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.