July 2014 Net Worth Update (-$12,499)




Highlights for July

  • I just signed up for our 4th and 5th new credit card promotion opportunity this year. Since we have no plans to utilize our credit for other financing anytime soon, we plan to make a little money off our credit scores by taking advantage of these promotional opportunities. We have already earned $1,600 in gift cards from 3 of these opportunities in 2014. We are not spending extra, but focusing our spending on these new cards to earn the bonuses and doing some round trip transactions via Amazon payments.
  • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions. For those interested, our July Zillow property estimates are: $202,649; $148,207; $315,570; and $208,748 (total: $875,174 vs $751,255 on balance sheet).
  • Cash savings finally ticked up this month. After purchasing our minivan in March, we are finally seeing some progress in rebuilding our savings. I'd like to rebuild this to around $100k with $60k for our emergency fund (12 months of living expenses) and $40k for future investment opportunities.
  • Our oldest daughter started Kindergarten this month! Its hard to believe how fast time has flown by these past 5 years since she was born. It reminds me we need to crank up the 529 college savings. We have about $23k in various 529 college savings plans for our 2 children and contribute $220/mo to them.
  • Investments had a sharp downturn in the end July more than offsetting all our savings for the month. I'm pretty comfortable w/ our position as I've highlighted before I feel the market is currently overvalued.


Toyota Sienna 2014 Purchase Breakdown

Back at the end of March my wife and I purchased a new 2014 Toyota Sienna LE. I found it hard to get good benchmark prices online so wanted to share our cost breakdown.

We purchased a 2014 Toyota Sienna LE in North Carolina (I found pricing differs slightly based on locale) for $28,000 out the door. This included the LE model, 8 Passenger, Pre-Dawn Grey with 10 miles on odometer and floor mats. We visited 3 local dealers and contacted 4 dealers within a 5 hour drive of us. In the end we purchased from a dealer about 2 hours away (near family).

Here was the breakdown of our cost:

Sienna LE $26,536.00
License $28.00
RTA $5.00
Title Fee $40.00
Highway Use Tax $796.09
Administration Fee $594.91
Total $28,000.00

The MSRP on the window for the car was $32,044 + car floor mats $399.

Additional costs after the purchase:
County Property Tax $162.93
Car insurance premium for 10mos on policy: $404.10


We were able to get slightly better quotes on the same car up near Washington DC, but in the end decided it wasn't worth driving that far to get the vehicle especially with the risk of any bait and switch tactics by the dealer.

Any comparisons on minivan purchases to share?


June Net Worth Update (+$19,776)




Highlights for June

  • We signed my wife up for our 3rd new credit card promotion opportunity this year. We hope to earn $600 in gift cards after spending $5k over the next 3 months on this new card. We are not spending extra, but focusing our spending on these new cards to earn the bonuses and doing some round trip transactions via Amazon payments.
  • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions. For those interested, our June Zillow property estimates are: $204,801; $144,025; $309,890; and $230,522 (total: $889,238 vs $751,255 on balance sheet).
  • I ticked up our mortgage monthly prepayments on the rentals. Going forward we are putting an additional $1,400 towards our IELOC on House #2 and $100 on the House #4 mortgage each month. While paying down mortgages may not offer us the greatest long term return on investment, from a cash flow perspective we need to pay off some of these loans before we achieve financial freedom.
  • I paid back the deposit to the previous tenant on rental #3 this month after turning over and re-renting the house in May. Hopefully our rentals will stay quiet for awhile.
  • My wife and I rented a small mountain cabin for 1 week near the Smoky Mountains for about $550 in early June. It was a great "disconnect" from work and we enjoyed some family time
  • I had expected pretty muted growth in June, but it turned into a nice month overall. Primarily driven off of stock market returns, the only concern I had was the drop in our overall cash which I haven't been able to account for beyond our vacation spending and rental deposit return. When I have more time I'll have to poke at this, especially if our cash doesn't grow again next month.



May 2014 Net Worth Update (+$17,335)




Highlights for May

  • We signed my wife up for our 3rd new credit card promotion opportunity this year. We hope to earn $600 in gift cards after spending $5k over the next 3 months. We are not spending extra, but focusing our spending on these new cards to earn the bonuses and doing some round trip transactions via Amazon payments.
  • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions. For those interested, our May Zillow property estimates are: $209,220; $135,078; $305,223; and $227,363 (total: $876,884 vs $751,255 on balance sheet).
  • I turned over rental #3 this month. I spent about $1,500+ in maintenance and repairs. I was able to get a lease with a new tenant started on June 1st and raised the rent 10%. I had rented the house slightly below market to the previous tenant so this increase gets me back to market rent rates. It is a lot of work to turn over a rental and I worry about the year I have to turn all 3 of our rentals with my hectic schedule. I don't have the time I did before kids to manage these rental activities.
  • We spent about $500 in May to make some changes to our garage so there would be a larger parking space for our minivan. I used some Home Depot gift cards that we earned through credit card bonuses to defray the cost of the supplies for the project.
  • My wife and I rented a small mountain cabin for 1 week near the Smoky Mountains for about $550 in Early June. We are looking forward to a much needed vacation and "disconnect". We haven't done any traveling since we got back from our China assignment. Although the Smoky Mountains won't be the same as going to Thailand, Vietnam, or Dali, it will be a welcome change from our busy schedule.


April 2014 Net Worth Update (-$5,069)




Highlights for April

  • We finished up earning $1,000 in credit card signup bonuses for 2 credit card signups w/ spending requirements. Im not spending extra, but focusing our spending on these new cards to earn the bonuses and doing some round trip transactions via Amazon payments. I redeemed for a $500 Walmart gift card and a $500 Home Depot gift card which both will easily be consumed by our normal run rate expenses.
  • Our properties are listed on our balance sheet based on their cost basis, not current market value. We have done this during the the real estate market highs and lows. I believe real estate is too illiquid to list based on recent sale transactions. For those interested, our April Zillow property estimates are: $210,988; $132,782; $300,196; and $228,040 (total: $872,006 vs $751,255 on balance sheet).
  • We bought a new 2014 Toyota Sienna LE in April! It was a major purchase and we definitely opted more for the "nice to have" vehicle to help us w/ our hectic schedules & young children. If we weren't feeling comfortable with our position relative to our financial goals we wouldn't have bought it. We would have preferred to purchase a used minivan w/ low miles, but found we could get better value w/ a new vehicle.
  • I did sell my 1998 Nissan Sentra on Craigslist for $800. I probably could have eaked out up to an additional $200, but I ended selling it within 4 hours of listing to my 1st offer. I was just happy to get it off my to do list.
  • Rental #3 is turning over in May so I expected our higher than average monthly expenses to continue.


Last 15 Personal Finance Entries


04/07/2014 | Car Purchasing Decision: Minivan or Not?
04/03/2014 | March 2014 Net Worth Update (+$14,117)
03/09/2014 | Chairmen Letters to Shareholders
03/04/2014 | February 2014 Net Worth Update (+$21,948)
02/23/2014 | Investment Performance January 2014 (-2.94%)
02/15/2014 | 2013 Net Worth Growth
02/09/2014 | January 2014 Net Worth Update (+$4,719)
02/02/2014 | Earning $1,000 in Credit Card Promotions
01/25/2014 | 2013 Passive Income: Dividends
01/19/2014 | Water Heater Timer Project
01/10/2014 | Investment Performance December 2013 (+2.20%)
01/05/2014 | December 2013 Net Worth Update (+$24,052)
01/01/2014 | Wrapped China Assignment, Round 2
12/17/2013 | Investment Performance November 2013 (+2.31%)
12/04/2013 | November 2013 Net Worth Update (+$23,958)

About 2millionblog.com

A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
Current Net Worth: $1,298,641

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