Sunday, August 3, 2014

Passive Income

Well, I'm in the home stretch of this pregnancy...due on Friday, in fact! While I'm waiting for baby to make his/her appearance, I've been working on getting another income stream coming in. I created a store on the site Teachers Pay Teachers.

Teachers Pay Teachers is a place where educators can post curriculum, worksheets, Power Points, etc. and sell them to other educators. It's a great idea...I create a lot of my own curriculum, so I knew I'd have enough to get a store started. I've spent the last few weeks editing, combining separate documents into packets, writing answer keys (I never make them for my own stuff...I made it up, I know the answer!) and creating cover pages. I also created a Pinterest for my account, and a blog to publicize my store.

My goal is to get this up and running so that I can generate some extra income while I'm on my maternity leave. Of course I'd love it to continue when I go back to work (and I will be able to add new curriculum as I use it throughout the year). I have friends who've had good experiences, so I am hopeful it can be an easy source of income (though getting it all set up has taken more work than I initially thought).

Do you have any forms of passive income? Anyone used Teachers Pay Teachers before?

If you're interested (or know anyone who teachers middle school) I am having a 20% off sale in my store Monday and Tuesday (August 4th and 5th). Check it out!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Need Some Advice

I'm trying to figure out what type of savings account to open for my soon-to-be-born child. I know that a relative is going to give us a check when baby is born, and I keep hemming and hawing about what to do with it. I'd like an account that we can add to here and there (paying off student loans and saving for a house takes precedence over baby's account so no monthly deposits) know, birthday money, eventually allowance, etc.

I know 529 plans are a great college savings option, but I'm not sure I want to commit all of our funds to college. I MIGHT want to use it for that, but what if my kid gets a scholarship? What if he/she wants to use it for a first car or a house down payment? And (the teacher in me cringes at this thought) what if my kid doesn't go to college? I don't like the limits on a 529 plan.

I like the idea of setting up a savings account, so that later on my child can practice/learn good saving habits and put money in the bank for either long-term savings or for an item that he/she wants to save for in the short-term. Capital One 360 has a kids account, where they can create various accounts with names, so they can save towards various goals. This seems like a good option...but the interest is only .75%, so this account wouldn't make much money at all. And if I do end up using it for college, I'll probably regret not putting it in a 529 where the money could actually grow at a decent rate.

So those of you with kids, what do you use to save for them? Even if you don't have kids, based on what I'm thinking, what would you suggest?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Raise the Roof!

I just found out that the Union and the School Board reached an agreement for our contract, and it's a good one!

We are getting a 4% raise retroactive to last school year (meaning we will get a lump sum check sometime before Christmas), and a 4% raise for this coming year. So a total of an 8% salary increase! They are also upping the amount they put into our benefits in January.

This could not come at a better time for us! I'll be adding the baby to my insurance, so that's a new expense. I will also be taking a full 12 weeks of maternity leave, so the retro-active check will be helpful to cover the time that I won't be paid for. And obviously, kids bring up all sorts of expenses so making more money in general is a good thing!

We haven't had a raise since 2007, so I figured it would be a bigger raise than usual. I'm so pleased at how negotiations turned out, and can't wait to see that new total reflected on our check at the end of August. And, I'm super relived negotiations, while tense, worked out and no strike was needed.

Hurray for good news!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Down!!

Two weeks ago we hit a big financial milestone that I never shared: we paid off the first of my husband's student loans!!

We hit the jackpot when I got paid for summer school and he got his first paycheck from his internship at the radio station. I was able to beef up our savings account by about $1,300, and put a little more than that towards his loans. We paid off his first loan and put over $1,000 towards the second one. YES!

My goal is to get the second loan paid off by the end of this year, leaving us with three to go. I'm doing the Dave Ramsey method of paying them off smallest to largest, so after the second one, our progress may slow a little. Also, I hear kids cost money. But, I feel really good about adding to our savings and make progress on our debt.

Tomorrow is my husband's payday, and I should have a bit more summer school money coming in any day now, so we should be able to make another loan payment and save a bit more. Holla!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Waiting Around...

So, I had grand plans to pay off my husband's first student loan this month. But, it's looking like it might not happen until the beginning of next month. Sigh.

My husband has refereed soccer the last four weekends (which should bring in around $350, maybe a bit more) and he started his new internship, which is paid. So in theory we should be able to do it. BUT...

The other soccer league he refs with pays him cash on the same day. This league cuts him a check. He asked about when he would get the check and people said either July or August. WHAT?! Of course it will be nice to get a big chunk later, but that's pretty much the exact amount we need to pay off that loan!

As far as the internship goes, he's put in his hours and his HR person has done what she needs to on this end. But the system to actually get him paid has to be updated by someone at Minnesota Public Radio (the umbrella his station here in CA falls under). Payday is next Friday, so unless it gets done first thing Monday, I don't think he'll get his first check until fourth of July weekend (the next pay cycle).

He'll get all the pay he's entitled to eventually, and he's not worried about it, but I was so excited to get that loan taken care of THIS month.

On the bright side, this isn't income we need to pay rent or buy groceries, so I'm thankful for that at least. I don't know what they expect people to do who are depending on their pay to live!

Anyone else ever have to wait to get paid?

Monday, June 9, 2014

It's Not Always About Money

Today my husband took a huge step towards his career goal and accomplished a dream. He started his internship at our local public radio station!

When he left his job almost a year ago, I know some people thought I was a little crazy to be okay with it. We've lived mostly on one income (minus reffing soccer and a brief stint to Lowe's). He's been in school and at times been home more often. We'd only been married for about a month when he quit.

But today, when I got to see him come home from his paid internship at KPCC, with his new name badge and a smile on his face, I know we made the right decision. He loved it, and is thrilled at this opportunity. And yes, we'd be further ahead on paying off his student loans if he still worked as a manager at Walgreens. We'd have a bigger house down payment fund. And we're still working on those things.

Less importantly, we'd have gone on a better vacation, or eaten out more. I'd probably have more new clothes and would've gotten a pedicure or two. But I wouldn't trade any of that for my husband being able to pursue his dream.

Sometimes, financial goals have to take a backseat to other things. And today confirmed that supporting him in these dreams was totally worth it.

Friday, February 28, 2014

So Satisfying!

This week I decided to a little thing to declutter my life, and it's been so satisfying! Years ago, I set up a junk email address to use for surveys and coupons. But, since I was checking it so often, I also started using it with friends and family. And I use it for chatting on Google Hangouts. I ended up connecting that email address to my phone as well.

I have been getting about a million alerts a day. And 95% of them were junk. Dumb.

So, this week I decided to make it a goal to unsubscribe from emails I don't want as I get them. I'm keeping my subscriptions to restaurants and stores where I actually shop (since those coupons can come in handy), but there are TONS of emails that I would never use at all. My original plan was to do three unsubscribes per day, but it really only takes a second. So, I've been unsubscribing to all of the unwanted ones ones I get.

It's the smallest thing, but it's so satisfying to declutter my email (and my life). It makes me want to do a purge this weekend in my house and physically declutter as well! I need to clean out and move a bookshelf so I can set up the crib in the baby's room/office. Perhaps I will make this my weekend project!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Making Progress

I just got paid today (I love direct deposit, means I get my money a day early), so I crunched the numbers for both our March budget AND for what we had leftover in February. We were actually UNDER budget by $271 in February! Holla! I put $200 toward student loan #1 and put $71 in savings. Then, I figured out March's budget, and even after paying my husband's car registration and budgeting for my sister's baby shower, I had another $200 to the loan and $191 to savings (on top of the minimum payment amount for the loan).

In total? I put $630 toward my husband's student loans today. Whoo-hoo! The total for loan number one is under $1600. We're in the home stretch (well, for the first of his loans that is). My goal is to have that first loan paid off by the end of April.

Even better news? My husband got a part-time job (he's in school, so part time is perfect right now) and I got a tutoring gig for three hours a week. Our income is going up, which means we can save and pay off debt even faster!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How We're Spending Our Taxes

After much hemming and hawing, calculating and recalculating we've decided on how to spend our tax returns. 

We got a LARGE amount back this year (more than I expected), but I don't know how my husband feels about me publishing the actual number on the internet. So, I am going to break down how we're spending the money by percentages, rather than dollar amounts.

Student Loan Payment: 41%
Savings: 36%
Roth IRA: 11%
Baby Furniture: 9%
Car Repairs: 3%

I'm happy with this breakdown. It beefs up our emergency fund before the baby comes (getting it to almost four months expenses), makes a big dent in our debt (should be able to pay off loan number one in April!), has us actually putting a little something into our retirement (which I suspended once we went to one income-I have a pension), and let's me buy baby furniture without stressing about how to budget for it.

Our California refund already came in, and our federal should be here by Wednesday! Can't wait to move forward on these goals!

How are you spending your tax returns?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thirty Years?!?!

My husband's student loans are split into five different loans. We will have the smallest one paid off in the next two to three months (hurray!). I was looking at the account and playing with numbers and saw that if he were to just pay the minimum, that loan would be paid off in 2044.

Until I got a hold of his loans and finances in general, he was paying the minimums. And I will say, since he went back to school we've been able to make a HUGE dent, since 3/5 accounts aren't collecting interest. But 2044!? That's FOREVER.

It made me smile to be able to say to him today, "Did you know we're paying off your first student loan THIRTY YEARS EARLY???"

How early have you paid off student loans?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Start Spreading the News...

I hadn't updated again because I sort of assumed I lost all my readers in my blogging absence (which I totally get). But then Jolie commented, wondering what was new with me. So, I assume at least ONE person is still reading.

I could blog about how we're doing with my husband's student loan payoff, or what my plans are for our tax returns, or how we had a frugal Valentine's Day, or any number of things. But, I figured maybe I should start with our biggest, most exciting news...

I'm having a baby in August!

I'm excited, and nervous, and planning up a storm (I finished registering three weeks ago), and I look chunky, and I have heartburn.

And it's all pretty great.

More updates to follow! (I hope...I'd like to find my blogging mojo if anyone is still reading).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

An Update

Since I haven't posted in a while, I thought I would give a brief update...

My husband finished his first semester of his radio program with straight A's, so I'm very proud of him! He starts refereeing soccer games this weekend, so that will be a nice source of additional income to help us meet our goals this year (see yesterday's post). My vote is to put that money toward one specific thing, like his loans or our savings, but I need to see what my husband wants to do as well.

We went on a quick, cheap trip to Yosemite in November. It was SO much fun, and so beautiful. We drove up on a whim, stayed in a hotel a few hours away, saw the park the whole day (free entrance for Veteran's weekend), and then drove home that night. It was exhausting, but we LOVED it. I'm not very spontaneous, so it was a first for me.

Financially things are going pretty well. We've both been selling items on Ebay and Amazon (my mom gave me a ton of CD's to sell and I'm splitting the profits with her). So far I've made about $100, which has been a nice little bonus, especially this time of year. From here on out, I think I'm going to stash that money into a trip fund so we can go somewhere this year for vacation on a budget. We are making progress with his student loans as well. Nothing astounding, but chipping away at it each month. Now that the New Year is here, I'm hoping to get a little more gazelle-intense about paying off at least one of the loans (there are five total, so knocking off the first one would be a great step).