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Saturday, February 17

Making Progress Towards My 2024 Goals - January Update

January was a super busy month, yet I found time to work on my goals for this year.  To keep myself accountable, here's an update:


A new goal this year is to invest 40% of my gross income from meeting work - 30% to index funds and 10% to something more aggressive.  I'm on track in Month 1.

In January, I earned $8,126* from meeting work.  I transferred $3,850 to my brokerage accounts.  As a bonus (not part of this particular goal), I also made a $1,000 contribution to my ROTH IRA.  I chose the Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund (VTWAX) for the 30%.  The "more aggressive" investment was a PUT option against Beyond Meat (BYND) that expires in January 2025.

*This will not match what I report in my income blog.  I earned $8,126, but received less than that as payments aren't always received in the month the work was performed.


I want to lose weight and exercise 5x/week this year.  I've lost a few pounds and I met my exercise goal in January.


This one is all about getting rid of things I don't use.  I found out both Amazon and Microsoft have a program where you can sell back your used electronics.  For me, this isn't about maximizing what I make from my old stuff.  It's about getting rid of things without hassle.  I sold 5 old items to Amazon (I received $22 as an Amazon gift card - pitiful but effortless).  I also sent off two Surface Pro 3 tablets and a Samsung S9 phone to Microsoft.  I just sent those and am waiting for the trade to be approved, but I should receive about 1/3 what I paid for the tablets when I bought them used.  I'll receive $58 for the three devices if they are approved.

I also added 6 pieces of clothing, a couple books, a lamp and a few miscellaneous items to the donation box.  I trashed our 10 year old Roomba and a second robot vacuum and replaced them with a new one.  I also trashed a worn out pair of shoes and broken solar charger.

Lastly, I simplified my finances just a tad.  The authorized user fee for my AMEX was $195/year, so I canceled that card.

Have Fun, on a Budget

I want to limit the fun budget to $5,000 in 2024.  In January, we drastically cut down on alcohol consumption.  We took a 2 night cruise on Margaritaville at Sea, but it was paid for in December.  I didn't book any other getaways, so the fun budget was barely touched last month.

I'm off to a promising start.  Of all these goals, losing weight will be the toughest.  It's ridiculously hard for me to stick to a diet.  Food is my addiction, yet I can't live without it.

Monday, February 5

My Frugal Miser - January 2024 Income

January was a nice month for income.  I worked 20 consecutive days doing meetings.  We ended the month with a two day Margaritaville cruise.

I didn't do rideshare or work any Amazon routes.

Rental income was as expected.  I received rent from both Alabama rental properties and the small monthly distribution from Open Door Capital.  Rental expenses were a bit higher than normal.  I paid the fire dues on the condo and my management company charged a research fee to pull up some old repair records I needed to submit for a class action lawsuit.

Open Door continues to pay interest on the promissory note as promised. 

January Income: $11,014

$6,522 Meeting Jobs
$0 Gig Apps (Rideshare, Food Deliveries, etc.)
$0 Amazon Deliveries
$2,112 Rental Income (Rental Expenses:  $1,510)
$2,381 Interest Income
$0 Other Sources

Investment Accounts Change in Value:  $4,284

My investments were up in January.

Friday, February 2

My Frugal Miser - January 2024 Expenses

January was a decent month.  

  • I prepaid my health insurance for the year.  I'm working on a sign-up bonus on a new credit card and doing this gets me closer to the bonus.
  • We worked one event in Orlando where only lunch was provided, so the food budget is mostly our dinners that week.
  • My scheme to resell the Bruno Mars tickets was a bust.  I had no idea Ticketmaster would set a minimum sale price, yet oddly would offer a "sell it now" option for significantly less than that price.  Tickets for the concert did not sell well, and I was not allowed to lower my offer price to match supply and demand.  Out of desperation, I sold at the "sell it now" price two days before the concert.  


We love adventures.  Spending on experiences makes us better humans.  
  • We took a two night cruise on Margaritaville at Sea.  The company charged a fuel surcharge ($30/person) and gratuities, plus we had some small charges for ice cream and additional gratuities.
  • No other vacations were planned.

January Expenses:  $5,834

$96 Auto (service, gas, insurance, AAA, etc.)
$544 Bank Fees (annual fees on credit cards)
$158 Clothing/ Personal Care
$274 Fun (vacations, movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets)
$445 Food
$3,265 Health and Dental
$48 Household/Home Repairs
$33 Unreimbursed Job Expense
$589 Reimbursed Job Expense
$0 Interest Expense
$96 Miscellaneous (cat sitter, gifts)
$251 Taxes
$36 Utilities