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Tuesday, September 18

We've Moved! So many changes...

So much has been going on - so many positive things!

We Moved

At the end of August I finally closed on the new house. We relocated to a fast-growing area on the other side of town.  There were several reasons we moved.

  • The new house is closer to 3 of the 4 warehouses where I pick up Amazon deliveries.  My favorite warehouse is now 20 mintues away; it used to take up to an hour or more from the old house.  We are also closer to Orlando, where we do a lot of meeting work.
  • This has traditionally been the way I add to my real estate investments.  Since 2006, I have moved 5 times, and each time we've converted our residence to a rental.  
  • Moving motivates me.  We made several improvements/repairs to the old house that have been sitting on my to-do list; that sense of accomplishment is wonderful.  

Opened our first AirBnB

I went live with listing our old house on AirBnB.  The first available day for check-in was a week ago and we already have several reservations.  This is the first time I have rented a home in the short term rental market, but I wanted to give it a try since the house was only a few miles from the beach in an area where tourism is the main industry.  This was an easy decision; if it doesn't work out, we only have to pack up the furniture and hire a management company to oversee it as a long term rental.

Looking at Keeping Things Simple

My life energy comes from streamlining.  I'm always working towards a more simple life.  Here are a few things we are doing to simplify:

  • For the AirBnB I am creating a workflow checklist.  Each time we turnover a guest, in addition to cleaning I have a list of small projects to continuously improve the rental.  We are using this checklist to ensure we work quickly and efficiently.  I am identifying the time killers (doing laundry) and am shortening the time they take (having a second set of everything and taking home some of the laundry).  
  • I've had a moped for several years.  Haven't used it in a year.  It only goes 35 miles per hour, which isn't very useful at our new suburban home.  Today I canceled the insurance policy on it.  It needs some repairs so I have to decide whether I sell it as-is or make the repairs first.
  • I've been tinkering with the spreadsheet I will use in 2019 to replace Quicken.  It's close to ready.  Once I stop using Quicken, I can get rid of one of my computers.  I can also update my finances remotely versus having to be at home with this dedicated computer now.
  • I'm also playing with the idea of selling some of the Birmingham rental properties.  If this AirBnB is successful, it makes more sense to add additional properties here in Florida while removing some of the hassle of being an absentee landlord.

Monday, September 10

My Frugal Miser - August Expenses: $5,978

August follows the recent tradition of gluttony.  I had some closing costs on our new house, pre-paid for some future travel, and purchased new tires for my car.  We had too many restaurant meals, too. 

August Expenses:  $5,978

$1,310 Auto ($1,014, $306 for gas)
$95 Bank Fees
$76 Clothing
$20 Computer
$225 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets) 
$655 Food
$56 Gifts Given
$1,176 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$0 Homeowner's Insurance (annual payment)
$28 Health and Dental Insurance
$0 Investment Expense
$54 Interest Expense*
$0 Medical/Dental
$15 Miscellaneous
$0 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$25 Sharing Economy Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$177 Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
$248 Utilities
$1,762 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans.  As the rate is below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off this loan.  

Friday, September 7

My Frugal Miser - August Income: $8,612

August was okay.  I did just a little meeting work; most of my active work was making deliveries for Amazon.  Rental income was decent - one of the management companies paid the August rent in September so it didn't make it into this report. 

August Income: $8,612

$88 Mystery Shopping
$327 Meeting Jobs
$0 Reimbursed Job Expenses
$26 Uber
$0 Lyft
$0 Postmates
$2,584 Amazon Deliveries
$5,285 Rental Income
$21 Interest Income
$282 Other Sources

Investment Accounts Change in Value:  $3,258

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