Reintroduction of the Reports
Hey, guys! I’m back with the new and improved reporting system. What this means: first, I’m going to be doing away with the past reports, as I feel they haven’t been entirely accurate of the whole picture of what is going on.
Second, I feel like they haven’t been in depth enough; I feel like I haven’t fully explained what I did in the arena to increase income, explaining fluctuations in spending, and how wealth is increasing (or debt is decreasing). I promise I will try to do a better job of this going forward.
Last, but not least, I want to start giving an account of how my time was spent. Not necessarily how I spent every minute of my day (although that may happen), but just a general overview of where I put my time, and how that is influencing things with my website(s), writing, etc, and how changing my habits going forward may allow me to do something better, or learn more.
Again, I’m going to be putting the past month’s happening at the top of each report, so if you see it on the income report and you move onto the spending report, feel free to skip it! That section will begin with…
Past Month’s Happenings
Indeed! Time to discuss what was up in September. Geesh. I seriously can’t believe October is already here. No bueno, am I right?
Well, September was a…happening month, haha (I’ll show myself out). In September, I did the following:
1. I Found Myself an Editor
I found an editor for my first short story, Sometimes It Pays, and it was awesome. The feeling of finally moving forward was amazing. It is pretty great when your work progresses another milestone. I hope this is the first of many, but I plan to share my experiences with finding the editor, in addition to the editing process, once the edit is complete. I already did this with respect to my beta reader experience. I think being able to write well, regardless of the writing, is one of the keys to financial success, after all, it is ubiquitous in our lives.
2. I Started The Official YouTube Channel of The Smart FI Sprint
It’s true! Now there is an area where you can visually see me as I yell at you not to go out and buy that shiny new bauble (but you weren’t going to do that anyway, right?). All kidding aside, I finally delivered on the promise I made to you all that I was going to branch out into the video medium. I did it and in the first week I received:
- 73 views
- 7 likes
- 3 subscribers
- 327 minutes of total watch time
That completely surpassed my expectations, and I can’t be more grateful to the people out there who watched it!
My goal with the videos I create is to try and reach more people than I normally would with just the website or podcasting.
However, like the website, I want to make an experiment of–and earn a little extra income from–Adsense. Wouldn’t you know it though? I forgot to monetize my video before all of those views started rolling in! I should’ve had a V8, amiright? But, I did that today, and I plan on seeing how that pans out in the future. I’ll probably play around with the ad structure going forward to make it as unobtrusive as possible.
3. We Got a New Car
This kind of happened in August, but since it happened close enough to September, I figured I would discuss it here. I’ve been driving Patti The Prius (yes, how my wife addresses the car) around for a little over a month now. Everything has been fantastic with it, and it has been a gas saver like no other.
I’ve been averaging 44.7 miles to the gallon, whereas when I was driving my Monte Carlo, I was averaging about half of that. This means I will be paying half as much for gas. The current tank has about 420 miles on it and counting. Can’t wait to see the savings trickle in!
As for how I’ve been spending my time over the last month, I didn’t track it, but I most likely put a larger portion of my time toward posting on the website than writing. I have plans for new works of fiction, but I also have ideas for several non-fiction works as well. So, I’m going to try and be a little more even when it comes to extra-website writing. In addition, I also put a lot of time into overhauling the website and adding newer features in, such as the contact area.
And now we finally come to the income report:
|Income Source||Estimated Monthly Income ($, USD)||Actual Monthly Income ($, USD)||Percentage Difference From Estimate (%)||Percentage Change From Last Month (%)|
|Credit Cards - Cash Back||17.00||25.52||21.63||N/A|
As you can see, the income went up (or stayed the same) in every area, which is great news! It also increased by a substantial margin, over 15%, but unfortunately the bulk of the change goes to a temporary increase due to extra pay in our day jobs.
I’m not going to let that get me down though! So, to go a little further in depth in each…
As I stated above, the big increase came in the form of extra pay in our day jobs for the month. This is just a temporary thing though, so I’m not going to proclaim any sort of success here. The only nice thing is that it cushions a lot of our spending for the month of September and allowed us to have a better extra savings month.
This is where the action was at in September! Although the amount is extremely modest at a measly $0.75, that is still a whopping 80% higher than I would estimate my monthly Adsense earnings at.
This is made extra impressive for a number of reasons. First, I took a lot of the advertisements off of the website, such as sidebar advertisements. Now they are only located at the end of blog posts and the single one on my front page (as long as I didn’t miss any…). Aside: I also plan on removing that ad from the front page at some point in the near future. Second, I completely zoned monetizing the first YouTube video, so none of it came from that.
I believe another thing that made the increase possible is the increase in traffic flow to the website due to more consist content generation, increasing SEO for the site and posts, in addition to linking back from various places like the YouTube channel.
Hopefully I’ll continue to see an increase going forward!
Obviously this is still zero because I have yet to launch anything. However, when I do, hopefully we will see that number steadily increase over time. I just want to put it up there because at some point in the future, I plan on making income off of books (plus it’s a good motivating tool).
Credit Cards – Cash Back:
This is always a bittersweet area of the income report. Seeing a higher number is good because that means we are earning more cash back! However…it also means that we are spending more. Sad face, :,(
We currently use two credit cards for spending; we have a Sam’s Club credit card (5% back on gas, 3% on dining and travel, and 1% back on everything else) and a U.S. Bank Signature Visa Cash Plus credit card (3% back on 3 categories quarterly, 2% back on 1 of 3 categories, and 1% back on everything else). The 5% back on gas is by far and away the best deal, and we try to put as much of our spending as possible on our credit cards to take advantage of those percentages.
In addition to all of the above, there is a miscellaneous area where we get 2% cash back on every purchase at Sam’s Club, so when we shop there, we are really getting back 3%. The plus membership is $100 dollars, but we earned back enough that by month 9, we had already recouped the cost of the membership. Good stuff!
So, there you have it! The new income report is finished. I hope this has been a little more eye opening than past iterations. This will mark the starting point going forward for all future reports.
Have any questions? Maybe you can think of a way for me to improve the report and the information it provides? Don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments. Thanks, everyone! I hope the FI journey is going well for you all. Arrivederci.
-That Learning Guy