Detailed Financial Picture – July 2015

June’s Numbers

As of July 2, 2014, we are $302,926.95 in debt with a mortgage.  We currently have $873,163.41 in assets.  Our investment accounts are at $471459.58. Our Net Worth is $570,236.46, down from $574,404.90, last month (0.73% decrease).


We’re socking away money to pay for Daughter Person’s tubes this month, so I made the “minimum” payments – the minimum payment on the car is something like $283 because I’ve paid so far ahead, but I consider the minimum to be $500 (actual monthly payment is $484).

The markets were not very friendly this month, despite putting almost 5k into our accounts, we still “lost” money.  I’ll be happy when the Greece situation is settled so that the markets can go back to generally rising :)

We’re still recovering from moving, and generally just trying to not spend much at all, rebuilding a slightly larger e-fund, and since our car loan is 0%, in no rush to pay that off until we’ve “rebuilt”.

We’ve also had to come up with a down payment on a new car ($2000) with 0% financing and $1000 cash back – assuming they can get it in for us by the end of the weekend.  Dad’s Accord trade-in value is “scrap”, yet they’re giving us $500 for it – the transmission is dying, plus the SRS light = time to get a new car. We thought we wanted a Prius v, but we test drove one and really didn’t care for the handling on it, it was OK, but it was lacking some oomph.  We test drove a Camry hybrid – and were blown away with the features and how it felt to drive.  The dealer we test drove at was extremely annoying (we told them we had to leave by 4, and they kept the keys to our Accord “hostage” until 4:15 – needless to say, I don’t care what kind of price they give me, I’m not buying from them).  I went through the USAA car buying program (aka TruCar), and it’s not as good as it was 3 years ago when we went through them for the RAV, but it was decent.  We were waffling between the LE and the XLE version and the only thing that we really wanted from the XLE was the leather seats, except all of them in our region also come with navigation – $1200 I’m not paying for.  Turns out, the dealer can put aftermarket leather on the LE, which is actually nicer than the factory leather.  Too bad the dealer I ended up with sold the LE they had in stock before I got there (in the space of the 45 minutes it took me to drive to the dealer), so they’re having to get one from elsewhere.  We signed the initial paperwork and put the cash down to buy it, and they’ll be giving us a call when it gets in – hopefully this weekend.  Then, we’ll have another 0% loan to Toyota Financial, but it should be at least 7-8 years before we have to consider another car.  The final price (with taxes, title, and fee) of the LE with aftermarket leather was $3k less than the XLE  “base price” – and the only want we gave up was the moonroof, which was a nice to have anyway, and not worth 3k.

Here’s to being able to save a bit more next month!

Debt (in the order we’re paying it down):

  • Car loan (0%): $10,500 (-500.00)
  • Mortgage (3.875%): $292,426.95 (-479.30)

Total paid off in June:  $979.30

Surgery with a High Deductible Plan

We got the word yesterday that Daughter Person will be getting tubes in her ears.  The estimated cost to us out of pocket (including the followup appointment) is $2600.  Most of that is the hospital and anesthesiologist, not the doctor doing the surgery.

We’re still way under our deductible ($7500 for the family), so we’ll be paying all of it out of pocket (well, out of the HSA anyway).  Not planned, but not a huge emergency since we have about 4k in our HSA.  I would have to pull it out of investments and into the “cash” part of the HSA to use it, so I might get to play timing the market.  The surgery is on July 10, I figure we have until the end of July before the paperwork even gets through to the insurance company and we see a bill, so I’m going to try to save enough and pay it out of pocket in August without decimating our mini e-fund.  The doctor takes credit cards, so hopefully I can use this opportunity to earn some points and miles as well, and it lets me float the payment to the following month/cycle to give me more time to come up with the cash.  I’ll post an update once we have the final value.

I am grateful that we have the money available to pay for her surgery, even if it’s not in the most ideal places to pull it from.

May 2015 Early Retirement Progress

We contributed $5,400.70 this month to our retirement accounts, and we gained $2,965.63 in investment value this month. 

A good bit of the “extra” this month was redeeming my Fidelity Visa cash back award from paying a lot of stuff on the new house: $307 extra into our taxable account just for putting all of our spending on the cash back card.  We did take some money out of our HSA to pay for a rather large medical bill: Daughter Person may be getting tubes, and the first appointment with the ENT was almost $400 out of pocket.  We have another followup appointment, then the decision on whether she’ll be getting tubes or not (an estimated $3,400 bill).

The markets are slowly inching their way up, and they’re still primarily up for the year (thanks February!), but I suspect we’ll be seeing lower values over the next few months and possibly years until the uncertainty of the Fed’s interest rate hike resolves.

We’re doing well on contributions, and that’s all we can really control.

2015 Totals

In 2015, so far, we’ve contributed $30,206.31 (43.15% of our goal of 70k), and we’ve gained $17,182.03 in investment value (71.96% of our planned total).

Detailed Financial Picture – June 2015

May’s Numbers

As of June 2, 2014, we are $303,906.25 in debt with a mortgage.  We currently have $878,311.15 in assets.  Our investment accounts are at $473,403.15. Our Net Worth is $574,404.90, down from $577,265.80, last month (0.50% decrease).

The cash has been flowing out paying for new items – we discovered how much we depended on the built-in storage in our old house. We ended up buying several IKEA bookcases and Kallax storage units along with industrial shelving from Costco for the basement. We are, however, almost done unpacking the two main floors of the house. We still have the guest bedroom to completely unpack, and a lot of pictures sitting around waiting for us to decide what wall to put them on. We’re missing a few things, but since I counted all of the boxes coming off the truck, it’s got to be in the house/basement/garage somewhere.

The builder’s subcontractor for media didn’t wire the HDMI connections to the TV mounting place properly, and I haven’t been able to get a hold of them (via phone or e-mail) to work with them to resolve the issue, so I’ve reported them to the BBB and Angie’s List, and may get some traction. They also didn’t wire one of our networking runs properly – it should have been in conduit, so not so easy for us to remedy. I’m going to fix the TV run – it’s nominally in conduit, but we can’t get an electrician’s fisher wire down through it, so there’s no way to get an HDMI cable back through it – I have to destroy drywall in our brand new house. I’m not concerned, I can do it with about a 2″ square hole – but Dad is not happy about me having to do it. I don’t want to have to do it either – but I want my TV off the floor more than I want to wait to fight it out with the subcontractor. At least all of our networking runs are working, even if they’re either not in conduit, or might as well not be in conduit because we can’t pull the blanks through. Next step is considering small claims court – we’re talking $1800 for the entire job, which they sort of did.

We’ve gotten our first electric and gas bills. We pay $16.78 for the privilege of having gas service to the house, whether we use it or not. They didn’t charge us a connection fee. Since the only things in our house that use gas are our fireplace and furnace, I’m wondering if it makes sense to just shut our gas off for the summer months and save at least $50 (June, July, August). I need to call and see if they charge a disconnection fee to determine if it makes sense. Our electric bill was about $45, *much* nicer than the minimum $150 we had at our old house in VA. Granted, it was pretty cool this month, so we didn’t run the A/C as much as we might have, so I want to wait and see what this summer’s bills are. We’re considering a solar system, but I need to know what our electric bills and usage are to determine what the ROI will be and if it makes sense – our roof has almost perfect solar exposure all day long, with no shade (but Pittsburgh has a lot of overcast days).

We’re making progress on the car loan, we might have to buy a new car to replace Dad’s, so we think we’re going to continue paying the $500/mth on the (0%) loan and save up for a hefty down payment (or possibly a full payment) on a new car – inspection is due by the end of July, and we’ve got an SRS light on that we need to get looked at, otherwise, it’s not going to pass inspection. The car we’re looking at is advertising a 0% loan incentive, and if the fix for Dad’s car is more than $1500, we’re likely going to apply that towards a down payment instead. We borrowed an OBDII reader from a friend, but we haven’t plugged it in yet to see what the problem is.

Debt (in the order we’re paying it down):

  • Car loan (0%): $11,000 (-500.00)
  • Mortgage (3.875%): $292,906.25 (-477.75)

Total paid off in May:  $977.75

I Hate Unpacking

If there’s one thing I hate more than packing, it’s unpacking.  Almost three weeks into the new house, and we’re slowing down on the unpacking.  Mostly because the house is functional “enough”, but there are  boxes everywhere still and it’s starting to drive me nuts having them around.

All of the kitchen stuff is unpacked and put in the kitchen, but I just shoved stuff in the pantry, so it needs a bit of organizing.  I gave in and ordered two Elfa door “systems” for the spices.  The pantry was too deep and the spices kept getting lost – and I really missed my spice racks from our old house.

spice racks

Spice racks In our pantry

I still hate that the pantry has the open metal shelving – anything small tends to fall through or over.  We picked up some shelf liner to help, but I haven’t emptied the pantry to put it in yet.  We also made the mistake of putting packing tape on all of our plastic containers, now we’ll be scrubbing them with Goo Gone for the rest of our days :(

There are more pressing things than the pantry, everything fits, and we can (mostly) find things when we need them.

We still have a lot of stuff just hanging out on kitchen counters though because it doesn’t have a new home yet.


Dining Room with blinds

Dining Room with blinds

We added honeycomb blinds to the house.  I *highly* recommend – awesome customer service.  I got one blind with a frayed string, called them up the next day and they shipped me a new one, no need to return the old one.  They’re also quite easy to install at least with their “interior mount” option – four pilot holes with the drill, screw in four screws into the window frame, and then the blinds just pop into the mounting brackets.  Also, relatively inexpensive for the honeycomb cordless that you can also pull down from the top: ~$85 for a 36×60 window.

The only room that I feel is really done is our master bath. Since my office is off the master bedroom and it’s not close to being done (I’ve opened exactly 1 box in it), the master is still questionable as well.  We’ve put aside 4 boxes to be donated/sold and continually add to it.  I have one box set aside for Daughter Person’s toys that she has grown out of, and our friends with a 1 year old get first rights of refusal on that box.

This weekend, We’re borrowing my uncle’s truck to go pick up our storm door, some more metal shelving from Costco, another trip to IKEA for a bookcase and a grandfather clock from our friends.  We’ll also be loading our old freezer on it to go to my uncle’s.  We bought a larger one, and they’re taking the older one off our hands – it’s currently in the garage (another “room” we’ve barely touched in the unpacking…).  If I can get my car in the garage by winter, I’ll be a happy person.


April 2015 Early Retirement Progress

We contributed $5,284.68 this month to our retirement accounts, and we gained $2,729.64 in investment value this month. 


We gained in every account except my IRA this month.  There’s a pretty hefty sum in an REIT mutual fund in that account, and it didn’t do so well this month.  Oh well, that’s how the market works, and I much prefer to have a REIT than actual property!

I may delay setting aside money for the Roths until later in the year so that we can pay off our car faster.  It’s 0% interest rate, but we’d prefer to get rid of the payment.  And I’ll still be able to make my goal of 70k into our accounts by only putting aside about 3 months worth.  That will have to be played by ear – I just want to get enough into Dad’s Roth account to get out of ETFs and into a mutual fund to have it 100% invested.  We put a token $250 in for 2014 to just open the account, but we need 2500 to invest in the mutual fund I want (FSTMX).  My Roth climbed over the 10k balance and the investment was transferred to the advantage class mutual fund earlier this year.

While trying to get the new house set up, we’re feeling the pinch of cash flow right now with a lot of money going towards retirement, but I keep reminding myself that it’s good for us and most of the house stuff can wait as well! (except the window blinds – we have huge windows, and we need our privacy and insulation!)

2015 Totals

In 2015, so far, we’ve contributed $24,805.90 (35.44% of our goal of 70k), and we’ve gained $14216.4 in investment value (59.54% of our planned total).

Detailed Financial Picture – May 2015

April’s Numbers

As of May 5, 2014, we are $304,884 in debt with a mortgage!  We currently have $882,149.80 in assets.  Our investment accounts are at $468,778.01. Our Net Worth is $577,265.80, down from $579,430.79 last month (0.37% decrease).

We are home owners again (finally!), so we now have a new asset (the house) and a new liability (the mortgage).  We bought the house for 366,730, but it was appraised at 372k (how they do appraisals before the house is finished, I have no idea).  I’m only counting what we paid for it.

We’ve moved into the house, and the movers were almost 1k over the estimate (I do give them a break since the estimate was in August!).  My goal for the next month or two is to buy the last few things we really want for the house (like blinds!) and then build up our mini-emergency fund to 5k again.  It’s at about 3.5k at the moment.  We also have a full month’s salary “buffer” because we use YNAB and live on last month’s income, so I’m not horribly concerned.  Once that’s built back up, we’re going to start aggressively paying off the car.

We’re rounding up our mortgage payment, and it ends up being about an extra $75/mth towards principal, but at this point in time, I’m not in any rush to pay it off.

We’re maxing out our 403(b)s and HSA plans, and starting in July, we’ll be setting aside $950/mth to go towards our Roth IRAs. The money won’t be put in the account until we do taxes in 2016, but it’ll be there (and be part of our emergency fund as well).


Debt (in the order we’re paying it down):

  • Car loan (0%): $12,000 (-500.00)
  • Mortgage (3.875%): $293,384.00

Total paid off in April:  $500

Home Owners Again

We are now officially home owners again!  Closing was this morning and everything went well.  We even had to bring 1k less to closing than the GFE since they adjusted our initial escrow amount.  I’m still keeping some set aside until we know how interim taxes will affect us and what the property is appraised at for tax purposes.

Tomorrow the deliveries start, and the movers indicated that they would likely be delivering our things out of storage on Monday (we won’t know for sure until Sunday).

We also have a mortgage again, so our updates will reflect that as well.  Now, I can get started on our free trip to Disney.  Brad recommends 18 months, we’ll be trying ~8 months (next January) – we have a relatively high rate of spending, especially with new things to buy for the house, so we should be good.  I just need to get on applying for those cards now that we’ve closed (finally!).

The Costs of Buying and Financing a House

We’ve got our final cash-to-close number for the house – and even after we put the down payment, pre-pay 9 months(!!) of escrow, buy all the new appliances we need, and pay the movers to actually move us in, we’ll still have about 6.5k left over to do with as we please.  We already have a list of things we want to buy for the house to “improve” it – like blinds, a humidifier, and a deck – in that order most likely.

What does it take to buy a house?

We’re putting 20% down, we have a 3.875% rate (no points), and we’re borrowing just over 293k.  Some of these costs are based on the APR and the purchase price, so that’s why I give background :)  I’ve rounded off the numbers using the standard round down if less than 50 cents, round up if more than 50 cents.

Underwriting/Processing fees: $1297

Appraisal, credit report fee, etc: $844

Title Charges (mostly lender’s title insurance): $3119

Taxes/fees to the local governments: $3967

HOA origination fee: $200

Total closing costs (that we’ll never see again): $9427

Then there’s the pre-paid amounts – this includes the first year of homeowner’s insurance ($420/yr through USAA!) 1 day of interest, 3 months of homeowner’s insurance, and 9 months of property taxes (there are three: “Property taxes”, “city property taxes”, and “school taxes”).  If I didn’t escrow, the rate would have been > 4%, and there’s no way I can make that up in interest on what sits there waiting to pay taxes.

$7215 (most of which is school taxes of $4464 <- about a year’s worth of property taxes in NoVA)

For a grand total of: $16,642 in closing costs and fees, about $9500 of which is just “gone” to never be seen again (aka the “cost” of financing/purchasing).

Now, there are likely better rates available, and better closing cost prices, but we’re getting a 35k credit from the builder for going through their lender, which pretty much makes up for any extra costs (and lowers our property taxes over time since they’re based on the purchase price of the house, and the purchase price is where that 35k came off).  That’s hard to compete against.

Closing Date Set!

We now have a closing date set for April 30!  They’d have had to get special permission to do the 1st, so we said OK to the 30th.  We’ll do our final walkthrough on the 24th to give them the list of “little things” to fix prior to closing.  I’ve placed a call out to the moving company to hopefully get them up here on the 1st to move in (or even afternoon of the 30th since closing is at 9am).  I’m still waiting for them to call me back.

We’re ready to do this!

Last week’s pictures (Thursday evening):

The kitchen from the living room.  All of the hardwood is sitting on the left waiting to be installed.

  The tile in the master bath/shower is done.

  This is our “main” kitchen sink and looking into our sunroom, which will be Daughter Person’s playroom (tentatively).

  Some of the granite is already installed.  There’s some hardwood under that butcher paper.

 View from the front door (dining room and living room)