Saturday, August 30, 2008

August in Review

This has been a bit of a strange month for me. Obviously I didn't even come close to hitting my goal. In another post JB from Get Rich or Die Trying asked me what I would do if I didn't hit my goals. Well, fortunately I did very well in July and so the lack of income for this month didn't hit me too hard. I can't have too many more months like this though!

One of the things that got me this month was lack of non-passive income, as in any sort of freelance work. I co-own a little design business and we have actually had a pretty busy month, but all that money goes straight back into the business. In June and July I was able pick up work outside my day job - house managing for Shelly and working for Maureen on a car commercial. I didn't have anything like that this month. September looks better. I have some house managing lined up for sure and a few other irons in the fire.

But what happens if I don't make it? Well, I do have some emergency funds. I have a emergency cash account of $250 for quick access and I have a little over $500 in an online banking account. The online account used to have quite a bit more, but it went to paying for the lawyer in my divorce. I am currently putting at least $50 in that each month to try to build it back up. If things are really desperate I also have an account for Christmas money I could tap. I don't like to even think about that, but it is there. Last year I set up an account, calculated how much I thought I would need at Christmas time, then had that amount deducted each paycheck and set aside. It was great! When Christmas came I had money set aside for gifts and never went over my budget or had to use credit cards. I liked how it worked so well that I did it again this year. Currently it is sitting there, earning interest and waiting for the holidays. I would hate to use it - but I could if I were in a pinch.

Then, if things were really really bad and those resources were all used up, well, there is always family. Both my mother and my sister have offered to help me out. Again, this is something that is on the very bottom of the list, but, I could do it if I had to.

I am hoping, however, to avoid that by setting up regular systems of income and continuing to cut expenses. I know that there will be bad months (like this month) but I also hope there will be good months like July to even it all out. Besides, not everything in this month was bad...

While I overspent my "Misc" budget by quite a bit, I saved in almost every other flexible budget item. The Misc. field is just that - a little of everything I don't know how else to divide up on my budget. I allocate $50 to it, which may be too small. Anyway, this month I had birthday gifts, wedding and shower presents, and some other items. (For one thing I needed to get rat traps for the chipmunk that got inside my cottage!! ) If you look at the other items though, I did great. I am under my budgeted amount in electricity, gas, and water. I also am under in fuel for the car, groceries, dining out and entertainment. In dining out alone I am under by $74! (I allocate $150 for the month, I came in at $76.00.)

I also have been able to build up a considerable inventory of items on Amazon and Some of these items belong to friends so I am splitting the profits with them, but many are my own. These sales are not reliable - I never know when someone is shopping one of my items. It is far less predictable than eBay, but the benefit is that I don't pay until it sells. So, by getting those things up I hopefully setting up a small (mostly) passive income stream. Currently I have well over 100 books, DVDs and CDs listed. While the sales are fairly small, they can add up. I usually have a goal of trying to list 3 eBay items a day, but with these things I've been doing more on the order of 8-10 a day. Now that they are all listed I plan on concentrating on eBay again.

So, in addition to getting my $900, next month's goals are:

1. Change a few more light bulbs to CFLs
2. Continue walking 45-50 minutes (or more) a day
3. Advertise the garage stall for rent
4. Get more items on eBay

Goal Posts:

Systematically Replacing Light Bulbs with CFLs

Renting Out my Garage

Other people's goals:

The Family CEO - Making Money with eHow

Bouncing Back From Bankruptcy - Moving Stuff

** I know I have read a bunch of posts with people's goals, but I can't find them now. What are your goals for September? Tell me in a comment or leave me your link - I'd love to read them!

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