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Archive for June, 2007

The Daily Show on Credit Cards

June 29th, 2007 at 01:05 pm

Check out this clip of Demetri Martin from the Daily Show taking about credit cards posted on
My Money Blog. Hysterical. I love it.

Today's my last day teaching a 100-level course in the Summer Session (No fear though, I stat up again with the second summer session in a week).

So, in honor college kids everywhere, check this out.

Challenge-- almost at $1500

June 29th, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Old Total: $1481.44
+ $4.79 eBay
------------------------
New Total: $1486.23

After I paid all the fees and mailed the goods, I netted $4.79 off my latest eBay auction. I lost money on one item with the shipping, and another item didn't even sell (although I still deducted the cost to list it).

I don't have any riders coming with me to DC and I forgot to stop at Plato's Closet to re-sell clothes, so I feel pretty safe to say that my total as of June 30 will be the amount listed above. Hence, I fell a little short ($13.77) of my goal of $1500 by June 30. But, If you include the interest I've made off the money (it's in a high yield savings), then I probably surpassed the mark).

Next month I should have more regular babysitting jobs and I'm brining items to my Mom's garage sale to sell.
Have a great weekend!

$$ for Challenge: Free Market edition!

June 27th, 2007 at 01:23 am

Old Total: $1441.44
+ $40.00 babysitting
------------------------
New Total: $1481.44

I babysat for 2 hours on 2 occasions (total time of 4 hours) for the new family that I will be doing some overnight sitting. Based off some comments from the mom regarding what they pay their other babysitter, I expected a day time rate of maybe $5-$7 / hour (my overnight sitting will be a flat rate). To my surprise, when she paid me she said they would pay me $10 / hour for daytime babysitting. In our initial interview they asked how much my other family pays me. The other family pays me $10 / hour, but they have 3 kids (this family has 2), they live farther away, and they are very wealthy (not that that should effect what they are charged, but they certainly appear to have a generous amount of disposable income). Honestly, I think the new family upped their rate to make themselves a more "competeitive" job. Hey, works for me! It's fun to see the free market in action.

Now if I can just round up $19 in the few days, I will meet my goal on earning $1500 through new streams by June 30. I have eBay auctions ending tonight, so that should generate $5- $10. I alo have some clothes to try to re-sell at Plato's Closet, and some ads posted offering a ride to DC this weekend (I'm going to see Mr. Bean).

I'm a bad, bad girl!

June 22nd, 2007 at 03:15 am

I'm a bad girl for a couple of reasons:

1.) I haven't been entering expenses in Quicken. I've caught up with it now, but it's a pain to get behind and try to remember where the $$ went (especially cash ).
2.) I was over "budget" in May, and will also be over budget in June.

Beginning in January, I challenged myself to live each month off my stipend (usually about $1340 / month take home) while contributing $150 to my Roth IRA. I have other streams of income beside my stipend, like babysitting, interest, and random odd jobs, but I've been trying to just sock that money away.

I won't bother listing all the categories, but I was $262.81 over my stipend in May. I did so well with this Challenge until April. I need to get back on the wagon!

There are a few reasons for the extra expenses, but the major reason is that I've allowed myself a little more liberty in spending because in May I was offered to teach 2 summer classes for which I will be paid ~$5,000 in total, before taxes. I will get the money at the end of June. I decided to use this unexpected "windfall" to max out my 2007 Roth ASAP (by the end of June, I will have contributed $2000, so I'll use the teaching money to top it off at $4K). The remainder I'll put in savings, but I have been very liberal the last few weeks in treating myself to some new clothing, some nice shampoo, etc. All in all, it will probably end up being a few hundred dollars in "treats".

I was going to write how I work really hard and deserve the "treats", but I know that's just rationalizing. It is what it is. I wanted the stuff. I have it now. I think I'm still in good financial shape and the world will keep turning.I need to find a way to balance feeling guilty about spending and enjoying the money I earn. Actually, the more I think about it, I don't really feel guilty about it. I'm just cognizant, and perhaps that *is* the middle ground.

Dollar Tree- How I Love Thee!

June 21st, 2007 at 11:40 am

There are so many reasons to love the Dollar Tree: The cute gifts bags, the cleaning supplies, the adoreable party decorations (I recently saved bundle buying all the decorations for a baby shower at the Dollar Tree).

But, by far, the item I buy most frequently at the Dollar Tree is greeting cards. The cards, unlike most items at the Dollar Tree, are $0.50 / each. There's a wide selection, and the quality of the card stock is pretty good.

Recently while looking for a birthday card for Mr. Bean I found this one:



It reads: "I'm not the type who buys the first birthday card I see, ya know!"



"First, I check to see how much it costs. Happy Birthday"

Perfect! Dollar Tree, you've done it again!

Not For Bean Counters

June 20th, 2007 at 04:43 pm

Mark Bittman from the New York Times examines the illustrious Bean Salad:Not for Bean Counters. Check out his instructional video, too: A Hill of Beans.

Enjoy!

Overnight babysitting and more $$ for Challenge

June 14th, 2007 at 01:30 pm

I spoke with the Mom in need of overnight babysitting and she agreed to doing a 1-month trial. In fact, she said she appreciated my concern about the commitment and implied that it showed that I was serious and responsible. I'll start in late July. I feel very comfortable with the situation now.

Last week I went to see Mr. Bean in Washington, DC. I posted an ad one of our Community Message boards offering a round tip ride to DC in exchange for $40 to cover gas and tolls. I ended up taking a a very pleasant female graduate student from India. I appreciated the money, and she appreciated an affordable way to get out of our small college town and see Washington. In fact, she asked to ride with me next time I go to see him in a few weeks. All in all, a win-win. I'll add the $40 to my Challenge:

Old Total: $1401.44
+ $40.00 ride share
------------------------
New Total: $1441.44

A new job...

June 13th, 2007 at 02:32 am

I met with a family earlier this evening in need of regular overnight childcare. Mom is nurse who works 12 hour overnight shifts, Dad works for FedEx and was recently moved to nights. They need a sitter 2-3 times / week from ~9pm (some nights 11pm)until 7:30am. The kids will be in bed at arrival and Mom will wake them up and get them ready for school in the morning. The house is just a few miles from my own. Sitter will have use of the spare bedroom and can sleep. The pay seems negotiable, but she suggested $~50 / night, but said she would "pay me what I needed". I'm very tempted. At $50 / night, I would make ~$500 / month-- and most of the time I'd be sleeping. However, it's a big commitment and I would feel obligated to stay even if it wasn't working out for me just because that's the way I am. Even though I would be sleeping, it would mean I'd be away from my home (and my adorable kitty) a significant portion of the week. I'm not hard up for money, and next year, after I graduate, I'll be making at least 2.5x my current graduate student stipend as a post doc. But, I still like making money, and have gotten very good at socking away the cash from my "odd jobs" into my high yield savings.

I think I'm going to call the mom back tomorrow and say that I'd like to give it a try, but would like to do so on a 1-month trial basis. I know she's interviewing other people, so I'll also add that I understand if she prefers to go with someone who is willing to make the commitment from the get-go.

What do you think?

Challenge Update

June 7th, 2007 at 04:19 am

Old Total: $1389.44
+ $20.00 babysitting
------------------------
New Total: $1401.44

Tonight was probably the last time that I'll babysit for the "usual" family until they return from their summer travels in August. I'm so sad! I've really grown close to the kids- especially the little girl (the boys are great, too, but they are older and more independent). The little girl asked me If I babysit for other kids and if she was my favorite. I said that was indeed my favorite because she was my friend. She seemed pleased- but it's true!

I interviewed yesterday with another family who needs an occasional sitter. I expect that they'll call at some point, but their kids also go away (to Grandparents) for a substantail part of the summer.