Bits & Pieces

Online income: Despite really being a slacker with blogging, I’m still bringing in over $500 a month with blogging. This online income is really helping my gigs for goals setup. The great thing about blogging is that each post is creating a small part of a bigger asset that will work for you over time. You can take some time off or spend time on other projects and your blog keeps working for you to some extent. Cool, right? If you don’t have a blog yet, what are you waiting for?

Roth IRA: Since I’ve been making money from jobs, businesses, blogging, and more, I’ve been funneling extra money into my Roth IRA. Saving money in my retirement account is a luxury that gets cut immediately when I’m unemployed, so I’m now making up for lost time. It actually feels fun to save money in there because I love looking at the rising balances. I think if I contribute my max allowed this year I’ll be able to hit my retirement savings goal.

bacon

Couple savings: My boyfriend has jumped onto the savings train with me. I previously was more of the saver in our relationship but he is doing great things with his income. He recently got a raise and put all that extra money towards savings. I’m pretty excited that he is saving $1,000+ a month and sometimes even per paycheck. That’s a huge amount and will really benefit us when we go to buy a house together next year.

Budgeting: I’ve been slashing my budget a lot lately! I’ve changed to a prepaid phone model that took my bill from $90+ to just $45 each month. I’ve also switched car insurance companies, dropping my monthly bill from $106 per month to just $75 per month. All these little savings are adding up and making it a lot easier to create and stick to my budget for the month. I’m also trying to save money monthly by cooking more at home but that has been the one budget struggle I keep losing.

work

Job stability: I’ve mentioned a job several times on the blog because I’ve been working one for the last few months. However, the stability and long term prospects for this particular job are very low. It’s a small business startup type of a deal and the money that is used to pay employees is drying up. I don’t know why I continually end up working for companies that can’t make payroll but it seems to be my professional curse. The money hasn’t disappeared yet but it feels inevitable so it’s time to start looking for my next gig. Anyone hiring?

Gigs for Goals

At this point in my life I have a lot of savings goals.

In fact it feels like I have more savings goals than I have money to save. At any given moment I’m trying to save for multiple things:

  • Emergency Fund
  • House Downpayment Savings
  • Eventual Wedding Savings
  • Retirement Savings
  • Travel/Specific Trips Savings

That’s a lot of different savings goals! That’s in addition to trying to save up for every day life things like when my car needs repairs or when my dog has to go to the vet. There are definitely more goals to save for than money to save on some days.

I’ve started instituted the idea of using specific gigs to earn the money for these savings goals. I think the Gigs for Goals idea came from J. Money in his post about this mindset.  A little quote from that post:

The idea that you could knock off each of your expenses by tying it to a certain gig or revenue stream is extremely fascinating! In theory you’d only need a set number of jobs to break even until you wanted to bring on something new, or perhaps start saving for something specific (at which point you’d have to add in a new hustle to account for it).

You could have a whole line-by-line list that kinda looks like this:

gigs for goals

Basically it’s using a specific job or side gig to pay for one specific goal or thing.

In my case I’m trying to make sure each savings goal gets paid for by one of my multiple income streams.

  • Blogging income generated from this blog is going toward my retirement savings. I always felt like I couldn’t save much in my Roth IRA every year after paying everything else from my day jobs. Now I’m using all of my blog earnings to max it out instead. It feels great to send all of my blogging income toward a big goal like this instead of letting it flitter away.
  • Dog sitting income is all getting put towards my house down payment fund. Sure it’s a small amount but over time those small amounts are really adding up! I had no idea when I started dog sitting I would make thousands of dollars in a year. By saving all those dollars from gigs in one place I’m making steady progress toward the bigger goal of buying a house.
  • Small side business income is going to pay for different trips I’m already planning next year. Travel is very important to me so it’s something that will always be in my budget. But now I have a business that covers those trips and makes them feel almost guilt free.

The rest of my goals are supplied by my main day job income for now, but obviously that might change in the future!

I’m loving the gigs for goals concept. It feels really good to know things are being taken care of and not slipping through the cracks.

It also feels great to pool the money from all these separate smaller income sources so they make a difference toward my goals! For instance, it never feels like I make enough money blogging when I compare my blog to others. But then I realize I make enough to max out my Roth IRA and do a few other things and that feels great! It definitely feels bigger when you look at the results pooled together rather than monthly blog income.

If you have some extra income side gigs but haven’t tried a similar gigs for goals concept, give it a go! It’s a pretty awesome way to organize yourself with multiple income streams and it also feels great to accomplish goals this way!

What I Paid, Saved, and Bought on Pay Day

It’s been several months since I did a What I Paid, Saved, and Bought on Pay Day post so today on this glorious payday, I’m bringing it back! Pay day is usually my most active spending day of the month so it’s fun to share what I’m doing with my money on this super active money days.

What I Paid On Pay Day

  • Rent. First paycheck of the month means it’s rent time! I’m lucky that my new rent is not even a quarter of my monthly income so it doesn’t hurt as much to pay it as it did when it was over 50% of my monthly income.
  • Health insurance. I have health insurance through the government marketplace and I pay full price for it. So $150 for bare minimum coverage each month. At least I won’t go bankrupt if I get hurt, right?
  • Electric Bill – I paid $85 for my electric bill. It was due today so it’s lucky that pay day coincided with this due date.

What I Saved On Pay Day

  • Roth IRA. I put $100 toward my Roth IRA today. I plan to put away at least $100 each pay check and last month I put in an extra $100.
  • Emergency fund. I moved $250 over to my emergency fund savings account from checking. This account is still not where it needs to be at but I’m happy that it’s at least big enough to cover rent and utilities and such for a few months.

What I Bought On Pay Day

  • Lunch. Though I haven’t done it yet, I’m planning to go out to eat for lunch today. I usually always bring my lunch if it’s not a company paid for lunch, but today felt like a good time to treat myself. Buying lunch out if definitely a luxury.
  • Coffee. I’ve got a Starbucks habit and I’m not planning to apologize for it or give it up. Coffee makes me happy and brightens my day and mood so it’s well worth the expense each month. The first paycheck of the month means it’s Starbucks card top up time!
  • Groceries. It’s grocery day! It’s a good thing too because my pantry was getting pretty bare in there. I’m planning to stock up on some frozen veggies and staples that won’t go bad quickly. It’s also the shopping trip where I get fresh fruit and vegetables for this week. I’ll be cooking dinner at home tonight and it will be so nice to have everything I need!

So that’s what I’ve paid, saved, and bought today! It’s a pretty average first of the month payday. The second check of the month is much more fun for me because I get to save more and spend more on fun stuff. It’s definitely a lot more fun when I don’t have to pay rent or bigger insurance bills!

 

How a Little Money All At Once Can Beat a Lot of Money Spread Out

A little money spent all at once can easily outpace a lot of money spread out over time. This may seem counterintuitive, and contrary to good money habits passed down to us by people who seem to know better. But the fact is, a single good financial decision can pay off for years to come. Decisions like this are investments, and investments require money. So where is this money coming from, all of a sudden?

Money typically comes into people’s lives from regular old income. They work, they receive a paycheck. But occasionally, funds come in large amounts all at once. This process is sometimes called a Windfall. You may receive your windfall in a variety of forms: a structured settlement, an annuity, lottery winnings, or other lump sums of money. Most of these lump sums will not be paid out all at once, but will instead drip into your life monthly. This is inherent to the structured settlement and annuity models, but is often the case with lottery winnings, inheritances, and the like.

Monthly payments of larger sums can be good for the average person. Instead of getting spent all at once, often a poor decision, the regular payments can provide long-term security for the individual. But many people don’t want this. They know exactly how to use the money, if it were all available to them at once. They would be able to invest it in a long-term solution to their money troubles, one that would pay them many times over the sum they are actually spending.

In a situation like this, to sell structured settlement or annuity is the goal. Companies like this will buy your structured settlement in exchange for a lump sum. You have to be careful with a decision like this, because you won’t be selling your settlement for its full value. Instead, you’ll take a small loss in exchange for the convenience of a lump sum. However, it is possible to make a small lump sum go much farther than a string of small payments. Here’s how.

In the case we’re describing, it’s only legal to sell your settlement (or whatever) if you are using it for a specific kind of purpose, one which will benefit you financially for many months and years to come. Specific uses might include starting a business, getting further education, or paying off a high interest debt. You can see how these spending purposes require a lot of money spent all at once.

Federal law dictates that in order to sell a settlement, you’ve got to run your decision by the state courts. They will make sure that you aren’t selling your settlement for a purpose that ultimately won’t benefit you, like an expensive vacation or a new sports car. But if your decision will turn into a money engine for you, one more powerful than the structured settlement or annuity that you presently have, then the courts will allow the sale. This is how you can make a big expense turn into a big money making opportunity. Most people can only afford to make financial moves like this once or twice in their lives. So choose carefully, but then act boldly. It is likely to pay off.