Sunday, December 15, 2019

Menu planning, bonus, raise & other financial stuff.

It's that time of the year when I get my annual raise, bonus & stock awards. For this year, I received a raise earlier, due to my promotion, so this cycle was just about bonus & stock.

I feel very lucky, as my leadership team values my work, & has the flexibility to demonstrate that. This year I'll be receiving a 42% bonus, which is the highest percentage I've received to date. That said, the dollar value will be lower this year, as I took unpaid time off, which reduces the amount of bonus eligible days I have through the year. I also received a sizable stock award - I'm now about $5k short of having my stock match my salary, which is really crazy. As you get more senior in the company I work for, the salaries don't rise by much, but the stock grows as a bigger component of our overall pay.

What does all of this mean? First, I'll just say how much I appreciate the company & my managers. I know I work hard, but I also feel really blessed to work somewhere that rewards that effort.

My plans for the bonus & equity include the following:

  • Max out my 401k in January, when my bonus is paid out. My company allows us to forward load the 401k, through our bonuses, which is a great option.
  • All of the rest of the money from my bonus, & all of my monthly stock will go into our mortgage. As mentioned, one of our big goals for 2020 is to get our mortgage down to half of the amount we initially borrowed in 2017. Both of these components will help us get there.

While these are not sexy ways to use either the bonus or the stock, it will get us to our financial goals sooner, which is ALWAYS sexy. :-) As for the raise (6.3%), we opted to cover the cost of the gym we joined, and increase our tax withholdings. I know, again, such exciting options! :-) 

And, for the really exciting stuff, on to the menu plan for the week. I'm going to be honest & describe this as a "minimal effort" dinner plan week. Why? I'm jet lagged, tired, the kids have soccer all weekend, & M is out of town. As you might remember, I typically meal prep on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, & we eat leftovers for the rest of the week. Friday was totally out of the question, we went to In & Out after soccer last night, & that just leaves tonight. I'm flipping my perspective to consider this a "eat things out of the freezer" week. Win!

  • Saturday - In & Out (blush)
  • Sunday - chicken sausages (freezer) & ravioli
  • Monday - broccoli cheddar soup & chicken sausage
  • Tuesday - M & I have work dinners, so the kids will have burgers with the sitter
  • Wednesday - leftover soup & sausage
  • Thursday - eat any remaining leftovers. If none remaining, tacos.
  • Friday - pizza (freezer) or leftovers
  • Saturday - head to the beach, so I need to make a separate menu plan for the rest of December, as we will be traveling, skiing, etc. 
Now it's time to move on to all of my many chores for the day, plus multiple soccer games. Last tournament of the year! Hurrah! What is on your menu plan this week? Are you in a scramble mode like me, or a bit more organized?


  1. The only way you have kept working is that your company does seem to value you and although it seems tiring you seem to like it - it sure helps that they keep throwing money at you! And great to try and pay down things now when you are at one of your peak earning years. We did that several years ago before we started the company and ended up paying everything off - and it's payed itself forward in spades.

    1. I go through phases, and recognize that it's valuable (right now) to keep working. But, I'm also open to the possibility that might change any time, and we need to be prepared for that. So, I feel like it's a good value exchange for now, but want to stay focused on not ever building a life around that salary. So many people we know could never afford their life without it, and that sounds terrifying to me.

  2. I am happy for you and your family, moving forward with your goals-that's pretty sexy budgeting in my book! You do such a nice job with your prep and freezer meals, your menu still looks loads better than what a family with your hectic schedule often eats. I think that you are passing on wonderful work ethics and health focus to your kiddos.

    1. I find that planning ahead removes so much stress from my life. I can't imagine coming home from work & trying to use mental resources to figure out what to make. By the time I get home, my energy level is pretty diminished, & I like things to be as easy as possible.

  3. That's an absolutely amazing bonus! The best bonus I've ever managed is maybe 8% of my salary and it wasn't a big salary to begin with :) these days I'm lucky to make a 2% bonus. I traded the bigger money for life flexibility and after a few years I think it still makes a lot of sense for my health.

    PiC's industry pays better bonuses and we certainly frontload that into his 401k because that's the most important financial priority of the ways that bonus could go.

    Do you typically sell your stocks as they come available so you can put it into the mortgage?

    Thanks for sharing your meal plans, they're so helpful to see.

    1. It's great that you've made the right tradeoffs for your health & energy level. Huge kudos to you from stepping back from the conusmer ferris wheel & prioritizing other things. I was pretty surprised by the bonus as well. I must have not been paying attention to the percentage last year, because it did feel like a big jump.

      At this point, given our stock black outs (no selling), which have gotten even more complicated & longer with my recent promotion, we've opted to do an auto sale. With autosale, you have no choice. You enroll a year's worth of options, & it sells them every month. It means you don't have to worry about black out periods. There is some tax implications, but we try to manage that in other ways.

      I'm glad the meal plans are helpful. They are rarely anything glamorous, and I always try to plan a few bigger meals, & make them span a few dinners. Half the work for double the eating.

  4. Your dinners sound great to me! Easy is just prefect for me these days.

    Congrats on the stocks and bonuses. I love what you are going to use them for. Maxing out the 401K is always a smart move. And you know I am a big proponent of paying off the mortgage.