I finally pulled the trigger and got my own actual slice of the web to call my own. So, I now officially have my own domain and hosting.
Today, I am being honest with myself. Today I say, enough is enough. Today, I sat down and calculated not only how much I owe, but the interest rates on what I owe. And today, I am horrified. This will be the first update, of what I assume will be many more, of what shall be referred as my TSD, or… Total Soul-crushing Debt.
Student Loans $51,816.00 ~ 5.6%
Car Loan $8,087.79 2.99%
CareCredit $941.39 26.99%
Credit Card $2,161.93 15.24%
Total Soulcrushing Debt: $63,007.11
… F$%#. How did that happen!? There are a few truths which came into realization after this little Excel experiment…
So what lessons have I learned? Have a plan, and don’t take any extra money than what you ACTUALLY NEED for school. Have an emergency fund before you need a major dental procedure. Look at your statements and know how much your interest rates are, and if they are changing. For example, my credit card interest rates went up 1% within the last month. I did not even realize it until I went online and looked up the number for this table.
I guess you need to know about your financial situation to accurately take control of it. So now I know, and maybe showing my partner this tonight will help put things into perspective in terms of what we NEED and what we WANT. Now, to go and cry a little... :'(
I struggled for a long time with whether or not I should live at my parent’s house longer with my boyfriend while we save money and a I start paying off my student loans, or if we should get an apartment. The economical (read: CHEAP) side of me says “Live at home forever! Pay rent to your parents, it will be beneficial all around!” The other side says, “dear god, can we please have our own space now?!”
Well, finally the cheap side lost. We found an apartment that met our needs, and we would be comfortable in for the foreseeable future. As two adults in their late twenties who are looking to eventually start a life together, we needed our own space. I graduated college (finally) and there was no longer an excuse. After cutting that check for the down payment, and first month’s rent, I still feel great about it, no buyer’s remorse! There is a calm that comes over me in my space. It’s close to family, but not in the same house. All of our needs are met, and I don’t feel like we will outgrow the space in a year or so because it was never right for us in the first place.
It amazed me how quickly we felt at home. Our friends not only helped us get in and set everything up, but then stayed, had some beers and really made us feel comfortable. It was great. One friend even gave me some spare pots and pans when I swore I had some stored away and couldn’t find them.
What also amazed us was all of the furniture in the apartment. We got so much for free, it was pretty amazing. We only paid for three pieces of furniture!
All in all I think we’ve done well for ourselves. No, it doesn’t all match, but I’m just going to call it eclectic. And yes, it does have scratches and nicks, but I will see it as well loved. Each piece of furniture for our new little home was acquired by seizing an opportunity, or hunting out the right piece for the right price, and I’m pretty proud of that.
It has been quite an exciting time in the life of me lately. I’m coming up on my college graduation, assuming I pass all my classes in the next month, my partner and I are moving into our own apartment, I got a promotion and a raise I was not even going for without adding any work responsibilities, and I was back paid for the position as well!
So another milestone, I will finally be taking in over 30k a year, which was a personal goal for graduating with my Bachelor’s degree. I did not want to still be making less than 30k a year with my B.A. With all of these good, wonderful things happening, the excitement set in. I’d be getting a couple thousand dollars up front in addition to my raise, and my mind started racing through all of the possibilities.
“We can buy matching couches”
“Should we upgrade to a King Sized bed?”
“Maybe look at brand new patio furniture”
“What about a table, we need a kitchen table, we don’t have one”
“What about brand new dressers, the ones we have are old and shabby, surely my mom wants to keep them”
I started suggesting new furniture to my partner, and was getting a little frustrated that he wasn’t too keen on the idea, and was more content getting a couch slipcover for our current bright orange couch. I was getting frustrated that we weren’t seeing eye-to-eye. Normally I’m the one saying “Yeah, but do we really need it?” This time, he was chiming in with “We don’t really need to spend that money” and I am actually really proud of him food it. Good job sir, keep me in check with my own ideals!
Throughout the discussion, I turned away from the “I-must-buy-all-the-things” mentality, to a more “let’s see what we’re working with” approach. We identified multiple things we already had, or were offered which would work just fine.
We owned a couch, and were offered a second one. We could buy matching covers to protect them, and make them look nicer if we wanted, but didn’t need two brand new couches.
We needed a kitchen table, and there was one in the basement. Sure the legs had some doggie bite marks on them, and some of the chairs weren’t usable, but it was functional for our needs. We would just take that.
We needed clothing storage, we already owned dressers. We agreed to see what the closet space was like, and then see if we could use one of our current dressers to store the rest.
We wanted an Ikea cube style bookshelf to store some records, and then realized there was one left behind by my sister. If we packed up books that were left behind which didn’t need to be on there anyway since no one would be using the space, we could just take that bookshelf.
We met all of our needs by just looking around us, and accepting what we have. And now thanks to that, I instantly have an emergency fund, and am better suited to help start attacking my student loans once I graduate.
A few years ago I received the best financial advice yet from my best friend's mother. She told me that as soon as I was able to invest in my employer's retirement plan, to take it. She told me to set up, and start saving for retirement. I didn't believe her at the time, but she told me I wouldn't even notice it was missing from my paycheck. So I did, and true to her word, I did not miss that money. Even when my employer match was cut in half, I kept my contribution the same. While I wasn't paying attention, my money just built up!
What my retirement account has given me already
Having my retirement set up has already been beneficial to me. It feels good to have some amount of money to my name for the future. It makes me feel successful in finances, and motivates me to keep getting my financial self in order. Also, it helped get me to Italy. I had an opportunity to study abroad for a short time with school, and needed about 1,500 more than I currently had saved up. Since this was something I had always wanted to do, and the course offered fit perfectly with my Psychology degree, I booked the trip! I was able to take a loan out from my retirement account and pay it back at a very low rate through automatic payroll deductions. I took out only what I needed, and paid it back in 10 months. Now, some people would argue that this was not a financially smart move, but I beg to differ. It offered me useful world experience, all the money was borrowed from me and paid back to me, and for me, the value was worth the expense. I am thankful my 403b was there.
A few months ago, I had read an article on Money After Graduation about just getting the first $10,000. Adding that extra 0 raises you up to a new level. I believe she was mainly talking about her emergency fund, and not an employer matched account. However, since this is my milestone, I am happy to announce that today, I have reached 10,000 in my retirement account. For someone who is working in the non-profit field in their mid-twenties, I'm pretty proud of this accomplishment. Now, onto the milestone!
Typically, when someone thinks of a babysitter, they are probably picturing a high school girl sitting on the couch, eating pizza, and waiting for her boyfriend to come over because the house is empty. As an adult with a full-time job, and actively enrolled in college, I really don’t fit into this stereotype. However, I have had a very lucrative year babysitting and dog-sitting in 2014, and I wanted to share with you all how much I made, and what I thought doing it.
How Much I Made
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty right away! Drumroll please…
Over the course of 2014, I made a whopping $3,454.00 in addition to my primary income!
That may not seem like a lot to all of you, but I think that’s a sizable chunk of change right there!
How I Got Started
I’ve been caring for children for over fifteen years by now, so I won’t start all the way back from the beginning. In 2013, I was on a mission to make some extra cash around the holidays. I interviewed for a mall retail job over the holidays which I would get minimum wage for, and of course got an offer. However, I just realistically couldn’t see myself working retail again, I hated it. So, I decided I would market myself as a holiday babysitter, available for parties or if parents needed time to shop on their own without the children. I inquired about a posting by a family who lived close to me that I found on Sittercity.com, and the rest is history. For my pet-sitting gigs, I found a family local through Care.com.
1. I make DOUBLE what I was offered in the retail position. If you have experience, and work for the right family, you can make a good deal of money caring for someone else’s children.
2. I’m able to multitask by doing school work while I’m working. I typically watch the kids until about 9:00pm. After they go to bed, I’m free to do school work, make phone calls, pay bills, and watch television, read, or do any number of things to be productive with my time. That’s a win-win!
3. Kids are Fun! I would much rather get paid to play PlayStation and watch Frozen a million times than to push holiday merchandise on miserable mall shoppers.
4. Location, Location, Location! I was very lucky and found a family lives less than 5 minutes from my current home. They also happen to own a very nice house. Who wouldn’t want to spend their working hours in a private home as opposed to a mall? Malls are evil, avoid them.
5. CASH is king! I get paid in cash by my employers at the end of each shift. This is convenient, and beats having to wait two weeks for a paycheck.
6. You build a relationship. The family I babysit for is special to me. We catch up with each other, and even exchange gifts at Christmas. If you are someone who truly loves people, it’s a great spot to be in.
7. A second stream of income is great. I have had many moments when it has been beneficial to have a second stream of income. If I lost my, I would still have some money coming in through an established source.
8. I can say “Not tonight…” We all have those nights where we have something else going on, or are just too tired to work. I can plan around other events in my life, and turn down an offer if I just can’t do it that night. (OR I just don’t want to!) That’s definitely not something I can say about my 9-5 job.
1. Kids can be difficult. Sometimes, a strong-willed child can ruin your night. This could happen any day, and you have to be ready for it,
2. The hours are often during times filled with a lot of social activities. There are plenty of times I missed going out with my pals on a Friday night because I chose to babysit. It’s a tradeoff.
3. Your income is dependent on your employer’s income. If the parents you work for suffer a difficult financial situation, it will probably affect your pay as well. They may not go out as much, or need your services. Your position may be eliminated altogether.
After looking at what I made as side income last year, and taking all of the good and bad into consideration, I will definitely continue to be an adult babysitter in 2015. It is a valuable established source of income that fits into my lifestyle.
Are you interested in finding your next babysitting or pet-sitting gig? Check out Care.com or Sittercity.com. Basic services are free for care providers.
Be on the lookout for my future blogs to provide some tips to be a good sitter, and how you can make even MORE money as a caregiver!
The information provided above is not sponsored by any site or service. All information is based solely on my own experiences and is for informational and entertainment purposes only.