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Monday, December 10

AirBnB November Performance

AirBnB - November 2018

In our third month operating an AirBnB home we were cash-flow positive.  Nightly rates are moving higher (still have a ways to go I think).  I did have 3 available days that were not rented.  This is bound to happen, but in December I am playing around with rates on these orphan days to try to get a booking.  See, what happens is I will get a multi-day booking that might end on a Saturday, and then have another multi-day booking that begins on a Tuesday.  Getting that Sunday and Monday booking has been a bit of a challenge.  So far in December, I have managed to fill 4 "orphan" days by lowering rates just for those days.

I have a list of large projects (new water heater, new HVAC, new siding, etc.) that will need to be done over time to maintain this old house.  It's nice being able to defer these expenses so that I generate some cash flow.  The plan for now is to hold off on big projects during the busy season (January-June) and use the slower summer months to make improvements.

Financial Performance

It's just my third month, and I am cash-flow positive!

Occupancy Rate:  76.7% (4 days blocked by me, 3 days vacant, 23 days booked)
Payments Received:  $1,670
Expenses:  $1,543

Net Income:  $127

Monthly expenses will be much lower in the future.  In November, I spent $453 on bills.  This includes electricity, water, Sling TV, trash and lawn service.  I also spent $250 on cleaning service.  The roughly $800 remaining was spent on supplies like extra linens, and this is the part that will ease up a good bit.

Friday, December 7

My Frugal Miser - How I'm Preparing for 2019

I'm super optimistic that 2019 is going to be the best year ever.  There are a few things I'm doing to make it happen.

Health Insurance

I'm switching from Florida Blue to Liberty HealthShare.  I'll be paying $379/month ($299/month for the Liberty Complete plan and $80/month for HealthTrac, which is basically a "fat" premium until I lose some weight).  This is an alternative to health insurance that costs less but provides better coverage.

Managing Finances

As mentioned a few times this year, I'm switching from managing my money in Quicken to using spreadsheets.  This has been a major undertaking, and I'm sure there will be some hiccups.  To minimize problems, I'll be keeping a little extra money in my checking accounts as a buffer.  It sounds like a small thing, but what I am looking forward to most is ditching the Quicken-only PC I have to be able to manage my money all from one device, and be able to review my finances remotely.

Since 2018 was a very expensive year, my plan for 2019 is to be in accumulation mode.  I've had to dip into savings a few times to manage our rental property portfolio.  It started back in January with two turnovers, one which required major repairs.  Then we converted our old house to an AirBnB.  Between outfitting that property and furnishing our new home, we've spent a lot.  In 2019 I plan to make monthly deposits back into my savings

Becoming More Focused

I've seen first-hand the benefits of not getting lost in the weeds.  Can you believe for four years we didn't pay for garbage pickup?  Just to save $20/month, I had to deal with the inconvenience of disposing of our trash.  For $20!   I used to buy Groupons for restaurants that were 20-30 minutes away.  To save $10.  That's not saving!

As cash flow returns (in 2018 I spent a ton of money rehabbing rental properties and moving to a new home), I will be more nimble and better able to choose the best use of my time.  This means turning down work that doesn't pay well - think small meeting jobs, mystery shops, and Uber driving (though I've practically stopped that already).

Frugality is a wonderful virtue - as long as it is exercised intelligently.  In 2019, I will continue to find ways to make our lives better, and to find time.  I can make more money, but I can't replace wasted time.

Taking Control of My Health

My new health plan costs an extra $80 because I am overweight.  My feet hurt all the time.  My clothes don't fit.  All these warning signs - what am I waiting for?  I say this every year, but I really want to make 2019 the year that I become healthier.

Tuesday, December 4

My Frugal Miser - November Expenses: $7,628

It's hard to tell, but our expenses are stating to settle down to what will be a normal level.  I still need a few things for the new house, but it is pretty much furnished now.

Looking at my spending categories, some notes:

  • I paid 6 months of auto insurance ($533).  With gas prices down to nearly $2 it is making a noticeable difference in my spending.  
  • Food spending was a bit lower.  I think $500/month for the two of us is a reasonable amount but would like it to be lower.
  • I continued furnishing our new home.  Last month we bought a dining room table, 2 TV's, and security cameras.
  • I booked a December trip to Chicago to visit a friend.  We also spent a week in Las Vegas.

November Expenses:  $7,628

$724 Auto (service, gas, insurance, AAA, etc.)
$0 Bank Fees
$20 Charity
$93 Clothing
$127 Computer
$1,695 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets) 
$513 Food
$355 Gifts Given
$3,027 Household/Mortgage Payment/Home Repair
$171 Health and Dental Insurance
$0 Investment Expense
$11 Interest Expense*
$0 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$15 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes (Quarterly Tax Payment)
$25 Sharing Economy Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$231 Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
$297 Utilities
$312 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.  

Saturday, December 1

My Frugal Miser - November Income: $12,020

November was another solid month for income.
  • I worked two meetings and was paid for a third I did at the end of October.
  • We spent a week in Las Vegas; otherwise Amazon delivery income would be higher.
  • Every property was rented and paid.
  • AirBnB income was solid - better than if I was renting the house long-term.  I had a handful of vacant days, and am still tweaking rates.  Converting to an AirBnB was the best financial decision we made this year.  
  • My investment account declined slightly.  In November it declined almost 1% (versus the S&P's gain of almost 1%).

November Income: $12,020

$423 Mystery Shopping
$1,547 Meeting Jobs
$685 Reimbursed Job Expenses
$0 Gig Apps (Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Doordash)
$1,234 Amazon Deliveries
$6,472 Rental Income
$1,670 AirBnB Income
$23 Interest Income
$165 Other Sources

Investment Accounts Change in Value:  ($2,614)

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