a larger amount than we expected: $1,680 gross ($941.14 net). She also has another $500 gross bonus that should come in next month. Go wife!

November 29, 2010

November 2010 Net Worth Update +($3,931.33)

We had a solid increase to our new worth again this month. Our net worth increased $3,931.33 from last month, to a total of $108,292.25 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked
We officially passed our 2010 net worth goal of $105,700 this month. Now we can get a head start on our 2011 net worth goal of $138,100. In November, we contributed $1,313 to our retirement accounts and saw them increase $2,333.99 to $78,157.17. We also increased our savings account balance by $1,757.15 to a total of $7,479.92. UPDATE: My wife received her Q3 bonus after I posted this yesterday so I wanted to include the details here. The bonus was for $1680 gross ($941.14 net)!

What Didn’t Work
We’ve falling behind in our retirement account contributions, but this is the result of a slight change in plans. We have decided to focus on growing our savings account balance over the next 12 months so that we can hopefully be in a position to put a down-payment on a house in 2012.

Next Month
December is going to be a great month. I look forward to Christmas every year: celebrating the birth of Jesus, the festive cheer, and delicious food! Financial we’ll have a lot of income in December to look forward to also. My wife receives her Q3 bonus (bonus arrived shortly after I posted this) and I receive a third “extra” paycheck ($1,775.43 net).

November 2, 2010

Passed our 2010 Net Worth Goal

We passed our 2010 net worth goal of $105,700 today!

We're only over by a few hundred dollars, but we still have all of November and December left. God willing, we can use the next 60 days to make some headway on our 2011 goal of $138,100.

I will update our net worth meter (at left of webpage) at the end of the month.

October 30, 2010

October 2010 Income Statement

October was a pretty typical income month and a much lower than normal expense month.

In addition to our paychecks, my wife received a $75 reimbursement from her company for internet and cell phone and a $50 Chase credit card reward. They had planned to pay out the Q3 bonus this month, but for various reasons, it has been delayed until December.

Our expenses have slowly crept up over time, so mid October, we decided to challenge ourselves to spend less. I’m happy to report that we did a great job watching each dollar. We spent a total of $4,881.01. Not too bad considering we’ve averaged ~$6,000/month the past six months.

November seems like it might be a pretty normal month. We hope to continue our re-found frugal ways

.

October 22, 2010

October 2010 Net Worth Update +($4,767.46)

I'll be on a business trip next week, so I am posting our net worth update early.

We were blessed with another very good net worth increase month. Our net worth increased $4,767.46 from last month, to a total of $104,360.92 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked

Our biggest achievement this month was passing the $100,000 net worth milestone. What a great feeling. We contributed $1,313 to our retirement accounts and saw them increase $3,943.63 to $75,823.18. We also increased our savings account balance $990.98 to $5,722.77.

What Didn’t Work

Everything went great this month.

Next Month

November looks like it may be a fairly typical month, and I mean that in a good way. If things go as planned, we should pass our $105,700 2010 net worth goal a month early. That would then give us all of December to get a head start on our 2011 net worth goal of $138,100.

October 5, 2010

Net Worth Milestone - $100,000

We passed a net worth milestone of $100,000. We hit our last net worth milestone, $90,000, back in April.

Psychologically, $100,000 represented a big hurdle that didn't seem obtainable when we started tracking our net worth in February 2007. At the time, we had a negative net worth of -$3,168.85. Setting a plan and trusting in God allowed us to reach this goal. And there are many more ahead...

Our spreadsheet suggests we will hit our next milestone of $110,000 around March. I will update our net worth meter (on the left side of the screen) at the end of the month.

October 3, 2010

September 2010 Income Statement

September was a good month for our income and expenses (see spreadsheet below).

In addition to our paychecks, my wife received a $500 gross ($280.10 net) special bonus and $75 reimbursement from her company for internet and cell phone. We also received a $100 in cash back rewards from our credit cards and an $89.63 auto insurance refund. Not too shabby.

Expenses were more or less in-line with our budget. We each got $140 in extra fun money (we’ve been doing that a lot lately), my wife went on a trip with her friends / family, we bought a few things for the Jeep, and we’ve purchased ~$250 in items for a camping trip we are taking in October.

October seems like it might be a pretty normal month. No large bills are looming and our income should be average.

September 30, 2010

September 2010 Net Worth Update +($6,826.81)

After taking a small step back in August, our net worth rose again in September. It increased $6,826.81from last month, to a total of $99,593.46 (click on spreadsheet below). Darn close to $100K and on our way to reaching our 2010 net worth goal of $105,700.

What Worked

We contributed $813 to our retirement accounts and saw them increase a whopping $5,891.03 to $71,979.55. We also increased our savings account by $1,116 to a total of $4,731.79.

What Didn’t Work

We’re still falling behind on our retirement account contributions, but may end up focusing on our savings account balance instead. I tried to sell back some vacation time to my company, but they asked me to wait a bit due to the economy.

Next Month

October may be our largest milestone yet because, God willing, our net worth will surpass $100,000.


September 16, 2010

Retirement Savings Just Passed $70,000

Our retirement accounts balance (401k, Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA) just passed $70,000! As of this morning, our total retirement savings is $70,169.27. Still a long way to go to early retirement, but we're on our way.

September 1, 2010

August 2010 Income Statement

While we missed some of our investment goals in August, our income and expenses were on target.

In addition to our paychecks, my wife received a $75 reimbursement from her company for internet and cell phone and a $96.36 reimbursement from her company for a new phone. We also received a $100 rebate from Verizon for her new phone and $61.59 in reimbursements from her H.S.A. account.

Expenses were reasonable, even considering a mini vacation that we took to Malibu and new cell phones for both of us.

September may be an extra strong income month because my wife receives a $500 special bonus check from her company and I hope to sell 5 days of vacation back to my company. I will also be out of town for 1 week, hopefully reducing some of our expenses.

August 31, 2010

August 2010 Net Worth Update -($268.43)

Our net worth slipped off a bit in August. It decreased $268.43 from last month, to a total of $92,766.65 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked

We increased our savings to $3,613.59. We plan to focus on getting our savings balance to a much higher level to provide some security in this uncertain economy.

What Didn’t Work

We contributed $813 to our retirement accounts and saw them decrease $1,186.75. So far this year, we’ve contributed $12,609.65 to our retirement accounts. Last year, we contributed a total of $19,437.41. Another $3,658.50 should be contributed to my 401(k) through automatic payroll deductions over the rest of 2010. That leaves $3,169.26 that we have to contribute to our Roth IRA’s in order to match last year’s total contribution. We need to get our act in gear to make this happen.

Next Month

I’m hoping good thoughts for our net worth in September, but whatever comes our way, we'll deal with.

August 2, 2010

July 2010 Income Statement

July was nice and normal income month and a decent month in terms of keeping our spending in check.

In addition to our paychecks, my wife received a $75 reimbursement from her company for internet and cell phone and we earned a $50 cash back Citi credit card reward.

Not too much to say about our expenses. They were in line with our budget and no large unexpected bills came in. All and all, a good month.

August looks like it will shape up to be similar to July.

July 29, 2010

July 2010 Net Worth Update +($6,339.70)

Wow, our July was a great month for the market. Our net worth increased $6,339.70 from last month, to a total of $93,035.08 (click on spreadsheet below). It feels good to be back up over $90K.

What Worked

We contributed $1,313 to our retirement accounts and saw them increase a whopping $6,251.46.

What Didn’t Work

We didn’t contributing $1,000 to our savings this month as planned. My wife and I gave ourselves some extra fun money instead. We’ll get back on track with the savings account contributions next month.

Next Month

Who knows? Hopefully the market keeps going up and the economy strengthens. Haha.

July 2, 2010

June 2010 Income Statement

I simply don't have time to post much, but here is our income statement for June:

July 1, 2010

June 2010 Net Worth Update (-$1,240.46)

I really have been neglecting this blog, but at least I'm still updating our net worth each month! Unfortunatley, our net worth decreased $1,240.46 from last month, to a total of $86,695.38 (click on spreadsheet below).


What Worked

$1,000 was also automatically deposited into savings account this month from my wife’s paychecks.


What Didn’t Work

We contributed $1,719.50 to our retirement accounts (401k & Roth IRAs), and saw them increase $2,015.01. We’re falling a little behind on our Roth IRA contributions. Since my Wife’s company does not have a 401(k) plan, our goal is to max out our Roth IRA’s. We’re half way through the year and have only contributed $1,250 each ($2,500 total) to our Roth IRAs. We need to pick up the pace to reach the $5,000 individual maximum contribution.


Next Month

The markets a little crazy right now, so I won’t even bother to guess at next month.




June 1, 2010

May 2010 Income Statement

May was a strong income month and a reasonable expense month.

May was my Wife’s 1st full month at her new company and, thus, her 1st full months of paychecks at new new higher salary. We were also bless with my 2.5% salary increase kicking in at the beginning of May. In addition to our paychecks, my wife received a $1,884.50 gross ($1,055.71 net) bonus from her old company, a final $430 unemployment arrived, we received $100 in cash back credit card rewards, and $18.39 in rebates. Not too shabby.

Our expenses were pretty typical; we spent a total of $5,401.88. Auto, clothing, and gifts were higher than usual, but not too outrageous.

I’m not sure what to expect in June. I receive a 3rd “extra” check, but we also have a $1,906.90 in annual insurance premiums due at the end of June. Time will tell.




May 28, 2010

May Net Worth Update (-$4,254.95)

We slide back quite a bit in May. Our net worth decreased $4,254.95 from last month, to a total of $86,660.75 (click on spreadsheet below).


What Worked

My Wife received a $1,884.50 gross ($1,055.71 net) quarterly bonus from old job. She also set-up $500/paycheck to be directly deposited into our savings account. So, our savings jumped $1,000 this month.

What Didn’t Work

Almost everything went down this month.

Next Month

I hate to be negative, but I’m forecasting another net worth decrease for us next month. I will be receiving an extra (3rd) paycheck, but that will be used to pay $1,906.90 in annual insurance premiums (auto and rental) that are due by June 25th. In addition, we have a number of smaller bills next month that add up to one big bill.


May 3, 2010

April 2010 Income Statement

April was a surprisingly good income month and a reasonable expense month.


For my wife having been laid off at the end of March, April was a great income month. Of course her new job that she started mid-month really helped – her 1st paycheck was prorated for 2 weeks and 32 extra hours. She received $905.00 in unemployment and a $1,457.99 severance check from her old job. In addition, we earned $88.98 in credit card cash back rewards.

Our expenses in April were a little more than we budget, but low compared to our huge expense total last month. Our expenses this month totaled $5,460.47. Large expenses included $366.59 for misc items for our new (used) 4x4 and $197.09 in “extra” gas for the new 4x4.

May should be a good month. It will be the first full month of paychecks from my wife’s new company, my 2.5% salary increase will kick in, and a final unemployment check for my wife should arrive.





April 30, 2010

April Net Worth Update (+$2,859.25)

April was a pretty typical month, in a good way. Our net worth increased $2,859.25 from last month, to a total of $90,915.70 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked
My wife began her new job mid month. She also received her 2 week severance check from her old job. We contributed a total of $792.70 to our retirement accounts (401k’s and Roth IRA’s) and saw them increase $3,019.25! Wife's 401(k) acct closed and transferred to IRA.

What Didn’t Work
As expected, we had a little catching up to do this month after paying $12,000 cash for our new (used) 4x4 last month and buying misc items for it.

Next Month
In addition to May being my wife’s first full month at her new job, my company informed us that they will be increasing our salaries back to the full amount beginning my first paycheck in May.

April 19, 2010

Salary Back To Even

Great news! My company announced today that they are returning us to our full salaries.

In February 2009, everyone in the company received a salary reduction to help us get through the tough economic times - my salary redution was 10%. My company has been slowly increasing our salaries in an effort to get us back to even. This last 2.5% increase represents $1,750/year and returns me to my annual salary of 70,460.

I feel very blessed to have kept my job while others in my company were let go. Hopefully the economy keeps getting stronger.

April 16, 2010

Wife's Great New Benefits

My wife started her new job today and it's going great so far. She'll be spending most of her time the next couple of months on home study, but is excited to get out in the field.

Check out some of her benefits:

* $0/month out of our pocket for health and vision insurance for both of us
* Complete home office (laptop, printer, etc.)
* Reimbursing for internet and cell phone service
* Company car / gas card

I'm so proud of how she is doing in her career. She keeps upgrading from one great job to another.

April 15, 2010

Net Worth Milestone - $90,000

We just passed the net worth milestone of $90,000. We hit our last net worth milestone, $80,000, just one month ago.

God willing, it looks like we'll hit a net worth milestone of $100,000 in July. That's a big milestone and would mean we're way ahead of schedule of making our 2010 net worth goal of $105,700 in December.

I will update our net worth meter (on the left side of the screen) at the end of the month.

April 2, 2010

March 2010 Income Statement

As I stated in our Net Worth Update, March was a crazy month.

My wife was laid off mid month, but we still had a good income month. My wife received one final pay check, her company cashed out her vacation ($733.52), and will be giving two weeks of severance ($1,300+). We also received a $4,111 tax refund ($3,730 fed & $381 state) and sold 20 shares of BofA stock for small $48 gain. My wife received a $110 company reimbursement for internet and phone service, we earned $25 in credit card cash back rewards, and earned $2.30 in interest income.

Our expenses this month were off the chart, primariliy because with paid cash for a 3rd vehicle (4x4). Our expenses totaled $18,391.59, but if you pull out the $12,250 we paid for the 4x4, our expenses were $6,141.59. Still a bit high, but not so outrageous.

With the purchase of our 4x4, and my wife being out of work part of the month, we’ll be playing a little catch up in April.

April 1, 2010

Offer Letter

My wife just received her offer letter and it’s a good one.

They offered her a $60,000 base, $4,500 more than her last job. Also included in the offer is a bonus structure for up to 25% of her base pay. She also gets a company car and a complete home office.

That is WAY more than I made when I was 26 years old. Come to think of it, with her bonus and company car, it’s more than I make now. Good thing I’m man enough to admit it.

March 31, 2010

March Net Worth Update (+$14,753.11)

March was the craziest month we have had in quite awhile. Our net worth increased an amazing $14,753.11 from last month, to a total of $88,056.45 (click on spreadsheet below). This is a new record monthly increase for us.


What Worked

My wife’s company laid off the entire sales force this month, but within two days, she secured her 1st interview and ended up getting a great new job that she starts mid April (more details to follow in another post). We had a major influx of cash this month including her $733.52 of cashed out vacation, a $4,111 tax refund ($3,730 fed & $381 state), and a check for two weeks of severance for my wife should be coming in any day. We also sold 20 shares of BofA stock for small $48 gain. We contributed a total of $1,883.01 to our retirement accounts (401k’s and Roth IRA’s) and saw them increase $4,947.42!


What Didn’t Work

We purchased a great used 4x4 for $12,250 cash. This purchase absorbed most of our savings and our influx of cash from this month. I’ll be using the 4x4 as a daily driver until my wife gets her new company car in a couple of months. After that, the 4x4 will be a fun toy for us to enjoy on the weekends. Now we have to get our savings built back up.


Next Month

We have a little catching up to do in April. Purchasing the 4x4 threw off our cash flow, so we’ll need most of April to recover.




March 30, 2010

Bought a 4x4

Just a quick post to say that we bought another vehicle. This vehicle, a 4x4, can be used as a daily driver if it takes awhile for my wife to get a job, or can be used as a fun weekend "toy". We got a great deal by paying cash, $12,250 to be exact.

My wife is on her final interview today with a great company. If she gets the job, she will have 5 weeks of home study before receiving her company car. So, the extra vehicle will come in very handy.

March 16, 2010

Net Worth Milestone - $80,000

We just passed $80,000 net worth milestone! Thanks to our $4,111 tax refund and good performance in our retirement accounts, we currently at a net worth of $81,635.73. We passed the $70,000 net worth milestone in January, so it only took us 2 short months. God willing, we should hit our $90,000 net worth milestone in July.

I will provide further details and update our net worth meter (on the left side of the screen) at the end of the month.

March 13, 2010

Wife Laid Off

My wife’s company has been struggling and finally decided on Friday to layoff the entire sales force off.

It’s unfortunate, but not a total surprise. She had already survived 2 rounds of layoffs with this company and there were rumors and signs things were coming to a head.

Where does that leave us? Not in too bad of shape, actually.

• She will receive 2 weeks severance
• Her vacation will be cashed out
• She’ll be bonused on any sales until 4/2
• She gets to keep her company car for 2 more weeks

With $475/week of unemployment and reducing some of our expenses, we shouldn't even have to dip into savings. Speaking of savings, with our tax return, our savings jumped from $4,327.37 to $9,320.43. We’ll likely need to use some of this to buy a used car, but the rest can act as a cushion. Plus, we should be able to continue to add a little bit into savings each month.

My wife is so on the ball, she’s already lined up a phone interview for tomorrow.

March 2, 2010

2010 Taxes

We paid a total of $2,025 in federal and state taxes last year. This year, we wanted to get help with our taxes because we had to account for our condo short sale. Thanks to a referral from a trusted friend, we met with our new tax accountant today and, boy, was it was worth it.

While we had less mortgage interest to deduct this year, he helped us find other deductions that we didn't realize we were eligible for. We paid him $275 and he helped us receive a total refund (federal & state) of $4,111!

We should get the $4,111 refund via direct deposit in ~2 weeks. We plan to deposit the money into our savings account to build our emergency fund back up.

March 1, 2010

February 2010 Income Statement

Thanks to my wife, February was strong income month and a low spending month (click on spreadsheet below).


In addition to our regular paychecks, my wife received a $3,000 ($1,217.53 net) quarterly bonus. My paycheck was also a bit higher because my company gave everyone another salary increase. My wife received a $110 company reimbursement for internet and phone service, we earned $75 in credit card cash back rewards, and we received a $50 rebate.


Our expenses this month were only $4,930.82, within $200 of our monthly budget. I was on business travel for 7 days, which probably helped save us some money.


March should be a pretty typical income month, but may be a large expense month, depending on how our taxes come out.


February 27, 2010

February Net Worth Update (+$5,529.60)

After a small decrease in our net worth in January, it was nice to bounce back with a strong net worth increase in February. Our net worth increased $5,529.60 from last month, to a total of $73,303.34 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked
My wife received a $3,000 ($1,217.53 net) quarterly bonus, so we were also able to increase our savings by $1,830.82. We contributed a total of $2,232.69 to our retirement accounts (401k’s and Roth IRA’s) and saw them increase $3,759.37. Good stuff!

What Didn’t Work
Everything went great this month.

Next Month
It’s hard to guesstimate how March will go. We’ll be doing our taxes and likely owe (we paid $2,024 last year), but I may be able to save some money on food and gas since I will be traveling for business for 7 days. We’ll have to see how it works out.

E*Trade Account Service Fee

While reviewing our accounts, I happened to notice that E*Trade charged us a $40 Account Service Fee for our stock trading account since we have not made any trades in the last quarter.

It's my fault that I did not read the fine print, but a $40 fee on a ~$300 balance is ridiculous. I’ve put a sell limit order in for our remaining 20 shares of BofA stock for $17/share (we bought at $14/share). The stock is currently at $16.66/share. I hope it will sell next week so we can get this money in to savings and away from insane fees.

February 17, 2010

Getting Back To Even

My company just increased everyone's salaries a bit more in an effort to get us back to our original salary levels before the reduction in February 2009.

My salary reduction was 10% last year and my company, through incremental increases, has raised it back 7.5%. So, I just have 2.5% to go before I'm back to my salary level before the reduction. Great news!

February 12, 2010

More Bonus Money

My wife received a $3,308.00 gross ($1,217.53 net) quarterly bonus today! 15% of the gross, or $496.25, was automatically deposited into her 401(k). We plan to tithe 10% of the gross and deposit the balance into savings. What a blessing!

February 3, 2010

January 2010 Income Statement

January was another strong income month and an okay spending month (click on spreadsheet below).


Our incomes dipped a bit in January with my 15% 401(k) contribution kicking in, reducing my paychecks from $1,818.76 to $1,668.40. We certainly felt the missing $300 this month, but the sacrifice is worth it and we’ll get used to it. In addition to my wife’s $110 company reimbursement for internet and cell phone, we earned a $50 Chase credit card cash back reward and $62.44 Citi credit card cash back reward.


Our expenses totaled $5,792.05, which isn't horrible. A couple of large expenses included: $455.48 traveling out of state and $233.50 for 6 months of life insurance. I was happy to learn that my new gym is allowing me to pay month-to-month, but giving me the 12 month prepayment rate. This kept us from having to pull a large chuck of change out of savings.


February looks like it may be a great income month and low expense month. My wife should be receiving her quarterly bonus that may be as much as $3,000 gross (~$1,500 net). I will be out of town on business for 1 week next month, hopefully saving us a few bucks on food and gasoline.

January 31, 2010

January Net Worth Update (-$663.89)

January was a tough start to 2010. Our net worth in January decreased $663.89 from last month, to a total of $67,773.74 (click on spreadsheet below).

What Worked
My 401(k) contribution increase from 7% to 15% kicked in this month. My wife and I are both now contributing 15% to our 401(k)’s. We also increased our payments from $60/month to $100/month on the student loan. This is our last remaining debt, so we want to get it paid off.

What Didn’t Work
We contributed a total of $1,716.15 to our retirement accounts (401k’s and Roth IRA’s) this month, but saw our retirement accounts decrease a total of $616.45. We also weren’t able to put any money away into savings, and that is one of our main goals this year.

Next Month
February should be a strong month. My wife receives her quarterly bonus check, and believes it may be ~$3,000 gross (~$1,500 net). This will help us bloster our savings account balance. I will be traveling for work part of the month, so our expenses may be a bit less too.

January 21, 2010

Free Money Each Month

My wife and I try to charge as many of our expenses as possible to our cash back reward credit cards. Not only do we get cash back, but charging expenses to our credit cards helps with our cash flow situation. Of course, we make sure we pay the credit cards off each month so that we don’t incur interest charges.


We each have our own cash back credit card that we use for business expenses as well as a joint cash back credit card that we use for household expenses. We earned a total of $646.36 in cash back rewards from these credit cards in 2009. That works out to an average of $53.86/month. This is truly free money since we pay off the credit cards each month. I love it!