Author Topic: I need to re-evaluate expenses (including my tiny house rental!)  (Read 2701 times)

cyndre4

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Hi all!
I've been having a great time reading the blog. As the days have passed, I've been inspired to actually use Mint, and spreadsheet some investments.
The lowdown:
- I live in San Francisco, with rent at a lovely $710/month. I'm about a block from Bart, our subway, and don't have a car
- I am currently $44k in debt. Down from $67k last year. That's largely due to the tiny house I built a year ago. The reason I did this was to both have a place to potentially live in later, and in the meantime use as a rental on Airbnb. It's currently in Tahoe (it's on wheels!). However, I just made a spreadsheet, and realized it only made me a net before taxes of about $1200 last year. Rent is around $700 for a place in a really nice RV park, and cleaning fees between guests run me between $350-450/month. I need brutal ideas here.
- Mint showed me two days ago that I was blowing nearly $1000/month in groceries and mostly eating out. That's been stopped immediately.
- Just dusted off my cell phone plan and got a nice reduction from att. But it's still running me $120/month before taxes.
- I'm self employed, and really need the above phone to run my small business. Could I find a cheaper rate that works in SF and has lots of data? Thoughts? The smartphone is why I can leave the house at all!
Ideas? Thoughts? Encouragements? I'd love to hear what all of you have to say!

neo von retorch

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Re: I need to re-evaluate expenses (including my tiny house rental!)
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2016, 02:18:51 PM »
First, you should be able to switch to Cricket immediately. (Full disclosure, I can give you a referral link, and we both get $25.) Cricket is owned by AT&T, uses their networks, costs a lot less, and has a mild cap on maximum data speed that should not affect you. $60/month will get you 10GB of data. Your existing AT&T phone should work with it. It's not the "ultimate bad ass mustachian" phone plan, but it's certainly a nice improvement when coming from AT&T and a $120/month plan.

Great job on figuring out where your money is going so you can make changes! The savings in food will make a huge dent.

Rental isn't awful. Is there a lot of risk for maintenance / repair costs? If it's pretty stable in the income/expense department, maybe put any changes on the back-burner.

Trip

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Re: I need to re-evaluate expenses (including my tiny house rental!)
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2016, 02:34:04 PM »
First, you should be able to switch to Cricket immediately. (Full disclosure, I can give you a referral link, and we both get $25.) Cricket is owned by AT&T, uses their networks, costs a lot less, and has a mild cap on maximum data speed that should not affect you. $60/month will get you 10GB of data. Your existing AT&T phone should work with it. It's not the "ultimate bad ass mustachian" phone plan, but it's certainly a nice improvement when coming from AT&T and a $120/month plan.

Great job on figuring out where your money is going so you can make changes! The savings in food will make a huge dent.

Rental isn't awful. Is there a lot of risk for maintenance / repair costs? If it's pretty stable in the income/expense department, maybe put any changes on the back-burner.

+1 for Cricket. I switched to them from AT&T and haven't had any issues. My wife switched from T-Mobile and was able to keep her phone. If I was alone, I would have looked more seriously at Republic Wireless. However, this was the best balance for us between my desire to lower our costs and her desire to keep things the same.

cyndre4

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Re: I need to re-evaluate expenses (including my tiny house rental!)
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 04:03:35 PM »
Thanks guys!
So here are my fears with the phone:
1. I had to add a second line for Stupid Reasons. That means that to cancel att right now will cost me quite a bit to cancel the TWO cell lines... I think around $600.
2. I need to be sure my Samsung Note 5 will work with Cricket. I tried an Asus phone with Cricket ages ago, and the handset itself didn't work with Google Voice, which cost me a customer. So I'm willing to try again, but am also feeling a bit gun shy, as well as experiencing that feeling of 'good enough...?'
Tiny house stuff:
1. The rent seems steep. But it's the nicest trailer park I found in the area, with good landlords.
2. I'm scared to move it! It's a touch taller than legal (about three inches), which means it could potentially be seized by the DOT if I moved it (and got caught). There's also the potential for damage when hauling anything, and I figure I should think about those worries.
3. The landlords asked me to sign a 5 year lease, but haven't got around to sending it to me yet. It'll include about a 3k buyout, depreciating, if I ever move the thing.
4. Part of me wants to just move it to Napa and rent it to wine country folks there.
5. Cleaning is killing me, but finding really reliable cleaners can be impossible. If I could just get that down, it'd be wonderful. Thoughts here?

Gerard

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Re: I need to re-evaluate expenses (including my tiny house rental!)
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2016, 04:32:16 PM »
Find someone who's willing to have the tiny house live in their backyard, and maybe to clean between rentals, in exchange for a rather large share of the rental income?

kite

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Re: I need to re-evaluate expenses (including my tiny house rental!)
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2016, 05:18:17 PM »
Cathy Erway wrote a blog that got made into a book about not eating out in NYC for 2 years.  Lots of cost savings ideas there.  It does transform a social life. 
Got no practical advice on the trailer. 
But in my experience  (and I've been at the frugal game for decades) is that each step in the right direction fuels another and then another.  Then before you know it, there is an ocean of difference between your present self and your former spendy self.  I've seen this transformation from poor to rich, drunk to sober and fat to fit so many times over among friends and loved ones that I'm confident you'll get there. 
Good luck!

neo von retorch

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Re: I need to re-evaluate expenses (including my tiny house rental!)
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2016, 02:54:14 PM »
I would investigate if your Samsung Note 5 works with Cricket. It certainly should. But more importantly, does it work with Google Voice? Again, it should. It comes with a very recent version of Android. Was the source of the Google Voice incompatibility some Asus specific software (or hardware?)

Also, calculate your two years costs of staying with AT&T vs switching to Cricket and paying ETFs. The difference in monthly fees adds up to $1440... is that more than your ETFs?