Month: January 2020

  • December 2019 Online Income Report – $1,372.82

    Welcome to my monthly online income report! And to the biggest income report so far! December 2019 was my best online income month yet.

    Each month here on the blog I share what I earned from online endeavors like this personal finance blogmy YouTube channel, and my Etsy shop. I like sharing real numbers to inspire myself and others.

    online income report celebrate money

    I know that earning more online income could stop me from working 45 hours each week so I’ve tried to squeeze as much work into online income generating activities as possible. Because I’m back to working full time hours for a season I’m unable to put more than a few hours each week into my online income activities, but the income this month has me hopeful that I can continue growing the income by being extremely helpful and reaching more people.

    Growing my online income is so important to my current financial goals and that focus matters so much to my family right now! It also means that as my income grows, I’m helping more people.

    Why Share An Online Income Report

    I’m sharing my online income reports as a YouTuber (my main priority these days even though I started years ago as a blogger) to show people that it is possible to make money online. Lots of people want to know how much small youtubers make and if you can make money from a small YouTube channel.

    I’m a small YouTuber that started just so I could share videos of my Alaska vacation, but it’s turned into so much more than that over the two years that I’ve been making videos on YouTube.

    Once I realized I could also earn money with the videos, I decided to set a goal of making YouTube into a side hustle. My original goal with earning income on YouTube was to earn at least $600 dollars a month to help pay for the additional daycare expenses for my daughter.

    Any amount of money would help our financial situation since we had increased expenses and I wanted to work less as well. Those two things don’t go together without added stress, so my plan was to increase my side hustle income!

    I knew that earning money online was possible because I had done it once before as a blogger on a small scale and even though I’d let that income and blog life go, I had seen hundreds of others do the same and more by reading their online income reports. If people could earn tens of thousands a month online, surely I could earn $600 a month.

    Income reports inspired me to try to work harder and do more while building my online income through my YouTube channel

    While I’m not earning a full time income online currently, I am happy to show that I’ve grown my income to hit that original online income goal and I’ve been able to help a lot of people along the way. It’s amazing that we can earn money creating and sharing content online.

    Previous Online Income Reports

    If you’re interested in past income reports, you can see all of them here:

    Online Income Reports – Pennies Not Perfection

    As you can see from past income reports, my online income in 2019 has been trending much higher than my income last year. The growth is not viral or explosive but it is moving up every single month.

    I’m consistently earning $1,000 a month now when I was only earning $300-500 last year when I started tracking my online income. That might not seem huge since it’s small numbers but that means I have doubled my monthly online income!

    It’s amazing to think that I have earned over $1,000 a month with Pennies Not Perfection and other online activities these past few months.

    I like sharing these numbers to show small YouTubers what is possible with a channel that isn’t huge or growing by hundreds of thousands of subscribers in a year. While that would be amazing, it is possible to still earn income as a small channel.

    Seeing these numbers in this format helps me to see the growth I’ve already had and inspires me to keep growing.

    I plan to grow this blog/website around my channel as well and hopefully these income report numbers inspire anyone looking to grow from humble beginnings online.

    December 2019 Online Income Report

    Here are the main income sources broken down by what I earned for the month of December. I’ve included referral links to each if you want to join too!

    Advertising Income – $802.75

    • YouTube Advertising Channel 1 – $621.35
    • YouTube Advertising Channel 2 – $119.29
    • Adsense & Sponsored

    Affiliate Marketing Income – $418.19

    • Amazon – $214.26
    • Awin – $117.73
    • Capital One – $80.00
    • Impact Radius – $6.00
    • Shareasale – $0.20

    Product Sales Income – $151.88

    • Etsy Products – $151.88

    Total Income: $1,372.82

    This is the amount earned in December 2019, before any fees, expenses, or taxes.

    That means I don’t keep all of it it and at least 25% will be gone for taxes before it hits my bank account. I also won’t be paid all of it in the month it is earned since each source pays out at different times.

    However, I must say with much excitement: I continue to stay above the $1,000 mark in income earned!

    This makes me hopeful since the income has been consistent month after month being over $1,000 a month. Of course I know that this could change at any moment but I’m grateful for the continued earnings!

    I hit the goal of earning $1,000 in a month from mostly YouTube generated activity which is insane and exciting and worth all the work that has gone into it. I’ve been making videos for over 2 years now and not a single one has gone viral.

    What I Worked On In December 2019

    In December I worked on a few different priorities both growing income sources I already had and creating new ones.

    Made for videos for my YouTube channel.

    I started the month of December with Vlogmas which was an experiment to do daily videos during the month of December. I started the month with videos that were more vlog and lifestyle focused which ultimately did not get me as many views as normal.

    I switched my strategy halfway through the month when I realized videos about Christmas and my life weren’t working out in terms of views and revenue. I decided to focus on daily videos on my normal finance topics and the ad revenue increased later in the month.

    Made affiliate marketing improvements.

    I continued with my implementation of tweaks I learned from taking the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. I feel like this has helped me save a lot of time, even if this month’s affiliate income does not reflect it!

    I added additional affiliate marketing programs for products in December as well! I plan to keep my number of promoted affiliate partnerships to under 20 so that they are manageable and never something I haven’t used myself. I’m super excited about some of the new products I’m now promoted.

    I also continued to make tweaks on my existing ones should help increase the affiliate revenue. I’m very happy with the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course so far because it’s helped me focus into a better direction.

    Added products to my Etsy shop.

    I continued to add more products to my Etsy shop and increase the amount of higher priced products. While I’m still not comfortable creating and selling products at a truly high price point, I did start offering items that were more than $2!

    This resulted in a higher amount per order so my overall revenue from my Etsy shop increased. I will not be adding expensive products any time soon but I’m thrilled to have small increases like this.

    This is also the third month in a row when I’ve earned over $100! I earned over $150 this month so I’m hoping this is a continued upward trend in revenue from Etsy. I love making products more than I expected and it is thrilling to see people using stuff I’ve made because they like my style.

    I briefly got annoyed this month about people directly copying my style but I am trying to work through the emotions because no one will achieve success just being a copycat. They may think they can but they will always be a budget version of something better, so I’m trying to remember that when I get annoyed. I briefly thought that sharing my income reports like this was a mistake because it does encourage people to copy, but then again I was inspired by others who did income reports too. I plan to just stay in my lane and not look at what anyone else is doing any longer… because they don’t matter.

    December 2019 Online Income Wins

    Time to celebrate some things that went right with online income in the month of December!

    Income over $1,000.

    Like I’ve mentioned, my first goal with online income was to get to earning at least $600 a month to help pay for daycare and debt payments. More recently I challenged myself to start hitting $1,000 a month.

    This month I feel like I sailed right past that $1k mark yet again and I’m thrilled that I’m consistently earning over $1,000 a month with Pennies Not Perfection.

    This is the best side hustle by far of any I’ve ever done! It definitely took a lot of work to learn the skills needed and it’s take a long time to ramp up to this level of income, but I love being able to earn online income through making videos, writing blog posts, recommending and creating products that help other people. This allows me to be creative, supportive, and encouraging which is all the things I want to be in life.

    Advertising income over $800.

    December is a great month for advertising income because the last month of the year is always higher paid by advertisers. My CPM on videos was much higher in December and thanks to increased number of videos I also managed to make more overall.

    I’m not sure how much my revenue will drop in January with lower CPMs but I’m excited to keep adding videos. I also plan to keep adding videos that are more evergreen and on topics that can reach a broader audience. Paycheck budgets are my “bread and butter” with ad revenue right now but ultimately I’d like to be able to create videos less often but still earn money with ad revenue.

    What I’m Working On Next

    So what’s on tap for next month? I’ve got a few things planned:

    Grow the products in my Etsy shop. I plan to create more items and also promote what is already there. I have a big goal of eventually getting to 50 items listed in 2019 so I’m hoping I can continue to add products and grow the amount of listing and sales.

    Create more affiliate focused videos. I made a couple affiliate product focused videos and they did quite well for my channel based on the response and the income. After taking Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing I have so many ideas to implement and just need to find the time to do so. I’m planning to create more affiliate focused videos by focusing on single products and being super helpful in the content. I honestly never want to create anything that isn’t helpful to at least one person.

    Popular YouTube videos on my channel:

    Thanks for reading/watching/following along with this online income journey! Stay tuned for more online income reports.

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  • How To Get A Reluctant Spouse On Board With Budgeting

    How do you get a reluctant spouse on board with budgeting? How does everyone convince their spouse to pay off debt? Why does it seem like everyone is working together on their finances except you?

    If you’re like me and my husband, it wasn’t easy to get on the same page with money instantly. While I had big dreams of budgeting our money tightly and paying off debt my husband wasn’t ready to make the changes we needed. He wanted to keep spending money like he wanted, when he wanted, and every month I ended up in tears when what I had budgeted didn’t match what we had actually spent.

    After 3 years of marriage and creating budgets for two years, we’ve finally recently gotten on the same page with money. It took A LOT of trial and error since my husband was reluctant to pay off debt or save heavily for goals.

    Today I’m sharing many of the things I did to get my spouse on board with budgeting and paying off debt.

    Have a positive money conversation… or two.

    Having an honest conversation about why you need help and support with budgeting and why it matters to you is the first step to getting your spouse on board. For many couples this can be the first and last step because many supportive spouses immediately get on board once they realize how important it is to their partner.

    However, not every spouse gets on board with budgeting and spending wisely with just one conversation. For many of us, there must be many conversations about this topic.

    Unfortunately when you are having the same conversation over and over again with a partner it can often devolve into a negative experience full of blaming, shaming, nagging, and overall negativity. To really be effective with having these money conversations you have to do them without shaming or guilting or nagging.

    If you can’t get through this type of financial conversation without defaulting to the negative habits of blaming and shaming, try writing a letter or email where you aren’t as emotionally charged. Sometimes you can get your thoughts out about why succeeding with money is so important when your brain has a chance to rational process your reasons without the impulsive desire to get defensive or angry.

    write your spouse a letter about why budgeting matters

    Focus on your money wins together.

    Focusing on the wins that you’ve made with budgeting already while including your spouse is a great way to slowly engage them and bring them on board.

    Instead of constantly nagging or feeling like your conversation is at a standstill, focus on talking about the wins and things that went well. Instead of screaming at your partner that they went over budget or spent too much or whatever frustrates you, tell them about what went well. “Say honey, last month we managed to spend less on our utility bill! That money will really help us reach ___ financial goal. I’m so proud of us.”

    You can praise your partner for the things that went right first and foremost even if the thing that went well really had nothing to to with them. Tell them how the wins will help you get other, even bigger wins with your money. Include them on the team to share in the successes not just put them in the place of the enemy doing all the wrong things until that is all you can see.

    This is something I had to learn to do after many fights with my husband and analyzing my husband’s nature. He wanted to be my teammate but he kept falling into the role of my adversary because all I could see were the places he wasn’t on board. Once I started talking about that less and giving him more credit with out successes he got more and more on board. 

    Try separate spending money accounts.

    One way to get your spouse on board is to give the more freedom with separate spending money. While I think it’s important to have your money together when you are married and you should NOT separate your money altogether, it can be very helpful to separate your spending money.

    I firmly believe even when budgeting as a team, everyone needs a bit of freedom where they don’t have to account for each dollar they spend. 

    You may also want to increase your spouse’s spending money or budget categories where you constantly butt heads. Maybe you can spend $100 on groceries when you are the only one eating. As a single person that might work but as a pair, maybe it doesn’t and it makes your partner rebel even further. If your spouse needs more spending money than you do, try increasing what they get and don’t have to account for in order to win overall.

    Adjust your timeline expectations.

    You may also just need to adjust your expectations about how quickly your spouse will get on board. Sometimes getting your spouse on board with budgeting takes a couple months. Sometimes getting your spouse on board with paying off debt can take a long time. You may not be the couple that gets on the same page instantly.

    If you are continually butting heads on money but your partner is amazing in every other way, maybe you need to adjust your expectations of how quickly you think they should get on board. Sometimes it takes people longer than others to grasp a concept or to change their habits. Financial habits can be very hard to change for some people after years or decades of doing things one way.

    You might be expecting your spouse to change instantly because it makes so much sense to you, but ultimately you need to adjust those expectations to better fit the reality of your situation. Your expectations are probably making everything harder when they are not meeting your expectations about getting on board with budgeting or paying off debt.

    Take your spouse to a financial class.

    Taking your spouse to a financial class like Financial Peace University can be very helpful when you are trying to get them on board financially.

    I add this last on the list because actually having the knowledge on what to do doesn’t mean certain people will do it. Sometimes going through a financial literacy class does not change habits. My husband and I went through FPU before we got married and that didn’t solve our money problem or prevent our money fights.

    Knowing what to do doesn’t always mean someone is going to comply or change deep seated behaviors to change. For many people doing a class like FPU is the step that is needed in order to finally get on board and make handling money click.

    getting your spouse on board with paying off debt

    Keep trying to make it work together!

    Remember there is not a one size fits all answer here on how to get on the same page with your finances. Every person and every couple approaches money differently and getting on the same page needs an unique approach.

    There are lots of behaviors and habits and emotions around money and those vary from person to person. Finding what works for your reluctant spouse and you as a couple can take a while but you should keep trying to find the right solution. You have to find the things that encourage and motivate your partner to get on board. 

    It may take a lot of work, tears, and trials but eventually getting a “reluctant spouse” on board is totally worth the effort! Working together on your financial picture with a spouse on the same page is amazing!

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  • First Time Home Buyer Tips

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the home buying process lately since I bought our home three years ago and have helped numerous family members through the process as well.

    Since buying a home is one of the largest purchases a person will even make, it is one that should be carefully planned for and free of mistakes. A mistake when buying a house can be one of your most costly mistakes ever made. Unfortunately we made many mistakes when we bought our first house but now I get to use that experience to help others avoid those mistakes.

    I’ve been learning and sharing as much as possible about the home buying process so others in the same stage of life don’t either.

    Our First Home Buying Experience

    We bought our first home in 2016 with bad credit, not a huge down payment, and not enough knowledge about the process. However we picked a great area, a beautiful house, and we love the home we are in!

    As first time home buyers we decided to jump into the real estate market before we had perfect credit. We had improved my husband’s credit by continually monitoring it for free with Credit Karma but it still hovered under 700.

    Having lower credit when we bought our first home meant we got an FHA loan in order to buy our home. This was helpful because we were able to jump into the market sooner and ride the wave of rising home prices, but it also meant we pay PMI every month until we are able to refinance.

    We made some mistakes and did some things when we bought our first home. Since then I’ve walked through the home buying process with dozens of my friends and family. I love being an advocate for first time home buyers and sharing tips on what to do and what to avoid.

    Home Buying Tips For First Time Buyers

    If you are buying your first home then there are some things you should definitely try to do in order to make the best of your experience.

    Improve your credit.

    The biggest thing you can do to improve the process is to work on improving your credit score for the year or two before buying your home.

    Having good credit will make getting a mortgage easier and less expensive because you will have access to better loan terms. It will also open up doors to certain agents who don’t want to work with clients who may not be able to secure financing due to poor credit.

    If you don’t know your score, checking your credit score is the first thing you should do (it’s free) and then you can work on improving it over time.

    Start your downpayment savings early.

    Saving up a downpayment can feel daunting if you are just starting out but it is a critical aspect of buying your first home and getting the best deal possible. The earlier you start your downpayment savings fund the easier it will be to save up a 20% downpayment.

    The more money you are able to save up the better you will look to potential sellers and lenders. Higher downpayments mean you won’t waste money on PMI and you will be better able to secure a loan with good terms.

    Learn about mortgage options.

    The world of mortgages can confuse people because there are a lot of options out there. The most common mortgage types are the following:

    • Conventional mortgages – These loans conform to standards from government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They generally require higher downpayments like 20% but can go as low as 3%. These loans usually require higher credit and you don’t pay PMI.
    • FHA mortgage loans – These loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and allow down payments as low as 3.5% and have lower credit score needs. This makes them more appealing to first time buyers but they also now usually have PMI for the life of the loan.
    • VA loans – VA loans are for veterans and are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs sometimes require no down payment at all. For disabled veterans especially these can be amazing loan options.

    Learn about mortgage loan options available to you, the terminology involved and figure out what fits your situation the best.

    Determine how much house you can afford.

    You should sit down before looking at home and determine how much house you can actually afford. You likely will get approved for much more debt than you should actually use so take the time to find out a realistic range for home purchase prices you feel comfortable with.

    To do this you can run several home affordability calculators to see what you can actually afford to spend. You can also get those average numbers and then run a couple mock budgets with the mortgage numbers included.

    Research neighborhoods.

    You likely won’t be able to buy your dream home in your dream neighborhood with your first home. That means you need to get clear about where you actually want to buy. What neighborhood is right for your first home purchase?

    Start researching neighborhoods and learn what you like and don’t like about different ones. Look at things that people don’t normally consider like your commute times to work, how busy the neighborhood is at different times of day, if the neighborhood has an active online group. Try to get a feeling for each neighborhood you are considering before looking at specific houses.

    Stick to your budget.

    You know that price range you sat down and calculated to see how much home you could afford as a first time buyer? You need to stick to that. You should only look at properties that cost less than the amount you were approved for and stay within the price range you set for yourself.

    It can be easy to get swept up in a hot real estate market where people bid against each other and your agent may even encourage you to look at more expensive homes. Resist those situations and avoid the emotional traps by setting and sticking to a strict budget.

    Don’t rush the process.

    A lot of first time buyers get caught up in the excitement of the process and the urging from family or general society over the idea that they “must buy a house” during a certain time or market.

    It’s best to ignore all this and take your time. Buy your first home when you are ready and feel prepared and confident.

    Double check all your paperwork.

    Mortgage lenders are humans and can make mistakes. As an example, we wanted to put 5% down on our house and our mortgage person repeatedly kept putting 3.5% on the paperwork. I reminded her each time to change it but she didn’t in the end and we were too scared right before closing to make a fuss. So we put down 3.5% instead of 5% which costs us money every month. Should we have checked our paperwork? Yes, it could have saved us from this earlier in the process.

    So learn from our mistake and double check because the people making your loan can easily make mistakes that cost YOU money, not them.

    Those are the best tips I have for buying your first home and now let’s talk about things you should avoid.

    Home Buying Mistakes To Avoid

    There are some common home buying mistakes that we made as a first time home buyer, but you don’t have to make those same mistakes.

    1 – Not saving up 20% down payment.

    Saving up an adequate down payment for the home you want to purchase is critical but it’s a mistake many of us make – including us!

    Saving up a 20% down payment would have saved us thousands in PMI fees and interest. It likely would save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in the long run as well. While saving up a 20% down payment takes more time it is worth the savings.

    2 – Not saving an emergency fund first.

    Saving up a large emergency fund on top of your down payment can seem daunting. That is a lot of money to save! Many people skip saving up enough and then move in to a new home hoping for the best.

    We made this mistake and while we got lucky, not everyone does. Sometimes people move in and immediately have emergency repairs or problems that cost thousands of dollars.

    3 – Not shopping for mortgages.

    Shopping for mortgages is another area where you can make a big mistake by not looking around for the best deal.

    You should make sure you look around for several different mortgage options and find the best deal to save you money. While you might be worried about getting qualified if you’re credit isn’t the best, mortgage companies are still working for your business. Find the best offer with interest rates or low closing fees or

    4 – Not looking at more houses.

    An easy mistake to make is falling in love with your first home. We should have looked at more houses during our search even if it just confirmed the first one was the right one. Make sure you explore multiple homes and neighborhoods in your search for the right house!

    We love our house but we made several big mistakes when we bought it. Today I’m sharing the 4 mistakes we made buying our first house so hopefully you can avoid these common first time home buyer mistakes and have a very smooth process!

    Buying your first home can be a very nerve wracking process but it also can be one of the best financial moves of your life! I’m happy to be sharing my experience buying a house for the first time to help others!

    5 – Not budgeting for closing costs.

    Closing costs are something first time home buyers forget about budgeting for because it’s not a well covered topic. I shared our closing costs in my video about how much our first home cost because it helps people to see real life examples.

    Generally closing costs will run between 2% and 5% of your loan amount depending on who you use as a mortgage lender. You can shop around and compare prices for certain closing expenses like homeowners insurance, home inspections and title searches, which will lower the amount you must pay at closing. You can negotiate to have the seller cover your closing costs as well.

    Those are some of the most common issues that we encountered and have seen others make as well.

    Saving Up Your Down Payment

    One thing that is super important is the down payment. Below are the things you might want to consider when deciding how much to save up for a house.

    What will you have to pay for when buying a home? 

    There are a lot of expenses that come with buying a house, including a lot of unexpected expenses. All of the expenses associated with buying a home should be considered and budgeting for when decided what amount of house you can afford. Being prepared for all these expenses will make the process a lot easier.

    For example, you’ll have to pay for all of these items:

    • House price – The price of the home you purchase is the largest expense and the first one you should consider. Make sure you think about the interest rate on your mortgage in this number too because it’s not just the initial price that you will be paying.
    • Property taxes – Depending on where you live your property taxes could be rather high. Before offering to buy a house check on the property taxes for that specific house. You might pay $2,400 a year more for a house located in a city while a house 5 minutes down the road costs less in property taxes each year just where it is located. This is definitely a budget item to consider.
    • Home insurance – You will have to properly insure your home against the unthinkable. Make sure your home is covered for any additional needed insurance above the basics to cover things like earthquakes and flooding.
    • Utility bills – This can be hard to gauge before buying a home but it’s a good idea to get a general sense of how much it will cost you each month for utilities in a home. You can call your local utility provider and ask for the average bill over the last 12 months for the address. I do this every time I move because it helps to know what I’ll have to spend to get basic services.
    • And more – This list could go on and on! when closing there are inspection and closing fees. When moving in there are moving expenses and new furniture purchases. Then there are home repairs and yard maintenance and so on. There are a lot of things to consider so sitting down and writing everything out will help you consider what you will have to spend.

    Make sure you remember all the extra things that cost money when buying a house.

    How much money should I spend on a house?

    It’s a hard question to answer for someone else. It depends on a lot of personal factors like the area you live in and your income levels.

    Generally people are told to take out a home loan that is around 25% to 30% of their after-tax take home income. Spending a third of your income on housing is an acceptable amount that is widely encouraged by financial advisors.

    In my city there are lots of adorable homes in the range of $90,000 – $110,000. Based on two incomes I will probably end up purchasing a home somewhere in that range. Since it’s a ways off there is still a lot of time before deciding on the exact number to spend on a house. I will definitely have a more exact and very strict budget before actually buying a house. It helps to have a budget for home spending before even looking at houses.

    I’d also suggest spending way less than you are approved for when buying a house. The last house I planned to buy was roughly half the price I was approved for and I thought that was a very reasonable and cute house. You don’t have to max out your budget and spending capability when buying a home! Do what feels right and give yourself some spending breathing room.

    How much should I save up for a down payment?

    Currently I’m working on saving up for a house down payment. It’s a small fund currently and grows just a tiny bit each month. This is going to be my number one goal and I plan to stash away as much as possible in this account.

    Depending on the lender, and the state of the economy, you can put down as little as 2.5% on a home, or you can be asked to put down 20% to 30% of the purchase price.

    How much money you put down on a house will depend on what you lender requires and how much you can afford.

    The standard minimum is usually 20% and this will prevent you from paying PMI, private mortgage insurance. Adding that expenses can make a home unaffordable so it’s often best to avoid it.

    Most financial experts recommend that you save up enough to put 20% down on a house. People like Dave Ramsey urge you to do this but also make concessions for first time home buyers and concede that it’s easier sometimes to only save up 10% of the purchase price.

    But the golden standard is definitely a 20% down payment!

    If you plan to purchase a home for a price of $100,000 then the down payment you will want to put down is $20,000. You can scale up from there to the house price in your area.

    Paying Off Your Home

    Once you have a mortgage you may want to pay it off faster. Many people love the feeling of being completely debt free, mortgage and all.

    Paying off your mortgage faster can be a very simple process that will hardly even affect your budget at all. Follow these two simple ways to pay off your mortgage in order to pay off your first home.

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  • Side Hustles Ideas For Moms

    As a mom, especially a stay at home mom, it might feel like you need to bring in more money but it’s impossible with your kids. Luckily there are tons of ideas out there for moms who want to start a side hustle in order to bring in extra money for their family.

    Side Hustles Ideas For Moms

    • Watch other people’s kids during the day. In home daycare are popular for parents because they don’t cost as much, but when you are providing the care it’s a great side hustle and gives you the ability to be with your own child. In our state you could have 3 children besides your 1 child and if each child is paying $200 a week then the side hustle can offset not having a traditional job.
    • Host parent’s night out nights.Charge $30 per kid for a couple hours of babysitting. Add in several kids and you’ll have a nice side hustle on a weekend night especially. You can advertise on sites like Next-door or Care.com and you’ll grow a lot by word of mouth.
    • Dog walk and dog sit. This is something you can do with your little ones. There are plenty of people who work during the day or have to travel but need their dogs taken care of while out of the house. Fill that need. You can use sites like Rover.com and your local Next-door of Facebook groups. You can offer dog walking, dog sitting, drop-in visits, overnight stays, etc. You can also accept and decline jobs as you have time and availability. For an animal lover this one is perfect!
    • Bake and sell cookies, cupcakes, or cakes. Multiple people I know in real life have done this and one made it into her full time job. If you can make cute cookies with designs or pretty cupcakes that taste good, then you can definitely do this as a side hustle. Once people know you are doing this and taste your treats then word and business spreads.
    • Photo Booth operator at weddings. Photobooths at weddings are very easy to run and most owners don’t want to work every wedding – or they can’t when double booked. For this hustle you drive the Photo Booth to the venue, set up, stay on site to help or leave depending on the style and contract, and then breakdown and take the booth back. You can reach out to the photo booth owners or photographers in your city to find ones that need help. You can work 5-6 hours working a wedding Photo Booth as a side hustle or for more money, buy and operate one yourself as a side business! 
    • Create a cute setup for photographs and offer sessions using it. You can charge up to $20 for 15 minutes of time using a beautiful setup in your yard or home for people to take family photos or Christmas photos. People bring their own cameras and you just provide the space! You could also work with a professional photographer to loan them the space for a flat fee like $100 for the day and have them do mini sessions there where they earn more but don’t have to worry about setup.
    • Officiate sports leagues as a referee. If your kids are playing sports then you likely already know plenty about the sport, especially if you also played it. You can sign up to referee games in the same league or others to earn money while your kids are playing as well. This is usually a weekend or weeknight activity which can work well if your partner can watch the kids if they aren’t also playing.
    • Travel agent from home is an option where you can plan trips for others and get paid for it. There are agencies that offer these jobs or you could also sell your services and promote yourself like a business. People who specialize in certain areas like planning Disney trips seem to do well with this as they become known as an expert.
    • Teach English online or tutor kids on a specific subject. There are plenty of people making $1,000 of more teaching English online to kids in China with services like VIPKids. For more money per hour you can tutor children in your own area on a specific subject you excel at. Even better can be SAT or ACT prep tutoring which pays well per hour due to the payoff for the student at the end. You can advertise your services on local sites and once you get one client word of mouth can spread your skills.
    • Sell old stuff – It’s a great option to sell stuff you have instead of donating it. You can sell stuff on Ebay, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, Poshmark and Mercari. You can decide which site to use based on what you are selling and whether you want to meet up in person or not. You can also use garage sales and thrift shops to find items to sell. There are tons of cool Youtube channels where people do this for a living and you can learn a lot from them.
    • Resell items you find at yard sales or via clearance sections. Reselling can be super lucrative once you figure out the things that will sell well for you. There is definitely a learning curve but there are many resources out there to assist your learning. You can buy things cheaper at yard sales or in clearance sections and then resell on sites like Ebay or even locally on Facebook marketplace.
    • Driving Delivery Gigs – Similar to Uber and Lyft, you can drive for Postmates, Uber Eats, Instacart, Doordash and any meal delivery service that pays drivers and you collect tips for running errands for people. This is great because you can do it when you want and close it off when you aren’t interested or are busy. 
    • Mystery shop – This won’t be super consistent or huge income but you can sign up with mystery shopping companies that give you assignments to check our stores or restaurants. You go and buy something and fill out paperwork in order to get paid per shop. It’s easy to do around your kids schedule.
    • Direct sales companies. Don’t be annoying but direct sales opportunities are an option for side income. Don’t be super salesy on your friends and family in a way that puts them off but be available if anyone is interested in your prod
    • Work opposite shift jobs of your partner. – If your partner works during the day, look for jobs that have night time hours like waitressing or bartending. Even just a few hours a week can help your income situation if things are tight and you won’t be missing time with your child. Sometimes this can have an added benefit of giving you a social outlet you need too!
    • Clean houses. My mom was a stay at home mom but I remember going with her to clean people’s houses. She’d clean large houses for country music stars and smaller houses in nice suburbs and it gave her enough money to stay at home with all of us. People love to pay for a clean house since most of us hate cleaning. If you love it or are good at it – offer up your services! One day a week of cleaning houses can bring in a couple hundred dollars. 

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  • 50 New Year’s Resolutions About Money

    Happy New Year! It is the beginning of a new year and like many people out there you are likely planning to make new year’s resolutions to improve your life this year.

    Many years I make financial related goals and resolutions for improving our finances for the new year. My goals are generally about being more frugal and spending less money to improve our savings rate.

    Being more frugal is just one type of New Year’s resolution but there are many other ways you can plan to improve your finances in the coming year. Today I’m sharing 50 of the best financial New Year’s resolutions you can make to improve your personal finances.

    If you haven’t already set your goals for the year, consider one of these 50 ideas for different financial related New Year’s Resolutions you could make this year. It’s a great time to get your money in order!

    50 Financial New Year’s Resolutions

    1. Update your personal finance goals. Set new goals for the year and the next decade too so you know what you are aiming to achieve.
    2. Track all of your spending every month. Tracking your spending is the key to budgeting success.
    3. Check your credit score and learn how to improve your credit score. A good credit score will lead you to better deals on mortgages and more.
    4. Grow your net worth each month. Do this by increasing your savings, lowering your debt, and tracking your net worth each month.
    5. Lower your monthly food expenses by spending less on groceries and finding ways to plan cheap meals.
    6. Lower your entertainment spending for the year. Find ways to cut your expensive entertainment in favor of cheaper options.
    7. Lower your overall spending per month. Find ways to spend less on what you are already buying or things to stop buying.
    8. Have more free entertainment weekends where you do fun things without spending money.
    9. Take up a frugal or free hobby. There are many options and you can look online for new ideas on things you can learn to do for free.
    10. Stick to your budget monthly. If you have not created a budget before, the new year is the perfect time to create your first budget.
    11. Live within your means. This means resolving to never spending more than you are earning in a month.
    12. Build an emergency fund. Emergency funds are incredibly useful and can come in handy when unexpected events happen.
    13. Start or increase donations to charities. Find the charities you love and plan to give them more each month this year.
    14. Start a retirement account and increase retirement savings for the year so that you are funding your future.
    15. Fully fund your 401k for the year if you are not already doing so.
    16. Fully fund your Roth IRA for the year. Start a Roth IRA is you are eligible and have never started one before.
    17. Transfer high interest debt to 0% offers so you can pay your debt off with less interest.
    18. Pay your credit card bill monthly. Using credit cards responsibly is a smart way to get extra rewards.
    19. Pay off your credit card debt if you have any.
    20. Pay off your student loans if you have been dragging them out.
    21. Pay off your car auto loan if you have a monthly car payment.
    22. Pay off your mortgage or contribute more toward your balance this year so you can pay off your mortgage faster.
    23. Review your life insurance needs and adjust or buy policies.
    24. Review your disability insurance needs and adjust or buy policies.
    25. Review your home insurance needs and adjust or buy policies.
    26. Review your auto insurance needs and adjust or buy policies.
    27. Plan your estate in case something tragic happens. Have a will in place so your loved ones know what to do with your estate.
    28. Talk to your loved ones about money more often and plan to have monthly date nights or family meetings where you talk about money and your spending. It is important to get on the same page about money with your spouse.
    29. Save for and go on a vacation without going into debt to afford it.
    30. Save for and buy one expensive item you really want this year without using debt to buy it.
    31. Save for and buy a large stock in a company you believe in. You can start or build a portfolio of stocks with companies you love.
    32. Save for a down payment on a house if you are feeling ready to purchase a home.
    33. Make plans to get a raise at your job. Make a list of steps you can take in order to further your career this year.
    34. Look for better paying jobs. This is especially smart to do if you are needing a raise and couldn’t get one.
    35. Go back to school to gain better skills. Look into programs for new careers that earn more money.
    36. Start a side hustle to earn more money. There are many side hustles you can start with little upfront cost.
    37. Start a business and learn how to grow it in order to earn more money.
    38. Start a money making blog so you can earn money online in the new year.
    39. Become recognized as an expert in your field. Look into opportunities for speaking and improving your reputation.
    40. Organize all your receipts and important financial papers so that you can go paperless and get organized.
    41. Simplify your finances by finding ways to make things automatic or simpler.
    42. Watch less TV and read books about saving money or improving your finances and career instead.
    43. Cut your cable/phone/internet bills for savings. You can save over $100 a month on your cell phone bill or cable bill.
    44. Travel by bike or walking more to save money. This financial resolution can overlap with physical resolutions to get into shape!
    45. Learn to cook to save money by eating at home. This is another resolution that can be financial and also help you get into shape!
    46. Clean out the closets and sell unused items for extra income. Decluttering your house and earning money is a great two for one resolution.
    47. Read more educational books about personal finance, employment, and getting out of debt. Reading books that improve your life financially is a great resolution to make.
    48. Plan your future goals that will take more than one year. Sometimes resolutions are the beginning of a longer journey!
    49. Stop being lazy and accomplish more! This resolution is perfect if you feel like you haven’t worked on much in the previous years. It’s definitely one I’ve made before!
    50. Celebrate and be grateful for what you have already. Contentment is the best way to improve your financial life because when you are content with what you have you don’t want to spend money buying new things.

    Happy new year! I hope these ideas for financial new years resolutions help you make this year your best year yet!

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