first fish of 2016

outdoors

Sunday around 2:45, I decided to take my cousin, Brody, to the river to try to bring some trout home. Charlie came with us and was very confused as to why he couldn’t go after the bait himself. I think it was maybe 36 degrees. I wasn’t sure whether the river had been stocked yet, but I caught a nice 13 inch trout in after only a couple of casts. Brody was pumped-and nice enough to take a photo for me. Charlie wanted to know what the heck the fish was doing flopping around in the grass.

I used a brown and red spinner to pull the first fish in, but Brody’s bright green spinner didn’t weigh as much. He struggling to cast it so we switched rods. We walked the river bank for two hours and didn’t get any more fish, not one. Apparently, the river is not stocked yet, and I caught the lone survivor of last year’s release. Brody was such a trooper and very cold by the time he had had enough.

I did bring my catch home. He was too nice to pass up on those fillets. I used this video tutorial to fillet him. Hopefully, the river is stocked very soon. This past weekend was supposed to be the last of cold the weather. It’s downhill from here! Here are my mental notes from the mini fishing trip though.

  1. I should have worn my rubber boots.
  2. A net would be handy but it’s not absolutely necessary.
  3. It’s cold. Where gloves.
  4. I should bring a stringer next time.
  5. I really need to invest in some women’s outdoorsy pants.

I’d love to find pants that are brush resistant and waterproof but fit like a jogger. Most hunting and fishing clothes are tailored better for men.Yesterday, I was out there in my purple Maurice’s jeggings, The North Face winter hiking boots, Field & Stream Hoodie, Columbia fishing vest, and a crocheted headband. I was quite the fisherman.

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career and job stress

money
Thinking about careers gives me nausea. I like my job; I like this business. Since I live in a rural area, cost of living is relatively low, but about half of my month’s earnings goes to my student loans. Thankfully, I live with my sister – which is less like living with a roommate and more like an actually family. However, I would like to be able to live a little. I feel like I’m wasting my single adult life worrying about whether or not I have anything left in my checking account to see a movie.
I have several options rattling around in my brain.
  1. Find a job in PA. It’s close enough to my family to make a weekend trip, and far enough to be out of NY.
  2. Get a part-time job and never see my friends, family, or dog.
  3. Find a job I’m not interested in, nor using my experience in, that pays better.
  4. Commute an hour to the closest city to a job that is either in my field of interest or pays better.
  5. Get a two year degree in engineering or nursing and change my field altogether so that I can stay in my hometown, perpetually single, with my dog and a homestead.
  6. Sell everything I own on eBay (plus the promise of my first born) and hope that puts a dent in my loans.
However, my most recent thought was that I should keep looking for and applying for jobs in a variety of places while also studying and reading up on marketing and business. I wouldn’t take any offer. It would have to be a really good move because I really do like what I’m doing right now. I could try to make as much extra income on the side, without going crazy from stress, and keep slowly chipping away at my loans. I have no interest in loan deferment or lower payments because that defeats the purpose.
I need those loans gone because they are weighing me down. They are evil. The government was crazy to give them to me in the first place.
I like to remind myself that the American dream isn’t built in a day, as corny as that sounds. I can’t compare my situation to everyone else’s, but it’s hard when people ask me about my career. I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I don’t know where I want to live. I don’t have the answers, but I do know that I work hard. I know that I’m a valuable employee. I have faith in myself to make a career.

my favorite side hustling links

money

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.