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Thursday, June 28

Moving: The Perfect Excuse to Simplify

All these gas cans... gone!
In a month we are moving to our new home.  Unlike previous moves, I'm converting my current house to an AirBnB.  It won't be necessary to move every piece of furniture to the new place:  some of it will stay put for our guests.  This has motivated me to pare down unnecessary possessions.

This week we took three oversized boxes of clothes and knick-knacks to Salvation Army.  I also posted for sale all but one of the gas cans I had.  I used to mystery shop dozens of gas stations and needed to store all the free gas I was getting.  I've moved away from that - it's not part of the big picture that will get me to financial independence.  What an exhilarating day - less than an hour after posting the 15 gas containers on Facebook Marketplace, I had a buyer.  I deposited the $100 cash into the bank.  The next day, we cleaned the utility room where these were stored - so much room now!

Getting rid of things feels great.  All these unnecessary material things require cleaning.  The clutter is a distraction.  Try looking for something when you have to move everything around to find it.

There's one area that I've been struggling with:  my rental property supplies.  Right now, a good part of a bedroom is filled with containers, everything from screws, tools, cleaning supplies, parts and more.  I barely use these things, but I do use them.  I'd like to pare down to the essentials, especially since I only use my tools when there is a vacancy.  For everyday repairs, I usually pay someone to fix things since I am an absentee landlord.  This is the next area I'd like to tackle.

Tuesday, June 5

I'm Buying a New House

This is our new house!
Three months ago I updated my plans to include increasing recurring income by $2,300/month.  The first phase of the plan is in action:  we are moving to a new home.  This week I signed a contract on a brand new home on the other side of Tampa.  The house is about 40 miles from where we live now, but it's in a high-growth area where real estate is significantly less expensive.  My preference was to stay near our current home, but the few new houses we looked at cost nearly twice as much as the house I am going to buy. 

Our new home is in a master-planned community that features fiber optic Internet and is smart-home ready.  There is a beach entry pool and cabana as well as miles of walking trails.  The lot is 50% larger than the lots we looked at in other neighborhoods.  There are no houses directly behind the one I am buying.  Instead, there is a pond with a beautiful fountain.

On the surface this would not seem to be a frugal decision, but since 2006 I have built my real estate portfolio by moving into a new house every few years.  It's the way I've been growing my net worth.  But this time, instead of finding a long-term tenant, I will try AirBnB.  From the research that I've done, I am confident we can rent our current house on AirBnb for an amount that will more than cover the mortgage on the new house.

I should close on the new house by the end of July.  In the meantime, we are preparing our house for rental.  Such an exciting time!

Monday, June 4

My Frugal Miser - May Expenses: $2,524

Only one category concerns me in May:  spending on food.  We continually spend more than we should.  Last month I spent about $170 on groceries.  That's not bad.  What's bad is that I spent almost $300 eating out.  Part of this is due to the meeting jobs we worked in Orlando.  Often we are provided a breakfast and lunch during work, but we are on our own for dinner.  Since we were out of town, and a friend was with us, we spent more than I would back home.   We also ordered pizza twice, ate twice at Studio Movie Grill, and ate at a festival we attended.  Those were the more expensive meals.

Besides food, alcohol was on the expensive side.  I also bought tickets for two summer concerts.

May Expenses:  $2,524

$690 Auto ($612 for insurance, $36 for gas, $42 for service)
$0 Bank Fees
$76 Clothing
$0 Computer
$187 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets) 
$464 Food
$53 Gifts Given
$79 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$0 Homeowner's Insurance (annual payment)
$28 Health and Dental Insurance (prepaid a portion of 2018 health insurance)
$0 Investment Expense
$167 Interest Expense*
$0 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$0 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$27 Sharing Economy Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$105 Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
$304 Utilities
$344 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.  

Friday, June 1

My Frugal Miser - May Income: $11,906

May was my best month ever.  It seemed so obvious to me that HMNY, the company that owns MoviePass, was not going to do well.  I had purchased put options, which are a bet on the shares of stock going down.  Boy, did they.  I closed out my options in May and made a huge profit.  In total, my brokerage account balance ballooned by $29,000.

My regular income was also healthy.  I received rent from all my properties.  I also had decent work income from Amazon, meeting jobs, and even a small amount of rideshare driving. 

May Income: $11,906

$61 Mystery Shopping
$2,409 Meeting Jobs
($99) Reimbursed Job Expenses
$98 Uber
$21 Lyft
$0 Postmates
$1,343 Amazon Deliveries
$8,041 Rental Income
$23 Interest Income
$10 Other Sources

Investment Accounts Change in Value:  $29,138

This was the best month I have had.  Even better is the fact this is a realized gain, as I closed out my HMNY put options.  

  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.