I can’t believe it’s been eighteen months since I delivered my early retirement notice. I will always remember March 15th and 18th as the days my long term plan became public. My last date at the office was April 19th and I’ll probably write a post this month about what it’s been like eighteen months into this new adventure. September otherwise had it ups and down. We unfortunately had to say goodbye to our family dog after over eleven years – we didn’t quite know how old he was but he lived a great life, even enjoying most days while dealing with heart issues and lymphoma. The house has been empty without him around and encouraging us to walk him in the morning and evening.
We did our first road trip and hotel stay post pandemic, which was an interesting experience and we probably won’t repeat the hotel portion of that until this mess is over. I got to surf (and get beat up) from my first east coast hurricane swell, but did get a few good sessions in. Summer now seems to have gone straight into fall and I might be investing in a wetsuit (or a one way ticket to Hawaii) shortly if I want to continue learning. The cooler water will kick up fishing activity and I should be picking up that pole any day now.
September Income Report:
Dividends and Interest: $1,243. It was a better month in September for dividend and interest month including mutual funds paying quarterly dividends. I think this line item will still be challenged until the pandemic has passed because our regular taxable account owns banks, restaurants, and real estate, but it is nice seeing a month where this looked like it’s pre-pandemic average.
Option Income: $517. Unfortunately the market went down in September. This wasn’t great overall, but it did allow me to earn just over $517 from a couple call options I sold that subsequently expired. Why did I do this? I hold a few individual stocks that I plan on swapping for mutual funds when the stocks reach a certain price. In early September, two of these holdings got close and I sold a “covered” call at the price I’d sell the stock for. The stock didn’t meet that price by expiration date, so instead I was able to keep the option premium.. This strategy essentially caps my upside, but is something I can occasionally repeat until the company hits my sale price. .
Instacart: $1,719. Another month and more Instacart. We earned $1700 for the month, primarily doing one to two morning Costco trips between 10 and 12. This was a pleasant surprise as I expected the earnings to come in lower: Orders are getting tougher to come by, gratuities are going down, and Instacart is playing some games with combining orders. However, we’ve been selective in what we take and stuck to jobs that could earn over $30/hour. Looking back at the month, we ended up working more hours due to a lot of rain/wind that disturbed outdoor plans. Long term I still expect this to settle into a $600 to $1,200/mo hustle and trying to stick exclusively to shopping at Costco.
What line items were zero for the month?
Bank / Credit Card Bonuses: I’ve completed the requirements for one bank bonus and one credit card bonus (Citi Premier) this month. This should lead to $400 from the Bank bonus and a credit card signup bonus worth $651 that will post in October. I don’t have any easy targets right now for additional bank bonuses but I intend on opening the next credit card churn by early November. I paid some bills forward to finish off the most recent card and the one month break will be helpful to make sure we can hit the minimum on a new card.
Blog: This income line item remained consistent at zero. While total pageviews are down over the last six months, the site has been making some nice progress in subscribers and search results, slowly growing over time. I enjoy writing as a hobby and a blog is not an effective get rich quick scheme.
Freelance: I haven’t taken on or pursued any new freelance work in the month of September. I don’t expect this to change much between now and year end, but am planning on reaching out to a couple former connections each month with the goal of getting a couple of projects in 2021. In the short term, these jobs may get tougher to come by with monthly layoffs/unemployment claims still running higher than at the peak of the great recession.
What’s in store for October?
We’re planning on enjoying the wonderful weather in our current spot, hosting some family for a visit, and probably going to Florida to stay with some friends and surf & fish in some warmer water later towards the end of the month. I’m also closely watching the pre-testing program and quarantine rules for Hawaii – they are supposed to start allowing visitors to bypass the fourteen day mandatory quarantine with a negative test within seventy two hours of leaving. However this date has been delayed twice and there are rumblings about individual counties wanting to require their own quarantine and second test. If they can figure that out, I’m tempted to buy a ticket over there and stay for a month or more so we can seriously contemplate making that move permanent. We’ve thought about it for eleven years and it’s time to decide if it was just a dream or is it a goal? Financial independence affords us the opportunity to figure that out!
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