Early Retirement October
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Early Retirement Monthly Update: October

We made it another month in early retirement! Emily was kind enough to inform me as I write this that today makes two full months in Cyprus. We’ve walked down to the beach for her to swim and sunbathe, and I’m having a beer in the middle of a ‘workday’ while writing this post. This early retirement thing is growing on us. But, is our money growing? We are going to cover our income and spending, and let those categories tell the story of our month.

Early Retirement Update: Income

“Work”

While we’ve been out of the 9-5 for almost three months, amazingly, we’ve still got a few residual dollars trickling in from those! I received $94.49 in vehicle reimbursement for my last month of work. Emily, on the other hand, received $125.19 from back in her engineering days.

In other early retirement ‘work’, I made $15 on my workout programs. We also made $22.50 on an Airbnb Experience that we host. Certainly, the easiest money we’ve ever made. Because it could get a lot worse than walking people around old-town Limassol, drinking coffee. However, we’ve decided to pause the experience since the tourist season is ramping down, we’re focusing on fixing the apartment, and we are going to be traveling abroad soon.

Fitness Side Hustle Airbnb Experience
We got paid to drink coffee

We did spend about 4 hours a week combined on the site. You might’ve noticed some changes, or you might not have. We hope this ‘work’ will pay off in the future. Some of our old articles desperately need to be rewritten because DAMN, what were we thinking?

Work Total: $257.18

Rentals

Rental Income
Duplex 1 $725
Condo $1,345.53
House & Apartment $1,440
Duplex 2 $1,100
Duplex 3 $1,100
Townhouse $1,000
Total $6,710.53

I mentioned last month that we’ve raised our Airbnb price, but that hasn’t come into effect yet because we had a person book it for the full month before we changed the price, so it’ll be higher next month.

The property went from $700 a month in rent to nearly double that when we converted to an Airbnb. Additionally, with zero vacancies for the next two months, it shows no signs of slowing down. If you’re interested in hosting your own Airbnb, use our link and receive a $25 bonus after your first booking.

Misc

Not a lot of misc income to report this month. Mainly the $57.37 in interest from our high yield savings accounts with Ally and Simple. It’s lower this month due to the rate cut with Ally. We haven’t pulled the trigger on chasing sign-up bonuses with bank accounts, but consequently, we will be taking the plunge soon.

Misc Total: $57.37

Total Income: $7,025.08

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4QaNmFnhuy/

Spending

So, we’ve established that we made a hair over $7k this month. Did our expenses surpass this? Are we selling off stocks or dipping into our savings yet? Is it more expensive than we thought to live on an island in the Mediterranean? Hell, have we outspent our early retirement fund? Find out below!

Travel

We didn’t take any big trips this month, so our main travel costs have been fuel. One of the biggest perks of early retirement is that you have time to walk. We walk practically everywhere in Limassol, including the gym, the beach, the grocery store, the bars, even the home improvement store.

However, we did drive to the beautiful holiday destination of Ayia Napa early in the month for a week there. While we were there, we drove practically every day exploring the area. Outside of that trip, the car was driven 3 times the whole month. As a result, we had to fill up once all month. This fill-up cost us $52.79.

Ayia Napa Sea Caves
Ayia Napa Sea Caves

Oh, and I almost forgot, we had a $2.50 charge to pay some random bill with a credit card. We consider this a travel expense as we only put these charges on credit cards to receive points for future travels.

Total Travel: $55.29

Food

Groceries

This month was a light month for us food-wise. Primarily because Emily’s grandmother insists on having us over for lunch, dinner, or both. You try telling a Greek grandmother no when she offers you food. You’d have better chances trying to change someone’s political affiliations through a Facebook argument. We still buy our own stuff and try to eat it as often as possible as it’s much healthier.

Additionally, we are lucky because we have pomegranate, papaya, and mandarin trees right outside our front door. This helps us keep our fruit consumption high, while also keeping our costs low. Similarly, we found an unused Brita pitcher that Emily’s parents brought over a few years ago. This single find saves us dozens of dollars every month on bottled water as most people don’t drink the tap water. Although it hasn’t bothered me at all.

Me picking Papaya from the roof
Me picking Papaya from the roof…about to break my damn neck.

All told, our “freegan diet” cost us $141.39 in groceries in October.

Meals Out

We had several meals out in October. However, we only spent money a couple of times. ‘How’ you ask? We crashed a bunch of free events. The first one was an event at an organic grocery store. This event had free wine, free food, and we managed to get Emily some much-needed body-wash for free.

We also attended a free wine tasting that had wine, food, and even desserts all for free. The event worked because we didn’t even know this wine shop existed even though it was only a stone’s throw from our apartment. Also, a couple of our friends invited us to a concert where there were free beers and finger foods.

Early Retirement Free wine tasting
Free wine tasting with a great spread!

One of our new friends asked us to volunteer to mentor some kids doing some bullshit NASA ‘hackathon’. Emily could nerd out with these kids, but I wasn’t as much help. Either way, we got a few coffees, some shawarma for lunch, and some pizza and wine for supper. All in all, not a bad afternoon.

Finally, Emily’s aunt and uncle invited us for a couple of meals, and they refuse to let us pay for anything.

What we did spend was $48 on restaurants. This includes drinks out with friends a few times. As a result, we also splurged on a few drunken late-night cheap-eats including pizzas and gyros. Worth every penny though!

Gyros
Nothing like a couple of gyros at 2 AM to hit the spot.

Food Total: $189.39

Health & Fitness

Since we paid for our gym memberships in full last month, that was hours of entertainment and exercise that we got this month without any additional costs. However, we did spend $90.72 on supplements. This includes vegan protein, creatine, multi-vitamins, a couple of protein bars, and even some peanut butter.

The biggest cost in this category this month was a doctor visit that Emily had in August. It takes for fucking ever to receive bills from medical offices because they have to jump through all the insurance hoops. Charges for this lab work came out to $139.13. This especially hurts because now that Emily is covered on the national healthcare in Cyprus, the same service would cost us $12 total with no deductible. Just goes to show that American healthcare isn’t all its cracked up to be.

Health & Fitness Total: $229.85

Housing

Rentals

Housing is obviously our biggest expense. Not only because we are renovating an apartment, but also because we roll the rental expenses into this category. Here are the rentals and their expenses for October:

Rental Mortgage Expenses
Duplex 1 $393.03 $0.00
Condo $318.66 $464.25
House & Apartment $581.53 $234.75
Duplex 2 $350.26 $40.00
Duplex 3 $362.97 $120.00
Townhouse $577.24 $0.00
Total $3,442.69

We had a couple of small maintenance issues this month, but that’s to be expected when you have 10 rental units. We also just received two months of bills from getting Airbnb’s internet setup, which is odd, but who knows how these companies work. Mortgages and pest control are the only two constants in the monthly expenses in our real estate endeavors.

Other Housing

Surprisingly, our renovation costs for the apartment were pretty low this month. We’ve been using the “reduce, reuse, recycle” method on most things here. DIY’ing all the upgrades and repurposing things are also helping keep it from costing us an arm and a leg. We spent $112.89 on paint, supplies, some shelving units at Ikea, some cleaning supplies, and random household items. We are wrapping up most of the renovation as we are hosting friends and heading overseas in November.

Shopping in Ikea
Emily’s idea of helping in Ikea.

One last charge that we are throwing into ‘Housing’ is our payment to Trusted Housesitters. We are rolling this into housing because it’s a one time charge, but it gives us an opportunity to apply for ‘free’ temporary housing all around the world by housesitting and watching people’s pets. It seems like the perfect thing for us as we get to spend time with dogs, cats, and other pets while also remaining location independent. Due to early retirement, we are also very flexible with our schedule. And, it gives us an excuse to travel to places we wouldn’t normally consider.

Normally, it costs around $80, but you can receive a 25% discount for using our link. Top Tip: flip through the currency options and pull up Google to find the current exchange rates to find the best price possible. Anyway, we paid $61.07 for our membership.

Total Housing: $3729.54

Misc Expenses

We had a few miscellaneous expenses this month. Our cell phone bill with Sprint was $41.07 for both of us for the month. We highly recommend the Kickstarter plan with Sprint, as it’s unlimited talk, text, and web domestically. It’s also unlimited text and web overseas, which we have been utilizing since we’ve been abroad and it’s worked great. They do charge for calls when overseas, but we’ve been using Facetime, Facebook, and Whatsapp for most calls, so that’s not an issue.

We did pick up a pre-paid local sim card for $7.66 that lets us make and receive calls in Cyprus, but we’ve used that once since we bought it. We’ve been dragging around an extra iPhone with us for this purpose in case we need it.

The big spend in this category this month? We got tattoos. As we really don’t know what category to put it under, we are categorizing it as ‘entertainment’. Even though in early retirement we aren’t worried about jobs, we resisted the temptation to get face tattoos. Either way, we spent $214.45 on a couple of tattoos. We weren’t bargain shopping, we just picked the closest place to us on Google Maps, and they were really cheaply priced. You won’t believe it, but the tattoo parlor is a butcher shop during the day. They clean it really well though, we hardly saw any blood. According to Google, only three guys have gotten infected, but the tattoo artist assured us that it was a fluke that they got infected.

Getting tattoos in early retirement
Nicest butcher shop I’ve ever been to.

We also picked up a couple of shirts for $17.68. If we are going to be a couple of jet-setting, jobless, trust fund kids, we’ve got to start looking the part.

Misc Total: $280.86

Total Expenses: $4484.93

Conclusion

This was our first month without real pay from our previous jobs. Living the true early retirement life is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Regardless, all of our spending categories dropped this month. This is a result of us traveling less, eating out less, and having our gym memberships paid for. This doesn’t mean we are sacrificing on life though! We still had a full fun month of beach trips, exploring in the mountains, nights out with friends, and quality time together.

Income – Expenses = $2,540.15 in positive cash flow.

 

Monthly Early Retirement Updates:

September: +$5,905.70

October: +$2,540.15

5 Comments

  • Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE

    Congrats n the early retirement and the profitability of your rentals is amazing! Curious about the rental expenses including mortgage and “other.” We have a rental portfolio as well, and there are a lot of expenses — insurance, taxes, HOA if condo, maintenance (especially for vacation rentals which have a lot of wear and tear), property management, etc. Are your rentals located in an area where these costs are just very low? Do you manage all properties yourself? Are you capturing some of these expenses in other line items? Thanks for sharing your updates — it’s always encouraging to see other people getting it done with real estate!

    • James

      Thanks for the kind words, Caroline! Our real estate ‘mortgage’ expense actually includes PITI, so the total monthly payment to the mortgage company. The ‘other’ category covers that month’s expenses for maintenance, HOA fees if applicable, and utilities if applicable. Our expenses for these are typically really low, partially because of our area, and also because of the types of rentals we have and the ‘updates’ we give them once we have vacancies. We do manage all the properties ourselves, however, we do have a co-host who manages the Airbnb aspect of one of our rentals. There are no real estate expenses outside of these two line items, as we feel that would be disingenuous. Thanks again for the comment. We always appreciate feedback!

  • Dustin S. Branham

    Geez, that’s some low expenses–nice job! If we pretended you were operating under an index fund approach, then you’d basically be withdrawing at something like a 1% withdrawal rate since the lion’s share of your expenses are just mortgage payments on your rentals. I look at rentals as net income rather than separating out the fixed expenses from the income. In your case, that means you have net rental income of around $1,926/mo after backing out mortgages, the other expenses in your spreadsheet, and 20% reserve. If you keep up this withdrawal rate, then you’ll have a few years of spending banked in cash by next November! Or maybe you’ll have #11.

    • James

      Thanks, Dustin! Outside of the real estate ‘expenses’ we spent $905 last month. We also weren’t trying to keep it artificially low, which makes me feel pretty good about our spending here in Cyprus if we ever need to cut back in case of a downturn or a lot of vacancies or something like that. We go back and forth daily about whether we want another rental or whether we want to pay a couple off. One of these days we will make a decision on that haha! Or if we come across a deal that we can’t pass up, that decision will be made for us.

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