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Sent extra 6K to Ally

October 26th, 2019 at 07:01 pm

My base plan is to send at least $1,500 to Ally and $1,500 to Vanguard every month. Occasionally when excess accumulates in our checking account, I move that to Ally too. Yesterday I was able to transfer an extra $6,000 as I had gotten paid on Thursday and everything else was covered.

Our CC bills will be higher than usual the next 2 cycles because we bought a dishwasher last week and we’re going out of town for a few days next week but I think I’ll still have enough in checking to cover all of that. If not I can always transfer some back. At least this way it’s earning interest.

Change in asset allocation

October 18th, 2019 at 06:37 pm

I updated our portfolio spreadsheet and our asset allocation has drifted some from 12/31/18. I'm not surprised by that as I know we've been accumulating more cash. And of course market performance affects the numbers too.

12/31/18
69% stock
23.4% bond
7.6% cash

10/16/19
61.16% stock
26.67% bond
12.17% cash

I don't really have anything particular to say about these numbers. I'm fine with where they are. I do want to keep track as I don't really want the stock allocation to drop below 60%. I'm currently splitting at least $3,000/month between our savings account and our taxable Vanguard account so if I need to pump up the stock allocation, I can just direct more toward that instead of savings for a couple of months.

Huge update on my raise!

April 10th, 2019 at 07:35 am

I posted a couple of weeks ago that I unexpectedly got a new contract at work that included a substantial raise. I thought the numbers needed to be adjusted based on my hours. I was finally able to confirm that the numbers I got were actually correct.

I thought my raise would be $15,833.
My actual raise is $40,493!!!
I am shocked and obviously very pleased.

It will be a couple of weeks before I get the first new paycheck to see how my take home changes but it should be around 2K/month. I have to sit down and figure out what we're going to do with the added income but what a nice problem to have.

Got our state tax refund

April 3rd, 2019 at 04:06 pm

We got our state tax refund yesterday. When I subtract what we owed on our Federal return plus what we paid our accountant, we came out about $1,300 ahead which will probably all go to the mortgage. We are on track to pay it off in August but that would speed it up even more.

Forgot the sewer bill - oops

April 3rd, 2019 at 04:02 pm

I was going through some papers just now and found the sewer bill mixed in. I don't even remember getting it. Clearly I must have thought it was junk mail when it arrived as it was with some other junk. It was due 4/1. I normally pay by check since there's no charge for that (other than a stamp) but I went and paid it online. There's a $.99 fee for doing that but a stamp is $.55 anyway so really only an extra $.44 and it's done. I doubt there will be any sort of late fee for 2 days but if there is, it'll be my own fault so I can't complain.

Odds and ends

March 20th, 2019 at 03:55 pm

I said I'd try to blog more regularly so figured I actually need to post every couple of weeks.

I made our latest mortgage payment which brought our principal under the $10,000 mark. The end is near. I expect to pay it off in August most likely so that's exciting.

I haven't picked up any extra shifts at work the past week or two. I need to take a look at the schedule and pick up something in the coming weeks.

My wife and I are doing an overnight getaway this weekend. We're just going across the river into the city. There's a whiskey bar we've been wanting to try (we are big bourbon and whiskey fans). We didn't really care for their dinner menu so we're eating at a different place in the next block and planning to then go to the bar for drinks and dessert. The only problem with that is that we couldn't reserve a table just for that so we'll have to wait for space at the bar on a Saturday night. Hopefully around 6:30-7:00 it won't be too crazy yet. We're using a free hotel voucher for our stay. Just have to pay for parking.

Haven't done any decluttering lately. I'm hoping spring brings a nice weekend soon when I'm off and can start attacking the garage.

Need to start working on plans for our June trip to Dallas. The hotel was booked months ago but I haven't bought airfare yet. DW has been browsing the tourist sites looking for things to see and do when we're there.

I can't think of anything else of significance from the past couple of weeks so I'll stop there.

Happy Spring!

Results of our taxes

March 4th, 2019 at 04:07 pm

I heard back from our accountant today. As expected, the Trump tax changes impacted us but not as badly as I had feared. For the first time in many years, we owe for our Federal return but only $453. Still, in previous years we've always gotten at least a small refund.

The good news is we're getting $2,458 back from the state which offsets that making our net refund just over $2,000.

Our accountant had warned us months ago that the Trump stuff would be bad so I was happy that it wasn't any worse than that. And I must admit filing was so much easier because I didn't have to compile everything for itemizing deductions since we weren't able to deduct all of that stuff anymore.

I think I'm done with ebay

March 2nd, 2019 at 05:57 pm

I've been selling collectibles since 1986 and selling on ebay since 1997, not long after it started. There was even a brief time in 2000 when I sold collectibles full time when I was between jobs. In recent years, I've gone through spurts where I would list things for a few weeks and then get tired of it all and stop.

Lately, I've just felt more and more like it isn't worth my time. I got a new job 2 years ago and I'm making a whole lot more money than I used to. Not only that, but there are always opportunities for me to pick up extra hours and earn even more. It's that part that has really made me think it's time to pack in the sales thing.

Selling on ebay isn't difficult but it does take time. I have to photograph and list the items and then pack and ship them which sometimes involves a trip to the post office. I sell mostly low priced items, like under $40, so after fees it's not like I'm making a ton. But my job pays really well. I can make more in a 4 hour shift as I would make selling on ebay in a month.

As much as I actually enjoy the sales thing, there are only so many hours in a day and do I really want to spend them doing all that work just to make a few dollars? Years ago, I did it for the money. Now, I just don't need it.

I still have a lot of stuff in stock that was bought to sell. I've donated a bunch of it over the past couple of years. I'm going to start seeing what else I can donate and work on clearing it all out.

Portfolio up 110K YTD

February 23rd, 2019 at 07:00 pm

I spent some time tonight updating our portfolio spreadsheet and adding a few lines to make it easier to track things. I used to have some accounts like my wife's 401k listed as a single item even though that account holds 2 different funds. Now every fund is listed separately which makes updating easier and also makes tracking asset allocation easier.

Anyway, once I was finished doing all of that, the bottom line was that the total as of today is up by just under $110,000 since 12/31/18. Considering how awful December was, it's very nice to see how quickly things recovered. I feel bad for anyone who sold in a panic 2 months ago. Had I done that, I'd be $110,000 poorer right now.

Saw the accountant today; "new" printer

February 20th, 2019 at 05:39 pm

I met with our accountant today to do our taxes. I don't know the outcome yet but everything is submitted except for a couple of forgotten items I sent over tonight. I should know in a week or so how we made out.

A few weeks ago when I went to print something, my printer made an awful grinding noise. It did ultimately print but each time I tried after that, same noise. The printer was over 8 years old so I wasn't terribly upset, and it wasn't an expensive item to begin with.

The only thing I was annoyed about was that I bought a set of ink cartridges for it not long before that. I knew if I bought a new printer, those would go to waste.

So I checked the box for the cartridge for a list of compatible printers and then searched on ebay for the newest of those models. I lucked out and found someone selling the newest one for $15 plus $17 shipping. I was happy to spend $32 to get an upgraded printer and not waste about $60 worth of ink cartridges. It arrived yesterday and I just set it up tonight. It seems to be working just fine so I'm back in business for a pretty modest expenditure.

Mortgage payment, decluttering, and date night

February 18th, 2019 at 01:04 pm

There are 3 savings things that I do manually each month. I send $1,000 to our Ally savings account, $1,000 to our taxable Vanguard account, and $1,000 extra to our mortgage. I don't usually do them all at once but it worked out that way this time. I just did the Ally and Vanguard transfers.

When I went to do the mortgage payment, I discovered a notice that the annual escrow review showed a shortage (doesn't it always?) of $114.89. So I had to pay that. I also had already decided to up the extra going to principal from $1,000 to $1,500. So I did all of that and made that payment. I can't wait until the mortgage is gone in a few months.

If you really want to follow our decluttering process, I'd head over to the forums: https://www.savingadvice.com/forums/forum/financial-chit-chat/general-discussion/700407-2019-decluttering-thread. We just went through all of our sheets and mattress covers and are getting rid of a whole trash bag full that will go to Goodwill. Some worn out stuff is also going in the trash.

I didn't realize it but my wife and I have a "date night" tonight. Our daughter is heading back to her college for a fraternity event and will be gone from about 4:30 until after 11:00. I think we're going to cook dinner together and then rent a movie on one of the online services and relax with a couple of drinks. Not sure what we'll see but maybe A Star is Born.

Update and an attempt at blogging more

February 15th, 2019 at 07:01 pm

I've never been that active over here on the blogging part of the site although I'm very active on the forums. I'm going to attempt to change that. I like answering questions and helping people there but I'd also like a place to share more of my own (our own) journey.

Let me start by re-introducing myself here. I'm Steve. I'm 54, married for 26 years, one daughter age 23. I'm a family practice physician who spent 24 years in private practice. Starting in April 2016, I gradually transitioned to working in urgent care, first going per diem, then part time, and finally full time in November 2017.

The result of that job transition has been a dramatic change in our financial situation. I went from earning about 120K to earning about 210K. The new position also has much better benefits including cheaper and better health coverage, a 401k with match, and more.

Another big change in the past year was our daughter graduating college. We paid for the 1st 2 years with the 529 money we had saved since she was little. We paid the 2nd 2 years mostly out of pocket so that was a bit tight as we were spending about $3,000/month for that. Once she graduated, our disposable income jumped up basically overnight.

The next big change will happen in a few months when we pay off our mortgage. I'm not exactly sure when that will be but no later than the November 1, 2019 payment. I expect to do it before that though. That will free up a total of about $1,700/month. I'm still debating what to do with that money going forward.

One thing that has been on our future list forever is buying a house in Florida and potentially moving there. As I am very happy in my job now, which wasn't the case previously, I'm actually finding that the drive to move isn't really there, but I do like the idea of getting a place of our own down there for vacations. We rent a condo or townhouse every time we go down, almost always in the same development. Last time we were there in November, I started looking at the real estate listings and we can definitely afford to buy one of those homes as a second home once our house is paid off. We haven't seriously talked about it or looked into it in great detail but I know that we can swing it if we decide to. I know a couple of realtors down there who I trust and plan to contact when we're actually ready to look for real.

I'm going to stop there for now but, as I said, I plan to make an effort to hang out here more and tell more of our story as long as people want to hear it.

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm working but also have some fun plans as we're going out to dinner with friends tomorrow night.

Monthly surplus higher than I thought

September 25th, 2018 at 06:49 pm

I shared this in the forums but I had miscalculated something in my spending log. I posted earlier that our monthly surplus was about $3,000. It's actually more like $4,000. I had made the mistake of counting a number of monthly expenses twice because I listed them individually but also listed our average monthly credit card bills and many our our expenses get paid by credit card so I was counting them twice. For example, auto insurance, Netflix, alarm, cell phone, and more are all paid by credit card so I didn't need to also itemize them. Once I corrected for that, the surplus was much better.

So in August, I did the $1,000 each to Ally, Vanguard, and our mortgage, but at the start of September, I was able to send another $2,000 to Ally. I also did the same $3,000 later in the month just like last month. From the looks of it right now, we'll still be ahead so I'll likely send more to Ally again. Not a bad problem to have of course.

Daughter got a job!

September 11th, 2018 at 05:06 pm

Our daughter got a job today! She graduated from college in May and we all agree that she could time some time off to decompress from the whole college experience. Honestly, having her back home really doesn't cost us much and is actually tremendously cheaper than having her in college so money wasn't an issue. And she hasn't just been sitting around playing video games all day as she is a supervisor for an online crisis support hotline, but that's a volunteer position. She has also been doing some video editing work for them, also volunteer.

She and we have some travel plans between now and November so I was concerned that nobody would want to hire her once she told them that.

Anyway, she started getting kind of bored now that it's been 4 months since graduation and she kind of feels bad that she's not doing more with herself. So we got the weekly email update from our temple and it said that the early childhood center was hiring. She previously worked there for a couple of summers so decided to apply. The director did a phone interview with her today and called back a couple hours later to offer her a job.

We're not sure when she starts but I'm guessing probably Monday. She'll be doing 24.5 hours/week at $14/hour. That's perfect as she wasn't looking for full time at this point. But I'm figuring that should net her about $275-ish/week after taxes. That will allow her to accelerate repayment of her student loan (she only has 7 months left anyway at the rate she's been going) and start contributing again to the Roth IRA she opened in high school. And still leave her plenty to beef up her savings, cover more of her own expenses (like contributing to auto insurance for one thing), and have money for some fun stuff, too.

Hopefully it all works out well for her.