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Tuesday, December 6

My Frugal Miser - November Expenses: $6,301

November was a very expensive month, but a large part of the spending went towards pre-paying future spending.  I bought a $1,500 Amazon gift card (household expenses) to take advantage of the 5% cash back on my Discover card.  I also spent $600 on Lowe's gift cards, $200 on a Netflix gift card and $200 on a Groupon gift card.  These earned me free gas through the Shell Fuel Rewards program.  I was able to immediately convert $4,000 in Carnival gift cards to cash, so those don't show up in my spending, but they earned me a significant amount of free gas.  Another $100 of the food category was for two additional gift cards.  Black Friday has become a great day to "pre-pay" for future spending in the form of gift cards.  Another large prepaid expense was the $220 I spent for Bruno Mars tickets.  The concert isn't until next October.

A couple other categories were also unusually high.  I paid $886 for property taxes on my house.  I paid $166 for a red light camera ticket.  My utilities expense was on the high side, too.  The water bill only comes every two months and was particularly high this time.  It's been very dry and our tropical garden requires heavy watering.

November Expenses:  $6,301

$1,357 Auto ($13 gas, $46 repairs/maintenance, $621 depreciation, $166 fines, $511 insurance)
$0 Bank Fees
$0 Clothing
$0 Computer
$439 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$540 Food
$0 Gifts Given
$2,145 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$52 Health and Dental Insurance
$0 Investment Expense
$390 Interest Expense*
$0 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$17 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$886 Taxes
$29 Sharing Economy Expenses (dedicated phone, tolls, car washes, etc.)
$375 Utilities
$72 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In November, I paid $376 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock. 

Saturday, December 3

My Frugal Miser - November Income: $12,331

November was a great income month.

For rental income, all but one property received rent.  The empty house has now been rented, but one of the townhouses is becoming vacant, so I expect rental income in December to be similar to last month.

Amazon Flex income was down a bit because I traveled to Dallas to work a conference and worked several days in Orlando for a second conference.  Also, we were on a cruise the last week of the month.

I closed out my position in Sea World for a slight gain.  The company has eliminated its dividend, which was the reason I bought the stock in the first place.

November Income: $12,331

$1,949 Mystery Shopping and Hospitality Jobs
$9 Uber
$106 Lyft
$280 Postmates
$3,049 Amazon Deliveries
$5,186 Rental Income
$16 Dividends and Interest (Investment Accounts)
$1,418 Realized Gains (Losses) on Investments
$317 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.