Monday, December 31, 2012

12/31/2012 - Monthly Financial Breakdown

The Sixth Unemployed Monthly Financial Breakdown. **Holiday Edition**

Well, another month has passed and this means I need to do a financial breakdown. This past month went fairly well despite it being a gift giving holiday...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 12/1/2012 through 12/31/2012 I get -$978 :-( A rough calculation would put my yearly expenses at $1176. I was over the 11K mark due to having to purchase a flight to NJ for a funeral (this added $321 to monthly budget)

Regular Food costs: -$75 or -$19 per week (Normal)
Fun Food Costs:  -$14 or -$0 per week (Breakfast in NJ and  some beer)
Fuel: -$39 or -$10 per week (basically didn't drive much past month)
Van: -$33 (All for projects for the Mini )
Travel: -$471 or -$0 per week (paying monthly for Caribbean trip in January and Flight to NJ)
Insurance: -$160  per month   (Reduced Van Insurance and health insurance)
Clothing: -$0 (Nothing new in December)
Misc: -$79 (Eye Exam, movie tickets, misc parts at home depot)
Mailbox:  -$15
Gifts: -$80 (Half of this was a part for our Refrigerator which was my gift to my father)

Things that were not necessary this past month: The Funeral flight, the car projects, the monthly payments on the Caribbean trip, the movie tickets.  This brings my luxury expenses to $568 and necessary to $420 Yikes!! Without the luxury for this month, my yearly is at $5040... :)

Ok, clean out the unusual stuff and do a monthly for the rest
Regular Food and fuel: -$200
Mailbox only:  -$15
Insurance: -$160 
Clothes: -$0
Van:  -$50 (minor maintenance next month)
Fun: -$25 (very reasonable)
Yearly expense estimate with the new numbers: $5400

Estimated to be under my 11k mark again.

Another Unemployed month but my expenses increased from last month. I was expecting it to be about the same since I didn't do much but the holiday expenses spiked my totals plus the extra flight expense. I have some auto expenses coming up but I am determined to figure out why the van runs weird when warm.

I am not optimistic about next month's expense sheet, while the Christmas holiday has passed, there is a two week carribean vacation approaching and I do not know what my share of the boat expenses are. I plan on not drinking on the boat to avoid that cost. Most of the sailors drink way more then I do and also drink wine, which I dont. I do not think it will be fair for me to lightly drink a few beers and then have to split the bill with the rest of the crew.

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 46.23%. Previous Monthly Financial post here

Current level is now estimated at 47.63%

Progress at a snail's pace, My plan for January 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. Waiting for the Cliff to be resolved, until then I will just have to wait it out
Best of luck in your travels in the new year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The end is nigh!

Thats right, I am one of those people who uses the word, "nigh"

As the end of the 2012 calender approaches, I sit and ponder over all that has happened in the past year. All I can say is that it has been a rough year and I hope that 2013 is a whole lot nicer.
I think the icing on the cake was having to go to a funeral on chrismas eve, but then again there were three funerals in the last two months. Two of old age and one suicide.

My plans for the new year:
  • Start it off right by going on a tropical vacation in the British Virgin Islands for two weeks in January.
  • Drink more Tea (existing stock pile should last a few months)
  • Rearrange financial portfolio to increase monthly income
  • Get rid of/sell more stuff
  • Figure out what is bothering the van and improve running condition
    • currently building a gauge to monitor Oxygen Sensor voltages (will post when done)
  • Finish Mini projects and add to Mini site
  • Read more books so I can get rid of the ones on my bookshelf
  • I suppose more money would be nice
  • More fun with my camera - I received some macro filters and need to figure them out
  • ??
That is it for now. I will update if I can think of anything else.

Hope everyone enjoys their new year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Reducing expenses

Today I dropped my expenses by a small amount.
I will probably stick it out through the winter in CO and since I don't have a regular job I decided to reduce my insurance premium on the van. I had it higher due to the location I was in and to also ensure that I was well covered but now that I don't need to drive much and am no longer in lots of traffic, I no longer need it. The drop in my premium was approx 40% or $250 a year. If I am ever in a situation that requires the higher insurance, then I will raise it again. I pay my insurance in 6 month increments because it saves me the extra monthly charge fee, or "convenience" that gets added on.

This drop would be equal to an extra ~$1500-2000 in invested dollars paying a dividend.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Suddenly winter

Monday I was riding a bike to radioshack, today it is snowing. Mother nature is a procrastinator, seriously, the first major snow of the season on Dec 19th...wtf...
The weather has been so nice this fall that I thought that it was never going to snow.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

An Interview I did...

The lateness of this post is inexcusable considering the one I am referring to was posted on the 28th of August.

My friend Wayne did an interview of me for his blog,
http://boxerswaps.blogspot.com/2012/08/team-van-life.html

His blog is part of a site designed to help vanagon owners with their engine conversion with subaru motors. They do nice work and show how easy it is. www.boxerswaps.com 

Anyway, check out the interview and the rest of the site. BTW, the sunglasses I am wearing were found in the van to my left. We were scavenging in a VW junkyard for parts for both our vans when I saw the shades.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Déjà vu

For the second time in my life I am witnessing the demise of yet another electronica/dance/techno radio station. The first was 102.1 when I was in high school and now it seems that 107.1 is going to change as well. Currently they are in "stunting" mode but it only signals the beginning of the end for what I thought was a most promising radio station.

The first station, 102.1, came at a time when most electronica/dance/techno music existed in a sort of underground scene where you had to know where to go to find it. The popular music at the time consisted of boy bands, aging artists producing experimental stuff and grunge bands. People had no idea what a bass drop, dubstep, or techno was. Before the station existed, I used to stay up past 11pm on weekdays just to listen to an hour long set on 93.3 simply called "Eleven" (which has also changed formats to just a three hour set on thursdays) The radio station played great stuff and a lot of the airtime was commerical free. Instead of having to hunt for the music or go to a club, they made it available all day long and exposed the music to the masses (although the broadcast signal was somewhat weak and spotty due to location of their signal tower). I made many tape recordings of their hour long sets but one day their format flipped. There was no warning or announcement, it just happened, literally mid-hour to become a country station. It was heartbreaking and I mourned the loss. I never expected another station like it to exist in Denver again.

Fast forward to today. The tapes are all worn out but the music has become popular enough to attract mainstream attention. It started out with small bits and pieces inserted into new artists songs but eventually it breached the pop songs top 10 lists. Suddenly people were listening to music that was kinda like what I had listened to and were talking about it. Thanks to the internet, you could find whatever type of music you wanted to hear and listen all day long. Life was good again for the music that I enjoyed and my return to the Denver area brought with it a nice surprise of a new radio station broadcasting something similar to the old 102.1 (including similar broadcasting signal weaknesses). It was more club dance then I would have liked but there were many other songs and sets to make up for it. Between pandora and this new radio station, I had more then enough music to listen to but good things never last and on Nov. 30th. things changed. I hope that the stunt mode will end soon and it returns to what it was but I know in my heart that it wont. Stunt mode is just a cover up for changing formats or firing people, the station stunts long enough to for people to forget their favorite DJs and what the station was like. Once that happens, the stunt cover comes off and they reveal the "old" station or something entirely new but either way it is bad news.

edit update: The station was sold to another company that used to operate a station in Denver and it has reverted to the new owner's old format which is as crappy as it was when they pulled out of the Denver area.