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Financial Update

September 9th, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Total income from mystery shopping income for August is $1337.21. This was my best income month ever for mystery shopping, but I worked hard at it this summer. Most shops were completed within 25 miles of my house, but I did travel (as much as 150 miles) for a few highly bonused shops.

As I previously stated, I reworked the budget for fall (our income varies so I went on the low end). Savings will be as follows:

EF-Continue with $26.50 per week (easy version of 52 week challenge)
Short term savings: $50 per week
Roth IRA-$300 per month

If I make more than anticipated, I will split it between debt payments and savings.

My "guaranteed" monthly income is as follows:

$650-Mystery shopping (approximately 15 hours per week)
$1625-Tutoring (30-35 hours per week)
$550-VA Work (5 hours per week)
$600-Child support
$575-DH portion of household expenses

Total= $4000

Debt:

Car:approximately 6k left on my loan (site is down so can't get exact amount at the moment)

Student loans: $27170.35






Florida Trip Recap

June 28th, 2014 at 01:34 pm

Had a great time in Florida visiting my family. The grandkids are so cute. My grandson is almost two and loves to say: "Look!" (high pitched) followed by "Wow!". It is amazing how everything is new and wondrous to young children. The baby is 5 months and rolling over and trying her hardest to crawl.

We ended up going to Key West this past Monday. It was so hot and humid, but overall a nice time. We split the rental, gas, and parking($70). Other spending during the trip included taking my son and his wife to Chili's ($37 including tip) as a thank you for picking me up at the airport and letting me stay with them, a happy meal I split with my grandson at the mall (I estimate $4, I forgot to keep that receipt), and a couple of drinks ($3.50)from the drugstore. I almost forgot my meal in Key West. We ate at Denny's which allowed us to sit and have a meal without paying the prices at the popular restaurants. I had fruit and yogurt. My total was $7 with my portion of the tip.

My overall total was $122 which was over the $100 I had hoped for, but not bad considering all I did.

Since I returned I have been trying to catch up at work and prepare for our trip to northern Maine next weekend (that one will definitely stay within budget).

Updates

April 9th, 2014 at 04:26 pm

It's been awhile since I posted an update. Last month was good to us. My husband went to a model airplane auction. He was into them for years, but is no longer involved in the hobby. He went to the auction and sold almost $500 worth of items! He gave me $400 which I put toward a bill for blood work for him, a chiropractor appointment for me, an extra $50 student loan payment, and the rest went to short term savings.

Since I have talked about the mystery shopping recently, I figured I would also post my monthly income for that. I made $383 in cash in March. I made another $87.70 in reimbursements for food and other required purchases. Of course, that money comes from many different companies so it trickles in anywhere from 2 weeks from the date of the original shop up to 60 days later. I don't have my spreadsheet in front of me, but I know I have been paid at least 2/3 of that money already.

This month is going even better. I have $425 worth of shops scheduled and about another $100 in reimbursements.

Tutoring is still going well, but I am a bit worried about it slowing down a lot this summer. I may need to expand my travels for mystery shopping to make up the difference.

More Money

January 28th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I just got my child support almost doubled. I always knew it was a bit low, but I never did anything to have it raised for several reasons. I wanted to stay on decent terms with my ex, he pays my son's medical insurance, and the travel to see him (now it's only between CT and NH, but when I lived in FL he flew him round trip as a minor).

Long story short, I just found out he was making twice as much as I was led to believe. I gave it a lot of thought and in the end I thought my son was entitled to more than 4% of his father's income. He is 14 and costs are going up. Also, even though the ex covers medical, I pay all the co-pays, provide dental, and all those associated costs as well.

I was not looking forward to court so I presented him an offer. Along with the offer I sent all the NH child support links. What I was asking was considerably less than what the court would likely enforce. He took the offer!

This means I will have $277 more per month coming in. As I said before, tutoring isn't where I want it to be yet (but much closer), so I will save the difference for now.

Tough Month

January 16th, 2014 at 06:14 pm

I knew it was going to be a tough month. We are on a no spend month other than absolute necessities. DH is working as a long-term sub which meant two weeks of no income over the holidays. Of course with snowstorms and the holidays, the tutoring business was less than stellar as well. So far, we haven't had to hit up the emergency fund (and I have managed to save for the 52 week challenge).

I am trying to pick up some extra writing assignments because both of the cars are in my name and I have to register them and get them inspected (I hate having a January birthday). I expect one will need new tires (registration and inspection are saved for all year, the tires will be a bit of a stretch). Luckily, I picked up three new students (tutoring) this week. I will let you know how it all pans out at the end of the month.

2014 Budget

December 29th, 2013 at 02:44 pm

I ran the numbers and although my income is somewhat variable due to being self-employed, it was easier to work out than I thought it would be. I figured low and if I make more than what is budgeted, I will give myself a quarterly bonus that will be split between debt repayment and my IRA.

Household (includes entertainment and insurances etc.): $2583 per month

Savings: $325 per month
$26.50 per week to EF (equivalent to 52 week challenge)
$15 per week to short term/sinking fund
$145 per month to IRA (Low I know, but it is what it is)

Debt repayment: $520 per month
Car: $400 per month (payment is $361.15, but I round up)
Student Loans: $120 per month (IBR)

Total: $3428 (after taxes)

Tweaking the Budget

June 26th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

I have used Swagbucks for years, but recently put forth more effort and figured out how to reach my daily goal without having to do surveys, games, and other time consuming tasks. I use SBTV mobile and that helps a lot.

Anyhow, my new plan is to cash out $40 in Amazon gift cards every month on Swagbucks and another $10 via other sites/apps I earn from. I will use this $50 a month for gifts (as I already do) and for some household items. I found seven items that are about the same price on Amazon as they are at the store. By time I get free shipping (I am an Amazon Prime member) and make less trips to the store, it really pays off!

By purchasing items on Amazon, I will be able to lower my weekly budget for gas, groceries, personal items and spending money. I currently budget $115 a week, but I am now lowering it to $105 per week, which comes out to $455 a month. I am confident this new system will work out well.

Low Spend Weekend

June 24th, 2013 at 12:52 am

I kept spending to a minimum this weekend. I spent a total of $24.96 and $20 of that was for gas. I spent $3.87 at the gas station on Saturday because I was going to a one time job of interviewing customers at a major store for four hours. I didn't have time to go home to grab water and a snack after I realized I had forgotten to bring anything to eat or drink with me.

Today I put gas in the car and met up with the ex to drop off my son for his summer visit. Ex was running late so my son conned me (He is turning 14 soon so he is a pro!) into buying him an ice cream cone. I won't see him for three weeks so I consider it $1.09 well spent.

After I dropped off my son, my husband and I took a drive to the beach to try and see the sand sculptures, but there was not one parking spot to be found. This means I may have to throw a few extra dollars in the gas tank before my spending replenishes on Friday. Other than that, I don't foresee having to spend any other money.

Figuring Out the Summer Budget

June 12th, 2013 at 10:59 am

My tutoring hours always vary a bit, but in the summer they really slow down. The company I work for does not have hours on Friday and Saturday in the summer and the other hours are a little shorter as well.

Since I won't have a firm grasp on my income for a couple more weeks, I am planning on doing my best to pay off the credit card before things slow down (last "big" check will be the week July 1st). I will also cut down on savings and only save 50-100 per month. Finally, I will most likely try and find another writing "side hustle".

My guesstimate is I have to make up about $500 a month until the end of September when the tutoring gets back to "normal."

Spent way too much...

June 10th, 2013 at 10:30 am


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sail on a schooner around Boston Harbor. My hubby, son, and a friend went. We tried to find a meter (free on Sundays), but of course all those spots were taken and had to spend $20 to park in a garage. We also spent $31 on lunch and tipped the crew on the schooner as well. In the end I spent $65 yesterday.

However, for a great day in the city and a free two hour sail, I think it was worth it! For us to spend money like that is extremely rare, so I suppose it is best not to fuss over it. I will shave a few dollars off my weekly "allowance" (covers groceries, gas, and spending) the next few weeks to make up the difference.