The "Get Out Of Your Car!" Fund

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Going more Gazelle

So, for the past several months, I've been grazing around in the field like a gazelle with nothing much to worry about. Like a gazelle who knows all of the lions are distracted somewhere else, so they'll be back eventually but not right now.

Well, I know I better intense again. This  won't last forever.

So, I did a check. My current debt total is: 57758 = student loan (45,058), PNC (6700), HOA (6000)

Today I'm raising my level of automatic debt payoffs. Even though the debt is getting paid down, I need to increase the payments. This summer my roommate may decide to move, which means I need to move as well. I may have to get an apartment with regular rent costs. In that case, I will appreciate all of these opportunities to have paid down debt. I'll regret it if I don't.

I've had some recent opportunities to tell people about Dave Ramsey. I share advice and experiences on Facebook Dave Ramsey groups. Wish I could do more.

Monday, February 20, 2017

July review

Youtube is my cable. I have learned to re-love old television shows and even fall in love with some new ones. I recently watched Diagnosis Murder and the Beverly Hillbillies. Those shows are great! I want to watch more.

Here's something I found out about budgeting last summer that I never posted:

When my monthly bills change drastically, it's better to budget weekly or biweekly. That helps keep up with the fluctuations.

When everything is smooth sailing, then I can budget monthly.

While I was renting a basement, my budget was the same every month, so I didn't pay attention to it much. I just stuck with the budget.

During the summer, I started budgeting again because of the changes in rent, storage fees, and not making car payments to myself but instead paying extra money back on debt again.

Now that I'm renting a room again, I find myself not using Everydollar consistently. I just fill the envelopes, let the bills get paid automatically, and even the debt is on auto-pilot.

Here's a blessing: I noticed in December that my envelopes are getting rather full of money that is not being spent. That's because I'm cooking more at home and carrying lunches to work (my lunches this week amount to $2/day!), and also because my commute to and from work is shorter than it was a year ago. I'm going to make a bank deposit and put that cash back into the bank. Then I'm reducing the amount called for on my envelopes.

Food dropped from $100 a week to $75 a week to now $50 a week.

Gas dropped from $40 a week to $30 a week.

scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, and my money

Happy New Year.

I’m excited.
2017 is going to be a good year. I will achieve more goals than ever before. How do I know? Because I slow-cooked scrambled eggs, tofu skins, and a sweet potato today and they turned out really well.


Yeah, so here's the thing. 

I like to experiment in the kitchen, but I don't like foods that take a long time. Transferred to other areas of life, I don't like saving goals because they take so long to complete. I don't like waiting for a good real estate deal to come around. When I have an idea of something new to try in the classroom, I like to try it the next day - not inform my teaching assistants, wait for them to think about it, put it on next week's lesson plan, etc. I don't like waiting. 

However, getting out of debt has helped me develop the discipline to wait. It pours over into other areas of my life - like my cooking today. I cooked the eggs on a lower heat than usual. Sometimes I microwave my sweet potatoes. They don't taste as good as baked, but they get done faster. Today I let that baby slow roast in that oven. I also cooked tofu skins for the first time, and let them simmer not according to any clock time set by the recipe, but until they looked done. 

So, 2017 will be a good year because I have more patience. 

I started looking at real estate deals this past week. I found a house that looked like a good deal on Thursday night. Friday afternoon I checked and it had been delisted. I didn't freak out. More good deals will come, I said. 

On a more practical note, I rejoined MAREIA and WREIA, local real estate investing clubs, and put their upcoming classes on my calendar. I signed up for a Chinese language meetup. I signed up for 2 hikes this month. I signed up with MyHouseDeals. 

Update on finances: The house is ready to be moved into with new appliances, floors, window, roof, electrical wiring, retaining wall, bathroom toilet and vanity, kitchen cabinets, paint. Whew! That’s a mouthful. What hasn’t been done? As you can see by the amount of work done, that’s why it took 3 years to complete when you’re cash flowing it and you’re not rich. The estimated cost is $30K. Final touches include siding on the outside and gutters.

Last debts are a line of credit, money owed to an HOA, and a student loan. I expect to pay them in that order. I’m knocking out the LOC by paying weekly instead of monthly and I’m paying double the minimum amount.  

Not only am I NOT livinginmyhonda anymore, but it doesn't look like I'll be doing that anymore since I have Jefferson back with me. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review of 2016 and new goals for 2017

So, I looked at my goals for 2016 and, yeah, I knew I had way too many goals back then. But here was my thinking: If you have a lot of goals, then surely you can achieve 25% of them by the end of the year and feel good about yourself. I was throwing mud. If you throw mud at the wall, some of it will stick. 

So, here are some of the goals Jesus and I achieved in 2016. 
MENTAL - We read 9 books, watched 9 movies, and listened to numerous TED talks. 

FINANCIAL - We cash-flowed about $15K on house repairs. We gave more regularly. 

CAREER - We videotaped  ourselves teaching 6 times this year. 

PHYSICAL - We drank 96 bottles of water. We ate a salad an average of once a week. We took up hiking and kayaking, and we went swimming and improved our strokes this summer. 

SPIRITUAL - We wrote 3 prayers this year and used one of them to pray more regularly. 

RELATIONSHIPS - We kept in contact with specific friends more regularly through email and texting. 

Instead of listing all of my goals for 2017, I decided to just link to the goals I posted on 2 Deals A Year. Here's the link.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Cousin Rina diied. I need to update my will.

Christmas break started Thursday, December 22. I started off very productive – with a visit to the dental office. Then I began blogging. Sweet.

I expected to declutter my room and storage and really make progress on my side hustle during this 10-day break. Then, sadly, Murphy (you know, the creator of Murphy’s law) came to visit.

What happened was my cousin, Rina, was found dead in her apartment on Thursday afternoon. Congestive heart failure due to pneumonia. Early 40s. Completely unexpected.

So, now I’m helping to pack up her apartment and that got me thinking about my own state of affairs.
I haven’t finished my will. Well, it’s written but not notarized or filed with any attorney. I don’t have a health directive completed. I have asked my aunt to be in charge of my affairs after I die, and I’ve notified my mother that I asked my aunt to do that. However, if it’s not on paper, it didn’t happen. That’s the legal rule of life.

So, today, I’m decluttering my room for a few hours before I return to Rina’s apartment to help pack up hers. I want to have less stuff so that when I go, it will be easy on people. That’s no reflection on Rina, her life seemed very simple and it’s been easy to pack up so far.

However, I have boxes and boxes of books and papers. Sometimes an important piece of paper is mixed in with all the memoirs, old teaching materials, etc. So I need to filter that stuff so family won’t have to throw away something important by accident, or worry that they did.

Fortunately, my financial papers are the one bright spot in my paper-life. Well organized and recognizable.

So, this Christmas eve, I urge you to do like me. Declutter your space and finish your end-of-life documents. Help out those who will be left to finish the job after you. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Re-branding my blog

I'm a little confused and disappointed. It appears that the way to make money online is by telling other people how to make money online. I've looked at so many other bloggers' videos and webpages and blogs. Most of them that make money seem to do it by telling people how to make money.

I'm left wondering, so what did you sell? Video games? Jewelry? Comic books? Did you make $10,000 selling ebooks about automobiles, or your travels, or what its like raising twins? No. The top bloggers are internet marketers, podcasters (discussing how to be a good podcaster), site builders, seo specialists, people telling about how to be an entrepreneur but it seems like they failed until they started the entrepreneur-teaching business. They are business consultants and salespeople. 80 percent of bloggers go right back to "you pay because I'm telling you how to make money."

I wanted to think i would make money just telling people how to get out of debt and selling pet products on line. Naw.

I'm flexible though. I decided if the market wants to know how to blog, setup websites, etc and that's how I will make money, well, I can rehash the information that I've learned and sell it. That sounded dull though. ten I realized I can teach people how to invest in real estate. There's a demand for that.

Then I came across Yaro Starak and he is very honest. He talks about the "Make Money Online" phenomenon. Since he's in the same field of interent marketing, he showcases his students' successs stories to show that his method of blogging works. He also doesn't believe in being on every social media. he believss in targeting a few well-chosen customers and not eveyrbody in the world.

My kind of guy.

So, it's been 9 weeks and I'm glad to say I've been faithful at blogging once a week. I have 750 Twitter followers. I also have 17 pages of a book written on real estate investing for beginners.

I rewrote the vision, mission, title, and tagline. I have an idea for a logo.

It's going to be a whole new website, but it's a topic I've been interested in for more than 10 years.

I look forward to continue working on this side hustle and I feel even more hopeful that I'll see income in 6 months and not 6 years.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Richer With Pets going strong after 4 weeks

I'm still excited.

I just ended week 4 of my new blog

I conducted 3 t-shirt campaigns, none of which earned moolah.
I have 3 posts up, which have each been revised at least 5 times.
I have a total of about 125 likes/followers on Facebook and Twitter.
I have an elevator pitch, 3 taglines (haven't settled on one yet), and an editorial calendar of upcoming posts.
I've spent about $250 on ads, t-shirt designs, and the website/email.

I have the opportunity to host an after-school science club or tutor. I may tutor, but I'm seriously thinking of turning down the after-school club so that I can focus on RWP.

I'm excited about the possibilities of what to do with this site and where it could go. I have to setup a store with products and focus on selling products. I don't want writings to be the  main source of income because the Internet is so full of personal finance blogs and an almost infinite supply of writings.