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Monday, March 30

Reflections on 1Q2015

It's hard to believe we have burned through three months of 2015 already.  It's been very productive for the Frugal Miser homestead:

  • I've lost 6 pounds.
  • Total debt has declined by $12,000.
  • Net worth has increased by $18,000.
  • I've had a solid work schedule, including a record quarter for hospitality jobs.  I am now the team lead at some events I work, which means marginally higher pay for that work.  Mystery shopping jobs have also been steady.
  • I listed one of the Birmingham rental properties for sale.  My thoughts are now leaning towards exiting that market over time.
  • We have four exciting trips coming up:  a mystery shopping trip to Puerto Rico, shareholder's meetings in New York and Omaha, and a May vacation to Las Vegas/Denver.

Tuesday, March 3

My Frugal Miser - February Expenses: $2,384

I set a goal to spend $1,250 per month in 2015, excluding home repairs and vacations.  After taking out the $684 I spent on those two categories, I spent $1,700 in February.

Once again, owning a car kept me from my goal.  In fact, half of my spending last month went to my car, thanks to an unexpected repair.

I did well in a few key categories.  I need to spend less than $270/mo on food; I spent $230.  Utilities were low because I did not have a water bill and the power bill arrived after the month ended.  I prepaid my health insurance for February when I switched to a new plan.

March is going to be tough as well.  I had to have a tooth extracted, which alone will take up half my monthly budget.

February Expenses:  $2,384

$1,206 Auto ($4 for gas, $640 for depreciation, $535 for repair, $27 for new headlight bulbs)
$37 Bank Fees
$0 Clothing
$0 Computer
$107 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$230 Food
$6 Gifts Given
$441 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$0 Home Insurance
$24 Health and Dental Insurance
$0 Investment Expenses
$0 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$10 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$48 Utilities
$274 Vacation and Recreation

February Expenses, Excluding Vacation and Home Repairs:  $1,700

My Frugal Miser - February Income: $6,428

February was an average month.  My highest-value property is vacant and my perpetually trouble tenant at one of the townhouses did not pay rent.  The loss of income from those two properties definitely shows up in the results.
Additionally, I spent a lot on mystery shopping, so the income amount is about $500 lower for February and will be that much higher in March.

I've been doing a lot of hospitality work.  I love not having reports to enter at the end of the day, but the income tends to be slightly less than I could earn from a full day of mystery shopping.  Having said that, I'm not turning down any shops, so overall the hospitality work supplements, not replaces, my other work.

February Income $6,428

$914 Mystery Shopping
$5,428 Rental Income
$86 Other Sources

  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.
  • I include merchandising and hospitality work in the mystery shopping category since the companies that I shop for provide this extra side work.