we've learned

FI Interview on Even Steven Money // Plus a Money Fail

hola amigos! hope you’re all having a fantastic friday or weekend. today’s post is a short one to share three little tidbits:

1. guest post — we’re up today on even steven money with an fi interview. go check it out! if you don’t know even steven, he and and his wife are on an fi journey of their own, which includes crushing some debt along the way. he’s got some super honest posts that are definitely worth the read, like this one.

2. money fail — we just have to share a recent fail with you guys, in part so you can see that we aren’t totally on the ball in every instance, and just because it’s funny (or maybe not so funny). you probably already know that i travel nearly every week for work, since so many of our stories here come from that. well, all that travel means i have to do expense reports to get reimbursed for the expenses. and we’re talking about some expenses that are not insignificant — generally $1,000 to $1,500 per trip, sometimes more. and because of all the travel, i sometimes get behind on submitting my expenses. just so happens that i got behind recently, and this week i caught up, and nearly had a heart attack when i saw the total: $16,000.

holy #$%@.

not like we’re gonna leave credit card bills unpaid, so we’ve been paying those monthly bills and paying the difference out of our “life happens” fund. i’m definitely not happy with myself for giving my company an interest-free loan, but… the upside is that we’ve actually found a way to cash flow a lot of each payment (this is over about four months, not one month — we don’t have that kind of cash flow!), meaning that we don’t “owe” our life happens fund $16,000, we only owe it about $5000. meaning: when i get reimbursed next week, and we pay ourselves back, we’ll have tricked ourselves into saving an additional $11,000 or so. sweet! that’ll help with the year-end goals!

of course we don’t recommend saving this way — that’s a bit like overpaying your taxes on purpose to get a big refund (another zero-interest loan, this time to the government) — but we’re certainly happy to look on the bright side this time around. :-)

3. update on bonus #1 — for those of you who read monday’s post on our upcoming bonuses, i found out about mine yesterday. our company has had a not awesome year, so expectations were low. that said, they beat my very low expectations, and told me that i’ll get a slightly larger raise next year than i was expecting, and that i’ll get “extra credit” next year (which we expect will be a better year), so 2016’s year-end bonus should be a bit better. (also, to address some of the comments, both my bonus and mr. onl’s bonus aren’t true bonuses — they’re really deferred compensation. to help our companies smooth out their own cash flow, senior people in both of our orgs agree to get a chunk of our entitled salary at the end of the year. there is a profit-sharing element of both, which are dependent on the year the companies had, and mr. onl’s has more of a true “bonus” baked in. just wanted to clarify!)

/ / / /

hope you guys have a fantastic weekend! we’re hoping to sneak in a little skiing, though we are both out of town for work today, and we’ll both turn around and travel again early monday — so it will be a short weekend. but next week is the last work week before our two weeks off for the holidays — woo to the hoo, y’all!

any fun weekend plans to share? any recent money fails you want to confess? we’re all ears!

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24 replies »

  1. I look forward to the day when I can whoopsie my way into $11k! That’s 2 IRAs!
    Hooray on the better than expected bonus. I have no idea what my bonus will be. I’m hoping for something between $1000 and *Dr Evil pinky* 1 million dollars. I like to keep the range small! 😉
    Have fun on the slopes!!

    • True — it’s a sign that we’ve been good at planning for a while, and had the “life happens” fund in place to help us ride out my giant “whoops.” And yes, I can say that my bonus was somewhere in that range, though I wouldn’t have minded if it was closer to a Dr. Evil level. :-) Way to keep expectations low! Hope you’re having a good weekend, and that re-entry isn’t too tough!

  2. I love your perspective on “mistakes.” Great job on turning something annoying into something awesome. Also, woohoo for bonuses! I work for a university and bonuses are completely unheard of, haha. So I’ll live vicariously through yours ;) Can’t wait to check out the interview on Even Steven! I love his blog :)

    • Instead of thinking of my bonus as a true bonus, think of it as money I should have been getting all year in my regular paycheck, but instead my employer holds onto it for a while, interest-free… that’s really what it is! BUT, having a chunk at the end of the year one way or another sure makes it easier to save! Hope your weekend is off to a great start, Taylor! :-)

    • I’m cool with it, too, now that we’re getting the money back. We had a few too many months in a row of “Why do we feel so broke?!” But hey, it forced us to ramp up the frugality, which is paying off now in a weird way. :-) Hope your weekend is off to a great start!

  3. Oh, expense reports, how I loathe thee! I’ve been working for a startup for the past few years, which has meant that a ton of company expenses have gone on my credit card in lieu of a more traditional invoicing process (we’re finally changing that now). It takes a pretty hefty cash buffer, but the credit card rewards have been nice enough to make up for floating $20k at a time to the company.

    • Yeah, we’ll for sure take the credit card rewards — we get tons of those. I *could* get a corporate card (though would still have to do the same expense reports), but I’d rather have the points! Just maybe I’ll try to do those expense reports sooner from now on. :-)

  4. I sometimes have expenses for work that add up while I am away for extended periods, but I’ve never had that much owed! It’s great when you can roll with those things and make “mistakes” that make it seem like extra bonus money. Have fun skiing this weekend!

  5. With every mistake comes a great lesson, – and sometimes even a bonus. :) I’m sure that could have been a bit heart stopping! I’ve got to head over to Even Steven Money to listen to your interview! I hope you both have a fantastic weekend!

    • Haha — true! We’ve tried hard to be extra diligent this year about saving, so it’s nice to know that even a giant “whoops” like my expense report submission delay can end up being a positive. Soooooo different from the days when we were in debt, and something like this would have sent us over the edge!

  6. Hey, I think your Even Steven interview link might be broken? (Though I found the interview through other means, and enjoyed it!)

    Sounds like your year-end news was better than expected — that’s good! And very interesting about the profit-sharing arrangement. I’ve never worked anywhere that had any type of bonus or anything like that, so this is all pretty new and intriguing to me.

    Happy weekend! :)

    • Thanks for the alert! I fixed the link. :-) The sad thing is that the best part of the year-end news is that we can bank a big chunk of my reimbursement — that was better than the bonus! But we’ll take it… every dollar adds up, right? Hope you’re having a good weekend, and hope you get some answers to your WordPress questions!

  7. Congrats on the bonuses and raise! awesome way to close out your last year of work hopefully. :) If only we were able to turn our money mistake into some extra saving, but alas, it isn’t meant to be. That said, we did still end up reorganizing some funds and still getting to stash 80% of our usual goal, even with the overspending and AC replacement. I’ll take any wins I can! Enjoy the slopes!

    • We *wish* it was the last year, but more like two to go. ;-) That’s awesome that you still hit 80% despite those huge home repair costs! Amen to taking the wins — hope you guys are having a great weekend so far!

  8. Yay for year end bonuses! I won’t know what mine will be if anything until we finish the 4th quarter but if we scrape across the line (hasn’t been a great year here) I’ll be doing my basic rider course to get my motorcycle license and possibly a little scooter. A dream come true mainly due to the fact I gifted my car to a dear friend in need. No bonus means I’ll be on the bicycle 12mile a day!