Still using a per diem to keep expenses under control. I've decided to change how I calculate things, which will ease up a bit. I think it was stressing me out, which is very un-dude-like, I know. My thinking on the matter had become all jumbled and when I was consistently carrying a negative balance for weeks on end, well, it's demoralizing to feel impoverished all the time.
1. Still going to take 1/10,000th of invested assets (i.e. total portfolio of stocks/bonds) per day as a gimme
2. Added to that, I'll take 1/30th of the cleared rent profit* I earned that month
Currently, this gives me $82 + $26.66 or ~ $108 per day to use for all personal expenses. That means everything from toothpaste and toilet paper to entertainment, insurance, rent and utilities. After being on this scheme at a lesser amount for about 3 months already, I suspect this amount is going to feel downright luxurious.
*Rental profit is a conservative figure I've reached after deducting standard expenses (capex, tax, insurance, etc) from monthly rental income
PhotoBucket finally kicked the bucket. It seems they couldn't figure out how to make money so they started clamping down on use of their hosting site for bulletin boards. Bummer, man. That means all my old image links are broken and though I was able to save many of them before shuttering my account, and could certainly recreate them from my spreadsheet, that might just be too much fun even for me to indulge, so I'm gonna have to pass on that like a kidney stone.
This does offer the chance to change things up, so rather than get into the details about current portfolio holdings or a breakdown of my discretionary spending, I'll take a page out of M741's book and put this out there:
Looking at this, it really reinforces the #1 and 2 things I need to be focused on right now: expense control and income generation. The dude's deal covers the first point, and #2 can be helped as well.
I've been putzing around with more little jobs here and there on this place over the past month. Here's what I've accomplished:
- Put a de-humidifier in the basement for 100% improvement in the conditions down there. Should've done this the day I moved in, duh!
- More tree trimming to get rid of unwanted branches that are preventing the lawn from growing. This is about 2/3 done.
- Finished digging the perimeter of the trench around the garage to prevent erosion and rotting of the base of the walls. Still lots of work to finish the digging, grade the area, put up a retaining wall and lay the drainage pipe with protective barrier and gravel.
What I haven't done yet is to fix up the spare apartments and get those rented. These could significantly (700 pcm +) boost my rental income and should be top priority. Unfortunately, I'm hesitant to dive into this because it's messing with the sewer, water and electrics of the house -- all things that I'm somewhat knowledgeable on, but not yet confident enough to jump into straight away. My family is visiting this coming weekend, so I hope to have my father take a close look at it with me to advise the best way to proceed.
Debating whether or not to go to my employer and express that a 22% raise would be necessary to retain me. If accepted, I'd be willing to stay on another year, to July of 2018. The extra money taken in would pad out my investment portfolio, emergency and year one funds, and pay down the Madison mortgage even more aggressively. If declined, I'd probably quit at the end of October at the latest. I've already proven to myself that I can live to my 3.5% budget, so I'm ready to press eject now, but the extra pay would be just the temporary incentive I need to push through one more year of working as I get the rental properties fixed up and starting to generate some real money.
Second, I located a BJJ gym near where I live! Training gives a great outlet for work stress, keeps me fit and in shape, and I like the camaraderie that comes with it too. Coming back to it after over a year off is a bit of a jolt to the system. I need to slow my roll and take things gradually.
Finally, the electric Opel remains unstarted for the most part. Time is an issue as there's lot of house stuff that should get addressed first. Then, pricing out the components has revealed it's probably going to take north of 18K for all the gear to do this thing as I'd like. That means that even if I sold the car that I'm currently using for what I'd use the Opel for, I'd only just cover the cost of conversion plus the original cost of the chassis. And I'd really only want to sell that other car once the Opel is fully operational. So, for the time being, I think I'm just going to continue to research and learn more about it and just do things that don't cost anything and aren't irreversible. Basically, that limits me to fixing up the interior and measuring mocked up version of the various components to determine placement and possibly even fabricating mounts for things like the motor, once I learn which specific unit I intend to use. Good news is that just in the past year there seems to be a real shift in the market back to 3 phase AC motors which is more costly, but has other advantages. Also, I'm pretty sure that at least for the version 1 of the car I'll only be looking to spec a requirement of 40 miles on a charge. That's plenty to get me to the gym and run whatever other errands I need to do locally, holding other vehicles in reserve for longer trips.
I did make some mock ups of the motor and the controller using rapid prototype CAD (cardboard aided design). The cylinder is the motor and the box is the motor controller. Combined, they're nearly $5000, so will probably be one of the final purchases made, along with the battery pack.