October was a pretty dreadful month, but November turned out much better financially. That’s the thing with self employment, you never know how next month is going to look. I still like it a TON more than working for a mega corporation though.
It is essential to track your income and expenses before you make a big life changing decision like retirement or a career change. You can use Quicken, Personal Capital, or a plain old Excel spreadsheet, but don’t retire without stress testing your monthly cash flow first. There will always be surprises so you also need to keep a bigger cash fund if you’re not working full time anymore.
Income (Target > $4,500; Actual = $6,712)
Mrs. RB40’s paychecks: Back to a regular 2 paycheck month. 🙁
Rental Properties: We were hit with a series of big storms in November and we have gutters and drainage issues. All of these charges will show up in December and will kill our numbers again. November looks OK though.
Online Revenue: $2,500 November 2012 was a great month for the online business. We had a lot of expenses again, but the income was high enough to make everything smell rosy.
- Media.net (CPC ad network): $255. This was for October. The income from CPC should be around $200 from this point on. I’m very happy with that although more would be nice, too.
- Affiliate: $240 from Consumer Track (Quicken Loans and Banks.)
- Affiliate: $24 from How to Engineer Your Layoff.
- Affiliate: $22 from Amazon. This is actually quite pathetic since it’s the payment from January to October 2012.
- Freelance: $2,830. Writing and advertising. It was a crazy November, but we’ll need it to help pay for the rental property repairs.
- Staff writers for new sites: -$160. New sites are slowly gaining traffic. Midlife Finance and Ready To Quit My Job! are starting to bring in a few dollars with Media.net.
- Profit sharing to a partner on another site: -$182. A super secret site that is starting to make a little income.
- Hardware: -$84. A backup drive and a new mouse.
- Forming LLC: -$235. File paperwork with state, paid registered agent, and got a PO Box.
- Amazon CloudFront: -$2. CDN for the blog.
- Support Yakezie network: -$10.
- Future group giveaway: -$10.
- Chief Editor’s pay: -$200.
Dividend & Interest:
- Dividend portfolio: $433. A nice payout month with dividend from T, JPM, and ABT.
- Interest: $47. This is up a bit because I just transferred our cash saving to the new CIT saving account. Their interest rate is 40% higher than ING so you might want to open an account at CIT if you have $25,000 or more to deposit.
P2P Lending: $107. Currently, I’m getting 12.96% ROI from prosper.com. I’m seeing more late payments and defaults, but the ROI is still over 10% so I can’t complain.
Misc.: $348. My parents are visiting right now and my brothers sent $300 to help out in November. Loose coins: $26.65. Chase Freedom Refund: $21.
Expenses (Target < $4,000; Actual = $3,635)
Cash Allowance: -$600. On target.
Transportation: -$56. I drove to Sea-Tac to pick up my dad so we spent a bit more on gas than usual.
Pets: -$20. Just kitty litter this month.
Baby and his grandparents: -$590. I got my parents flight tickets to go see my brothers in the Bay Area. At least I was able to use my Southwest miles for half of it so the whole trip cost around $200 for 2. The rest are food, and also red wine for my dad. A bottle of acceptable red wine is ridiculously expensive in Thailand ($10-$20 in the US) so my dad is drinking as much as he can while he’s here.
Bills: -$304. A bit higher than usual because I purchased minutes for my tracfone.
November Cash Flow
Our expenses are a bit higher than usual this month because we have visitors. It should go down to normal by January. The income was great though and that cured all kind of shortcomings. December will be a pretty tough month again because of the rental property repairs, but we’ll see how it goes.
How about you? Did you have a good month?
If you need some help keeping track of your finances, you should try using Personal Capital to manage your budget. It’s a great free budgeting tool. It can help you keep track of your income, expenses, and net worth, all in one place. Personal Capital is geared for investors and have many great tools. See my review of Personal Capital and how they helped me reduce what I’m paying in investment fees.
For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.
Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.