Thursday, July 5, 2018

Goal Update: End of June 2018

At the end of each month, I post an update of my goals, including a brief discussion of any notable events that might have occurred during the month. The latest month's figures can always be found under the Featured menu in the menu bar at the top of the blog.

Last updated: End of June, 2018
Current value: $46,124
Change from last Month: +$1,559
Percent of Goal:  42.42%




Note that the funds in this account are invested in stock, so there will be fluctuations in value that are outside my control. I never withdraw money from this account, so any dips are purely due to stock price changes.


Events Of Note Last Month:


My SQL courses on Udemy generated $93.97 of income. My courses on SkillShare earned $46.25. I also received $94.91 from a class action lawsuit settlement.

Our annual summer trip to Las Vegas was fun and, although we did not return home with more than we left with, we did lose less than I planned on, so there's that. We told the casino it was my wife's birthday (which was really just 2 weeks away) and we got an offer to upgrade to a swanky 910 square foot suite for only $75 per night, which we took. (Our original deal was a free room plus  $50 in dining credit and $125 in free casino play.) The suite typically goes for between $500 and $1,100 per night, so that was a screaming deal. The room had 2 bathrooms, a small kitchen, and a nice balcony overlooking the Bellagio fountains. My wife also got a small box of fancy chocolate bars. We also got a free dessert at one of the restaurants we ate at. We went with my wife's sister and her husband, plus her other sister. Someone from each group (including my wife and myself) got at least one $1,000 royal flush win on video poker. Good times!

I crossed the $45,000 threshold this month and unlocked that achievement!



Net Worth Update

Our net worth went up $3,456 this month to $848,911 - another new all-time high! Woo-hoo! Not much else to report on this front.




May 2018
June 2018



























If you have any questions or suggestions for topics, please drop me a line in the comments section!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

No Post This Week - I'm In Las Vegas!


No post this week because it's time for my annual summer trip to Las Vegas! See you next week!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Don't Leave Money On The Table: Reconcile Your Statements!


Balancing your checkbook is one of the most boring things a person can do.  It's the brushing your teeth of the finance world. You know you should do it but it's kinda a pain in the butt and if you skip it once in a while, is it really going to matter?

And it's not just bank statements that need to be balanced, or at the very least, reviewed. Any statement you get that involves money should be reviewed. That means credit card statements, brokerage statements, phone bills, utility bills, etc.

Now, you don't have to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. In many instances, you just need to look for things that seem anomalous, unexpected.

For example, I rarely look at my brokerage statements in great detail. I'm not an active trader, so there usually isn't much activity to review. I do always look for one thing - fees. I shouldn't be incurring any fees in my accounts, and I always check to make sure that is still the case. But it's always possible I missed a notification of some change and could start incurring fees, so I want to watch out for that.

My credit card statements and bank statements, are another matter. With those, I do verify every single item. During the month, I enter all my charges and deposits in a phone app called Expense IQ (formerly Easy Money). When my statement comes, I go through each line, marking off each one in the app. When I'm done, my closing balance in the app should match the closing balance on my statement.

I will admit, this can be a chore. Ninety-five percent of the time, everything matches up. But, there are times where I have found charges I forgot to enter in the app.

I also sometimes find errors in my statement - like the one today that got me writing this post. I was reconciling my credit card statement against the entries in my app and found an error: I was double-charged at a fast food restaurant a week ago.

I remember exactly when it happened. I was paying through the restaurant's phone app. To do this, my phone displays a QR code that I hold up to a scanner at the register. The scanner has a green light that comes on when it has successfully scanned my code and charged my credit card.

(Not my hand or my phone.)

On this particular day, I went through that process and got the green light, but the cashier said it didn't go through. I said "But I got the green light." He said "Yes, but I have to hit something on my screen first." Hmm. Whatever. So we did it again and I got the green light again.

Sure enough, my statement came and I saw I was charged twice on that day. A quick call to my credit card company had the extra charge removed, but if I wasn't looking at each transaction, I would have missed this.

It's tempting to think that, with automated payments or electronic billing, things can't go wrong, but they do. It's your money, so watch over it and don't leave money on the table. I can guarantee you that the fast food restaurant would not have made any attempt to refund that money to me!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Goal Update: End of May 2018

At the end of each month, I post an update of my goals, including a brief discussion of any notable events that might have occurred during the month. The latest month's figures can always be found under the Featured menu in the menu bar at the top of the blog.

Last updated: End of May, 2018
Current value: $44,656
Change from last Month: +$3,425
Percent of Goal:  41.07%



Note that the funds in this account are invested in stock, so there will be fluctuations in value that are outside my control. I never withdraw money from this account, so any dips are purely due to stock price changes.


Events Of Note Last Month:

Wow! My account value really took off this month. I didn't save any more than normal though. The gains were due to Realty Income stock going up about $2.50 during the month.

My SQL courses on Udemy generated $77.30 of income. My courses on SkillShare earned $63.14. That platform seems to be picking up steam and this month's payment was a new high. I also received $32.47 from a class action lawsuit settlement.

With this increase to over 40% of my goal, I have unlocked a new achievement!



Net Worth Update

Our net worth went up $11,885 this month to $845,455 - a new all-time high! Woo-hoo!

This was really surprising because we made several big purchases this month. We bought a new dining room table and chairs, as well as train tickets for our vacation next year. We had cash saved up for these, but we charged them to get the credit card points, which is why our credit card balance increased so much. Next month, after the bill is paid, you'll see a big drop in the Cash category (but with a corresponding drop in the Credit Cards column). Also, $2,000 of that credit card bill is for a business conference I will be attending that my company will reimburse me for.

Zillow said our home increased in value by $7,000 in May This is on top of the $20,000 it said it increased in April. There's nothing more I can say about the Seattle area housing market. If I wasn't living through it, I wouldn't believe it.

Another big wildcard in the works for June is our annual trip to Las Vegas. Lots of potential there for things to swing in either direction!



April 2018
May 2018



























If you have any questions or suggestions for topics, please drop me a line in the comments section!