Home > Archive: January, 2008

Archive for January, 2008

More babysitting cash

January 30th, 2008 at 05:09 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1046.93 old total
$65 babysitting
TOTAL: $1111.93

I made $65 babysitting last night. I think that's most I've ever made in one bout of babysitting ($60 was my previous high).

This has been a big month for side stream income! I don't anticipate future months to be this good! The money is welcomed, since I was also on a bit of a spending binge this month.

Sidestream Income

January 28th, 2008 at 04:04 pm

Sidestream Income:
$756.93 old total
$40 rideshare
$250 airline vouchers
TOTAL: $1046.93

I went to visit Mr. Bean this weekend. I took along a rider who gave me $40 for the round trip ride. I also sold the airline vouchers we received as

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audience members on the Dr. Phil show this past Fall. I wish we could have used the vouchers, but it didnít seem like we would have time before they expired. At the very least, we got some cash and the buyer got a great deal!

I feel a little guilty counting the $250 for the vouchers as income because we quickly spent the $250 (and then some) hosting a very big, very non-frugal party. Whoopsies!

It's my lucky day!

January 24th, 2008 at 03:50 am

I have a CD at Emigrant Direct maturing in early February. I planned to re-invest the money in a CD, but was worried that interest rates would drop again after the Fed meeting next week (note: this thought process was BEFORE Monday's emergency meeting and rate drop).

So, over the weekend I filled out the necessary forms online to open a new CD at Emigrant Direct with money from my Savings account close in value to the CD that will mature in February. I figured once the CD matures, I'd cash it out to replete my savings account. Over the weekend, Emigrant's CD rate was 4.55% APY.

My confirmation said the transaction would b e complete on 1/23. When I checked out Emigrant web page today (1/23), I saw they had dropped their CD rates to 3.5% APY. I fully expected this was the rate I would receive, but to my pleasure, I still got the 4.55% APY.

Yea! Every little bit helps!


January 22nd, 2008 at 04:16 am

It pays to review your receipts and purchases! I've had two overcharge incidents already this week.

Incident #1:
I recently bought 2 pairs of running shoes online. My e-receipt was for $119.15 but my credit card was charged $154.35. I emailed customer service and they said the problem would be fixed-- you better believe I'm going to watch my statement to make sure it is! That's a $35 difference!

Incident #2:
We pre-bought heating oil at $2.699 / gal, but the invoice following the latest delivery was at $2.711/ gal. When all is said and done, I was only overcharged a few dollars, but I'm going to call and get it corrected. It's not right, and if they're doing it to me, I wonder if they are making this "mistake" with all the pre-buy customers!

Interestingly, I shredded a bunch of old receipts from a few years ago earlier this evening, including our pre-buy oil receipt from August 2004 when we paid 1.499/ gal!

I most likely wouldn't have caught either of these mistakes prior to my financial conversion. Ahh, the lessons learned!

Babysitting $$

January 20th, 2008 at 06:05 pm

Sidestream Income:
$726.93 old total
$30 babysitting
TOTAL: $756.93

I made $30 babysitting last night. At least my side stream income for 2008 is surpassing my the amount I've spent on the self-beatification splurge this month!!

More Splurging!

January 20th, 2008 at 04:59 am

Well, the splurge was not complete! I went ot the Mall this afternoon to return some clothes my mother gave Mr. Bean for Xmas. He said I could use the refund money to get something for myself since I was doing the return. So, I spent the return money (~$20) and then some. Good golly the stuff was CHEAP-- the prices were what I would expect at the end of season, although we still have a good 2-3 months left of winter in my part of the country. I guess that's what happens when consumer spending declines. I couldn't resist a few more items to spice up my wardrobe.

Lest anyone worry I've fallen off my rocker, I can afford these little splurge. I've already contributed $900 to my 2008 Roth. But, I still feel a little uneasy about the spending. Even though I think I'm doing OK with saving, there's this little voice in the back of my head saying: "Save more! Don't rationalize your wastefulness!"

Since I've been using Quicken for over a year now to track all my expenditures, I think it would behoove me to go back and analyze it a little closer. By doing so, hopefully I'll come to ease with these occasional splurges or be able to somehow quantify how much of a splurge will still be responsible.

1/3 Life Crisis!

January 17th, 2008 at 04:00 am

Sidestream Income:
$701.93 old total
$25 babysitting
TOTAL: $726.93

I earned $25 babysitting this evening. Thanks to the house sitting earlier this month 2008 is looking GREAT!

Now, if I can only quell my spending! I just ordered the granddaddy of

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ceramic hair flat irons for $100 earlier today. Designer jeans, highlights, expensive hair products? What has become of me! Is this my one-third life crisis? When all is said and done, the total for these items is ~$225. Let's hope the splurge is complete!

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 wasnít 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 2008óthe 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 wasnít 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: ď$50 for a sweater when I have a drawer full already? Thatís 5 hours of babysittingóIíll pass!Ē 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 Iíd 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!

Beauty dilemmas

January 14th, 2008 at 09:43 pm

Sidestream Income:
$211.93 old total
$480 housesitting
TOTAL: $701.93

I got paid for the house sitting I did last week. House sitting involves living/sleeping at the house and taking care of the dog, mail, trash etc. The home is ~10 miles from where I live, so I used much more fuel than I typically do in a given week, but it's still a good gig to have.

I wrote a lengthy entry last night about the money I've spent in the beauty/fashion care department in the last week (new jeans, highlights etc), but lost the entry before it was published. Hopefully I'll find the time to re-write it. The post basically told the tale of woe that I've been feeling really frumpy as of late. It's probably not coincidental that I also turned 30 this week. To be honest, I'm happy with my size and shape, I just don't feel like I have the right clothes or take the time to look a little better. I think with turning 3-0 I came to realize I might as well enjoy what I have because it won't be around forever.


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other bloggers I read have recently expressed
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similar feelings. I took a plunge and got highlights last week--but held onto my frugal ways and had them done at the beauty school. I couldn't be happier! They look great and they cost only $30! I wouldn't go to an inexpensive chain salon like Super Cuts for highlights, however. Why? The stylists at the chains are typically inexperienced and they are pressed for time. The beauty school stylists can take all the time they need (note: don't make an appointment at the beauty school if YOU have someplace to be!), and they have an experienced instructor guiding them.

The money saved on the highlights will help to offset the the price of the designer jeans I also splurged for :-) People say having one great pair of jeans is better than 8 pair of ill-fitting jeans. Well, I have 8 pair of ill-fitting jeans, so and the verdict is still out on this purchase. I will say their fit is definitely better, and the store altered the length for no extra cost. I had been contemplating taking the designer denim splurge for some time, but
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Madame X's musing on the topic helped remind me of this pressing priority! The jeans were originally $175, but on sale for $79.50. Yikes! Frugal? Heck no! But my butt looks good!

More Sidestream Income

January 13th, 2008 at 03:54 pm

Sidestream Income:
$161.93 old total
$60 babysitting
TOTAL: $221.93

I babysat for 6 hours last night (until 2am-- I'm tired this morning!)

Side Stream Income

January 9th, 2008 at 05:34 pm

Iíve decided not to participate in the Challenge for 2008. I really like the idea of using the Challenge for finding new income streams, and frankly, I donít think I can come up with anything new after the last yearís romp! Plus, what I did last year (selling things, babysitting and housesittng) is still working for me, so Iíll continue to use my time and energy to pursue these endeavors. Hey, if it ainít brokeÖ..

Although Iím not going to participate in the Challenge, Iím going to continue to track my side streams of income here. Itís fun for me, and from what Iíve read in the comments, itís motivating to some readers.

So with that said, Iíve made some babysitting money and cash in the New Year. The babysitting jobs were both found in response to ad I posted on Craigís List for babysitting available on New Yearís Eve. Although no one took me up on NYE, people did you the ad to inquire about my availability on other dates. I babysat for 3 hours on New Yearís Day for one family, and for 3 dates for a total of 8 hours for another family. I also sold one of the

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textbooks I got for free on

Sidestream Income:
$110 babysitting
$51.93 profit*
TOTAL: $161.93

*sales fees, shipping and mailing supplies deducted

Over the weekend I hope to be able to reflect and post on the 2007 Challenge.

Keepin' it Real Since 1978

January 8th, 2008 at 04:29 pm

Reflections of my $20 Challenge are coming... next week?

I'm house sitting this week and away from my desk top computer and Quicken records. On the bright side, I'm making $60 / day for sleeping a house 5x the size of my own and walking a dog. Between the babysitting and house sitting, sometimes I question my decision to get a PhD and wonder if I'm just better suited to be woman-servant to the well-off.

Yesterday was also my 30th birthday! Yes, I've been keepin' it real since 1978. Mr. Bean is in town and helping me enjoy the palace lifestyle (this was OK'ed by the homeowners first, of course). We're going out to celebrate the birthday tonight at one of the town's finer dining establishments, expense abatement compliments of

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Be Nice to Your Babysitter

January 3rd, 2008 at 04:46 am

The ad I posted on Craig's List for babysitting jobs has received a great response-- I'd call it a babysitting blitzkreig. I babysat yesterday for three hours at a hotel for a new Professor's kids while he and his wife went househunting. The kids were a little on the wild side and potty-mouthed. Tonight I babysat again for the new family with the 2 yo and 8 month old. I babysit for them 2 more times and then.. I AM DONE aside from my one glorious family whom I regularly babysit for.

At $10 / hour, babysitting can be profitable, but given the big jump in income I'll be experiencing in a few months after I graduate (I have a job lined up), it's not worth it when I don't feel like I'm getting treated well. Case in point, both parents were home while I babysat tonight from 5-9pm but they were in other parts of the house. The mother warmed up some leftovers for me to feed to the little boy for dinner, she then dished the remainder onto a plate for herself and her husband then then disappeared, leaving 'ol Beanie with nothing. Luckily, I was able to find a loaf of bread in the fridge so I ate a slice of that. I don't think they meant to leave me hungry, but it just seemed like as long as the kids were out of their hair, no one thought about me. When I took the job, the mom actually asked if I would wait to eat until I got there so I could eat with their son-- like many kids, he eats better when others are eating. I guess I made the erroneous assumption that they would provide me with a little food to eat!

One of the other new families made a big deal of constantly emailing and reminding me when they wife overpaid me $10 when she didn't have the correct change. We all acknowledged I had been overpaid and agreed to just carry over the "credit" for the next time. So what was the reason for all the emails reminding me of the $10 credit? Did they think I was going to skip town with their $10 bucks? I mean, seriously, who among us is the student and who is the "professional"?

The irony is, all these people want me to keep babysitting for them! Like many situations, it's a two way street and the money alone isn't enough to make me coming back. So, to all the parents out there, if you have trouble finding a babysitter and then finally find one, make sure to be nice to her! People think it's the kids that make the babysitter not come back, let me tell you, parents can be equally deterring!

I know many jobs involve weird bosses and difficult personalities, but when you hiring someone to come into your home and care for your kids-- don't make her feel like a second class citizen.