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More Sales!

May 26th, 2008 at 04:39 pm

Sidestream Income:
$3154.93 old total
$60.00 AC unit

TOTAL: $3214.93

My AC unit (priced at $75) didn't sell at the yard sale. The Craig's List ad elicited some calls and emails, but no one came to look. So, when a college kid offered me $60, I decided to accept the offer.

I'm nearly at

Text is last year's total and Link is
last year's total for the
Text is $20 Challenge and Link is
$20 Challenge!

2007 $20 Challenge Recap

January 15th, 2008 at 02:56 am

A relatively quick look through my Quicken records reveals a few insights from my 2007 Challenge.

My top new income streams were:

Babysitting: $2026.00
eBay Sales: $507.91
Housesitting: $300.00
Garage sale: $240.00 sales: $231.14

My final Challenge total was $3477.01, the bulk of which (95%) came from the 5 sources listed above.

I am particularly proud that all of these income streams are things I wasn’t doing prior to 2007. Furthermore, these money generating "schemes" are sustainable activities that I will continue to do in the future. I have decided to try to limit my babysitting to one family for 2008—the family for whom I first started babysitting for in January 2007. They typically need me 2x / week, so the income is not inconsequential. As I took on more families, I realized I wasn’t leaving any free time for myself. I felt cranky and worn out. I think this will be a healthy compromise.

My take home pay for my graduate student stipend plus salary for teaching summer school was $20,685 in 2007. The money from the $20 Challenge represents an additional 17% in income. At times I felt like all the work to add to the Challenge was for nil- some weeks I felt like a professional child care provider, yet after one year I earned just slightly more than $2000 from babysitting. I also think that by focusing on earning more money I was more hesitant to spend money. My thought process was something like: “$50 for a sweater when I have a drawer full already? That’s 5 hours of babysitting—I’ll pass!” Also, for better or worse, when you babysitting on Saturday night you are not out spending money!

What I will do with the money? I had thought about using the money to begin to dabble in some non-retirement investing. However, after learning more about the tax consequences I’d face and weighing my other goals (ie- continue to save for house down payment and max out Roth IRA for 2008) it seemed foolish to use the money for anything else.

Thanks to all who supported me with your comments and encouragement!

Challenge Year Total: $3477.01

December 31st, 2007 at 08:33 pm

Old Total: $3445.86
+ $12.75 textbook sale
New (and final) Total: $3477.01

The sale represents the sale price of the book ($18.99) minus the shipping and commission. I also added in the amount I've earned over the past year from a survey site to arrive at my yearly total: $3477.01.

The sale was another textbook I got for free from a professor who was cleaning out her office.

The total represents only new income streams for 2007- in other words, all money represents opportunities I sought out as part of the Challenge.

Later in the week, I'll post some reflections on the experience. Some of you may wonder what I plan to do with the money- as I've eluded to on the Message Boards, I plan to use it to invest in my first non-retirement mutual fund. I'm still in the process of determining which one.

Almost at Year's End!

December 30th, 2007 at 06:05 pm

Old Total: $3395.86
+ $50.00 babysitting
New Total: $3445.86


I also made a a sale and have some survey cash. I'll add that in tomorrow after I mail the book. It looks like my yearly total will be just under $3500.

$40 for Challenge

December 29th, 2007 at 07:02 pm

Old Total: $3355.86
+ $40.00 babysitting
New Total: $3395.86

I returned from 5 days at my parents last night and then babysat this morning from 8am-12-- earning $40. I'll go back again tomorrow for 5 hours.

I can't decide if this push for more babysitting jobs is worth it. After the holidays I'm cooling the babysitting. I suppose it **IS** worth it (at least for a short while)-- I've made about $200 in picking up new families. It doesn't seem like much, but I guess that's how money accumulates-- slowly and piece by piece.

$105 for Challenge

December 21st, 2007 at 03:29 am

Old Total: $3250.86
+ $105.00 babysitting
New Total: $3355.86

I made $105 babysitting for the new family this week. Tonight was a little easier-- maybe we all just needed to adjust to each other. The little boy is jealous of the 8 month year old. I understand why, but it makes it difficult to care for her while trying not to make him feel like second fiddle. If I can toot my own horn for a minute, I will say that I think I have a knack for kids. From what I've heard from their other sitter and the parents, I think I'm making a lot of progress with the little guy.

Oh well. I said I'd sit for them the week after Christmas. I'll have to see how that goes and them decide if this is something I want to continue.

$40 for Challenge

December 20th, 2007 at 04:50 am

Old Total: $3210.86
+ $40.00 babysitting
New Total: $3250.86

I babysat for my "regular" family tonight. I've also babysat 2x for a new family, and will do so again tomorrow. They said they'd pay me at the end of the week, so I'll wait until then to add the $$ to the Challenge.

The new family has made me realize how much I love my regular family! I'll spare the details, but it's made me think that I'm better off losing out on a little bit of $$ and continuing to babysit only for the one family. My sanity is worth more then $10 / hour!

$20 babysitting

December 16th, 2007 at 11:27 pm

Old Total: $3190.86
+ $20.00 babysitting
New Total: $3210.86

New babysitting jobs

December 15th, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Big babysitting day today: This morning I met with a new family who needs help over the University's Winter Break. They seem like a really nice couple. My first time babysitting for them will be Monday night, but if all works out, there should be ~ 40 hours of work over the next several weeks (the Mom is also a PhD student, and she needs 2 hours / night M-F to do her own work uninterrupted since she spends part of the regular work day home with the kids).

Then, at 2:00pm I went to the home of another family and babysat their 14 month old for 4 hours. Mom and Dad are professors and need uninterrupted time to work (I'm sensing a theme here!). If the weather isn't bad, I'm supposed to come back tomorrow and again for the Saturday-Sunday after Christmas.

I'm charging both families $10 / hour (I've just decided to say that's my rate).

This evening I'm going to my regular babysitting family- but as a guest at their Christmas party! I was happy to be invited. I bought Webkinz for the kids... I know they'll be thrilled!

Old Total: $3150.86
+ $40.00 babysitting
New Total: $3190.86

$50 for Challenge

December 13th, 2007 at 01:22 pm

Old Total: $3100.86
+ $50.00 babysitting
New Total: $3150.86

I made $50 babysitting last night. The kids were eagerly anticipating a snow day today-
and they got it! It's snowy an icy this morning. The public schools are closed, but not the University. Rats!

Contest Cash!

December 10th, 2007 at 01:51 pm

Old Total: $3075.86
+ $25.00 Blog Contest
New Total: $3100.86

Thanks to everyone who read and commented on my

Text is blog contest entry and Link is
blog contest entry and a special thank you to those who voted! Good luck to the December entrants, too!

In case, there was any doubt, I'm adding the money to my Challenge total!

Ride Share

December 10th, 2007 at 03:54 am

Old Total: $3050.86
+ $25.00 rideshare
New Total: $3075.86

I gave a rider (identified through Craig's List) a ride from Mr. Bean's city back to my town earlier today. She gave me $25 for gas.

$30 for the Challenge

December 6th, 2007 at 05:03 am

Old Total: $3020.86
+ $30.00 babysitting
New Total: $3050.86

I made another $30 babysitting tonight. I haven't been back to the overnight job since September. I don't know if it will ever resume again-- and if it does if I'll have it in me to go back. As graduation nears, my money making schemes are becoming less of a priority as my thesis work become more time consuming. I've always worked a steady 8-9 hours a day on it, but the final stretch might involve marathon effort.

There will be no babysitting this weekend as I'm going to see Mr. Bean. I was able to find someone to ride one way with me-- which should amount to $25 for "gas".

Over 3K!

November 30th, 2007 at 04:05 am

Old Total: $2995.86
+ $25.00 babysitting
New Total: $3020.86

I made $25 babysitting tonight.. and I crossed the $3000 mark!

Almost at 3K

November 26th, 2007 at 06:48 pm

Old Total: $2965.86
+ $25.00 ride share
New Total: $2995.86

I took an undergrad with me on the trip back home after visiting Mr. Bean this weekend in exchange for $25 to cover gas.


November 14th, 2007 at 06:17 pm

Old Total: $2665.86
+ $300.00 house sitting
New Total: $2965.86

Who-hoo! I just got paid for the house / dog sitting I did last week.
5 days at $60 / day = $300 bucks!

The good news is that they gave me a list of future days they need a house sitter. I don't think I can do all the days, but if I can, it will total an additional $1740!

Challenge money and an Aldi trip

November 11th, 2007 at 03:06 pm

Old Total: $2615.86
+ $50.00 babysitting
New Total: $2665.86

I babysit from 9pm-2am last night. Luckily I was able to sleep in this AM to recuperate!

Mr Bean is arriving last this afternoon and staying for 2 weeks- this will the longest time we've spent together since he moved in May. I have to pick him up at th e train station 30 miles from our house. The station is near the only Aldi in the area, so I plan on going there beforehand to stock up on stuff for the pantry as well as some things for Thanksgiving. Last

Text is spring I was less than enthusiastic and Link is
spring I was less than enthusiastic about Aldi since I found the prices to be comparable to our normal grocery store that doubles coupons. However, I haven't had much time for clipping coupons nor do I go shopping as much now that I'm only cooking for one, so I'm looking forward to this trip.

Finally.. something for the Challenge!

November 8th, 2007 at 04:29 pm

Old Total: $2550.86
+ $65.00 babysitting
New Total: $2615.86

The Challenge had hit a slump, but a marathon babysitting session helps to revive it!

I'm also house/dog sitting this week which should bring in $300.

Cash for the Challenge

October 19th, 2007 at 02:41 am

Old Total: $2530.86
+ $20.00 babysitting
New Total: $2550.86

Challenge addition

October 17th, 2007 at 11:28 am

Old Total: $2490.86
+ $40.00 babysitting
New Total: $2530.86

My first addition to the Challenge in about a month! Starting next week, I'll begin overnight babysitting again, although I have some of my own commitments that will prohibit me from babysitting as much s they'd like me too. Good thing I'm not counting on this money!

No $$ of the Challenge, but Nice $$ Surprise

September 27th, 2007 at 03:18 am

You probably haven't noticed, but I sure have: babysitting has been slow this month.

Aside from being away last week, there have been 4 nights I was scheduled to overnight babysit that were canceled because The Dad got his hours switched at the last moment. It's nice to sleep in my own bed, but I miss the money. It's not money I "count" on, though, so I'll be OK.

I did have a pleasant monetary surprise come my way on Tuesday, though. I wanted to attend a professional conference in early November, but the registration fee ($255) was more than I was interested in paying out of pocket. I submitted an application for a scholarship and was lucky enough to have one awarded to me. The conference is the city where Mr. Bean lives, so I expected that the scholarship would pay my registration and possibly offer re-reimbursement for lodging-- in which case I would say I already had housing arrangements and didn't need a hotel.

However, I found out on Tuesday that the Scholarship is a free registration and a check for $995 to help cover lodging and transportation! What a pleasant surprise! My transportation costs will just be gas for the ~500 mile round-trip.

I'm not going to add the money to my challenge because I'm using the Challenge only to total new income streams and things I wouldn't have done in the name of making money prior to joining the SA community. Honestly, I probably would have balked at paying $255 out of pocket for a conference prior to SA.

Now I just need to decide where I'll but the money. I'm leaning either towards earmarking it for my 2008 Roth IRA or earmarking it for a non-retirement mutual fund. I feel comfortable with the amount of cash I have in savings and will be able to max out my Roth for 2008, so I'm starting to think out moving some of the cash in savings into another vehicle. Any thoughts? Any suggestions for where to do more reading? I could come up with 3K (Vanguard's minimum). I'm thinking about the Vanguard 500, but I'm still wet behind the ears.

Back from Vacation: and adding to the Challenge!

September 22nd, 2007 at 04:51 pm

Old Total: $2430.20
+ $60.00 babysitting
$0.66 PETCO coupon on eBay
New Total: $2490.86

I got back from vacation late Thursday night. I checked my email and saw I had an opportunity to babysit the following night. I figured the time was ripe to earn back some of the money I spent on vacation!

I made $60 babysitting from 6pm- 12am last night. I also added in a whoppping $0.66 I profited from a eBay sale of a coupon prioir to leaving for vacation.

Once I run some totals of what I spent and get re-organized from being away for a week, I'll post more about my trip. In sum: It was fantastic! ...and we got some nice prizes for being audience members on the Dr. Phil show!

Another Challenge Addition

September 8th, 2007 at 04:24 am

Old Total: $2400.20
+ $30.00 babysitting
New Total: $2430.20

I babysat from 9pm - 12am.

Challenge Cash!

September 6th, 2007 at 01:15 pm

Old Total: $2270.20
+ $130.00 overnight babysitting
New Total: $2400.20

The Mom paid me in advance for the overnight babysitting I'll do tonight, so I received $130 in total. I came early last night (usually I get $20 extra for this), but she paid me $30 extra plus didn't subtract the $10 credit from when she overpaid me last time. I told her she was paying me too much and I reminded her of the credit, but she said that they really appreciate it when I come early because it allows her husband to earn a lot of extra money.

My morning is off to a good start!

More moola for Challenge

September 4th, 2007 at 02:22 pm

Old Total: $2214.03
+ $56.17 textbook sale on
New Total: $2270.20

I sold the other

Text is textbook I got for free and Link is
textbook I got for free. My profit was $56.17. The breakdown looked like this:

$65.00 sale price of book
+ 2.64 shipping reimbursement
- 8.13 commission
- 2.81 actual shipping cost
- 0.53 cost of padded envelope + tax
$56.17 profit

Now appearing as: Mary Poppins

August 30th, 2007 at 01:44 pm

Old Total: $2114.03
+ $100 babysitting
New Total: $2214.03

I had a big babysitting night yesterday: 2 different families in one night.

My "regular" family from last year is back their 2 month travel abroad. I babysat for them from 8pm - 12am and earned $40. Then I jumped in the car and went to my overnight job where I earned $60 (in actuality, it should have been $50, but The Mom only had 20's so I'm giving her a $10 credit for next time). sale for $20 Challenge

August 29th, 2007 at 02:18 pm

Old Total: $2036.33
+ $77.70 sale
New Total: $2114.03

I ended up netting $77.70 from

Text is the text book sale and Link is
the text book sale. The break down went like this:

$89.99 sale price of book
+ 2.64 shipping reimbursement
- 11.25 commission
- 3.15 actual shipping cost
- 0.53 cost of padded envelope + tax
$77.70 profit

The Way to Have more Money...

August 26th, 2007 at 04:07 pm

I was excited to see my Challenge top 2K. But when I shared the “good news” with Mr. Bean yesterday, he said, “Really, that’s all you’ve made?” Typically when he says something contrary I get angry, but this time I just kind of chuckled and said, “Yes, I know!”

$2000 isn’t inconsequential, but when I think of all the babysitting and selling over the last 8 months, and all of the thought put into finding new babysitting jobs and finding new things to sell, I can’t help but think that it doesn’t amount to a very big hill of beans.

That being said, as a graduate student, my income isn’t very high. Stashing away this $20 Challenge money differentiates me from many of my grad student peers who end up going into debt during their graduate careers. But, it just really drives home the point that the best way to earn money is to have one decent paying job. The amount I’ve brought in over the last 8 months is roughly equivalent to the take home pay of one month of work for someone making 65K / year.

Maybe I’m just fatigued, but I’m looking forward to being back in the real working world again and just having ONE job with a decent salary!

Challenge Tops 2k!

August 25th, 2007 at 01:57 pm

Old Total: $1976.33
+ $60 overnight babysitting
New Total: $2036.33

I was asked to come 1 hour early yesterday, hence why I made $60 rather than $50.

I think The Mom just deals mostly in $20 bills and that's why there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to the amount I get paid to come early. I think that as long as it's convenient for me to get there early, I'll come early. I feel like they are trying to compensate me for being flexible and everyone is happy.

Almost free money!

August 24th, 2007 at 11:07 pm

I'm so excited! I just made ~+$85 for doing practically nothing with no investment.

Today a professor in my department set a pile of books outside his office with a note reading "free". The textbooks were mostly intro level so I have no need for them, but I knew I could sell them on and make a profit.

I waited a few hours to see if anyone took them (I felt a tinge of guilt taking them only for re-sale), but no one did so I took two. Just hours later, one has sold for $89.99! I'm going to wait until after I mail it on Monday to add it my Challenge so I can subtract out the proper amount for shipping.

This truly is an example of how the $20 Challenge has changed my outlook. Last year, I wold have seen them and thought: "No use to me". This year, I saw dollar signs!

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