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2016 YTD Financial Update

December 29th, 2016 at 10:15 pm

Investment & Retirement Contribution

+10.2K Savings
+$40K - Vanguard VWENX Taxable
+$15.1K - 457 & 401K
+$5500 - ROTH VTSAX
+$17.5K - 457
+$3.1K – 529 Plan
+$14.1K Mandatory Contribution
+$105.5K Total Contribution

Mortgage Balance: $459,900
Home Value: $442,562
Underwater: -$17,338 Yikes!

We sold home and bought a new home causing our Net Worth to creep up very slowly in 2016 around $20K. The biggest gains are retirements and taxable account $105K contributions. This puts us $483K Net Worth. I expect to hit $600K NW by the end of 2017.

We also bought a new car that we paid cash for (2016 Sentra) for my daily commute.

We also plan to pay extra payment towards the mortgage next year bring that balance down to $420K.

420 - MILESTONE!!!

April 20th, 2016 at 09:47 pm

Yup...pretty exciting happened today. (Normally don't celebrate much) BUT

After updating all our accounts [total asset - liabilities]....we reached [$504,927.79 in Net Worth]. Its also the first time, our investment/retirements is more than our home value.

Its like being HIGH in the SKY TODAY! Woohoo!!

Monthly Update & Zero based budgeting

March 19th, 2016 at 12:26 pm

I want to start blogging our saving progress each month for 2016. March savings is where we are now.

April's budget is almost done once I get all the bills and my wife takes a look our budget. Some background about our budget, we started Dave Ramsey in January 2015 and immediately began following his teaching principle via podcast. Within months we started to do a zero-based budget. We had about 40K in taxable account in our brokerage account and began paying off our credit card bills, equity loan, car loan, and service time. In August I sold my WRX to some 19 year old who worked at Apple computer--drove all the way to my house from the bay area paid cash for it. So in 5 months of following Dave Ramsey we completely turned our financial glimmer of fogginess--sometimes darkness into a glimmer of hope and sunshine. It was a complete financial transformation. We no longer use credit cards, cut them all out and use cash envelopes. We paid off around 43K in total debt by June. By the time we began FPU class late August, we were debt free except our primary mortgage of $225K. We ended refinancing into 15 year mortgage few months later. I thought it was worth it since we have no other debt. We can save more while paying down our mortgage a lot faster. Our LT goal is to pay it off our in 5 to 7 years. While at the same time continue to save on other priorities.

2016 MARCH
ROTH $500.00 $3,000.00
Car Fund $300.00 $3,600.00
XMAS Fund $500.00 $1,500.00
College 529 $100.00 $300.00
Renovation $300.00 $1,300.00
Total $1,700.00 $9,700.00

Fully Funded Vacation
Lake Tahoe
San Diego

We filed our taxes and received close to 4K of refund. I adjusted our withholding last month. Our goal in May is fully fund my ROTH. Once this happen we can accelerate more savings towards renovation, and car fund. Xmas fund goal is 2500 for this year, I expect this to be done in April. Be nice to cross this list out.

Financial Progress so far 2016

March 18th, 2016 at 08:41 am

I know its been few years since I blog here.

We have about $46K in cash, of that 30K is our 6-months EF. But we really need 24K at bare-bone budget. We have no other debt except our mortgage.

The remaining $15-16K are designated to the following (growing every month). I'm tweaking this number regularly so this numbers are changing.

1) home renovation $6K - Goal 20-25K by Fall 2017. But we need to start some renovation by this summer, at least start with our kitchen.

2) Tacoma fund $3600 balance - Plan to grow this balance to 20K by the end of this year. Not sure we are set in stone with Tacoma, or it could be 4runner.

3) Christmas fund $1500 (Goal $2500). Our goal is to have this funded early next month since my wife always tells set this aside first.

4) Daughter's private school tuition due in June for next fall $4200. We have enough to pay the current tuition already but we are continue to add more to this account until we decide to re-direct some of this funds somewhere else in the future.

5) ROTH Contributions $5500 will be fully funded in May.

6) Summer vacation fully funded in January.

7) I plan to sell VTHR 100 shares and buy more shares of Netflix. Yes, I'm going aggressive worth about 6% of our net worth in 1 stock.

My spouse will be receiving 2% pay increase this July. As for me, I'm not sure how much. Our bargaining team have yet to bargain with the state. I suspect about we should receive roughly 2% to 3% pay increase. Maybe we can add more towards 403(b) and 457 contributions.

Mortgage 15-year mortgage: Our target goal to pay off in 5-7 years. We are off target t(I mean way off this year). We just putting in extra $200 on average a month.

We are up 8% YTD in our retirement investments. Hope this continue. If I count losses from last year, we are still down about 4-5%. So we aren't fully recovered yet.

House repair/remodeling

June 29th, 2011 at 11:12 am

It's been a while since I post a blog. Things have been really hectic lately. I won't get into that now.

In the last few years, we have been talking about remodeling our kids room; new furnishing, paints, drawer, etc. (We did the painting ourselves) Now that they are bit older 5 & 7 Smile yeah i knowSmile we needed to going with the remodeling, at least, before x-mas comes around which we also needed to prefund also. So we had two dilemma, 1) whether to use part of our EF (24K) to pay the cost - $3K credit balance, or 2) deferred savings for several months to pay off the balance. I was pushing for the latter, so that we don't touch EF and helps build our points up to.

I'll make the first payment this week $1500 and second payment on Aug 1st. I just hope we don't add any more balance to it.

It's looking to be a GOOD NEW YEAR so far!

December 10th, 2010 at 01:55 pm

We received a letter from our lender reducing our Adjustable mortgage rate from 5 percent to 3 percent starting in February. Giving us a saving of $290.00 a month for the next 12 months.

Last month, we got a new Union Contract (3 year deal) (signed by the Governor), eliminating our 3-days furlough, in exchanged 3 percent higher contributions towards our Defined Benefit, one-time 12-month 4.62 percent pay reduction with 1-day per month credit (vacation). Our 3 percent pay increase won't be until 2013. The new contract gives me an immediate $206.00 NET PAY increase.

Wife (Registered Nurse) just learned this week, her Employer will be will be giving out pay raises starting in January anywhere from 3 - 8 percent. We are not sure what she will be receiving. Her last raise was 2 years ago.

This month is the last time, we will be paying our son's Music Therapy & Private TUTOR, and Gardening services. This give us a saving of roughly $300 a month. Of course, we may revisit this expenses again in the future.

We estimate our out-going expenses will be reduce by almost $590 a month BUT increasing our household INCOME by roughly $506.00 (low end) as high $679.80 once pay increase is determine.

It's beginning to look like CHRISTMAS!!!

House value just keep dropping...

April 20th, 2009 at 09:19 am

Every month for the last 6 months, I get a monthly news update from Zillow.com to my work office computer on housing value. For a while, our house value stayed relatively flat especially at the end of last year. It hovered in the mid $230Ks. But now with all the “foreclosures” in full effect, "COMPS" are way depressed. Many existing homeowner’s are just foreclosing on their primary home for bigger and cheaper. For example, we found 4 to 5 bedroom homes, 2 ½ baths, and 3 car garage sold in the low $220Ks to the mid $230Ks. In fact, 3 houses down the street from where we live; a family just moved across the street (yes, just across the street!) because the previous homeowner foreclosed on it and it was now $100K cheaper than what they paid on their original house. It’s the same house model and square footage. It’s was unbelievable! We certainly feel the “times” have shift; low interest rate and plentiful foreclosures for many buyers.

Just like our neighbor, we’d like upgrade to a bigger home for a lot less. Of course that would be ideal in today’s time. Boy that would be really nice…. On the other hand, we are also responsible person.

The good news, however, we can still afford our house payment of about $1,563 a month. Actually, we can afford our house even if it caps at 10% or $2500 a month. We still owe $274K. We’d like to refinance before our interest reset in Jan 2010 into a 30-year fixed rate. But having a negative equity, no late payment history, and good-paying jobs still doesn’t help us qualify for any refinancing options or loan modifications of any kind. We’ve asked my lender and a relative of ours who does loan medication. The best option we’ve heard so far is for us to buy the bigger home for a lot less while putting up our existing home for rental. But that means carrying two mortgage.

With any luck at all, we are just hoping the current interest today will remain our existing interest rate @ 5.0% when it reset. But still. I can’t help asking the question.

Where’s my BAILOUT?

It's been a while

April 17th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

It's been a while since I blog on here.

So this year our main focus is to pay-off our van (Odyssey). So far, we are staying on-course in achieving this goal by the end of the year.

We also had a slight changed of plan on this year's family vacation. Instead of using all $2K vacation in July, we are now planning to use just $1000. Our TV is showing degrading resolution. So we kinda force to buy new TV eventually. That's fine. We plan on staycation instead. Maybe take a few trips to Bodega Bay, Marine World, or San Francisco Zoo, but no over nighters.

Oh, I almost forgot. We now increased our EF to $17,300 in trying to reach $36K goal. We are still socking away $1,125 a month that began Jan 08. That's means, no more starbucks (for over 1 year half), brought lunch from home, less eating out, and sticking to our family budget. It's a beautiful thing. Smile


March 10th, 2009 at 10:39 am

Did our taxes over the weekend. Got a nice $4k refund (federal), owed state $97. It's still not bad. It's perfect timing since we are ready to pay our property tax bill $1600 next week. We plan to keep save the rest of the money building our EF.

Marking - 1st Year Anniversary

December 1st, 2008 at 02:31 pm

Before becoming a regular member on this site last year, we didn't have a solid financial planning. We went about our business as usual. After many adviced on this site, we began to pay closer attention to our family budget. We began tracking our spending; lunch, dinner, groceries, and all the little things we hardly paid attention. We began funding our emergency funds and improved our overall financial picture while reducing our debts significantly.

So here's the things we've accomplished in 2008.

-Saved $12K in EF
-Reduced our overall debt by at least 35%
-Reduced Unnecessary spending
-Term Insurance
-Used mainly "cash" over credit
-ZERO credit card balance

This time last year we owed about $46K in total debt combined (car loan and home equity loan). Our balance as of today in mid $28K. That's $18K debt reduction from last year. More importantly, we were able to budget expenses like christmas gifts and birthdays without resorting to credit cards.

2008 is only the beginning not the end.

I love my mom...

November 13th, 2008 at 10:04 am

My parents helped me put down $20K down payment towards our home 5 years ago. I've reached 10K left remaining balance as of yesterday after dropping at her house. She told me out of the blue that I'm no longer to pay her back. I was shocked of course...maybe she had won a lot from her Bingo winnings. She sometimes doesn't tell me how much she wins, nor obligated but she does anyway. But she really sounded serious. She wants me to apply the remaining payments towards my two kids 529 plan. I'm already set up making $50 a month. So now I'm upping that contributions to $150 a month each.

End of May Update

May 30th, 2008 at 08:09 am

I can't believe the month went quickly. I'm glad because we were able to saved $1025 towards our EF. We're way ahead of our schedule our goal, but i hope we can continue savings at this rate...$12K here we goSmile

May was a good month but it was very expensive as well...i bought my wife her mother's day gift (new Coach handbag) that she always wanted. This week my wife took me shopping early for Father's Day my advance gift. We ate out more times this month compared to previous month. However, the good news we still were able extra $$. It really pays to socked those money away first before it goes out againSmile More importantly, my wife finally took her "Oath" taking to becoming a full fledge US Citizen. I admit, I shed some happy tears for her during the oath taking. It was a culmination of all her hard work and many visits to INS. But at the end, it finally paid off. It was a very special day for our family to say the leastSmile

Early Father's Day shopping

May 27th, 2008 at 08:31 pm

I decided to stay extra day from work today. My wife decided to take me early shopping ahead of "fathers day" since I was home plus I needed new working clothes anyway. I didn't want to go at first, but knowing I haven't really shop for new clothes in the past year and my DW is treating me for it, it was hard to say No! Shopping on a week day is rare for us by the way. We ended checking out the local mall. When we got there, there very few shoppers. We ended up going to my favorite store at all places "Eddie Bauer" which I must say, had some pretty good sales and discounts. I picked up few khaki pants and shirts, a new sunglasses. I was able to pick up a pair of Nike shock running shoes, and casual dress shoes from Walking Company. I never ever bought a pair of shoes that cost $175. Father's Day bill was $872 bucks for today (mine alone came to $537). That total bill included a new $40 ergonomic headphone for DW's ipod and few discounted shirts from AF for our son. DW also bought few items from Victoria's Secret and pair of running shoes. Hers totaled around $200.00 plus $71.00 gas, and Costco $70.

I must say this happens once every few years. I hate shopping but it was actually fun todaySmile We didn't have to fight over other shoppers and the service were excellent. The good news, we didn't have to charge any of it. We used our debit cards and still under budget for the month of May.

$30.00 spend for the past 9 days

May 23rd, 2008 at 11:46 am

Wow! I couldn't believe it. Well partly, I'd been on this diet for past 8 days and has saved tons of money between DW and I. But I also been bringing in my lunch to work. I still have $160 remaining budget invelope and the month is almost overSmile

Late entry for April

May 8th, 2008 at 02:38 pm

At the end of April we were able to save $1275 from our disposable income which brings our total to $8225.00 EF. We didn't have any big expenses in April. Just plugging away!

Finally got our refund!

March 29th, 2008 at 09:51 am

Last year was a great year for us. Our gross income went from $105K in 2006 to $142K in 2007. Unfortunately, our marginal tax rate also went up from 9.2% to 14.2% because of raises a little bit of OT. Our AGI was $122K. So when we did our taxes we got back $3200 but owed the state $207. Still not bad considering our income went up significantly. That will go up again this yea. We still claiming 1 exemptions on our withholding so not to owe money and we preferred this option. Plus we'll get another $1800 in May from Bush's stimulus package. That's a total $4792. I know most people hate the idea of loaning the government money for free. But for us, that's really the practical solution because we stress more on "owing" than how much interest we'll get in invested interest.

It's a good thing that we get money back each year because that funds our property tax and family vacation every year. We're not a big spender; we don't stay on fancy hotels, or fly to exotic locations. We preferred to drive instead. For example, last year we took our kids to see the Grand Canyon and Lego Land near San Diego. On the way to Grand Canyon we stopped to Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. I think my wife's enjoyed it more than my kids since she hasn't seen any those places before. It was a blast!. The year before that we visited my wife's relatives living just outside Seattle WA. On the way there, we stopped to see Mount St. Helen. That was the highlight of the whole trip for me. From there, we drove straight to Seattle and stayed there for a week. I also finally got the chance to visit my Aunt who I haven't seen in decades. She lives just outside Vancouver BC. That was really fun.

This year, we might spend few days to Disneyland or San Diego Sea World. But were also thinking of renting a beach house in Oregon for a week just to get away from NorCal. So we're looking forward to that, but we haven't found a place yet. So if anyone know a place in Oregon to rent a nice beach house with excellent view, please share them.

End of April

March 27th, 2008 at 07:20 pm

It's that time again already. I tell you time fly before you know it, its summer time.

Anyway, the month of March was fantastic. We were able to throw our son's his 4th year birthday party. We rented a Palace Jumping place for $315 (max 26 kids) for toddlers. Some of his classmates from school was able to attend. The rest were friends, relatives, and coworkers. We had about 24 kids attended the party and about 30 adults. We originally budgeted for $700.00 but we were able to spend less than $600.00. My mom paid for the cake and all the preps. We saved just over $100 bucks from everything else which included food. My wife's best friend made her fantastic spaghetti.

We also did some landscaping project for our front yard and side corner of our house. We live in the corner lot so we had bunch of weeds and stuff growing that we wanted to eliminate and clear things out. We put new rocks and new plants. We originally budgeted for $2K but only spent exactly $1K for the entire project. Again, we did our due diligence and invited lots of bidders to come. Thats how we were able to save.

I should also mention. The $10 a day limit for lunches seems to work really well for me. For 3 weeks this month, I brought my lunch from home which saved me about $200 from our budget. I also brewed my coffee each morning. I'd say I saved about $300 just on coffee alone this year and by staying away from Starbucks. That explain Starbucks losing its appeal lately. Huh go figure!

With all those extra expenses for March, we still were able to saved $1015 towards the EF, which met our goal again for third straight months. Again, majority of those savings came from less eating out, brewing my coffee, more cooking at home, and less DEBIT card activities. So far this year, we have increased our EF to $3015.

Emergency Fund continue to build...

March 1st, 2008 at 05:20 pm

It's about time i update our progress.

We thought the month of February was going to be a tough month to save. My wife got sick because of the "flu bag" but she recovers and started going back again today after a week off. I'm still recovering myself but only missed one day of work. However, because she couldn't cook and I don't really cook either other than making basic stuff (hotdogs, sandwiches, salad etc) we ate a lot of take outs. At least my kids love it! However, the big difference before why we spend so much money was we didn't have a budget plan. This time we did. And so, at the end of the month we were able to save an extra $1000.00 towards building our EF. As long as we were conscious on what we spend we were able to keep each other in check all the time. Our balance as of Feb 29th is $5935.00. We still have another $10K to save by the end of the year. We're still moving on...!

March is typically where we spend lots of money because of birthdays for our son, cousin, and relatives. Not only those gifts, but our property tax is also due so that's a big chunk. Thank god we have a separate pot of money to pay that every year. That pot is well funded again this year. Nevertheless, we got our budget planned out for all the extra expenses. So we should expect to save an extra 1K. I almost forgot to mention, we did received our tax refund which is about $3K. Not bad given our AGI was $122K. But this is the fund that helps fund our Property Tax and summer vacation. As long we can maintain between $4K to $5K balances on this account, we don't worry about a thing. We don't know about what we're going to do about the rebate checks ($1800) when we get it. But I suspect we might just use it for all towards our vacation in Oregon this summer.

Update on our EF saving

January 29th, 2008 at 09:45 pm

Well, the good news is that we were able to follow thru our budget for this entire month without major sacrifices. I agreed to bring my own coffee and lunches to work, which help me save more. Of course our biggest worry was not able to stick to our budget. But we did itSmile. Our goal original is to save an extra $1000.00 a month toward EF (split between me and wife). We did better than we thought, our combined saved a total $1009. YippieSmile So this money is going straight to our EF. 1 month down 11 months to go.

In the next several months, lots of of bills will start to pop up; car maintenance, birthday parties, including my son's 4th birthday party (planned) in March. How can I forget our Property tax due ($1600) in March. We're gonna have to apply the brakes harder to stay within our budget. The good news is that DW received an extra $600 a month net pay increase which help us for planned expenses. Wish us good luckSmile

By the way, I appreciate the encouragement and feedbacks from many of you here like scfr, baselle, Ima Saver, Koppur, and DisneySteve. I took many of your advice to heart. So we're just going to plug away until we achieved our goal. ThanksSmile