My Financial State – July 2015

Here’s how I did in July 2015:

Income from July 2015:

  • Regular Income: $7910.4
  • Interest Income: $0.51
  • Dividends: $2.32
  • ATM Refund: $5.25
  • Tax Refund: $325.89
  • Cashback Rewards: $9.96

Total Income: $8254.3

Expenses from July 2015:
Obligations:

  • Federal taxes: $704.96
  • State/Local taxes: $321.44
  • Social Security deduction: $313.73
  • Medicare deduction: $73.38
  • Retirement contribution: $232.04
  • Credit Card payments: $1424.96

Total Obligations: $3070.51

Savings Expense:

  • 401K/TSP: $791.04
  • Savings Account: $450
  • Emergency Fund: $100
  • Loyal3 Investments: $306.31
  • Health Savings Account: $100
  • Roth IRA: $200.93

Total Savings Expense: $1948.28  (18% decrease in savings rate)

Home Expenses:

  • Rent: $825
  • Electricity: $28.80
  • Water/Sewer/Trash: $87.43
  • Phone & Calling card: $40.63
  • Internet: $52.95
  • Storage: $46.00

Total Home Expenses: $1080.81 

Daily Living:

  • Groceries: $275.07
  • Dining/Eating out:$135.30

Total Daily living: $ 410.37 

Transportation Expenses

  • Fuel: $113.75
  • Maintenance: $15.89 (Air filters)
  • Registration/titling: $405.50

Total Transportation: $535.14

Insurance Expenses:

  • Auto: $66.46
  • Health: $113.42
  • Life: $33.35
  • Unemployment: $21.30

Total Insurance: $234.53

Vacation/Travel Expenses:

  • Travel Insurance: $39.00 (overseas trip)
  • Food: $10.01

Total Travel/Vacation Expense: $49.01

Thoughts & Discussions:
This sure was a hectic transition month. I moved away from a job that wasn’t necessarily hard but definitely required to deal with a lot of personalities that I as a former soldier wouldn’t necessarily want to go to war with. I definitely missed the camaraderie and the pride of working for something bigger than oneself at the job. The transition would move me blocks away in the same town, with the same employer but a different business division. I know this is a temporary move but, I am relieved for the time being.

Now, the new job definitely doesn’t bring the opportunity of working long hours and hence the overtime with it so, I will definitely see a drop in my pay over the next 6 or so months. I will be moving away from the 1BHK apartment sometime next month to save some money and stay frugal. I am however embarrassed again with the cost of groceries and the amount I spend eating outside. I also noticed that my waistline increased a size over the past 6 months.

On the travel front, I had to insure my airplane tickets by purchasing a travel insurance through USAA. I cannot stress the importance of having insurance to cover any baggage loss, travel delays and missed flights especially when you are flying into and from Asia.

As with the savings rate, I was able to save 27% of my total income this month and this is inline with my goal for this year. I was also able to pay about $1424.96 to bring down my credit card balances to $2721.38 with, one of the major credit cards now paid off.  One down Two more to go!

My Financial State – June 2015

This month definitely went by real quick. Phewww!

Here’s how I did in June 2015:

Income from June 2015:

  • Regular Income: $6128.26
  • ATM Refund: $3
  • Tax Refund: $4477
  • Travel Reimbursements: $1526.7
  • Cashback Rewards: $27.58

Total Income: $12,162.54

Expenses from May 2015:
Obligations:

  • Federal taxes: $918.63
  • State/Local taxes: $387.67
  • Social Security deduction: $366.72
  • Medicare deduction: $85.72
  • Retirement contribution: $232.04
  • Credit Card payments: $2789.41

Total Obligations: $4780.23
Savings Expense:

  • 401K/TSP: $527.36
  • Savings Account: $4977
  • Emergency Fund: $150
  • Loyal3 Investments: $500.13
  • Health Savings Account: $100
  • Roth IRA: $150

Total Savings Expense: $6404.49  (24% Increase in savings)
Home Expenses:

  • Rent: $825
  • Electricity: $30.54
  • Water/Sewer/Trash: $87.43
  • Phone & Calling card: $40.91
  • Internet: $52.95
  • Storage: $46.00

Total Home Expenses: $1082.83 

Daily Living:

  • Groceries: $174.02
  • Dining/Eating out:$182.40

Total Daily living: $ 356.42 (I’m embarrassed with this number!)
Transportation Expenses

  • Fuel: $37.55

Total Transportation: $37.55 
Insurance Expenses:

  • Auto: $92.01
  • Health: $113.42
  • Life: $33.35
  • Unemployment: $21.30

Total Insurance: $260.08

Education Expenses:

  • Tuition: $386.86
  • Books:$95.70 (Lab software tool purchase)

Total Education: $482.56

Vacation/Travel Expenses:

  • Airplane tickets: $953.24 (Overseas plane ticket for August)
  • Food: $7.78
  • Entertainment: $8.46 (Jurassic World)

Total Travel/Vacation Expense: $969.48

Miscellaneous Expenses:

  • Postage: $0.98 (Opt out docs to Credit Agencies)
  • Tax ID: $3.42 (Overseas tax ID processing fee for Mrs. & Mr. Liberte)

Total Miscellaneous: $4.40

Thoughts & Discussions:

I finally got my federal tax refund for last year along with Mrs. Liberte getting her newly minted Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)!  I am personally embarrassed looking at the Food expenses this month. Looks like I kept up a lavish travel lifestyle as though I was still traveling! I need to cut back on food expenses – I cannot continue to be healthy if I ate $356.42 a month and that too all by myself! Mr. Liberte is not happy.

Mrs. Liberte’s brother is finally getting hitched later next month (August) which explains the $953.24 in airplane tickets. This should definitely strike out one-half of a goal of traveling overseas this year. This ticket will put me on a flight for about 24 hours to reach my destination (No, this is not my first long haul travel).

I remember mentioning about increasing the traditional IRA (TSP) contribution by 3% taking my total contribution to10% of my monthly pay check.  June 2015 was the first fool month that this took effect and I sure like seeing a decent chunk go into my IRA. This should give me a little bit more savings in terms of Federal and State taxes.

The savings rate this month was significantly high considering the tax and travel refunds I received. I have set aside the tax refund for any personal expense that might arise during the wedding next month. The savings rate was at 45% of my total income, while my credit card balances dropped to $2700, with one of the major credit cards being paid off. As always, I hope to continue to pay all my credit card balances down to $0.

Retirement class & Greece

I recently had the joy of spending an entire day at a mandatory retirement planning class. Which apparently is recommended for every employee in my organization to attend once every decade. While this training is mandatory, and offered almost every 6 months, the training isn’t inhouse. It is offered by an older gentlemen and what I believe is his LLC called Financial Alternatives in Retirement (FAIR) costing our organization $110 per person for a one day class and $225 for the two day class that they offer.

This being my first time attending this class, I was hoping that the training would be more in-depth, and lead me into financial markets that I could explore for retirement. Little did I realize that this course would be designed and offered for the absolute fresh out of college kind of target crowd. I found myself reading the class material more often to stay awake and keep up with the class. I believe that the course material had more content that would be worth discussing with the crowd!

Cheers to another day spent in the search of knowledge.

Greece just announced that all its banks will remain closed tomorrow, which is apparently their last effort to prevent the Greek citizens to drain their accounts. Greece currently hasn’t indicated that it really wants to, or intends to make its payments. With Greece defaulting out on its obligation, no country would be willing to lend any money to Greece except for maybe Russia and China or we might see the resurgence of the American sphere of influence with the US helping Greece with their repayments to retain loyalty to the west i.e., prevent Greece from turning towards Russia and China.

What ever may be the case, this week ahead might be the most brutal week ever seen this year. For all dividend hunters, this might be a good time to free up some cash and have your investment accounts locked, loaded and ready!!

Recent SELL

virgin-america_logo

I have been tracking Virgin America’s stock fluctuate up and down in the past month since I purchased 14.1699 shares of the stock by paying an average of $28.2288. The stock hit a low of $27.20 on June 8, 2015 and a high of $29.61 on June 4,2015. I intended to add more stocks on the day when stocks hit a low, but considering the fact that Loyal3 does not allow realtime purchase of stocks I couldn’t go ahead with adding more stocks. The talks of VA opening two gates at Dallas Love field was a positive move while the increasing oil price and overall drag in Airline sector was pushing the stock down.

Noticing an upward trend, and market cues on June 18, 2015, I placed a sell position on the Virgin America stock at around 7:30 am EST which Loyal3 executed at around 4:00 pm EST for about $29.15. This netted me a profit of $13.05. I now intend to use the proceeds from this sale to buy more of Coca Cola (KO) or UniLever (UL) on Loyal3.

I also finally opened up a trading account with ShareBuilder – a subsidiary of CapitalOne Investing. I will be buying shares on ShareBuilder, mostly on Tuesday’s when the Fee is dropped to $3.95. To minimize the fees eating into my dividend return, I will try to purchase stocks only when I have accumulated USD 500 or USD 1000.

MY FINANCIAL STATE – MAY 2015

I have been back for about 8 days now and I’m still stuck to the west coast timezone. I wake up late on the weekends, eat late and sleep late. I also noticed that I now have no symptoms of any allergies! It finally feels good to be back home. Just about when I thought I have no more work related travel, I was informed about a possible move to a different office to do the same job I currently do, minus all the overtime and a chance to head back west.

Here’s how I did in May 2015:

Income from May 2015:

  • Regular Income: $6524.29
  • ATM Refund: $6
  • Refunds/Reimbursements: $0 (Still waiting for my reimbursement & tax return)

Total Income: $6530.29

Expenses from May 2015:
Obligations:

  • Federal taxes: $1037.41
  • State/Local taxes: $424.50
  • Social Security deduction: $391.28
  • Medicare deduction: $91.51
  • Retirement contribution: $232.04
  • Credit Card payments: $1092.08

Total Obligations: $3268.82
Savings Expense:

  • 401K/TSP: $448.26
  • Savings Account: $500
  • Emergency Fund: $150
  • Loyal3 Investments: $199.60
  • Health Savings Account: $100
  • Roth IRA: $200

Total Savings Expense: $1597.86  (6% Increase in savings)
Home Expenses:

  • Rent: $825
  • Electricity: $43.30
  • Water/Sewer/Trash: $85.64
  • Phone & Calling card: $40.63
  • Internet: $52.95
  • Storage: $46.00

Total Home Expenses: $1093.52 (4% decrease in home expenses)

Daily Living:

  • Groceries: $105

Total Daily living: $105 (3% decrease in total living expenses – due to travel!)
Transportation Expenses

  • Fuel: $37.34

Total Transportation: $37.34 
Insurance Expenses:

  • Auto: $92.01
  • Health: $113.42
  • Home/Rental:$45.75
  • Life: $33.35
  • Unemployment: $21.30

Total Insurance: $305.83

Education Expenses:

  • Tuition: $545
  • Books:$24.61 (Amazon textbook rental)

Total Education: $432

Vacation/Travel Expenses:

  • Food: $468.24 (mostly dinners with the team) – Totally reimbursable next month

Miscellaneous Expenses:

  • Postage: $15.80 (shipped back stuff that I can’t fly with)

Thoughts & Discussions:

I spent the majority of this month on the west coast again which naturally explains the food expense and the decreased Electricity bill amount. The overall food expense this month was $468.24 which included the tips that are not reimbursable. I had turned off almost every single electrical gadget at home except for the refrigerator before leaving on travel. On return, I was really selective on using AC – the nice thing about working in Antelope Valley was my body getting accustomed to the heat outside which is also the reason for a huge drop in my electric bill. Just about when I was trying to fly back to east coast, I realized that I had stuff such as knives, jumping cable that I probably couldn’t fly with, instead I mailed them back to me – which cost me $15.80 in postage.

My storage unit provider “Extra Space storage” notified me by regular mail about increasing the rental price by $5 starting this month. So, I will now be paying $46 instead of $41 every month.

I remember mentioning in my previous update that I had just realized having two rental insurance policies so, I ended up calling the rental insurance company that my apartment complex requires me to have to try cancel it but, apparently, canceling the policy would be tedious and required me to submit in writing that I intended to cancel along with a letter from the apartment complex management. The other policy which was giving me a discount on my auto policy was with USAA and USAA pitched hard to let me not cancel it. They transferred my call to three different people who asked similar questions – all asking me why was I trying to cancel. USAA also mentioned that having the rental insurance with them was giving me a discount of $6 on my monthly auto insurance policy. The cost of having two policies was more than the discount, and USAA finally cancelled my account. My monthly auto insurance now drops to $76 beginning next month.

Finally, I increased my traditional IRA (TSP) contribution by 3% taking my total contribution to 10% of my monthly pay check. This should give me a little bit more savings in terms of Federal and State taxes. I have also started to contribute $50 every time any paycheck or refund is posted to my checking account into my Roth IRA.

I will have to start looking into buying a flight ticket to attend my brother-in-law’s wedding for later this year.

The savings rate this month was at 21% of my total income, while my credit card balances dropped to $4456.85. As always, I hope to continue to pay my credit card balances down to $0. Two of the three cards now have cash back policies which effectively gives me back 1 to 1.5% every month. Once I finish up paying my credit cards down, I will try use my credit card to take advantage of this money back policy. My total savings this month was at $1597.86, this amount is a 6% increase month on month.

Recent Buy

virgin-america_logo

Being enrolled in school requires you to allocate certain percentage of funds every month towards your tuition fees especially when you don’t qualify for student grants or aids, and you insist on not signing up for a student loan. During the past three months, I have also tried to aggressively pay down on my credit card debt bring down the balance to high $4Ks from somewhere in $7Ks region just back in February.

I have tried to carefully balance buying stocks with excessive credit card debt around. Going at the same pace, I should have washed away all my credit card debt before I turn 30 this October – now this being contingent on my frugalness during the first overseas trip later this fall.

I purchased 14.1699 shares of Virgin America (VA) on May 15, 2015 for an average price of $28.23 per share.

Recent Buy: Virgin America (VA)

I haven’t had a chance to fly Virgin America yet but during a recent work related trip, a friend of mine swore to never ever fly any other airline if the city was serviced by Virgin America after his flight. I had nothing to say about it except ask him how much did his tickets cost my employer? I have always had the impression that VA was too expensively to fly and surprisingly, the tickets cost him about $100 cheaper than my tickets on a major US airlines, which is based out of Chicago. My employer requires us to purchase refundable tickets, just in case we have a last minute change in plans and apparently, purchasing refundable tickets lets you check-in a bag (up to 50 lbs. for free), whereas my airline charged me $25 for my bag (one-way).

Overview: Number One!
Virgin America is a California based U.S. airline with 25% of the company being owned by Virgin Group (Sir Richard Branson) and remaining 75% owned by VAI Partners. Virgin America licenses the Virgin brand from the Virgin Group.

VA was recognized as the number ONE carrier in the annual study of U.S. domestic airline performance conducted by academicians at Wichita State University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University titled “Airline Quality Rating (AQR)” report for the third consecutive year – Go VA!

VA recently announced a 16% increase in frequent flyer program membership during 2014 – a number I only expect to go up since the expiry of the Wright amendment at Dallas Love Field last October.

VA currently operates 19 daily flights from Love Field and since it is too early to start pricing up their tickets, no wonder VA reported their Dallas unit as underperforming – just have to wait for the prices to stabilize in this market.

Fleet: Young Fleet!
Virgin America currently operates 53 jets, mostly Airbus A320s (43) and the rest Airbus A319 (10) with an average age of about 6.2 years, which, is the lowest among major operators in the United States. JetBlue, which is the nearest competitor for VA, operates 269 jets with an average age of 7.7 years. Frontier operates jets with an average of 8.8 years, Alaska with an average of 9.1 years, American Airlines with an average of 12.3 years, United with an average of 13.1 years, and finally, Delta with an average of 17.2 years. (Source: Airfleets.net)

Fundamentals
Virgin America is one of the new kids on the block, with a market capitalization of about $1.2 billion. The operate one of the most efficient fleets, offer assigned seating, Wi-Fi, Media entertainment, with three different classes on-board which offers comfort, more leg room and food to their passengers! VA has recently taken steps to expand past the continental United States with a planned route to Honolulu, Hawaii.

VA has a future cash flow value of $44.91 and I purchased the shares at $28.23, which puts it at a 37.14% discount. At 37.14% discount, VA is undervalued!  (Note to self: Buy stocks that provide a substantial discount. )

The transportation industry currently has an average (Price-Earnings) PE ratio of 20.4x and to claim its Good Value for money title, VA currently trades at a PE of 5.9x. In terms of Asset-Based price value, VA trades with a ratio of 2.5x while the transportation industry has an average of 9.1x.

VA offered a 194.3% return on equity (shareholder funds) last year, performing above the transportation industry average based on return on assets (9.6%) and a decent 17% return on capital.

In terms of liabilities, VA currently has $196 million in long-term liabilities and $417 million in short term liabilities. VA holds $582 million in long-term assets, and $517 in short term assets, which puts its net worth at $486 million. This should enable Virgin America to meet its commitments with its cash and other short-term assets. Total debt is currently well covered by its annual operating cash flow.

For the first quarter, VA reported a $0.24 EPS (Quarterly) beating estimates by $0.10 with its revenue increasing at a 4.1% year-over-year basis at $326.40 million for the quarter (estimates: $322.15 million).

I do not expect VA to pay out any dividends in the near future hence, this would be a LONG and I intend to continue adding more shares on any further price drops.

Markets
Shares of VA traded up 0.66% during trading on Friday, hitting $28.86 with a volume of 817,087 shares being traded. VA currently trades with a 52-week low of $26.50, a 52-week high of $45.43, a 50-day moving average of $29, and a 200-day moving average of $34.

On May 20, 2015, Robert A. Nickell, a non-employee director, chairman of finance committee, member of compensation committee and member of audit committee at VA purchased 17,395 shares of Virgin America on the open market transaction at an average price of $28.23 per share, for a total of $491,060.85. (Source: SEC disclosure)

Why not JetBlue?
JetBlue operates 269 jets, out of which, 149 are Airbus manufactured A320s and A321s while, 120 are of Brazilian Embraer made Embraer 190/195s. Anytime an operator diversifies in terms of buying from different manufacturers for their fleet, the engineering and logistics division will be stressed thin. Think about all the different tools, jigs, parts and training required to maintain the different jets. I have no insider knowledge here but, as an engineer with a little costs background, I’m sure this will definitely affect the long-term prospects for JetBlue.

An article by Adam Levine-Weinberg, discusses the issues JetBlue faced after introducing E-190 to their fleet.

Conclusion
This would be the first time; I’ve bought a stock based on what I would like to be treated when I fly on long haul flights. I still remember those days when everyone around me started to like and embrace Apple products while I was in school – along the same lines, I believe VA will definitely perform and set the gold standard in U.S commercial aviation. With decreasing oil prices, and an increasing awareness of what Virgin America brings to the table should help increase its market share.

Virgin America Facts

  • https://www.virginamerica.com/cms/about-our-airline/corporate-facts
  • https://www.virginamerica.com/cms/about-our-airline/press/2015/virgin-america-named-number-one-in-2014-airline-quality-rating-report.html

MY FINANCIAL STATE – APRIL 2015

This is my second month being away from home on the East Coast. I have nothing to complain about my travel this time around summer except just finding out that I am allergic to Ragweed Pollen. I have woken up multiple days with my nose bleeding which is understandable considering that the air around here is super dry and hot! Nothing against California, the people are awesome! I like the diversity here minus people ignoring to follow simple traffic rules and cutting you off on the interstate. I also found a lot of adventure hiking trails around the Antelope Valley area that I spend the weekend around that cost me no extra money! My employer has ensured that I’m taken good care off on the West Coast.

Here’s how I did in April 2015:

Income from April 2015:

  • Regular Income: $6545.16.3
  • ATM Refund: $6
  • Refunds/Reimbursements: $1116.45 (Travel Reimbursement for March) 

Total Income: $7661.65

Expenses from April 2015:
Obligations:

  • Federal taxes: $1062.40
  • State/Local taxes: $432.25
  • Social Security deduction: $392.56
  • Medicare deduction: $91.81
  • Retirement contribution: $232.04
  • Credit Card payments: $1268.50

Total Obligations: $3479.56
Savings Expense:

  • 401K/TSP: $369.16
  • Savings Account: $150
  • Emergency Fund: $100
  • Loyal3 Investments: $300
  • Health Savings Account: $100

Total Savings Expense: $1019.16  (1% Increase in savings)
Home Expenses:

  • Rent: $825 + Late fee: $41.56 (late by 10 mins – EST/PST timezone!)
  • Electricity: $201.09
  • Water/Sewer/Trash: $87.41
  • Phone & Calling card: $40.63
  • Internet: $52.95
  • Storage: $41.00

Total Home Expenses: $1289.64 (1% Increase in home expenses)

Daily Living:

  • Groceries: $102.86
  • Personal Supplies: $126.48 (Travel bags)
  • Dining Out: $39.72 (Mostly airports!)
  • Miscellaneous: $39.65

Total Daily living: $308.71 (2% decrease in total living expenses – due to travel!)
Transportation Expenses

  • Fuel: $45.20

Total Transportation: $45.20 (3% decrease in Auto related expenses – no more car notes!)
Insurance Expenses:

  • Auto: $107.26 (I just realized that I was paying for 2 separate rental insurances)
  • Health: $113.42
  • Life: $33.35
  • Unemployment: $21.30

Total Insurance: $275.33

 

 

Vacation/Travel Expenses:

  • Food: $494.04 (mostly dinners with the team) – Totally reimbursable next month

Miscellaneous Expenses:

  • Postage: $15.15

Thoughts & Discussions:

There are a few things that I would like to discuss, the first being excessive cost of food during travel. I spent $494.04 for about 20 days that I spent out in the Antelope Valley – this mostly because we worked late nights and my team would usually prefer decompressing from work over dinner. The cost also includes tips which I estimate to be around $90 which is not reimbursable. Next, with my travel last month, I realized that I was backpacking for a business trip and that didn’t really look professional with almost all my colleagues toting travel bags plus I did not want to insinuate that I was on a vacation while at work so, I looked around for deals on google and finally ended up buying a modest 3 baggage set of American Tourister for $126.48. Lastly, I didn’t account for living in a different timezone to pay my rent ahead of time and my landlord doesn’t have autopay facility. So when I logged in to pay my rent on the 5th at around 2100 hrs EST just like I always do but only this time I was on the PST time zone, I got hit with a $41.56 late fee which my landlord refused to waive off. I was definitely not happy with this but then, I was at fault.

The savings rate this month was at 15% of my income, while my credit card balances dropped $1142.37 to $5937.79. I am pumped up to see this number falling. As I mentioned before, I’m not comfortable to payoff my credit cards fully without setting up an emergency pool of money that I could access anytime I may require it. My goal is to pay off the cards by the end of this year and have a decent amount stashed in pre-tax and after-tax investments accounts.

My Financial State – March 2015

I have now spent almost 2 weeks out of the past month on work related travel shuttling up and down the interstate in California. While, I am excited and looking forward for the upcoming travel and reimbursement – who doesn’t like to get paid a little extra once in a while.

Here’s how I did in March 2015:

Income from March 2015:

  • Regular Income: $6524.3
  • Interest Income: $0.02
  • Refunds/Reimbursements: $3 

Total Income: $6527.32

Expenses from March 2015:
Obligations:

  • Federal taxes: $1053.95
  • State/Local taxes: $430.63
  • Social Security deduction: $391.28
  • Medicare deduction: $91.51
  • Retirement contribution: $232.04
  • Credit Card payments: $730.00

Total Obligations: $2929.41
Savings Expense:

  • 401K/TSP: $369.16
  • Savings Account: $275
  • Emergency Fund: $100
  • Loyal3 Investments: $103
  • Health Savings Account: $100

Total Savings Expense: $947.16 
Home Expenses:

  • Rent: $825
  • Electricity: $149.71
  • Water/Sewer/Trash: $87.48
  • Phone & Calling card: $40.63
  • Internet: $65.92
  • Storage: $41.00

Total Home Expenses: $1209.74 (3% decrease in home expenses)

Daily Living:

  • Groceries: $73.35
  • Clothing: $53.21 (Bought about 5 polos shirts for work!)
  • Dining Out: $46.11 (Mostly airports!)
  • Miscellaneous: $127.42

Total Daily living: $403.29 (this is a 2% increase from February expenses, and a 16% decrease from January expenses)
Transportation Expenses

  • Car Note: $233.53 (Pew! No more car notes… Done, Done & Done!)
  • Fuel: $37.99

Total Transportation: $271.52
Insurance Expenses:

  • Auto: $107.26
  • Health: $113.42
  • Life: $33.35
  • Unemployment: $21.30

Total Insurance: $275.33

Education Expenses:

  • Tuition: $432

Total Education: $432

 

Thoughts & Discussions:

Looking at my numbers this month, I’m glad I was able to save a little more than previous months while trying to hit hard on Credit Card debt. I am scared to just divert all my money into paying off the credit cards off with the thought of having no savings at all. Once I have a decent buffer, I wouldn’t mind throwing more at those debts. The savings rate was 14% this month, which was a 4% month-on-month increase over February and 9% increase over January while, total home expenses were a 3% MoM decrease from February.

After running through my numbers from January, I started a $100 a month contribution to the HSA. I intend to max out the $3,350 by end of december and this small contribution along with $750 a year that my employer contributes should allow me to divert about $2000 to my HSA. This would be only possible, if I get done paying all my credit card debts.

Talking about Credit Card debts, my current statement balance as of March 2015 is around $7080.16.

My Financial State – January 2015

Having been a lurker on many of the blogs similar to mine, I try to find motivation and justification to keep my finances focused. On a recent drive back to my hotel room from work, a colleague that is amazingly smart with money brought up the topic of striking a fine balance between savings and retirement which is when I had to disclose that I have been striving to be a “BogleStachian” i.e., incorporate advices from the Bogleheads and Mustachian community.

I do have to apologize for not keeping up the monthly updates due to my fulltime work requiring me being away from home. I haven’t been back home in about 5 weeks now and the daily drive to my worksite puts me on the Californian Interstate for almost 2 hours every day – I only wish my employer would compensate me for the drive but, I am definitely glad I am out here in California doing what I do, having fun at work!

This post is an attempt to fill the gaps for all the months that I haven’t posted so far this year. Since its March already, I can only post a generalized version, as I do not remember every nit and grits of my expenses. After my previous update in February – (link Feb 2015 at a glance), I realized the need to track my taxes in order to reduce my tax liability. Starting, this post, all my posts will track my income before taxes and will summarize my tax expenses for me to work towards reducing what I pay yearly towards taxes.

Here’s how I did in January 2015:

Income from January 2015:

  • Regular Income: $6080.57
  • Refunds/Reimbursements: $385.01 (from a cancelled airline ticket)

Total Income: $6465.68

Expenses from January 2015:
Obligations:

  • Federal taxes: $985.32
  • State/Local taxes: $408.36
  • Social Security deduction: $230.91
  • Medicare deduction: $86.55
  • Retirement contribution: $230.91
  • Credit Card payments: $120.4

Total Obligations: $2201.63
Savings Expense:

  • 401K/TSP: $314.88

Total Savings Expense: $314.88 (Guess, this is when stuff got real!)
Home Expenses:

  • Rent: $825
  • Electricity: $267.32 (Pretty high, considering that I live in a 1BHK apartment)
  • Water/Sewer/Trash: $94.71
  • Phone & Calling card: $40.63 (first month with a MVNO – PagePlus Cellular)
  • Internet: $41.82
  • Storage: $41.00

Total Home Expenses: 1310.48
Daily Living:

  • Groceries: $71.36
  • Clothing: $260.45 (Mrs. Liberte lives in a tropical town & winter gear is expensive!)
  • Dining Out: $206.60 (With Mrs. Liberte in town, decided to splurge!)

Total Daily living: $1519.95
Transportation Expenses

  • Car Note: $153.40 (left with less than $500 now)
  • Fuel: $69.55
  • Parking: $30 (DC parking, SMH)

Total Transportation: $252.95
Insurance Expenses:

  • Auto: $130.60 (Comprehensive, as required by Lender)
  • Health: $111.43 (Mrs. Liberte has insurance paid by her school)
  • Rental: 15.25 (carry over from 2014)
  • Life: $33.35
  • Unemployment: $21.30

Total Insurance: $311.93

Education Expenses:

  • Tuition: $677.86 (Working towards second Bachelors)
  • Books: $89.37

Total Education: $767.23

Entertainment Expenses:

  • Netflix: $7.99
  • Movies: $8.78
  • Gadgets: $297.70 (Gift for a relative – Asus Tablet)

Total Entertainment: $314.47

Thoughts & Discussions:
A shocking revelation this month was that even though my employer contributes $750 to my Health Savings Account (HSA), I didn’t pay attention or understand the need to contribute to my HSA. I hoped to start an HSA contribution starting February.

I wonder how my peers that inspire me keep a tab on their expenses, month after month!

Feb 2015 at a Glance

I’ve been lately motivated to track all my expenses down to the last penny. This is going to be my first attempt at what I hope to be a continue on till I achieve my goal.

Its the beginning of a new month and here’s how I did this past month (February 2015):

Income From February 2015:
Regular Income $3,988
Total Income $3,988
Expenses From February 2015:
Rent & Utilities $1,063
Credit Card Payments $598
Car Note $224
Car Insurance $131
Health Insurance $114
HSA Account $50
Term Life Insurance $34
Internet $65
Entertainment (Netflix) $8
Fast Food/Takeout $40
Fuel $40
Groceries $90
Rental Insurance $16
Mobile Phone + Calling Card $41
Everything Else* 50
Total Expenses $2,564

Which leaves me with around $1,424 for investments, expenses towards our expensive education (Yes!, my wife and I are in school – Full and Part time working towards our long term goals).

Misc. Investments February 2015:
401k / TSP $317
Loyal 3 $50
USAA First Start Fund (UFSGX) $100
Total Invesments $467

With $467 invested, I am starring at a $650 bill that is due in the first week of March towards my second bachelors headed to a State university in North Carolina. With almost $15,000 invested in this second bachelors, I just can’t wait to be done with this.

Here’s a snap shot from Mint:

February - Doughnut

February 2015 – My money doughnut!!!

Trends_IncomeVsExpense_201502

Need to work on paying this off! ASAP!!!

Summary Snapshot

Summary Snapshot – February 2015