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Tuesday, October 20

Downgraded Internet Plan: $35/monthly savings!

 Maybe this is common knowledge for most people, but did you know that you have to be hard-wired (ethernet cabled) into your Internet in order to reach the advertised speeds?  Wireless routers are only capable of a fraction of the speed you are paying for.

About a year ago I increased the Internet speed at the Airbnb.  The TV in the living room was buffering, so I blamed it on the slow speed.  I later learned I just needed a range extender; speed was not the issue.  As so often happens with recurring expenses, it slipped my mind that I had upgraded the plan and was paying more.  

I've been taking a look at all my recurring expenses when I stumbled on this one.   I was paying for the fastest possible speed, but getting none of it because everything is wireless, so the speed was already capped.  To sweeten the deal, I told the representative I was thinking about canceling so that I could get an even better rate than first quoted.  

Bottom line:  I reduced the monthly fee from $70 to $35, and all it took was a 10 minute phone call.  That's a $35/mo savings!

I'm Cancelling Netflix

 I'm feeling hardcore the last few days.  So after reading a comment online about users who cycle through streaming services, I questioned the value of my Netflix subscription.  A few months ago I downgraded to the single user $8.99 plan, which isn't very expensive.  However, I got to thinking... what's the worst that would happen if I cancel for a few months?

Tonight, I found out.  Once I logged into my account, I saw the cancel button.  Once I clicked the button, Netflix offered me a choice of new plans, which I declined.  It then said my profile and preferences would be saved for 10 months.

I'm fairly certain I'll be back.  But after sales taxes, a 3 month divorce will save me almost $30.  During that time, I still have Amazon Prime, Spectrum with Showtime (included with HOA dures), plus a number of free streaming services.  

Saturday, October 17

Cutting More Expenses, New Diet, Update on Goals

 Much has been going on in the Frugal Miser's life.  


I've struggled with my weight my entire adult life.  I've successfully lost weight a couple of times and then gained it back.  But it's been 15 years since I lost any meaningful amount of weight.  I started on the keto diet on Wednesday, October 7th.  So far it has been very educational.  I had no idea how many carbs are in the foods I love.  The first few days was an adjustment period - learning what I can eat, trying to make the food I already have work (much of it did not), and getting used to eating more meat and fat than I have ever eaten. Now that the weather is starting to cool off I will start adding in exercise.  I plan to post progress updates regularly.

Reducing Expenses

A keto diet will probably cost more, but because it is really hard to follow this diet and eat at restaurants I am hoping to save money by rarely eating restaurant food.

I cancelled the satellite radio subscription.  I will receive a refund for the payment I made in September and the company offered me three months for a flat $2, so I don't even have to give it up.  I just have to remember to cancel in 3 months.

I also cancelled the Sling subscription ($56/mo).  My HOA approved a new package with our Internet provider that includes cable (I voted against it, but it was approved anyway).  I should be able to use the Spectrum app on the TVs at the Airbnb so that our guests continue having a cable TV option.  The HOA dues increased by only $20/month which means a net savings of $36/month.  Bonus:  after I cancelled, I found out I still have access to Sling Free.  The same app we had been using will provide free access to thousands of shows and movies.

I am looking at what else can go.  Just like recurring income can be your best friend, recurring expenses can be your worst enemy.  We lull ourselves into complacency when bills are just automatically paid as they come due.  
  • I have a few recurring charges for entertainment:  $9.76 for Netflix, $48 for 2 AMC A-List memberships, and $119/year for Amazon Prime.  With the state of the exhibition industry and few new releases, it's possible we will cancel our A-List subscription.
  • My alternative health insurance, Liberty Healthshare, just enacted a massive price increase.  I am now paying $479/mo for a plan I've never once used.  I will take another look at the ACA plans for 2021 to see if I qualify for something more affordable.
  • It's time to revisit landlord insurance.  I would love to just cancel and "self-insure", but the management companies require I have insurance.  I plan to shop my business to find cost savings.


I set 3 financial goals:  $400/month deposited to my investment account, $1000/month to short-term savings and $1000/month to my home mortgage.  It's been two months since setting that goal and I am meeting it so far!  To force accountability, I automated two of the three goals to that the transfers happen automatically.  I plan to automate the last transfer once my checking account balance has stabilized.

Wednesday, October 7

How an $89 Repair Saved $550 in 10 months.


Even someone as "aware" as I try to be can lose focus.  Our Airbnb, which is our most profitable rental property, was suffering from high water bills last year.  I chalked it up to guests taking long showers.  But I had been ignoring a slow leak at the hose bib in the backyard.  Only after a guest mentioned the leak did I decide to address it.

So, how much did this slow leak from a single faucet cost me?  

From the December 2018 bill to the August 2019 bill, which represents 10 months of usage, I paid $1,206.29 in water bills.  For the same period in 2019, I paid $655.53.

Total Savings:  $550.76

I bought a deal on Angie's List for the repair.  The plumber completed it in 5 minutes.  I had no idea how much that "small" leak was costing me.

Monday, October 5

My Frugal Miser - September Expenses: $5,124

I tried to be very mindful of my September expenses.  My income is dropping a bit and I want to be proactive.  I spent just over $5,000 for the month; there simply weren't many expenses last month I could have reduced further.  
  • My largest monthly expense is the mortgage ($1,600).  I also paid the quarterly HOA dues in September.
  • Airbnb expenses were bare-bones.  Besides utility bills and lawn service, I spent a small amount on cleaning supplies.
  • The "fun" category ($373 in September) is the only variable I can easily control.  Last month I paid $132 for 12 months of satellite radio.  I also paid for our AMC A-List membership ($24 each).  Finally, we spent a night in Orlando ($53 for the hotel).  While there we spent a little on dinner and two adult beverages, as well as on a Groupon for a round of mini-golf ($11 for the two of us).  

September Business Spending:  $1,333
September Personal Spending:  $3,791

September Expenses:  $5,124

$353 Auto (service, gas, insurance, AAA, etc.)
$0 Bank Fees
$0 Clothing/ Personal Care
$373 Fun (vacations movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets)
$403 Food
$406 Health and Dental
$1,795 Household/Mortgage Payment/Home Repair
$0 Interest Expense
$0 Miscellaneous
$205 Taxes includes quarterly tax payments
$0 App Jobs Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$0 Unreimbursed Job Expenses
$0 Reimbursed Job Expenses
$255 Utilities
$753 Rental Property Expenses
$581 AirBNB Expenses

Friday, October 2

My Frugal Miser - September Income: $9,967

September income was down from August, which was down from July.  Fortunately I still earned nearly twice as much as I spent.

I didn't work any meetings.  I was paid for a mystery shop I did a couple months ago.  App-based income continued to decline.  People aren't ordering delivery as much.  Amazon work was steady.

September is usually the slowest month for the Airbnb.  Things were looking bleak mid-month so I lowered rates dramatically - again - and was able to salvage the latter part of the month.  The weekends were all booked up, but mid-week was empty.   I managed to get bookings for 24 days in September thanks to price cutting.

My tenant in the condo in Birmingham did not pay rent.  He has been falling behind since the pandemic began.  

September Income: $9,967

$59 Mystery Shopping/ Merchandising
$0 Meeting Jobs
$1,391 Gig Apps (Rideshare, Food Deliveries, etc.)
$1,724 Amazon Deliveries
$2,435 Rental Income
$2,310 Airbnb Income
$22 Interest Income
$2,026 Other Sources

Investment Accounts Change in Value:  ($9,896)

My investment accounts were down.  Vereit shares declined a bit last month.