Where things stand August 1:
Debt: July was the month where I decided to spend a whole bunch of money I don’t have. We are fencing in the yard for the new pups and also have had some vet bills. These numbers will go up before they go down, though, because we need bushes and concrete removed before the fence can go in and there are more vet procedures scheduled.
The good news is I killed it with savings last month! I know it seems ridiculous that I spent over $6,000 on credit cards while putting $1,500+ in savings. The credit cards are zero percent interest which gives me some flexibility in paying them off. I also don’t have a dedicated emergency fund so I would rather not drain these savings until it becomes a true emergency.
The bad news is that savings will be taking a backseat to paying off these credit cards. I still have $250/month budgeted so there will be a slight increase each month. And Barclays has increased their interest rate AGAIN. It’s up to 1.20%. Every little bit helps!
|July 1||August 1||Difference|
We’re 3.87% of the way to our ultimate goal of $150,000, 23.23% of the way to our first rental property down payment goal of $25,000.
July Extra Income
$167 – Mystery shopping
$25 –Swagbucks gift cards
$69.75- Selling books
$16- Credit card cash back redemption
$2.97- Interest on savings account
$1.65 – Affiliate income
Rental property: My tenant paid $5 extra for reasons unknown. I emailed her to let her know to pay $5 less the next check but it came to the regular amount. I will just have to remember that they paid $5 more unless September’s check reflects their overpayment.
Right now, 1/3 goes towards property taxes, income taxes and insurance. 1/3 goes to my IRA. Ideally the last third will go to savings, but this month half of it went toward the lawyer bill and the other half went toward paying the minimum on the renovation credit cards.
AirBnb: We’ve been playing around with our prices. Lowering the prices $10-$20/night has increased are bookings a ton. July was very respectable and August through October are also shaping up to be great.
Mystery shopping: Of the $167, $127 was reimbursements. For that $127, Mr. BL and I got:
- 4 grocery trips
- Two wine tastings and a half a case of wine
I definitely took a break from mystery shopping the past couple of months. However, I’ve redoubled my efforts and have a ton of shops scheduled and many payments coming in the next 6 weeks.
Swagbucks: I cashed in some of my Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Sam’s Club.
Selling Books: I sold 2 books last month that were free to me! Doesn’t get better than that!
Credit Card Cash Back: I used the cash back points I’ve accumulated to lower the monthly balance.
Dividends & savings account interest: I only own shares in 3 different companies but hope to eventually increase my holdings. Right now everything gets reinvested.
Affiliate Income– Not much to see here…
Looking forward to August:
August’s mantra is “hustle, hustle, hustle.” Right now, I am expecting about $400 worth of mystery shops to pay out in August and September. I am hoping to increase that amount by..as much as I can.
I’m not going to lie. I am incredibly stressed by the amount I owe on my credit cards. And it isn’t helping that this number is going to go up before it goes down. Besides earning more mystery shopping, I am revamping the way I budget. At least for this month. I created a budget that uses only my day job and rental income. Any extra income will go towards the credit cards. It’s a modified version of living on last month’s income.
Any mystery shop jobs I spend money for will go into whatever budget category makes sense. When I receive income from mystery shopping then I will move mystery shopping expenses from that month into the mystery shopping category. For example, if I do a grocery mystery shop and spend $10, then that will go into the grocery category for the month. If later on I receive payment from a previous job that equals $10 or more, I will move the grocery mystery shop out of my grocery category and into my mystery shop category. That way I can make sure I am only spending whatever income I earn. It’s hard to assess my income because mystery shopping is variable, and I think this might be a way to get around that. I’ll report back next month.