March Income – $5554.56

Here is a breakdown of my income for March.

Interest $6.51
Amazon FBA ($58.48)
Job $5719.42
Bank Bonus $125
Cashback $111.30
Dividends $19.21
Online ($368.40)
Total $5554.56

March was another great month for income. Although there were no tax refunds in March, I did have three paydays which gave a significant boost to my income. I also worked a little more overtime and upped my 401k contribution percentage to boost my pay a little.

There were two negative sources of income for the month. I didn’t have any Amazon FBA sales and I had one FBA return resulting in a loss for the month. I’m not doing too well with FBA so far this year. I’m only up about $9. That is not a very good return on my time invested. I should make at least a little from FBA this month. Amazon damaged one of my items and they should reimburse me for the item before the end of the month. I’m also going to send in a small shipment of items to sell.

My big negative income was my online income. I haven’t made any online income this year, but I have had expenses. I paid Bluehost (aff link)for three years of hosting. I considered transferring my hosting back to (aff link) Hostgator (my hosting provider before Bluehost) to get their introductory pricing, but ultimately decided I didn’t want to go through the ordeal of switching hosting providers.

I also transferred a domain name from GoDaddy to Namecheap and renewed the name for a year. Namecheap (aff link) is a little cheaper than GoDaddy and doesn’t charge extra to keep Whois information private so I plan to eventually transfer all my domain names to them.

I will make some online income this month. I will get paid by Adsense and I might get an affiliate commission as well.  Maybe if some people sign up through the hosting or domain name affiliate links in this post I might make it to positive income territory in the next couple of months.

My dividend income increased slightly for the month.  I only added $100 to my dividend portfolio in March since I’m saving for my Thailand trip. I did reinvest some dividends in more stock as well.  Before the year is out I should have enough monthly dividend income to pay my phone bill.

I made $125 from a bank  bonus. There won’t be any more bank bonuses for the next few months since they are difficult for me to manage when I’m out of the country and don’t have a check to direct deposit to qualify for the bonus. Some people make thousands each year from bank bonuses. That might be difficult for me to do since I don’t have the cash flow that they do, but making $1000 might be possible. I’ll pursue more bank bonuses once I return from Thailand.

I did great on cash back for the month. I had $57 of cashback from my Fidelity card automatically deposited into my IRA that I wasn’t even expecting so that was a nice surprise. I also had cash back from another credit card and two shopping portals. All the little sources of cash back add up to a helpful  bit of income.

April’s income will be quite a bit less since I’ll only have two paychecks and the second one won’t be for a full pay period. Income should still be quite a bit more than expenses so I can’t complain.

How was your month?

February Income – $6196.95

Here is a breakdown of my income for February.

Interest $1.78
Amazon FBA $67.26
Job $2850.96
Bank/Investment Bonus $202.67
Cashback $56.54
Dividends $14.07
Dietbet $35.67
Tax Refunds $2968.00
Total $6196.95

February’s income was great. I doubt I will have a better earning month this year.

My income was almost doubled by the almost $3000 of state and federal tax refunds I received. When you only work part of the year, they withhold way too much from your paycheck.  I suppose I should change my withholding, but I probably won’t bother.

My dividend income increased slightly for the month.  I’m going to keep investing in dividend stocks to keep increasing my dividend income. My investments will be limited the next few months due to needing to bulk up my cash savings to fund my Spring Thailand trip.

I worked full-time at my tax job for all of February. I received two full paychecks which was good. This month will be even better since I’ll have three paydays. Also, I have been authorized to work some overtime hours which will help increase the paydays.

I made a little bit from Amazon. I haven’t felt like sourcing on my days off so I don’t have much for sale right now. This total would have been a lot better if I wouldn’t have had a $200 item returned. You got to take the good with the bad on Amazon.  I also made a little bit from eBay which I forgot to add to this income total.

I made over $200 from a bank account and investment account bonus. I think bank bonuses give me the highest return for my time invested. I should really do more of them.

I won $35.67 from Dietbet by participating in three diet bets. I bet a total of $155 and the bet only lasted a month so that is a really good return on my money. I won’t be doing more of these for a while though because I found it quite difficult to lose the needed weight.  I’d rather be able to eat whatever I want for right now. I’ll worry about losing weight when I am in Thailand. It is much easier for me to lose weight there.

Even with the three paydays this month’s income will be quite a bit lower than February’s income. It will still be a good income month and I should have a good shot at making at least $5000.

How was your month?

I Saved 47.4% of $37k Income in 2018

I didn’t quite reach a 50% saving rate in 2018. I’m still quite pleased with the rate I was able to achieve. If it weren’t for over $4000 of medical and dental bills plus 2 1/2 months in Thailand where I earned almost nothing I would have easily saved over 50% of my income. I think a 47.4% saving rate is pretty decent for my level of income.

Last year was my first year of what I’m calling my semi-retirement. I worked roughly 7 months and had about 5 months off. I consider the first year of semi-retirement a success since I was able to save a big chunk of my income while having several months off and trying out living in Thailand. My semi-retirement plan is to work my tax job during the tax season and then work a couple of document review projects to boost my income when the projects fit into my travel schedule. I’ll continue the semi-retirement plan until I have enough money to completely retire or find something I like to do that makes sufficient money for me to live and travel. I might write a separate post about semi-retirement later. For now, I want to get back to the actual subject of this post.

My savings in 2018 consisted of $6500 to my IRA and $11499 to my work 401k. My income from jobs and net self-employment earnings was $37962. I also contributed $400 to my solo 401k and invested about $2700 in dividend stocks. I’m not counting the solo 401k or stocks in savings since they were offset by some credit card debt.

This year I will likely have a much lower income. My income was significantly boosted last year by working lots of overtime during the tax season. I don’t think there will be nearly as much overtime available to me this year. With the reduced income it will be quite difficult to match my 2018 saving rate this year. I do think I will be able to reduce my expenses a fair bit this year so it might not be impossible for me to save that much. If I get close to saving as much money this year as I did last year I will be happy.

December Income – $1810.41

Here is a breakdown of my income for December.

Interest $5.10
Amazon FBA $145.28
Job $1437.71
Mystery Shops $4.84
Uber $11.19
Dividends $12.69
Online Income $193.6
Total $1810.41

December’s income was decent. The income was mostly from a couple weeks pay from a document review project. I did make a little from other sources. Job income remains my biggest source of income. I’ve got a long way to go before I can pay my expenses from non-job income.

Online income did finally come back a little. This blog didn’t make a lot of money last year. I’d like to change that this year.

My dividend income reached double digits for the first time. A lot of my stocks paid dividends in December. Not as many pay dividends in January so the dividend income will be down this month. I’m purchasing more dividend stocks as I have extra money to invest. At my current rate it will take a long time before I can go from double digits to triple digits.

I have started my tax job.  With the way the paychecks fall I will only get one paycheck from them this month. I also will have three day’s pay from the document review project. That should result in this month’s income being very close to December’s income. I’m hoping it will be just a tad higher. Since I will be returning to Thailand as soon as the tax season is over I need to make and save as much money as I can the next 3 1/2 months.

December Expenses – $1101.10

Here is a breakdown of my expenses for December.

Household $9.90
Rent $440
Entertainment $54.62
Transportation $189.76
Food $161.07
Travel $70.53
Phone $50.78
Health $124.44
Total $1101.10

My December expenses were reasonably low. I expect my monthly expenses will stay around this level for the next few months.

The rent was for 10 nights hotel in Kansas City while I was working on a document review project there. It also includes $125 paid to my mom for staying at her home. The next few months my rent will be very low since I’m staying at my mom’s house and she is only charging me 1/2 of the utilities as rent. I offered to pay more, but half of the utilities is all she wanted to be paid.

Transportation was mainly gas for my car. I drove between KC and southern Missouri several times while working on the document review job. I also had to pay a little over $50 for personal property tax on my car. This month I will only drive to KC one time and otherwise will be working from home so the transportation expense should go way down.

My food expense was about the same as always. It should go down a bit this month since I will be eating at home more often. Spending about $150 a month on food is pretty reasonable so I won’t sweat this expense category too much.

Travel was for taxes and fees on a round-trip airline ticket from a small regional airport near my current home to Shanghai, China. From China I can buy a round-trip ticket to Thailand for less than $200. I was going to delay buying a ticket to Asia then I saw a deal for cheap award flights on Delta from the U.S. to China. When I was able to find a ticket allowing me to start from Springfield, MO I decided to go ahead and get the ticket. The ticket was only 34,000 Delta points which is about half of the regular price.

Being able to leave from Springfield means that I don’t need a domestic positioning flight like last year. For my Asia trip last year I had to buy a positioning flight from KC to LA and also got a hotel in LA for the night since I wanted to be in LA a day early to make sure I didn’t miss my flight due to a delay from KC. Not needing a domestic positioning flight will save me a little money and time. The combination of the low cost of the ticket and the convenience of flying from a nearby airport on one itinerary was enough to convince me to go ahead and book my Asia flight now. It is unlikely there will be a better deal for my circumstances before I leave for Asia.

Phone was for almost two months of Google Fi phone service. When I paused my service in Thailand they didn’t be bill me for the almost full month I had used at that time. After I resumed service they billed me for that almost full month and the new month. This bill will go down to about $25 this month.

Health was for the January premium on my new health insurance. My health insurance premium for this year has gone up about $125 a month. Last year, subsidies were enough to pay my entire health insurance premium. With the rate hike that is no longer the case. I didn’t get much use from my Marketplace insurance last year. I had one doctor visit that I had to pay out of pocket for and then they paid a little towards my prescriptions. If I understand my health insurance coverage correctly, my new policy is a little better. It will allow me to have doctor visits for free or a low co-pay rather than being out of pocket until I hit my deductible like last year. Since I’ve moved I will be visiting a new doctor so I might have a few visits getting things checked out this year.

My student loan payment amount has adjusted from $0 to $132 a month. Since I’m on income-based repayment my premium went up due my higher income in 2017. The total of the required payments will still be less than I voluntarily paid last year so this isn’t really a big deal.

I’m pretty happy with my December expenses.  How was your month?