Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1/31/2012 - Monthly Financial Breakdown

Well, another month has passed and this means I need to do a financial breakdown. I can clearly see that I have problems with eating out with friends. 

Previous Monthly Financial Breakdown post here

If I sum up total expenses from 1/1/2012 through 1/31/2012 I get -$1326
A rough calculation would put my yearly expenses at $15,919. :( not even close
lets take a closer look.

Regular Food costs: -$51 or -$13 per week (Normal to low)
Fun Food Costs:  -$463 or -$115 per week (High - I paid for several expensive dinners with friends)
Fuel: -$88 or -$22 per week (includes a trip and driving around Denver)
Van: -$323 (Floor mats, sensors, light bulbs, propane, etc...)
Travel: -$341 (Parking cost for ski trip at airport lot, fuel for trip, purchased another flight for March wedding)
Insurance: -$50 per month   (I pay in 6mo intervals to reduce the premium but still counted as monthly)
Clothing: -$0 (Nothing new in January,  The awesome knitted red merino wool hat served me well for the ski trip)
Misc: -$24 (Purchased Tea and Fireworks)
Storage:  -$32   (plus a sunk cost of 15 per month for mailbox)
Gifts: -$36 (Pandora subscription for friend)


Things that were not necessary this past month: Most of this past month's unnecessary expenses are related to travel, fun food and fuel., and unnecessary van parts.  Purchased another ticket to fly back home for a wedding in March plus parking fees and fuel, $341.  The fun food expenses were all eating out with friends, I paid for several of them, $383...ouch. The floor mats were not necessary $80 but I enjoy them a lot but the oxygen sensor, coolant sensor and light bulbs were needed. This brings my luxury expenses to $804 and necessary to $522 Yikes!! Without the luxury, my yearly is at $6264... :)

Ok,  clean out the unusual stuff and do a monthly for the rest
Food and fuel: -$350 (I don’t have any long distance driving trips planned for next month other than to the airport for my wedding flight)
Storage and box:  -$47
Insurance: -$50 
Clothes: -$100 (Assuming another smartwool shirt and misc)
Van:  -$50 (I don't anticipate any large projects for next month, revised down)
Fun: -$400 (number held constant, upcoming wedding trip will incur dinner expenses, parking fees, etc...)
Yearly expense estimate with the new numbers: $11964
I know there is a $400 expense for next month, it is the remainder of the ski trip costs that I have to pay for. 

Unhappy to see an increase over my 11k mark again and still disturbed by fun expenses. The food for friends are what killed this month's budget but I can hardly be angry about it because it was really fun. 

I am optimistic about next month's expense sheet, should be interesting and depressing to see exactly what a an almost normal month will look like. 

Note:Gave away a few items; Ikea chair is gone and am working on getting rid of a end table and car cleaning kit. Working on getting rid of mattress and vacuum.

Here is the status of my dividend income: I have a running total of yearly expenses which I base my numbers off of so if my monthly goes up my dividend income against it decreases in value.
Since I re-aligned my investment strategy I've been putting extra cash into dividend paying stocks and other investment opportunities. More progress mainly because of the "extra" paycheck at the end of December. Last post it was at 9%.

Previous Monthly Financial Breakdown post here

Current level is now estimated at 16.6% (All Q4 Dividends have been received)

Progress at a snail's pace but improving, My plan for February and the rest of the year is to push hard on dividend stocks and trim expenses. I also want to find additional employment for weekends. Such slow progress, the market has not been very favorable to me either. Currently in the red but many are improving, I am still optimistic for 2012.

Monday, January 30, 2012

1/30 - Weekend Update

Fan resistor is installed and appears to be operating correctly.
New brake light bulbs installed, need to replace the pressure switches. Will flush the brake system fluids when I do the switches, probably will happen mid February on a three day weekend.
Coolant sensor installed, seems to be working although I have no way of verifying any improvements to how it runs. Maybe some mpg increases would be an indicator. Still need to replace O2 sensor.
I replaced both headlight bulbs, one went out last week so now I have a good used spare. I also cleaned up the side marker units, corrosion was preventing the bulbs from working correctly.

Ran 11 miles on sunday, once again my left knee is hurting along with the rest of the joints below my hips. Need to get sports drink mix and gels to survive beyond 10 miles.

Tomorrow I'll post the financial update, should be painful.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sunset Van

Ive been spending time cleaning up photos and organizing. Here is a shot from the road trip from Denver to Houston. I had just purchased it and this was the return trip, I am somewhere in New Mexico.

Monday, January 23, 2012

1/23 - Weekend Update - Half Marathon

This past weekend was a rather interesting one. Such luxury to be parking at the same location each evening and weekend. I fully enjoyed the use of a nearby wifi hotspot and also plugged into the house for power for the laptop.
I was able to pull the fridge out and put sealant on the lpg line that runs to the small box at the back of the fridge. I believe that this was the small leak that I had as I have not been smelling any propane since doing this project but I also tightened up the stove fittings and replaced the shaft on the middle burner for the stove just in-case these were the leak sources.
 
My new rubber floor mats arrived and they are sweet! So nice to be able to simply shake the rocks out instead of worrying about getting my clean carpet dirty and greasy.

I attempted to install the fan resistor but ran into problems, the new resistor comes with a different type of plug and I needed to swap the connectors from the old resistor, I will attempt to install again after work and hopefully have a fully functional fan unit. Without the fan resistor the fan can only run at high speed.

The oxygen sensor will need some serious torque to get out, I tried without success to get it out on friday. Either I go and purchase an oxygen sensor socket or large wrench and try again or I take the van to a shop and pay them to install my new sensor. The latter is getting more and more appealing each time I think about it. I will try to do the coolant sensor this week.

I also need to install the used front rubber bumper trim piece, I know this was a silly purchase but it will make the van more presentable from its front view.

Need to order two brake light switches, the lights hardly work and only come on under very hard braking.

Fun things this past weekend:
Trip to St. Arnolds Brewery for the Saturday tasting. This was followed up by watching The Kings Speech which was followed up with an evening of games at a friends place.

Sunday I ran an impromptu Half Marathon (13.1 miles) - It nearly destroyed me but the rest of the runners seemed to be unfazed by the trip. I need to do a lot more training if I am to survive the full marathon in May. I also need to figure out what part of my stride is stressing out my knees as they were preventing me from keeping up a good pace after mile 9.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I have returned from my last vacation for a while

The ski trip was a lot of fun and I definitely enjoyed using the hot tub every day. Sadly the first half of the year does not have any useable holidays to take vacations, at least not until memorial day in May. Being separated from the people I love is the hardest part of "working" in Houston.

Update on parking situation: I have my "for sale house" spot again, the contract was terminated just before Christmas and the owners asked if I wanted to stay there again and watch over it. Naturally I agreed, it is so nice to be able to park in the same spot at night.
I have already started planning some van projects like replacing the oxygen sensor, coolant sensor, and bleeding/adjusting the brake system. I've also ordered some floor mats and a new fan resistor. If I am feeling ambitious I could get all this stuff done by Sunday. If the house has an electrical outlet I might even vacuum the interior out before installing the floor mats.

Propane ran out again after having only the fridge running continuously since the 28th. 19days is the longest it has ever run for but I am glad that it has run out. I need to put some sealant on the hose fittings for the stove and fridge as there seems to be a slight leak.

I need to do an inventory of all the stuff in the van, There are a lot of unneeded items cluttering up what little space I have. Maybe I can get some photos of either the ski trip or my progress with the van posted.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12/31 - Monthly Financial Breakdown

Well, another month has passed and this means I need to do a financial breakdown. Ugh, the holidays are expensive, I am almost afraid to look at the numbers. Some modifications to the breakdown to better suit my spending patterns

Previous Monthly Financial Breakdown post here

If I sum up total expenses from 12/1 through 12/31 I get -$1455*
A rough calculation would put my yearly expenses at $17,460. :(
lets take a closer look.

Regular Food costs: -$62 or -$15 per week (Low due to holiday travel)
Fun Food Costs:  -$126 or -$32 per week (High due to holiday travel and also no cooking abilities for another week)
Fuel: -$182 or -$45 per week (includes a trip and driving around Denver)
Leftover Renting Expenses: -$0 (Nothing to speak of here but keeping category just in-case)
Van: -$14 (installation tool for propane valve and filling up the tank)
Insurance: -$50 per month   (I pay in 6mo intervals to reduce the premium but still counted as monthly)
Clothing: -$0 (Nothing new in December, I did receive new clothes as gifts including some more smartwool socks and an awesome knitted red merino wool hat)
Misc: -$100 (Purchased new guitar strings and picks and camera stuff)
Storage:  -$32   (plus a sunk cost of 15 per month for mailbox)
Gifts: -$372 (half of this is the cost of a 2TB external hard drive to back up parents computer)
*Insurance: -$500 (I paid for a year's worth of insurance on the Mini, cheaper to have it on my father's plan)

Things that were not necessary this past month: Most of this past month's unnecessary expenses are related to holiday travel, fun food and fuel., and gifts.  The guitar strings and camera accessories were also unnecessary. The gifts and insurance killed me this month at $873. The fun food expenses were all eating out with friends, so $126. This brings my luxury expenses to $1000 and necessary to $456 Yikes!! Without the luxury, my yearly is at $5472... :)

Ok,  clean out the unusual stuff and do a monthly for the rest
Food and fuel: -$350 (I don’t have any long distance driving trips planned for next month other than to the airport for my Ski Trip flight)
Storage and box:  -$47
Insurance: -$50 
Clothes: -$100 (Assuming another smartwool shirt and misc)
Van:  -$50 (I don't anticipate any large projects for next month, revised down)
Fun: -$400 (number significantly revised upwards, Upcoming Ski Trip will incur dinner expenses, parking fees, etc...)
Yearly expense estimate with the new numbers: $11964

Unhappy to see an increase over my 11k mark and still disturbed by fun expenses. The gifts are what killed this month's budget. Yes, the fun food was high but not as bad as I thought.

I dread next month's expense sheet, should be interesting and depressing to see exactly what a Ski Trip costs. 

Note:Gave away a few items; Vacuum pump that I never used.

Here is the status of my dividend income:
Since I re-aligned my investment strategy I've been putting extra cash into dividend paying stocks and other investment opportunities. I started out by doing a broad overview of what I had in a previous post and now it is time to put up my progress. Last post it was at 9%.

Previous Monthly Financial Breakdown post here

Current level is now estimated at 11.8% (Still pending the actual dividend payments at the end of Q4)

Progress at a snail's pace, I've bumped up my emergency fund and am holding a paycheck to cover the ski trip expenses, this was easy as December has three paychecks in it. My plan for January and the rest of the year is to push hard on dividend stocks and trim expenses. I also want to find additional employment for weekends. Such slow progress, the market has not been very favorable to me either. Currently in the red on almost everything I own but am still optimistic for 2012.