Archive for the ‘extra cash’ Category

Federal Taxes Completed!

Ta-da! I just completed my federal taxes!

And the total is…

(drumroll, everyone)


I am warming up to this number, but after last year’s awesome return of $1,488 it has taken some time. Ooooh how I wish I was getting that money again! But to be honest, the 2009 MPP really needed that more than the 2010 MPP, so I’ll let it slide.

Let the tax-refund fun begin! Well… in about 10 days when it will be directly deposited to my savings account. ;) State taxes to come. They’re way more complicated, those.

Spring is coming guys! I can feel it! Spring is coming!!!

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$2009+ in 2009

This year I had the goal to make $2,009 in extra income. Cute number, eh? ;) I definitely surpassed that by a lot! Although not all of it was earned income… for example tax refund is money I already earned in my salary from 2008. But you get the idea.

Extra Money in 2009:

$2,287 babysitting
$1,709 tax refund
$400 rent from roommate
$320 blogging
$300 monetary gifts

TOTAL = $5,016

These gifts and earned jobs have really helped me meet my goals this year. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that have come my way! Goal accomplished!

{photo credit… and btw I promise I didn’t do that to earn any of the above amounts. Tehe. Perhaps I should give it a try in 2010?}

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$50 Challenge

One of my favorite blogs, Always the Planner, posted about Small Challenges and how they help with achieving big goals. I have a small challenge for myself that if met could make a huge difference in my savings for October.

My challenge is to only spend $50 from now until payday, which is next Wednesday, Sept 30th.

That’s actually all I have left in my bank account (spending report will be up tomorrow), but I also will be getting some extra money this weekend and I want ALL of it to go to my Emergency Fund or Car Savings. I’m thinking I’ll make a minimum of $270. That would definitely help pay for all those car repairs I need.

How do I plan to spend $50 in one week? It shouldn’t be too bad because I am babysitting tonight, Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday. So I’ll make money, but I also won’t have any social-spending temptations. Aka: my weekend’s going to be lame.

I’m thinking of this $50, about $30 will go towards gas and the rest I’ll use for quick dinners out or little expenses that may come up. Shouldn’t be too hard.

Anyone else want to join me with spending no more than $50 until payday? Come on guys, have a lame weekend with me! ;)

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A while ago I asked what I should do with the additional money I’ll be receiving with my new raise at the end of September. Sadly, no one chose Option F! (Refresher: that option was “Put it all in my Clothing Fund and spend it frivolously.” Rats!). A lot of you had fantastic suggestions, and of course I wanted to use all of them. Finally, after doing a little basic math, I have come to a decision.

My decisions is to ….

Increase 401(k) & Debt Payment!

Those who suggested the closest were: Carrie, Stacking Pennies, Erin A, Julie K, and Serendipity. Thanks to all though!

I decided to put 3% of my salary into my 401(k) each month, which is about $100 of pre-taxed dollars. (My employer already contributes 3% regardless of what I do, so 6% will be added monthly.)

About $100 of the raise will be added to my take home pay and back into my monthly budget (we’ll see for sure; could be more or less depending on taxes). This $100 will then beef up my debt payment to around $600. I decided to split it this way because I feel my savings is sufficient to hold me over during this time. I cannot wait to start SAVING that $600 instead!

Here’s my excel chart of all of my payments. May 2010 has become my new favorite future month. ;)


Eight payments left until I am debt-free!

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Earn More Challange!

I know we’re day-three into September, so this post is a bit late, but I have joined the ranks in the Earn More Challenge September! This month I am hoping to step it up and aim for an extra $300 this month. I earn an average of $165 per month in extra income, so this is a pretty lofty goal. But I’m up for the challenge.

I’ll keep an update on the sidebar for this month on the amounts I earn. My goal is to save at least half of it and spend the rest on something pretty for myself. :)

Thanks Money Funk for setting up this challenge!

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First off: Thanks to all for the kind response to my good news yesterday! I know it can sometimes be difficult to celebrate in others’ blessings, especially in this tough economy, so I appreciate all of the kind words. :)

I had NO idea this was happening. I really am not sure yet how I feel since my workload will almost double in the next few months. But I am excited about the challenge that this new work will bring!

Of course, the first thing I thought of when I heard “raise” was how in the world I will allocate this extra money coming in. And that’s where I’ll need your help! I feel like I am helpless to make decisions without my trusty PF bloggers backing it up. ;) I did some math and will be getting about $185 extra  in take home  pay a month. This will not be shown on my next paycheck, but the one I receive at the very end of September.

So here are the choices I’ve come up with. Vote on what YOU would do or give me another option.


A. Save towards my Emergency Fund.
Currently I am saving only when I get extra income or gifts–an average of $70 a month. This will increase to approximately $260 per month and $3020 in a year. With $2200 already in the account, I’ll be closer to my $6,000 goal in one year and certainly have the security that comes with more savings.

B. Put it towards debt.
If I put the entire amount towards debt, then I will increase my monthly payment from $500 to $685. This will allow me to pay off the debt in eight months rather than one year.

C. Contribute 5% to my 401(k)
Right now I am not contributing anything to my 401(k), aside from the base 3% that my employer contributes. This will bring no change to my monthly budget, but increase my net worth and of course benefit Future Me.

D. Contribute towards my Roth IRA
Currently I contribute $100 a month to my Roth IRA. If this is the option, I would increase my monthly amount to $285. Similar to Option C, this would not affect my savings or debt-paying goals, but certainly help later with compounded interest.

E. A mixture of All?
Save $100. Pay $50 to debt. Put $35 to my Roth IRA. Or another mixture of the extra money?

F. Add the $185 to my Clothing budget and spend it frivolously every month.
Ahem. I can tell you guys right now this is not what I am going to do. But perhaps I can get enough readers to convince me it’s the right thing?! I would certainly enjoy using this allowance for shoes and jackets and skirts….

So, what would YOU do if you were in my place?

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Starting Balance: $319.82

Gas -$29.85
Target -$41.67
Run: Sprints, bleacher runs

My visit to Target was one of those accidental “Whooooa, did I really spend that much??” trips. I went initially to get some more running shorts and ended up getting the shorts, a new running top, socks, underwear, and really cheap pajama shorts. I’m tired of doing laundry all the time and decided I needed some of these essentials.

Babysitting: +$45
Flexible Health Benefits: +$21
Run: 2 miles in the am

Once a week I babysit for a 10-year old boy that has aspergers and he’s just the sweetest thing ever. If anyone is looking for a cheap way to make some extra cash on the weekends or evenings: babysit. Seriously, we ate pizza, watched Wall-E and then watched a little Seinfeld after the kid went to sleep. Can it get any easier?  This money should go towards my E-fund but I’ll see how I’m doing by the last week of the month. I may need that cash for bills.

Run: 5 miles

Spent absolutely nothing! Those days are the BEST.

Ending Balance: $314.30

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My budget is slowly dwindling away this month and I am in desperate need of a babysitting job to help buffer my expenses. I had no idea how dependent I have become of this extra income through babysitting! Three of the six jobs I had lined up for this month were canceled for various reasons, so I have yet to earn extra income and I can feel the impact it’s made on my budget. I usually put that income into my WF, but this month I’ll probably just pocket it to make up for my half-marathon fee of $78 and my $78 for fixing my AC yesterday.

Second-Half of May Budget:
Gas: $80
I still have two weeks left of driving to work–total of 22 miles round trip–plus a trip to visit J for Memorial Day weekend. My goal is to fill up no more than 4 times and carpool with my coworker as much as possible.

Food: $100
Yikes. The $200 food budget for both dining and groceries is harder than I thought. The best way that I can save money is to actually eat everything that I buy at the grocery store. There is no reason for me to throw away spoiled food! Silly me!

Misc: $30
For things like toothpaste or entertainment or whatever else I end up needing in the next two weeks.

In other news, J is in Texas visiting friends this week and next week since he’s in between spring and summer semesters. I know we’re long-distance so it’s not like I miss him any more than usual, but I find it hard not to be jealous and sad since his traveling limits the time that we talk. Plus, while I am so thankful for my job, I miss the casual schedule of a student’s life. *Sigh*

Oh well! These are the cards I’ve been dealt. No use complaining about them. Let’s just say I am really looking forward to seeing him in a week.

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Well, partly. For those who don’t care to scroll down or click here, a week ago I asked what I should do with $400 I am getting from an extra roommate for two months. Thanks for all the suggestions.

As_green at Always the Planner was the closest. I decided to give $300 to debt and $100 to savings. I know, boooooooring. But I just gotta keep in mind those progress bars and that increased net worth.

Here’s my rationale:
Each month I give $100 upfront to wedding savings, but I gradually add cash that I make babysitting or if my budget has a surplus (I think that happened only one month!). So while my $5k goal seems far off with just $100/month, I add tiny amounts each week to get me closer.

My debt, however, is at a steady $500 a month. So I decided to add $300 to the debt. Adding $650 in May and June, and if I continue to give just $500 each month, no more, no less, I’ll be debt free in June 2010, one month before I was suppose to be. Holla!

As for the other ideas:
For J’s b-day gift… well, I’ve already budgeted in May for him and I know I can do something really sweet with that money. I’ll get him a nice graduation/christmas gift at the end of the year. The Travel Fund? Right now I’m not planning any extravagant trips and budget month by month for the smaller ones. This is going to be a future savings fund, for sure, but just not in the cards for me right now. The Roth IRA? I think I’ll just stick with my 401(k) for now. I will open a Roth once I complete my debt payments.

It’d be super sweet to put this money towards a plane ticket to somewhere or towards a shopping spree. But all in due time. Slow and steady. Slow and steady.

Although, things have picked up–especially since I started this blog! Perhaps it’s the “visual” reminders and updates, or maybe it’s because I’ve gotten a lot of windfalls lately (tax refund, extra b-sitting gigs, new roommate). But either way, I am so thankful that I started this and have really seen a difference it’s made, not only in tracking my progress, but keeping me accountable to whoever happens to read this silly thing.

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Extra Moola

One of my yearly goals is to make an extra $80 per month. I always budget according to the income I am guaranteed from my salary, so extra money in the bank is always a wonderful surprise. I went through my budgets from this year and realized that my babysitting jobs have been really beneficial! It’s amazing to me how just $100 makes a difference in boosting savings, dumping debt, or just adding a cushion to the budget.

Babysitting Money:
Jan: $75
Feb: $125
March: $225
April: $150

I’ve made $575 this year, not including tax refunds, interest, or monetary gifts.  I am going to copy No More Spending and change my goal from just $80 a month to a total $2009 yearly addition (brilliant). This means I need to make about $120 per month for the rest of the year. Totally do-able if I continue to have about one job per week.

I would also like to venture into new areas of making some cash. I’d like to start taking surveys, selling some books online, and I’ve been thinking about buying my own domain name to add advertising to the site–unfortunately WordPress doesn’t allow ads.

If you’ve found a cool way to make some extra cash, or have written a blog post on this topic, please let me know.

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