a list of challenges

In an effort to acknowledge things I cannot change, and in the spirit of my last post, I thought I might create a list of things that have not gone my way. After re-reading a post from May, some developments have been made.

1. My MRI shows that my ACL and meniscus are torn.
2. I did not make my Dietbet.
3. I have to paint 20-30 pieces by August.

It’s okay though.

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short-term money goals for 2017

I have been thinking about my short-term financial goals for a few weeks. I want to shake up my current plan of attack and I finally decided to write down these new goals. I loosely base my financial plan on the debt-snowball. I love Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps,” but there are a few reasons why I don’t follow his plan religiously. First of all, I don’t make a lot of “extra” money each month ( I refuse to say “I don’t make enough money” because that’s a lie – hashtag grateful). Additionally,  I successfully use a credit card and pay it off every month. I plan my splurges very carefully – I just swipe for them rewards. Even though I don’t follow his plan religiously, I had been taking his “throw everything at the loans” approach to the extreme. I pinch every dollar out of my pay check and end up leaving almost nothing in my regular account. This just doesn’t make sense for my situation. Since I just don’t generate copious amounts of income, it’s going to be a few years before I really beat down this debt.

So my new savings goals are:

1. Keeping at least the amount of one paycheck in my regular account
I’d like to automate my bills again and in order to do that, I will have to have enough green in my account. It will take some time to get use to this system. I might have to rework how I budget each paycheck since it won’t act like a zero-base in my account, but I truly believe it will relieve a lot of stress.

2. Maintaining a flex spending account of $1000 for recreation
This goal really torments my inner debt killer who says that I can’t have fun until I pay off my debt. “HANNAH YOU ARE IN DEBT AND DON’T DESERVE HAPPINESS.” It’s 2017 and I have been killing debt for 2.5 years. Shut up you debt murderer. I really value experiences over material objects and want to travel and visit friends and family. They don’t have to be elaborate trips, anything will help me de-clutter and unwind. So I’m officially saying that I am willing to let the debt linger just a little longer, if that means that I can have a few more experiences this year.

3. Bumping my emergency fund up to $2000
I know that Dave Ramsey says that I don’t need more than $1000.00 in my emergency fund, buuuuuuuut I don’t purchase pet insurance even though I have a very large dog who occasionally needs things for his greater health and wellness. Furthermore… my car needs a few more repairs before it will be in better running condition. These are things that I know are going to pop up in emergency-like fashion. I prefer to get ahead of my emergencies.

4. Keeping a little cash “savings” at home for special occasions
This one is a new strategy that I read about recently. The author of an article I was reading said she kept cash in her bedroom as a little bonus money. When I get bonus money, I usually put it towards one of my bigger goals like debt or Christmas or I use it to buy something I have been eyeing online. I still think those are good options, but I want to see what happens if the piggy bank piles up to $100 or $200. I’m thinking it might be good if something like a candle party pops up or if a sibling has a fundraiser or if I want to go out to eat with my friends without worrying about my budget or my savings goals. This one may not work for me, but I want to experiment.

summer 2016

the summer of tiny toads migrating from the river to the backyard
the summer of my car being past due for an inspection
the summer of training Charlie in the driveway
the summer of no rain
the summer of fleas
the summer of having no money
the summer of puppy play dates
the summer when Norie was 8 mo.
the summer we put down a laminate floor
the summer Brody called me every Saturday to go fishing with him
the third summer since graduating college
the summer of my twenty-third year

my favorite side hustling links

tax return

Here’s the thing about living in a small town and working for a small business: it puts a lot of pressure on my wallet. Adult-ing is hard. Balancing my love for my rural hometown and the need to have a successful career and pay off my loans causes me a lot of stress. In an effort to be proactive in this aspect of my life, I’m on a mission to make money on the side. I know I have the spirit of a side hustler, I just have to find my niche.

Pinterest is constantly filling my feed with articles featuring lists of ways to make money online or from home. Some are really helpful, some not so much. There are a few lists that I found extremely helpful. The Penny Hoarder is my favorite so far, but I also really like Making Sense of Cents. Here’s a list of the best suggestions for making money on the side as well as a list of odd jobs that actually bring in a little extra cash for me.

  1. 6 Online Jobs for College Students by Seed Time
  2. The 4 Side Jobs That Make Me Over $3,000 a Month by Busy Budgeter
  3. 103 Ways to Make Money at Home by The Penny Hoarder
  4. 30 Side Jobs to Make Money & Pay Down Debt by Frugal Fanatic
  5. Ways to Make an Extra $1,000 a Month by Making Sense of Cents

I also have my own personal suggestions for a busy millennial struggling for pocket change.

  1. Selling garage sale items/thrift store finds on eBay and Facebook
  2. Trading in clothes you don’t wear at a clothing boutique
  3. Completing surveys on Swagbucks
  4. Starting a band

I’ve made quite a few sales on eBay with items I bought from the Salvation Army. The turn around is relatively quick if you find interesting things. I sold kids snow shoes, a pet barrier for the car, and an HD cable antenna – all of which I found at the thrift store. I also sold a few things I was no longer using, like a pair of Ariat boots and a guitar case. I go through my closet to weed out items I don’t wear enough, and I trade them in at a local clothing shop. I do this almost every time the seasons change. I usually trade my items in for store credit so I can get something new, but they also offer cash in exchange for lightly used clothing.

I started using Swagbucks a couple of months ago. I was primarily using their search engine and only earning a few Swagbucks a week. I didn’t understand how so many people had success with it, but after I started completing the surveys, I racked up enough ‘bucks’ to redeem a $25 PayPal gift card. It only took a week or so once I started doing a couple of surveys every night. I was really impressed with the variety of gift cards available but opted for the PayPal card since I have a couple of small bills that come out of my PayPal account. I haven’t referred anyone yet, but if you find this post helpful at all, use my referral link to get bonus Swagbucks.

If you have a couple of musically talented friends, or family in my case, get together and start a band. It requires some equipment, but a lot of venues have equipment on site. I was lucky to have a family member who had all the equipment already. Booking a gig every few weeks can bring in a good amount of cash (as long as you don’t spend it on alcohol while you’re out performing). Bonus: playing music and getting out of the house can help you unwind and have fun.

I hope to keep expanding my list of side hustles as I continue to pay down my school loans. I keep track of almost all of my bank/financial transactions so I should be able to compile my monthly earnings pretty easily.Maybe I’ll be able to do a “Side Hustle Monthly Roundup.

 

march goals

So here were last months goals:

  1. read 3 books 
  2. eat healthy for 21 days (a modified 21 day fix)
  3. exercise 3 times per week (beyond walking charlie)
  4. lose 4 pounds
  5. knit a few more baby hats for Nora
  6. go through my junk//de-clutter
  7. go through my closet//simplify my wardrobe
  8. paint the hallway upstairs
  9. paint the basement “hall”
  10. take more photos

So I still have not added more lifting into my daily routine. I’m stuck. I don’t know why. This month I am going to focus on doing three 20 minute workouts per week (plus all the walking with Charlie-which is about an hour every day). 

 
The wardrobe simplification is on hold until my weight stops fluctuating, in other words, until I’m at a weight I am happy about. I did lose 5 lbs though! I will tell you how. Vegetables. Obviously, walking my dog helps, but really it comes down to less carbs and more veggies and protein. I’ve known this for awhile too. It’s what works for me. So I’m continuing to do this modified 21 day fix for a while. Maybe I can get down to my goal if I keep at it (not this month but in a few months).
 
March Goals
read 3 books
  1. lift three times a week for 20 minutes
  2. finish knitting Mia’s scarf
  3. take more photos
  4. job search and read up on my field (potential fields too)
  5. find a new way to volunteer
  6. quit twirling my hair
  7. save money for summer trips (little to no spending)
  8. train/play with charlie every day
  9. lose 5 lbs.