Category Archives: Income

Final Commission Check?

Great news! My wife received a final commission check from her old company today for $1,057.94. The first thing we did was log onto Vanguard and contribute another $300 to her Roth IRA , which completes her contributions for 2007 ($4,000 total). We also paid off the $377.74 air conditioner that we purchased earlier this month on our cash rewards credit card. The remainder of the check will be deposited into our saving account at the end of the month.

The good news continues. This is not actually be her final commission check from her old company. Her records indicated that three commissions were not included in the check. She called her old company and determined that these jobs are scheduled to be completed this month, so she will be paid commissions on them next month. She estimates that next months commission check from them will be $799.09.

My wife is a money making machine.

Wife’s Multiple Paychecks

My wife received a lot of extra income at the end of July as a result of leaving one company and starting with a new company. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Her old company gave her a paycheck for 3 weeks (instead of 2), since they needed to cash her out for her final week that would have normally fallen in the next pay period. This added $635.20 after taxes to her normal paycheck.
  • Her old company gave her an additional 27 days of fuel reimbursement, which totaled $479.47 after taxes (she would normally be reimbursed in August).
  • She was paid $560.01 after taxes for 4 days of training at her new job. She was able to do the training while concurrently working at her old job.

We used this extra income to buy new business clothes for my wife and increase our savings account balance. Her next paycheck on 8/10 (at her new company) will only be for 1 weeks worth of work, so we also keep some of the extra money in our checking account to cover August expenses.

The fun doesn’t stop there, my wife is also expecting a final commission check (~$1,000) from her old company the second week of September.

Cashing In Some Vacation Days

My company provides 4 paid days off (PDO) each year. The vacation days are structured as follows:

  • After your 1st year, you receive 1 week of vacation
  • After your 2nd year, you receive 2 weeks of vacation
  • After your 5th year, you receive 3 weeks of vacation

I have been with my company for just over 6 years, and currently have 92.29 hours of Vacation/PDO saved up. My goal was to always have 2 weeks of Vacation/PDO available in case of an emergency. Today, I decided to cash in 48 hours of vacation so that we can start earning interest on it.

My company’s HR Department and Accounting Department are quick – I received the check this afternoon. The gross amount was $1,526.54, but after taxes, social security, and a mandatory 401(k) contribution, the net amount is $1,219.11. What a blessing. I plan to deposit these funds into our Emigrant Direct Savings Account, and eventually use them to fund my Roth IRA.

I can cash in Vacation/PDO whenever I want, but will probably limit it to 6-8 days cashed in a year. Effectively, giving myself a 1.9 % – 2.7% raise.

Paying Off Our Chase Credit Card

My wife and I get paid every two weeks, therefore, there are two months of the year that we both receive three checks. Next month is one of those months for my wife.

We have decided to use her extra check, $1,161.67, to pay off our Chase credit card. Mathematically, this is not the right move since the card is 0% interest until March 2009. We’d be better off depositing the money into our Emigrant Direct account earning 5.05% APY and stretching the Chase credit card payments out to take advantage of the interest free period. However, the catch with the credit card is that if we are late with a payment, Chase can back-charge us interest. I hate having that hang over our heads, so from a piece-of-mind standpoint, paying off the card is the way to go for us.

It will be nice to have one less debt to worry about.

Why Don’t We Talk About Money?

Other than my family, I only have a couple of friends that I talk with about money. Even then, our conversations are usually limited to vague references, and not actual numbers. I can see pros and cons to keeping money matters private.


  • Less chance of jealousy if your financial situation is better than another person’s
  • Less possibility of embarrassment if your financial situation is worse off than another person’s
  • Less likelihood that someone will hit you up for a loan / try to steal from you


  • Lack of mutual learning thru discussion
  • Could promote “looking wealthy” rather than “being wealthy”
  • May contribute to a ignoring, or not giving enough attention to, financial issues
  • As you can see, I can argue both sides, however, I lean more towards wanting to talk about money – this blog, although anonymous, is a great example.

    One exception for me when it comes to talking about money is discussing compensation with co-workers. I don’t do it and wouldn’t recommend it.

    Counting Easter Egg Before It Hatches

    My wife just did some back of the napkin calculations for her commission check this month. If all of her orders go thru as expected, she should receive a $1,033 commission check (less taxes) on 4/20. This would be a sizeable boost to our net worth for April. Go wife and thank God! We’ll use the money to immediately pay off our American Express credit card, leaving us with just one credit card balance of roughly $1,800.

    I love counting our eggs before they hatch. Happy Easter!

    Above Average Income, Above Average Expenses

    My wife and I make a combined $109,350 per annum (not including her commission pay). Not more than some, but certainly above average. The tough part though is that we have a very high monthly burn rate – spending close to 90% of our net income each month. I’ve included our monthly budget below (click on spreadsheet).

    *Note: This budget does not include our investments/savings.

    We spend over 2 times more per month than some couples we know. Granted, most of our friends rent instead of own and condo costs make up 40% of our monthly bills. Nevertheless, we need to slow the bleeding so that we can put more money into our investments/savings.

    We plan to make the following changes next month:

    • Sell Car 1
    • Buy a replacement car for ½ the price of Car 1 – $200/month savings
    • Switch to a lower cost Internet/cable package – $20/month savings
    • Look into combining auto insurance and condo insurance
    • Look into lower cost birth control

    Further down the road, we will have the credit cards (0% interest currently) and auto loans paid off. Of course, we also want to sell our condo and get a house in 4-5 years, so that money will be used to help cover the higher housing costs.