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The LTNE Report -- May 2013 (Comfy Pants Edition!)

Whew!  I'm glad to get the month of May behind me!  This month was amazingly busy, but full of promise and transitions to new opportunities in my career!  Some of you might have gleaned over the last year or so that I'm very close to finishing my PhD (well, close in the sense that I have all of my course work done and still have to write my dissertation); as of today, I will spend the next year of my life in full-time dissertating mode, with the objective of completing my PhD by September 2014!

This monthly report will be rich with detail, so some might want to scan or go find the adderall!

I'd like to organize this month's LTNE report in the context of the goals I established in January 2013, both to see how we're doing and to keep us accountable!  I had 10 goals:

1.  Passive income greater than $500 monthly (SUCCESS!)

I originally intended for this goal to be something that we hit at least one month during all of 2013, but we achieved this first in February, but also in March and April.  We fell short this month, but that is understandable given the scant attention I've paid to blogging this month.  I also thought it would be interesting to see how much total passive income we've generated since we began this site in April, 2012, which you can see below:

We made $376.26 in passive income during this last month.  Knowing that I ultimately want as much of our income to be truly passive, I've continued to emphasize P2P lending and we have also begun to use rewards credit cards (paying the balance off in full each month, of course) for our normal purchases.  Here are two charts that show our Active vs. Passive Income Distribution, as well as our Passive Income Sources:

For affiliate income, we generated the following (each are affiliate links, if you are interested):

Amazon Affiliate income:  $104.45

Dollar Shave Club referrals:  $40

Lending Club referrals:  $16

aWeber referrals:  $5.70

Much of our Amazon Affiliate income continues to be generated by sales of adjustable dumbbells at our niche site, which specializes in adjustable dumbbell reviews

Our P2P Interest income came from the following sources:

Lending Club:  $122.33 in interest (reinvested into new notes)

Prosper:  $16.16 (I've just begun to invest in Prosper, so this should go up substantially as we get more of our money there invested into notes)

For you number crunchers, here is the complete skinny on my Lending Club investments, so far:

And here is Prosper:

As you can see, I'm working to get my $10,000 investment in Prosper into actual notes as fast as I can, but it is taking awhile.  More when I compare the two services in an upcoming post, but the Quick Invest option on Prosper has been a real boost to that effort!

Here is our total P2P lending assets growth over time:

We've also begun to use credit card rewards programs for all of our routine purchases, which is generated a nice passive income source each month as well!  We use:

The Discover It Card, which pays out 1-5% cash back, depending upon category.  With it, we've received a total rewards balance of $77.38 so far.

The USAA Cash Rewards AMEX Card, which pays out 1 % cash back on all purchases, and 2.25 % back on gas and groceries (which is primarily where we use it!).  With it, we've received a total rewards balance of $67.63 so far.  We also have a USAA Cash Rewards Mastercard for places that don't accept AMEX.

I like these rewards cards because they are truly passive; you just spend with them, pay off your balance, and watch your rewards cash grow!

So that's it for passive income this month!  On to Goal # 2.

2.  Write three chapters of my doctoral dissertation (ON TRACK!)

Right now, I'm working on Chapter 1, which I intend to have done by the end of August!

3.  Net worth greater than $25,000 (ON TRACK!)

I think this is a real success story for us and that we will ultimately meet this goal early!  Sign up to the top right of the site to access our members only area and download our free e-book to see how we've turned this around, or go back to page one and read through the entire site.  It truly isn't rocket science:  increase earnings, decrease expenses, and get out of debt as fast as you can!  Again, this entire site is dedicated to the details of how we've done those three things! 

Here's our current chart:

4. Write and publish an e-book (OUT THERE, FOR NOW!)

To me, putting an e-book on the Amazon marketplace is the mark of success here.  Though I'm proud of our e-book available free with signup to our email list, I would still like to continue to add more and more substance and eventually put something together than I can justify hanging a price tag on!  More to follow...

5.  Body weight less than 175 pounds (GAH!)

Listen:  there is a reason why there is an entire billion-dollar industry associated with this topic.  I'm over 40 and it just isn't easy to do this anymore!  That said, when I don't fall off of the wagon, we continue to use a combination of the philosophies in three books to make our gains here.

On the science of weight and fat loss, we like:

Gary Taubes' Why We Get Fat:  And What to Do About It

And on the clean food / paleo diet / lifestyle, including recipes:

Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo

Melissa Hartwig's It Starts With Food:  Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

With all of my excuse-making dispensed with, I will meet this challenge by the end of the year, especially now that I'm in the midst of training for a triathlon!

6.  Run a 10K race in less than 58 minutes (NO WORRIES!)

I'll reach this goal at our Thanksgiving Day 10K race tradition, and I'll likely be faster!

7.  Compete in a triathlon (SIGNED UP AND TRAINING!)

Both Jen and I are doing this at the end of August and we are signed up!  We've both purchased road bikes and the requisite gear (in fact, Jen is out on a 25-mile ride as I type this!). 

Buying a road bike frugally was a tremendous challenge.  I tried for months on Craigslist, but those never worked out.  Finally, we purchased new bikes that are several years old from a local bike shop, saving about $700 total off of the costs of the same bikes new. 

And, yes, I'm now wearing spandex (link is to my friend Brian's excellent cycling website)!

8.  Approach life more positively and affirmatively (YEP!)

No metric can effectively capture this, but both Jen and I are always working to do this, even when things get busy and difficult!

9.  Schedule individual time with each family member at least once a week (OK... SOMETIMES!)

This is harder than it sounds in a very busy family.  That said, we accomplish it most weeks, even if the time is ultimately unscheduled, like taking the time to read a book with one of our kids.  I hope to do this better as the year progresses.

10.  Family outings at least every other week (MOSTLY!)

We continue to do this fairly well and also frugally!  I can't emphasize enough the value of low-cost family outings, like trips to a park, bicycle rides, outdoor picnics or barbecues, or other events in the surrounding area.  There is no reason that you have to spend big to do this well and have a lot of fun!

I hope you enjoyed those updates on my ten goals for 2013!

For those who enjoy tracking the vicissitudes of our growth, here are some more charts:

A few more parting thoughts:

I spent about 30 minutes total blogging in May and made $166.15 in affiliate income.  That's effectively $332.30 an hour!

I've had 447 clicks on Market Samurai links over the lifespace of this site, yielding 6 sign-ups, and 0 sales.  Pathetic!  Pat Flynn I'm not!

These pants (pictured at the top) are remarkably comfortable.  Perhaps these are the male, non-tight version of women's yoga pants.  I say "huzzah!" to these comfy and inexpensive pants!  Where have you been all my life?

Posts are upcoming on P2P lending, goal setting, life without my iPhone, the tyranny of Google search results, our trip to the Hamptons and the trappings of the 1%, my love for Dollar Shave Club, Jen's rock star performance in returning to the ranks of the employed, more stoic philosophy (finally!), lessons learned on choosing affiliate programs, vegetable gardening, cycling, targeted spending versus frugal spending, Vanguard index funds, and many other topics!

Happy June!  It is good to be back!

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