April 1 Debt Check In

earth day 2012

In March I said that I wouldn’t do this every month, but, what the heck!

I have been doing debt reports every month since I first established this blog.  If this is your first time seeing a debt check-in on this blog, the entire reason why this blog exists is to chronicle my debt journey and share some of what I’ve learned with anyone who happens to be reading.

This has been an essential part of my debt reduction journey because I an not on a strict, paper-written budget, but this helps to keep me accountable.  Being able to look backwards and see where I’ve been and what I’ve done over the past month has helped to accelerate my debt repayment by light years.  No longer am I flippant about my debt and the amount of time that it will take to repay everything.

There are quite a few debt bloggers who used to share their financial information who have moved away from doing so.  I will admit to having entertained this idea as well, especially as I have given up more and more of my anonymity (remember my coming out?), but I’ve decided against it.  Honestly, this is one of the most popular kinds of articles on this site.  I can appreciate that you guys like to peek into my debt portfolio every month.  I like doing it too.

Let’s get to the debt and then get back to our conversation.

 The Debt

april 2013 debt

April 2013 debt graph

april 2013 debt

April 2013 debt number

 

My debt continues its downward trend coming from Mt Everest heights to somewhere in the Rockies.  I’m happy to have continued my debt repayment level as anticipated, especially since I’m no longer working and still the sole provider for my family.

I am still trying to be strategic about repaying my debt throughout my unemployment period.  Student loan and mortgage repayments have dropped to a little bit above the monthly minimums.  My student loans somehow went on automatic deferment when I took a class at my graduate school a few months ago.  I didn’t request one, nor did I apply for another loan or financial aid, but something triggered my loans into an in-school deferral.  Regardless of my loan’s deferral status, I will continue paying enough to cover the monthly interest.  I don’t want the accrued interest to be capitalized at the end of the deferral period.

For now my car note and my Prosper loans are both at least one month ahead and I plan to keep it that way.  I would normally have extra payment applied to the principal of both loan, but I like that safety net.  Maybe it’s a false sense of comfort, but it makes me feel secure in the knowledge that whatever happens during a particular month, I can skip one month of repayments.  I hope to be able to do that with the rental mortgage as well.

Online Income

Every month I also like to share how I’m making money online.  This month wasn’t bad, but I know that I can do better.  Oh, wait the numbers.

Google Adsense My Tenant From Hell: $0.09
Google Adsense YIAC: $93.04
Gogle Adsense Niche Site: $123.34
Private ads: $747.50
Ad network #1: $147
Ad network #2: $42
Total: $1,152.97

That’s really not terrible, but I know that I can do better.  I’ve been relatively firm when negotiating contracts on behalf of my various employers, however, I’m horrible when it comes to negotiating around my own work.  The problem here is not knowing an exact number of how much my work is worth.  When you work for someone else, they place a value on the work that you do for them.  That’s called your salary.  When you work for yourself it can sometimes become difficult to place a value on your own work.  But, I resolve to get better at that.

I did have some blogging relate expenses in March.  This site has been experiencing major errors on the back end.  Instead to fix it, I deleted this entire site, and rebuilt it from scratch over a weekend.  The cost of paying for a new hosting site, and PayPal and other fees totaled $224.35.  This means that my net blogging income for March was $928.62. Onward and upward next month.

In the meantime, I have revived my second blog, My Tenant From Hell. There will be at least one new story on the site every week.  Considering that my property manager just went to court yesterday to have my brother’s tenant evicted, I should have at least one juicy story coming up for you.  I have also solicited stories from my fellow real estate investors as well.  I love these stories when they are happening to someone else. Oh, but there was that whole brick through my tenant’s window incident that happened last Sunday.  That should be a fun one to tell.

What I Learned In March

Stress is an awesome thing.  Sometimes you don’t know how much stress you’ve been enduring until you no longer have that burden. My advice for you is to stop letting stress slowly shorten your life. I’m celebrating a birthday later this month.  It’s great to be alive.

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9 Responses to April 1 Debt Check In

  1. You have made a nice dent in just a couple months. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thats right stress can take over at times, so i appreciate the little wins in life. 800 in private ads that’s great is that consistent? How do you keep it at that level every month?

  3. Little House says:

    You’re making good progress. A $2,000 decrease from March to April is impressive! Keep up the great work!

  4. debthaven says:

    I think overall you are doing well. But, I have have a few thoughts / suggestions. :)

    - It’s not my business and I don’t want to pry but every time you mention that you are the sole provider for your family, I find myself asking why, and whether it’s short-term or long-term. Even just help with the groceries and / or car payment would take some of the stress / financial burden off you, especially in these leaner times.

    - Since you have a successful blog, maybe it’s time to put more time into it (and your other blog) and try to find more clients to help with THEIR blogs, and put your time / energy into that?

    - Have you ever considered selling one of your rentals? We don’t earn a lot. We have four very modest rentals that we bought when our parents passed. Every three-four years we sell one, skim a bit off the top, shore up the accounts, do something we couldn’t afford before (like go back to the US or put a big DP on a modest new car), and then plough the rest back into another rental. We hold onto them too long for me to consider that “flipping”, but it’s not really that dissimilar. Of course I don’t know your rental market.

    Lastly, I’m really glad you are reviving the other blog, I love that blog! Because everybody knows that rental misery loves company LOL.

    As always, good luck!

    • Sandy Smith says:

      Hi Ruth. All good comments! Let’s see if I can get them all.

      1) I mention that I’m the sole provider in the articles because I get new blog followers every week (hello new readers) and I want t make sure that they are in the loop. My other half is the caregiver for his very elderly parent. Insurance would not cover round-the-clock care so it makes sense for one of us to be home. Many people our generation are in the same boat, so it’s all good!

      2) You’re right, it’s time to put more time into my blogs. I’m putting in loads of time on the back end which will improve this site (hello faster, easier site) and I’m appearing on a few other blogs both large and small. This month you will see me on Zillow, H&R Block and probably Huffington Post as well. I also have a few interviews on a few sites coming up aaaaaand an e-book which is already 38 pages long in the works. It’ll be on Amazon for free and I’ll let you know when. I’m also working on a collaboration with a blogger friend in real estate. The second site will have lots coming too. There is a partnership in the works for that site that hasn’t been finalized yet. So, lots going on when I should be job hunting. ;)

      3) Yes, I was just discussing selling the 2-unit rental after the bathroom renovation. It would sell for a decent profit, but I’ve been crunching numbers both ways. I have to sleep on things before I decide what to do.

      All good points. I love it when people make great suggestions. Keep ‘em coming Ruth. I always love hearing from you.

  5. You’re making a good improvement! Good job. Sometimes, paying all these debts can be a hard and slow process but as long as you’re keeping track and following your plan, you’re on your way to paying them all off.

  6. Great job here! I am hoping I can recruit some private advertising for my site as well, nothing so far.

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