Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What the heck has Darren been doing?

You might be asking yourself this question if you have been following my blog. It is a perfectly reasonable question to ask considering the lack of posts. I apologize for the lack of details but I will try to explain in this post. Ever since I resigned from my job and moved back to CO to sort out my life, I have not spent much time working with the van or trying to simplify my life. I've been sort of living in the moment if you will.

Speaking of living, I am currently sitting in a hospital room watching over a friend who is about to have surgery. One moment life is going well, and then, in the next, you end up in the hospital waiting for surgery. Edit: Surgery went well and friend is recovering nicely.

Well, first off, I've resumed wearing a watch but I had to swap to my back-up watch because the primary one started randomly resetting itself. I still lose track of what day it is but I feel more productive with it on, also I've been putting more things (festivals, events, etc...) onto my google calender in an attempt to break up the monotony of dealing with my stuff and fixing things.

More boat life but I did a trip to Aspen to hike up to Conundrum Hot Springs. Super cool spot to camp out and hang out at. A hot spring pool at 12000 ft surrounded by rocky peaks is simply amazing. The hike up to it is intense, next time I do it I will only bring a water purifier instead of carrying in tons of water. I would prefer to bring a lighter tent too.

One 14er hike up Mt. Elbert which is the highest peak in CO. Surprisingly, the highest peak was the easiest one to do. A 2 hr hike up and 1.5hr back. I was able to maneuver the van up the rough dirt road and camp out at the trailhead. Off-roading with the van is so much fun and the accommodations are perfect. If I want to camp I can do so but I will always return to the van knowing that I can have a good night sleep.

I've spent time driving my classic mini around the mountains along the peak-to-peak highway. The big annual british car show was mid-september. I spent a week prior to it assembling a friend's mini and then had to detail my car for the show (clay bar, polish, wax, treat trim, etc..).

Last week I was in Colorado Springs enjoying the town and the Garden of the Gods. Lots of good food and cool sights. It is a microcosm of interesting people.

Other then the trips to and from the mountains I have not done anything to it. There is no power to climb hills. I had to take Loveland Pass instead of climbing through the tunnel because my top speed up the switch backs was 30mph in first gear. I had a similar top speed going up to Leadville. At their altitude, 10200ft, my top speed was 55mph on the flats.

I need to do something about this lack of power because it is keeping me from really enjoying the van. I can fix the issue by installing some new stock engine cylinders and rings to bring the van back to stock performance.
I could do a subaru power swap or an I4 VW engine swap....drool....1.8t audi turbo engine with gobs of power sounds about right to me. Sadly the engine swaps are too pricy and more work then I am willing to do right now.

lets see, what else have I been doing. Fixing/riding my bike and getting rid of stuff.
I have so much stuff it is unbelievable.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

8/31/2012 - Monthly Financial Breakdown

The second Unemployed Monthly Financial Breakdown.

Well, another month has passed and this means I need to do a financial breakdown. This past month went extremely well...Lets see how well it went. How much is Van dwelling in my VW Westfalia saving or costing me?

Previous Monthly Financial post here

If I sum up total expenses from 8/1/2012 through 8/31/2012 I get -$588 :-)
A rough calculation would put my yearly expenses at $7056. :)  Yeay, I did it again! another sub 1K month!!

Regular Food costs: -$86 or -$28 per week (Normal)
Fun Food Costs:  -$4 or -$ per week (Very low)
Fuel: -$160 or -$53 per week (all Trip related)
Van: -$92 (Paint for Mini)
Travel: -$0 (zip)
Insurance: -$170  per month   (Van Insurance and health insurance)
Clothing: -$0 (Nothing new in July)
Misc: -$126 (Concert ticket and Home Depot)
Mailbox:  -$15
Gifts: -$0 (zip)

Things that were not necessary this past month: Travel, fun food, and van expenses.
The fun food expenses were eating out with friends. This brings my luxury expenses to $120 and necessary to $369 Yikes!! Without the luxury, my yearly is at $4434... :)

Ok, clean out the unusual stuff and do a monthly for the rest
Regular Food and fuel: -$400
Mailbox only:  -$15
Insurance: -$170 
Clothes: -$0
Van:  -$100 (I don't anticipate any large projects for next month)
Fun: -$200 (I need to watch my fun costs)
Yearly expense estimate with the new numbers: $10620

Under my 11k mark again but things must change quite rapidly in the next month if I am to maintain my unemployment.

Another Unemployed month but my expenses stayed about the same as last month. I was expecting a bit less but the misc expenses killed me, especially the paint for the mini. 

I am optimistic about next month's expense sheet, should be interesting to see exactly what is going to happen.

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.

 Last post it was at 35.14%. Previous Monthly Financial post here

Current level is now estimated at 35.14%
Note: I did not purchase any more stock this month.

Progress at a snail's pace but improving, My plan for September and the rest of the year is to put any spare cash that I receive into dividend stocks and trim expenses. Such slow progress and the market has not been very favorable. Currently in the red on several stocks but many are improving, I am still optimistic though.