It’s time for another hustle report! Can you believe it’s already December? It feels like I just published first online hustle update, now here I am bringing you with the 2nd one! I am really excited about this month’s numbers because my income grew! Yay! This month, I’m going to include my goals and a little debt update along with this hustle update so I won’t have to create a bunch of different posts. It’s sorta wordy, but it’s good info and it will help keep me accountable. Without further adieu, I’ll get right into it!
If you are looking to start a blog, don’t forget to check out this post on How To Start a Blog. It provides step by step instructions on starting your own blog. Also, check out this income report where I share how I earned my first dollar blogging through affiliate income!
November 2015 Online Income
Guest post: $5.00
User Testing: $10.00
Mystery Shop: $12.00
Pinecone Research: $18.00 (Pinecone Research pays $3.00 per survey. Sometimes you get to try products and take a follow-up survey, which is why this number is high for the month. They are a great survey company and I can’t recommend them enough! Sign up here if you’re interested!)
Etsy Fees: $1.23
Total Monthly Income After Expenses = $54.77
Rolling profit from last month: ($-244+$54.77) = $-189.23
Last month’s income was very promising! At least, I’m recouping some of the expenses that I had last month! Many of these revenues I don’t expect to receive income on a monthly basis, especially once my time starts being dedicated toward meeting deadlines for clients. However, I will take what additional income I can get for now since I can’t generate overtime earnings with my day job.
I’m going to begin looking for freelance clients soon, but in the meantime, if you’re in need of a freelance blogger or writer, I’m available!
Debt Payoff – First Order of Business
Before I can even get to those pesky student loans, I have a $1,100 balance transfer on a discover card that I have to deal with. I just transfered this from a mastercard with a higher interest rate so I can get it paid off faster.
The first plan of action is to figure out how much extra in my budget I can afford to kick this loan to the side. Since it is interest free for 18 months, it isn’t as high of a priority as my student loans are, but I want to lay the credit cards to the side for a while.
I’m not anti-credit cards as I’ve been able to rebuild my credit substantially over the years with them. I just don’t want anything getting in my way of paying back these student loans. I want to get by with the least I can and embrace not purchasing any extras until my student debt is paid off.
That means I will prioritize my spending to make sure it lines up with my current goals. I will scrutinize anything that may be considered excess. I won’t deprive myself or my family (I’m done with punishing myself for past money mistakes), but at the end of the day, anything we do must help us get closer to our goals — not further away from them.
My goal is to have this card balance paid off by the end of March. Any extra income (minus taxes) will go directly towards paying off this balance. Once this balance is dealt with, I will move on to the baby student loan.
I refer to this loan as the baby because it is the lowest balance of the nine student loans. It also has the highest interest rate, 6.55 percent. The balance is $2,582.
For all of my progress reports, I will focus on whatever baby loan I’m dealing with at the time. Breaking down my goal of paying off my entire student loan bill makes it feel like it’s more doable. If I continue to focus on $70,000+, I will continue doing the same thing I’ve been doing the last ten years — twiddling my thumbs.
So, that’s the first order of business. Deal with the credit card balance and knock out the baby student loan. I plan to have this done by summer 2016. All of the net online income from the month of November helped make an extra payment to the credit card. This basically counts towards the expenses I incurred to start this blog.
I’ve shared here before the details on how we budget. I would say for the most part, it works really well. We have been able to build and maintain a starter emergency fund, we have a nice cushion in our checkings account, and all of our expenses are met monthly.
However, I’m still dissatisfied with our progress in reaching a 3 month emergency fund and getting a full month ahead in our household checking account.
I want to be a month of ahead in our main checking so that it will no longer feel like we are living paycheck to paycheck. If we’re a month ahead, we’ll pay all of the upcoming month’s bills with last month’s income.
It’s just something about having that extra cushion in our account that makes me comfortable, so it is a goal I want to achieve within the next year, alongside paying off a few other small debts. This way I can concentrate completely on aggressively paying down my student loans without having so many distractions.
In an effort to reach some of these mirco-goals, I’ve been cleaning up some budgeting expenses and I have a few more efforts to implement during this last month.
First, I have been ordering more of our necessities (baby formula, toilet tissue, household supplies, etc) off Amazon. When you subscribe to save, you can save 15% off a subscription that includes 5 or more items. Since I typically spend a similar amount in store for these items, I thought it would be wise to have them automatically delivered. If I’m not in a store, I’m not tempted to spend my money on other things.
Which leads to my second way of cleaning up the budget by eliminating unnecessary purchases. Halloween brought about a bunch of bad eating habits on my part (Reese’s cups, ice-cream) and it really got out of hand. Like, really bad! I was in the store EVERYDAY for some Reese’s cups and if I attempted to stop eating them, I’d give in to ice-cream.
In order to get my focus back on my preferred way of eating, I’m doing a 21 day refined sugar detox. Basically, I’m eliminating candy, ice-cream, and other sugary treats for 21 days. I know this will save me a lot of money. I’m afraid of even calculating how many random candy and ice-cream runs I’ve made during November. Moving on…
The last few efforts include focusing on paying with cash, fewer grocery trips, and no dining out this month. I want to begin using cash more because it is a preferable teaching method with children. Kids need to see us use currency so they won’t have misconceptions about how purchases are made.
During the winter it’s easy to limit grocery shopping trips because there aren’t a lot of fresh fruits that I eat and most of the veggies, I can get by without making a weekly grocery trip. We also decided not to use our dining out account this month because we have birthdays coming up in January, February, and March in our household. We like to eat out for birthdays so this will free up cash for the upcoming months.
I mentioned several goals for the rest of the year and I’m happy to report that I’m half-way through this list!
One goal was to read one financial book per month and I’m way ahead of the curve as I’ve completed two books. One book wasn’t worth the read, not because it wasn’t any good, it just didn’t seem to be a good fit for me. The two books I finished were Raising Financially Confident Kids and The Wealth Cure. I LOVED both! I will dedicate two separate post to these books in the future, so stay tuned.
Another goal was to guest post (and/or pitch to guest post) on three different sites. I’ve met my goal! Last week I shared my thoughts with Cat’s readers on Budget Blonde about 5 Amazing Financial Gifts to Give Your Children and I lined up another post that is set to post next month (stay tuned). I also wrote a Dear Debt letter that Melanie so graciously shared with her readers and it was a hit. Other places I’ve written are on Disease Called Debt, 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money, and Red Debted Stepchild, 3 Things Preventing You From Living a Debt-Free Life.
So far, I’ve exceeded my guest posting goal and I’m very excited. It has been a pleasure making connections with my fellow PF bloggers and I’m excited to see these relationships bloom in the future.
I also managed to pay off the remaining balance of a credit card that had approximately $150 left after a balance transfer. Unfortunately, at the end of last month I had to spend over $400 to get a crown on a tooth I broke Halloween weekend. I have supplemental accidental coverage through my employer which will reimburse me the entire amount, so I went ahead and paid the card off and will pay myself back once I’m reimbursed.
Another one of my goals before the end of the year was something I had no control over and I honestly didn’t know whether I would meet it or not, but I did. I received my first client! I didn’t even have to pitch. Luckily, I made a connect through Twitter without even trying!
For the rest of December, I’m going to focus on the other goals I’ve shared with you: Teach another money concept to daughter (we just introduced spend/save/give and has elected to save her allowance for an iPad), create 6 month plan for 2016, and find a mentor.