October 1 Check In

It’s the beginning of the month and you know what that means? Free ice cream! No, no silly.  It’s time to check out my finances, see how I much money I made online and basically for me over share about my month until you fall asleep.

I’m busy writing this post on the bus this month because I promise you that I cannot find the time to do it at home anymore.  I don’t know where the time goes, but I suspect that it has to do with that big block of time that I waste at this thing called work every day.  Yes, I’m disgruntled, but I’m working on it.  On to finances.

For those of you who might be new to the blog, I share this information with you every single month.  The entire purpose of this blog as the tag line says is to “dig my way out of some serious debt”.  I believe in being an open book because, honestly, we are so secretive about money…unless you’re a nouveau riche rapper with lots of bling-bling.  We’re even more secretive about debt and it doesn’t have to be that way.  That and I’m secretly an exhibitionist at heart.  There’s nothing more nekkid than laying your debt out for the world to see and comment on, I guess.

So, let’s get nekkid!

When I spoke about my debt looking like the Swiss Alps last month, some of you commented that I was doing myself a disservice by not listing my assets.  Ding! Light bulb.  I never really thought about assets before because, honestly, aside from one Calvin Klein dress that I’m going to be buried in, my car and a measly 401(K) account, I’ve never had any assets to speak of.  Or, I didn’t when I began this process.  That’s right folks.  I had over $120K in debt and had nothing to show for it except two degrees hanging on my mom’s wall and a car in the driveway of a house that was not mine.

Suffice to say, I owe even more now, but I actually have some STUFF on the asset side.  In fact, I’ve actually flipped from a negative net worth and I’m in the positive five figure range.  When did that happen?! Just goes to show, sometimes when you’re so focused on the debt, you forget about what’s happening with the assets.

It also goes to show that you never be so consumed with your debt that you don’t save, build a retirement portfolio or purchase appreciable assets.  I believe that this is a critical error that we tend to make once we’ve decided to get out of debt.  If you ever get anything from this blog here it is – if your employer offers matching funds in your 401K plan, contribute at least enough to get the matching funds. It’s free money, and I don’t see anyone else standing by to hand you money every time you get paid just for saving.

I killed it last month!  Part of this was from a reimbursement that my employer owed me and part because seeing my debt climb to such high levels scared me.  I can’t deal with the stress of knowing that I owe that much.  But, I do have to be honest here.  You don’t see the mortgage on the rental property listed here on purpose.  The reason is that since I’m using the proceeds of the mortgage to pay off the 401K loan that was originally used to purchase the rental property, I didn’t want both debts which is for the same property to show up twice.   But don’t worry, it’ll be there next month like clockwork and the 401K loan will be gone freeing me to flee the soul consuming job. Progress is slow but steady.

Now that all three rental units are rented, each house is essentially paying for itself.  I have had one hiccup with one of my tenants, but I’ve taken care of that problem.  All I can say is that if you ever plan on being a landlord, you have to do that whole walk softly and carry a big stick routine.  I was ready to evict one of my tenants at month two of occupancy, but you’ll have to read that story on My Tenant from Hell.  Except for one outrageous ($450) water bill, the bills are falling in line with what I expected. Just think, in another 1.5 years or less, I will own one house free and clear. I also just realized that my car is worth exactly what I owe on my two rental properties.  Sweet, sweet priorities.  Smack me later.

Alright, let’s see if how much, if anything, I made online in September.  Keep in mind that I might have earned it, but I might not yet been paid for it. I am reporting the net amounts here to give you a realistic view of how you too can make money online.  I’m not a genius at it or anything, so you can be much more successful than I am.

Google Adsense How to Kill Bed Bugs: $0.76
Google Adsense Super Secret Niche Site: $68.50
Google Adsense Shirataki Noodles: $0.75
Google Adsense My Tenant From Hell: $0.04
Google Adsense YIAC: $138.27
Private Ads: $341.27
Sponsored Tweets: $6.67
Ad Site #1: $111.00
Ad Site #2: $42
Other stuff: $2.00
Total: $711.22

That’s a pretty good amount.  🙂  I’m hoping to get back to making at least $1,000 each month.  I’m working on building an e-commerce site for a client which should be completed this month. After paying out a few sub-contractors I’m hoping to net $1,000.  We’ll see how it works out.  It’ll be a busy, busy month but who needs sleep?

I participated in a roundtable for a Two Guys And Your Money podcast.  Average Joe and the Other Guy (OG) put out a two guys podcast - October 1 Checkquality show about money every single week.  This week’s roundtable was about the cost of raising a family.  My article entitled Don’t Have Kids If You Can’t Afford Them pushed buttons when I told readers to stop having kids if they were struggling in debt and I brought that same advice on to the show.  It seems as if most of America has taken my advice since birth rates are down for the third straight year in a row. Download the podcast and listen in on your commute.  It’s funny, informative and just damned good. Bonus: when you think that the show is over, let it continue playing.  Shh! Our secret.

Final piece of business.  I’ve been writing this blog for years now and the four of you reading this stuff must be absolutely tired of me by now.   So, starting this month, you will see an occasional post from Nelson, who is runs his own blog called Financial Uproar.  Nelson is smart, funny, and he takes no prisoners.  Plus, it turns out that a full 50% of my readers, that would be two of you, are men!  You must want a man’s opinion on things occasionally.  He’ll balance out my touchy-feely nature and you won’t want to walk away from your computer screen with an urge to wear pink.

If you look all the way up to the top of the blog, you’ll see a writers tab.  There might be the occasional contributor here or there as well.  This doesn’t mean that I’m leaving you!  Not at all.  It just means that writing on the bus is hard and you deserve more frequent articles. Because of these new additions, I’ll be listing my blog expenses beginning next month.  It’s only fair that if I list the blog income, I should list the expenses as well.

As always, feel free to e-mail me at cheapskate@youknowtherest.com!  I read all of your questions and answer them to the best of my abilities.  If I don’t know something then I tap my fellow financial bloggers on their virtual shoulders and ask them to weigh in.

Finally, how many of you are saving while trying to get out of debt? Scroll up a little and take the poll to the right.  I appreciate all four of you for reading.

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18 thoughts on “October 1 Check In

  • Yay — a hefty decrease! Loved the podcast, although it’s almost strange to put voices to your names! Seriously, the podcast was fun and informative.

  • Great job with the online income this month. I don’t make any money yet so it’s always nice to see others who are making money and to hear positive motivation like you give. I sometimes am not sure how worth it would be, but clearly if you put in some effort you can reap the rewards. Keep up the great work. Mr.CBB

  • I missed the whole, “increase my debt by $30,000 to buy a new car post.” I guess I have some archives to dig through to see your justification there.

      • The $33,000 jump in debt was hard to miss and broke my heart.

        The check from the insurance company could have gone toward a reliable used car, or towards a down payment on a more affordable new car. There are great new cars available for far less.

        The money that now goes towards the high end sports car could have been directed at paying down your other debts. Why saddle yourself with extra debts for a luxury item?

        • I know. I know. I know. I lament that every day. But, I let the other half lead the decision. Were it up to me, I would have gotten a much smaller, much, much cheaper car. I don’t drive enough to justify an expensive car. C’est la vie.

  • Love the blog, avid reader. I help run It’s All Tech, not finance based but still trying to make money online via the blog.

  • Sandy, I hate to comment on someone who’s nekkid, because we certainly all have flaws, but it seems like you’re digging yourself deeper into debt instead of digging out of debt. I take your comments about a positive net worth to mean that the assets you have exceed the amount you owe, but the interest on those credit cards must be greater than what you are making from rental properties. It is ridiculous how much credit cards charge and there is no safe investment that can even come close to paying enough to borrow money on credit card to invest. I mean, you can get 18% on your money by just paying off the cards, versus maybe 8% on a rental property.

    Wouldn’t it be better to sell one of the properties to pay off the cards, and then save up cash until you have enough to buy another property?

    • Oh, here I go putting on the clothes. You’re absolutely right, or you would be! I would never advocate borrowing from credit cards to invest with…almost never. I didn’t borrow from my cards to invest. In fact a good amount of what I owed on my cards came from unreimbursed travel expenses (Card #1). Card # 2 has all the costs of my rental renovation plus annual insurance for both homes. Credit card #3 has a student loan that I transferred on the card. I separate church and state making things easy to track for tax purposes. I don’t put daily purchases on a credit card. Ever. That’s what my debit card is for.

      I was pissed about card #1 because my employer takes so long to repay me for travel that I DO end up paying interest. I’m putting that interest right onto that line for job expenses. I’m not paying interest for a company making MILLIONS every day. There I go being disgruntled again. Card #2 would have been paid off had one nasty car accident occurred. Instead I put a good chunk of change down on a new (yes, dammit) car. Oh, and buying a car last month was the reason for a LARGE spike. You can read about that on here somewhere. Where is that link? Oh here. I could pull from savings to pay, card #2, but no, I prefer to have the houses pay for ALL of their expenses without dipping into my teensy emergency fund.

      Finally, I haven’t paid interest on card #3 in three years. 😉 All of my cards have been offering me 0% balance transfers for years and I take advantage of them… as long as a transfer fee is no greater than 1%. So far, my card companies want my business, so they suck it up and drop their fees hoping that I screw up and pay them interest. I had been paying my 7.5% on my student loan and the rate was locked in.

      On to the homes. I’m not looking for short term cash flow/gains. I have a buy and hold strategy and my homes will be paid for within 3.5 years of me owning them. After that I can own them for the rest of my life. I’m hoping to squeeze out at least another 35 years of life and collect rent the entire time.

      Now, back to being nekkid! Hey, if Kate Middleton can be topless in public, I can be nekkid online.

  • It looks like it was a phenomenal month for you Sandy! I really like the way that you break down your debt and how much you are decreasing it by each month!
    I love reading your income reports because it motivates the heck out of me!
    Thanks for the motivation.
    Mike

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