First, let’s take a look back at my November goals. Income goals were $3000 for John and $1800 for me but before I get into what we hit, I’m going to recap our other goals.
I took a look back at my October goals and was pleasantly surprised. I’m normally really good at setting goals, but actually meeting them is a whole different story. So, let’s recap our income from last month…
John’s September Income: $435
Sarah’s September Income: $1450
Keep in mind we had just moved and John was technically unemployed as he was getting his business underway. October was his first full month being self-employed. Here’s what happened…
I mentioned before that I was wanting to read Thomas Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door. Well, today I took my girls to the bookstore so they could play and I could do some reading. Sure enough, they had this book and I couldn’t wait to dive in! While I only got to read a few chapters, I did come across one very interesting formula on calculating how much net worth you should have…
Is it just me or does it seem like EVERY month something “unexpected” happens? Seriously. Just a little recap…but in July our air conditioner went out (in AZ), two weeks later we had a massive swarm of bees outside our front door ($160), in August we moved across the country, in September we bought my husband a work truck, tools for his business, insurance/licensing for his business and general house stuff to get set up in NC, and now this month we had both our cars in the shop (husband’s new truck dies multiple times in one trip // our family SUV needed a new tire). November will be Thanksgiving, time off work for my husband and the start of Christmas shopping! I’m sure something “unexpected” will happen then, too.
So how do you plan for the unexpected expenses?!?!
Ahh, the great debate – Is it better to save as much money as possible and live an extremely frugal life OR seek out side jobs to make more money?
Natalie Bacon over at The Finance Girl discussed this in depth a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share where I stood on this issue.
Based on the title of this post, I’m sure you can guess that I’m more about earning and than saving every penny. I wasn’t always this way, though. In fact, it was just in the last few months that I decided I really wanted to focus on earning more instead of save, save, save. Don’t get me wrong – saving money is good. But, what you save is somewhat (read: very) dependent on what you make.
Ways that I save include couponing (I’m new at this, but will be sharing tips and tricks as I go), purchasing necessary items off of Craigslist (tools for my husband’s job, used vehicles, etc), not paying interest (paying credit cards off EVERY month), buying generic items at the grocery store, buying items on sale only, shopping at Costco and more. I will say, though, that the main way I save is by simply not buying stuff I don’t need. Yesterday at the mall I was browsing through Bath & Body Works, and while I would love to own every single delicious smelling candle, I didn’t buy anything. I was there to walk around with the girls and let them play – not to shop. I try to avoid impulse buying and would say I succeed 90% of the time.
Now, I’m looking to earn more money. I work from home, so my options really are endless as I’m discovering. Of course, there’s only so much I can do in any given day as my two girls are my main priority 🙂 I am excited to explore more income-earning avenues as time goes on, though. My husband is also working for himself, which means the more he works, the more he’s able to make. Once we buy a house, him and I have a few ideas for side businesses that we want to start. We need space for those projects, so unfortunately we can’t start those businesses while living in our apartment.
While both earning more and saving more are absolutely necessary to financial independence, you can’t make millions quickly simply by saving (assuming you make an average salary). You need to bring in more money that way you can save more money. You need to invest your money, develop passive streams of income, possibly own and rent out real estate, minimize your bills and so on and so forth.
My husband and I are very good at saving money and living within our means. Going out to eat is spending $15 at the local BBQ restaurant to feed all four of us! We love cooking at home, going on walks and to the library, watching movies, playing cards, reading and more. This past week, though, BOTH of our cars wound up in the auto shop (more on this later) and cost us $400 (we got off VERY lucky!). Still, that was $400 we could have saved but instead had to go to our auto repairs. Unexpected expenses happen ALL the time, so instead of stressing about not saving as much, I’m changing my game and focusing on earning more!
What are your thoughts? Are you a spender or a saver? Do you focus on saving more, earning more or both? I would love to know!!
My girls are wonderful, and I love them more than anything, but at ages 2 and 1 they are a handful and a half! From the moment I wake up until they take naps, it’s chaos. I get an hour or so of peace during nap time, then it’s chaos again until bedtime.
So, how do I still manage to bring in $1500 a month (on average) without the help of daycare or family? I’m glad you asked…
I wake up early. Usually, haha, my husband would probably argue otherwise. The girls normally wake between 7:30 and 8:00, so I try to get up by 7:00 at the latest to have coffee, read blogs and relax before the chaos ensues. Sometimes, I’ll get up at 6:00 and start working, other times I stay in bed until the girls wake up. That’s one of the joys of working from home 🙂
Nap time is a MUST. Anyone with little kids knows just how precious nap time is. I couldn’t get through my days without it! That being said, I try to do an activity with the girls in the morning to tire them out for the afternoon. This morning, for example, we went to the library, walked down to a local coffee shop and stopped by the grocery store. We were only gone about two hours, but the girls are both sleeping peacefully right now.
I write lists each day. I’m a list-maker and a goal-setter by nature. If it’s on my list, the task is going to get accomplished that day no matter what. I leave no room for error, BUT…
I ALWAYS work ahead. If an assignment is due on the 10th, I complete it by the 8th. If invoices are due on the 20th, mine’s in by the 18th. THIS is how I leave room for error. If an emergency comes up and an article on my to-do list doesn’t get done, I still have a few days to complete it without panicking. (I will say, though, that this has never happened. Talk about type A personality.)
I work everyday. I know, I KNOW. This sucks, and is actually something I’m trying to get better at. How I see it, though, is if on Saturday afternoon my girls are napping and my husband is watching football, my time is best spent busting out an assignment. That gets me ahead even further and allows extra time with my girls during the week when my husband is at work. It’s really hard not to think like this. If I have the time, I’m going to be working. Having two kids allows for plenty of “unwinding time” – park trips, play dates, walks around the neighborhood, playing with toys, baking together, etc.
When I’m working, I’m incredibly focused. Whether I’m writing an article, answering emails or editing, I stay focused on the task at hand. The internet is definitely a huge time-suck, so I don’t allow myself to log onto Facebook or read my favorite blogs until I’ve completed the assignment at hand. This method not only keeps me from getting distracted and prolonging the length of time to get an article done, it also motivates me to complete it so I can goof off, haha.
I like what I do. And finally, the best reason I’m able to stay productive is because I really enjoy what I do. The fact that I can provide some extra income for my family without having to put the girls in daycare or leave the house is a blessing. I love writing and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me!
How do you stay productive?? I would love to know your secrets!!
This is a personal finance blog so I plan on being extremely transparent with our finances, goals and how we’re going to achieve financial freedom. After all, if I don’t include “the numbers,” how are people supposed to know how we’re doing this??!
John and I both work for ourselves. It wasn’t always this way, though. After graduating college, I had a few finance-related jobs (mortgage industry, sales and a university) but didn’t really love any of them. They all involved cold-calling, sitting behind a desk for 8+ hours a day and didn’t provide much room for advancement.
After getting pregnant, John and I decided I would stay home to take care of our baby. Being a stay-at-home mom has always been a dream of mine, and I was super thankful I would be able to do it. Before having our daughter, I knew I wanted to try and get into freelance writing. Stay home with my baby and bring in an income? Yes, please!
So I did just that. I got lucky and a close friend of mine got me a small freelance job at her company. From there, my career has grown leaps and bounds and I hope to only grow even more.
John is a painting, drywall repair and handyman extraordinaire. He worked for himself for a while, but after we had our daughter he decided to work for a company. While he learned so much on the job, he knew eventually he was going to work for himself again. Let’s face it – there’s nothing better than setting your own hours and being in control of your income.
We had our second daughter and moved across the country from AZ to NC when they were 2 and 1 (that’s a whole other story, tho!). After being here a month, John decided to start his own company – Brookstone Painting and Residential Services – and I couldn’t be more proud! We’re now both working for ourselves and have our financial future in our own hands.
Breakdown of our income 9/2014
We sold our house in the summer of 2014 and profited a nice $46K. Between moving expenses, buying a new truck for John and getting ourselves afloat for the first month, we spent around $10K (I’ll do a specific moving cost breakdown in another post).
Sarah’s Income 9/2014
- Freelance writing $650
- Freelance editing $800
John’s Income 9/2014
- Job that didn’t work out $360
- First job self-employed $75
Total for 9/2014: $1,885
As you can see, we are not rich by any stretch of the imagination!! Though, John’s income will hopefully be producing 10x’s this amount within a month or so. We are also getting some of our investment accounts squared away, which I’ll go into detail later, as well.
Prior to our move, we were making roughly $4K a month after taxes. Our goal is to be back up to that number in October and go up from there.