Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Making progress

Sadly, not much progress on my personal July goals, but - financial progress is being made nonetheless! :-) As we approach September (the time of year when I receive my annual bonus, & stock award vest), this is the first time in at least ten years that some of that money hasn't already been spent. We always approach the September 15th paycheck with at least 25% of the money due on credit cards that have accumulated over the summer. But - NOT THIS YEAR!

I'm very pleased - can you tell? ;-) It's been a heck of a year, with the unexpected bonus payback, large tax bill, car repair, and several home repairs (one unexpected & urgent). Yet, we've stayed on track. How, you ask? Well, we refinanced into super low interest rates on both our primary residence & our vacation house. On the vacation house, we offset the majority of the savings by going with a 15 year mortgage. We also made other changes:
  1. Tracking our spending! By far our number one tip for not overspending.
  2. We cut miscellaneous spending:
    1. Cable at our vacation house
    2. Internet at our vacation house.
    3. Reduced our cleaning from every week to 2x/month, and cut this back as much as possible when we were out of town, etc.
  3. We traveled far less, and stuck to the planned trip for my sister's 40th birthday (funded not out of our budget, but my eBay earnings) & one trip with M.
  4. We also cut the kids activity budget (camps, lessons) quite a bit by planning & evaluating which weekends we'd be in town, and combining a lesson that's at our gym. I get a free workout while the kids are in karate. (Normally I pay for child care while I work out).
So, what will we be doing with my bonus & stock award? Although I can't predict the company stock price on the day my options vest, I'm (loosely) estimating $38,000 (post tax, which is taken out automatically) & an after tax bonus of $10,000.
  1. Pay off my 401K loan. I took this out in February, to buy our home loan down from a jumbo, enabling us to lock in an incredibly low rate. Current balance - $40,917. I also have four pay period deductions to pay this off, so the stock combined with the pay period payments should close this down.
  2. Save, save, save the other $10,000. I'm hoping to have $30,000 in our emergency fund before I quit my job. I'm currently at $16,745, so the extra $10,000 and payout on any remaining vacation days should get there.
Having this large slush fund will ensure that I can quit and/or look for another job, and will greatly reduce stress during the (still potential relocation).

How have you improved your financial picture over the past year? Love reading all of the stories of people tackling debt, saving for the future, and changing their circumstance.


  1. I think that's awesome when you get extra money and not having to pay it on dues. You'll reach your EF goal in no time!

    I've had my stumbles, but other than the rent situation being more expensive, I'm still on the same target I had planned to be in last year.

    1. Being on target is great, Tanner! Especially when we know that unexpected issues always come up - being flexible enough to rebound & stay on target is awesome.

  2. That's quite a bonus and stock options. Do you get that much annually from your company stock options?

    We've definitely improved our financial situation in the last year. Right now I'm focused on paying off debt and building our savings.

    1. Yes, that's my typical stock option & bonus grant. last year my bonus was substantially higher, but I'm not expecting as much this year. Money is the reason I've stayed in a job I'm not enjoying & that is ridiculously stressful for years.