• 13 Sinking Fund Categories For Your Budget

    Sinking funds can change your life. They radically transformed our budgeting life once we started using them.

    You may be getting ready to start several funds now that you know how sinking funds work, but you don't know exactly which categories you should be using. If you are wondering what sinking funds should you start then you are in the right place.

    Many people stumble in the beginning of budgeting with sinking funds but this list of common sinking funds can help you determine which sinking funds you need to make your budget work.

    What are sinking funds?

    Sinking funds are accounts with a purpose.

    They are accounts you save into regularly for spending on expenses that are irregular expense, non-monthly expenses, unpredictable or big one time expenses.

    It’s a mini savings account for an expense you know you’ll have in the future.

    Sinking funds make saving for these hard to budget items strategic and stress free. You set a little bit aside each month until you hit your goal… and then you spend it!

    So if you’re saving up for an event 6 months from now, you put a smaller amount aside into the sinking fund each month until the event where you spend it all. Sinking funds are designed to let you spend without stress or worry.

    Common Sinking Fund Categories

    Below are some of the most common and often most helpful sinking funds that you can add to your budget.

    1. Car Repair Sinking Fund

    Car repairs will eventually happen. Every car needs repairs at some point even if it’s just general tire rotations or oil changes. Maintenance on cars is a necessary expenses if you own a car.

    You need to be putting money into this car repairs sinking fund account each month so that you are ready when your car needs repairs. Even just $20 a month into this fund can add up and help with the car repairs that do come along.

    Without a car sinking fund these unexpected repairs can quickly sink your budget for a month.

    2. Car Replacement Sinking Fund

    Cars don’t last forever unfortunately. This means you’ll eventually need to replace your current car. Saving up a little bit every month into a car replacement fund will make the purchase of a new car much less painful and will prevent you from going into debt to get a new car when the time comes.

    If your current car is paid off you should be at least putting the amount of a regular car payment into your car replacement sinking fund. This will quickly build up when you are saving a payment instead of paying a payment toward a car loan!

    3. Home Repairs Sinking Fund

    Just like a car, you know your home will eventually need repairs. Because this is an expense that is inevitable, you need to be saving up for home repairs that will come along when you own a home.

    Most guidelines suggest you’ll have to pay 1% of the home value price on repairs each year. You can figure out this number based on your home's value and then divide it by twelve to get an amount to save per month for your home repairs sinking fund.

    4. Water Bill Sinking Fund

    Many areas have annual or quarterly water bills where several months add up before payment is due. When these big, irregular water bills hit it is helpful to have the money in a sinking fund ready to pay the bill.

    Depending on you regular bill price, divide it by the number of months until it’s due and save that amount. You can also do this for other utility bills you may have that are not monthly.

    5. Pet Expenses Sinking Fund

    For most of us, pets are our family members. Our expensive, expensive family members who require monthly and larger annual expenses.

    Your pet may require regular grooming, special medicines for health issues, special diets and foods, and of course regular vet care. That's not to mention anything like toys, doggy daycare, beds, clothing or any fun pet expenses. Add in an expensive emergency vet visit and you’ll definitely be glad you have a pet expense sinking fund.

    We put at least $50 a month into our pet fund which only covers a portion of these pet expenses but it still helps us manage our spending on our dogs.

    6. Christmas Sinking Fund

    Christmas happens every year so it should not catch you by surprise and lead you into debt. Your Christmas sinking fund can be for gifts but also for things like decor, Christmas cards, foods for special dinners or anything else for the holidays. 

    Saving for Christmas in a sinking fund makes it much less stressful around the holiday season. Planning out your Christmas gift list in advance and saving up for Christmas expenses will make it much less stressful during the holidays.

    If you're not sure where to start with planning and saving for Christmas, you can grab the Christmas budgeting planner from my shop or the Christmas savings tracker to help visually plan your savings.

    7. Gifts Sinking Fund

    Throughout the year we buy gifts for birthdays, weddings, holidays, baby showers, house warmings and more special occasions. While we love gifting those around us with things they will treasure, it can definitely add up and ruin the budget if we don’t plan for it!

    Because we still want to give our loves ones gifts, we made a sinking fund for gift giving! We put a little bit into our gifts sinking fund each month and it usually builds up so we can buy gifts when they are needed. Having a sinking fund that builds up allows us to never stress about giving gifts.

    8. Clothing Sinking Fund

    You might not buy clothes every month, but you will eventually need to buy clothing or shoes as items wear out. Hardly any clothing pieces last a lifetime so you'll need to plan for buying new clothes and shoes at a certain point.

    That’s why this is a great sinking fund category because you are going to need it even if you don't need it monthly. You can save up a little each month and then eventually buy a higher quality item when you are ready to shop and replace items.

    9. Travel Sinking Fund

    Travel is generally a high price tag item which is why many people create a travel sinking fund to save up for trips. If you save just $100 a month into a travel sinking fund then you can take a $1,200 vacation each year. $100 a month doesn’t seem like much but it’s amazing what you can do with that amount. If you want to travel more or go on better trips then you can increase the amount you save monthly.

    For us, vacations are usually once or twice a year but because the high price tag, they are great sinking fund candidates. We only save when we have a trip planned and know the cost but many people save up a certain amount each more dedicated toward trips.

    travel sinking fund

    10. Car & Life Insurance Bill Sinking Funds

    Many life insurance bills and car insurance bills are due every 6 months, quarterly or yearly. Because they are not a monthly expense, these bills can throw a wrench into a normal monthly budget.

    We pay our car insurance every six months, so we put $55 a month into a car insurance sinking fund. Then when the payment is due we withdraw the amount, pay the bill, and start over again! We do the same thing with our life insurance because our life insurance is due quarterly. We put away $35 a month for that quarterly bill and then pay it when the balance has built up.

    11. Medical Bills Sinking Fund

    Unfortunately medical bills can be a huge financial problem in the United States. Even with good insurance you can have co-pays for appointments, shots, or medications to pay for when you do get sick or hurt. While this is unfortunate, it is also a reality of the world we live in.

    A sinking fund (or a medical FSA or HSA) can help make these irregular costs more manageable when they come along. If you have a very high deductible you need to be saving each month into a sinking fund for medical expenses that could come up. Your life will be much less stressful if you have the money saved when a medical emergency strikes.

    12. Back To School Expenses Sinking Fund 

    If you have kids, then you probably want a “back to school” sinking fund. You’ll need clothes and school supplies when school season rolls around. Kids also have a lot of expenses for signing up for extracurricular activities at the start of the school year.

    Back to school can be expensive, especially if you have multiple children to buy for each year. To soften the blow you can save up a little bit each month and you’ll be ready once school runs around.

    13. Yearly Renewal Sinking Funds

    If you have memberships or subscriptions that renew yearly, they can be put into a yearly sinking funds account. Things like a Costco membership fee, zoo membership fee, Amazon Prime membership are all items that can wreck a monthly budget so saving up for them each month can help keep you on track.

    You can create individual sinking funds for each yearly expense item or you can create a "yearly expenses" account where you add up the amount of all items, divide by 12, and save that amount each month.

    How do you set up sinking funds?

    Setting up sinking funds with Capital One 360 is very easy and super quick! From start to finish they have made the process of setting up sinking fund savings accounts very easy.

    If you want to see how we set up our sinking funds, you can see the whole process in the video below.

    Setting up sinking funds is a great way to keep your budget together throughout the year so the ups and downs don’t derail you.

    Find What Works For You

    Once you have set up sinking funds with Capital One 360 you are able to play with the categories you use for your own life. There is no list of sinking funds that will be perfect for you - you have to play around and find which categories you need to use to make your life easier.

    You may even want to start with just one sinking fund category to save for and then go from there! One great category to start with can be car repairs or car related expenses. These are irregular expenses that come up for everyone as some time but can be hard to predict.

  • How To Set Up Sinking Funds | Sinking Funds 101

    Sinking funds seem confusing when you’re new to budgeting, but they actually make budgeting easier!

    Since we started using sinking funds we have had less problems with our budget being ruined by unexpected expenses. Sinking funds have alleviated stress from budgeting and made it much easier to pay for items in cash upfront and not rely on debt.

    Today I’m sharing what sinking funds are, why I love sinking funds, how to set up your sinking funds, and how to figure out what to save in sinking funds. I even show you how we set up our sinking funds at Capital One 360  in our own accounts!

    Sinking funds truly can be a total game changer once you understand them! They can be pretty hard to understand at first when you start using sinking funds but they can revolutionize your financial life which is why I wanted to explain sinking funds in an easy way.

    Dave Ramsey fans will talk about sinking funds a lot so hopefully this video explains what sinking funds are and how you can set up your own!

    Typical sinking fund categories might include things like car repairs, home repairs, holidays, Christmas, gifts. I've also shared a lit of 13 common sinking fund categories.

    What are sinking funds?

    Sinking funds are accounts with a purpose. They are specific savings accounts designed to achieve a purpose.

    They are accounts you save money into regularly for spending on expenses that are yearly irregular expenses, non-monthly expenses, unpredictable or big one time expenses.

    It’s a mini savings account you create for an expense you know you’ll have in the future whether it is planned or unplanned.

    Sinking funds make saving for hard to budget items strategic and stress free. You set a little bit aside each month until you hit your goal… and then you spend it!

    You get to spend guilt free because you saved up the money for a specific purpose, so when you spend the money on that item you don't have any guilt attached!

    Using sinking funds is easy. Let's say you are saving up for an event 6 months from now. You put a smaller amount of money aside into the sinking fund each month until the event where you spend it all.

    Sinking funds are designed to let you spend without stress or worry.

    Types of Sinking Funds

    In general I’ve seen there are a few common ways to set up sinking funds.

    1. Cash envelopes sinking funds. Since a sinking fund is money you will be spending, it makes sense to sometimes do them in cash. For these you can use cash envelopes or a more secure set up like a safe.
    2. Multiple savings accounts. You can set up multiple accounts with some banks like Capital One 360 and give each sinking fund it’s own account. This is my preferred method.
    3. One savings account with a spreadsheet. Many people like to put away money into one big savings account but then track what everything is assigned to with a spreadsheet or app.

    Whichever way you decide to set up you accounts, the point is to save for those expenses that would otherwise stress your budget.

    In the video I show you our sinking funds and how we’ve got them set up in Capital One 360 where we keep our savings. I’ll also be opening new sinking funds so you can see how that works.

    How do you set up sinking funds?

    Setting up sinking funds with Capital One 360 is very easy and super quick! You can complete the whole process in less than 10 minutes in most cases.

    If you want to see how we set up our sinking funds, you can see the whole process in the video below. I walk you through everything you need to know about sinking funds, from how to set them up to how to give them nicknames that match your budget.

    If you want to open your own Capital One 360 you can use my referral link for a $25 bonus when you open an account with at least $250.

    Getting a jumpstart on your savings with a little extra cash added to your account is a great bonus!

    What sinking funds should I set up?

    In general you should look at your life and consider using sinking funds for things that are unusual budget items.

    This includes:

    1. Large one time purchases like a new car or your vacation.
    2. Yearly or quarterly bills that aren’t paid each month like life insurance or car insurance.
    3. Yearly expenses you are expecting but only happen once like Christmas or new clothes at the start of the school year.
    4. Unexpected expenses that you know will happen but you don’t know when like car repairs.

    These are the common types of expenses you can make stress free by using sinking funds. An easy way to find the expensive events you might want to start a sinking fund for is go through the last year of expenses and see where big bills hit and where you struggled to cover something during a normal month’s budget. These things might need to be sinking funds for you.

    By contributing to sinking funds each month from your normal budget you can handle these expenses that are hard to budget for and never touch your emergency fund or go into debt.

    Common Sinking Fund Categories

    I've previously shared 13 sinking funds you must use and there are many other common sinking fund you might want to try. Common categories include:

    • Car replacement
    • Car maintenance & repairs
    • Car insurance
    • Car tags
    • Home maintenance & repairs
    • Home decor
    • Furniture
    • Vacations
    • Medical expenses
    • Dental expenses
    • Pet expenses
    • Kid expenses
    • Clothes
    • Gifts
    • Birthdays
    • Christmas
    • Holidays
    • Life insurance
    • Annual bills

    The sinking funds you decide to set up will be based on your life stage and what events you have happening.

    Some, like saving for Christmas or planning for car repairs, will apply to most people.

    How do you calculate the amount to save in sinking funds?

    One way to guesstimate the amount to save in sinking funds for unexpected expenses like car repairs is to look back at your spending over the last year. How many times did you car need repairs? How many times did you get your oil changed? Add all of that up and divide it by 12 for an amount to save monthly for estimated car repairs.

    If you anticipate any large repairs in the future you can get quotes for how much it might cost and then divide that amount by months or paychecks to determine how much extra you need to save.

    When you have a specific date for an event or bill it is much easier to determine the amount to save monthly or by paycheck. You simply take the amount you need for the event or bill and divide it by the number or months or paychecks until you need the money.

    To find out how much you need to save, you would take the total needed for the event and divide it by the amount of time until the event. In the example of this event if you needed $1,000 you would save $166.66 a month or if you got paid bimothly you would save $83.30 per paycheck (2 paychecks per month for 6 months).

    If you are a visual person like I am, then it might help to have a coloring tracker to visualize your progress saving with sinking funds. My Etsy shop has a variety of savings goal trackers and sinking fund tracker tools.

    How do you get money out of sinking funds?

    One questions I've commonly been asked about setting up sinking funds with Capital One 360 is how do you get your money out from the account? Since many traditional banks make this process complicated it is easy to wonder how you actually get the money out of your sinking funds in order to use it.

    With my sinking funds at Capital One I simply transfer the money back to my checking account when I'm ready to use my debit card. When I know the final amount for the purchase I move the money over instantly and then swipe my debit card. This process is what works for us.

    The only downside to this is that the number of transactions moving money from one savings account back to a checking account is limited to 6 per month. This hasn't been an issue for us since we normally only use the sinking funds once or at most twice in a single month. If you are saving in a sinking fund in an online account it should probably be for thinks you aren't spending on frequently. If you are spending in the category often it might just need to be a cash envelope category in your budget.

    Why do I use Capital One 360 for my sinking funds?

    I've been using my Capital One 360 account since before it was Capital One 360. It was originally ING Direct but they did such an amazing job that Capital One bought them. Ultimately they changed the branding but kept all of the things that made the bank account awesome in the first place.

    I share my referral link in this post because I've been a customer for over a decade now and I've only had good experiences with the account. The customer service has always been excellent, there are no overdraft or gotcha fees, and moving money is quick and easy.

    There are plenty of other banks that also offer high yield savings accounts perfect for sinking funds. If your bank doesn't offer it, check out online banks like the ones I've reviewed here or peek around the site for reviews on other savings accounts perfect for sinking funds.

    How to include sinking funds in your budget

    Once you are budgeting regularly it is an easy task to include sinking funds into your routine budget. The great thing is that planning for these bigger and unexpected expenses in advance means you'll be unlikely to ruin a budget in the future because of those pesky expenses.

    Once you've got the sinking fund categories you want to save for, you'll figure out the amount you want to save per month and include that in your monthly budget. Because you are saving for things in small chunks instead of all at once it is easy to include these in your budget.

    Remember that sinking funds are separate from your emergency fund. While there may seem to be some overlap, sinking funds are for planned expenses or irregular expenses you know will be coming. While things like car repairs may seem like unexpected emergencies, they are actually expenses you should expect to come every once in a while since all cars need maintenance.

    True medical conditions and extensive home repairs that take you by surprise can fall under your emergency fund.

    Start Your Sinking Funds Today

    Sinking funds can help you save for large expenses and keep you from wrecking your budget entirely when something unexpected comes up.

    Sinking funds also give you the freedom to spend guilt free on bigger items because you've already saved up for them.

    Sinking funds are pretty much the best thing ever! Once you've gotten started using sinking funds in your budget it will be hard to stop.

    If you have not already started your sinking funds, then what are you waiting for?

  • August 2019 Online Income Report – $1,118.40

    Welcome to my monthly online income report!

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

    Since May when I realized earning more online income could keep me from going back to full time hours, I’ve tried to squeeze as much work into online income generating activities as possible. In June that didn’t necessarily pay off in income earned but it set a good foundation for coming months. I know that in the final quarter of 2019 my income can potentially jump up because of the foundation I've laid.

    Growing my online income is so important to my current financial goals and that focus matters so much to my family right now!

    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.

    earn money from home as a mom

    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 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 $700-$800 a month now when I was only earning $300-500 last year. That might not seem huge since it’s small numbers but that means I have doubled my monthly online income!

    My goal for a while now is to bump up to the $1,000 a month mark consistently with the income I’m generating from the online business activities. It’s amazing to think that it’s within reach and soon I could be earning $1,000 per month.

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

    August 2019 Online Income Report

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

    Total Income: $1,118.40

    This is the amount earned in Aguust 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 hit my goal two months in a row! I made $1,000 in a month! Again!

    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 try not to think of my overall hourly rate because it definitely wouldn't make me as excited.

    What I Worked On In August 2019

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

    Made affiliate marketing improvements.

    I continued with my implementation of tweaks I learned from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

    I've been looking for additional affiliate marketing programs for products and services I already use and love that would be a good fit for earning money because I already talk about them. I love the idea of affiliate marketing but I never want to promote junky offers just because they can earn me money. Authenticity and trust is important to me so I'll never promote something I wouldn't use or recommend for my mom or daughter.

    Adding new affiliate partners in the coming months and continuing 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.

    Last month I opened my Etsy shop (well at the very end of June) and I only opened with a couple printable products. I had the goal of continuing to add new ones and this month I did! I added several new ones and made a few sales.

    Getting sales as a new Etsy shop is the hardest part of opening! Getting products created and up for sale wasn't difficult but actually getting buyers is the area where new shops struggle. While I did get a few sales this month I have a long way to go to make Etsy a sustainable income source.

    August 2019 Online Income Wins

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

    Income over $1,000.

    Like I’ve mentioned, my first goal was to get to earning at least $600 a month, and more recently I challenged myself to start hitting $1,000 a month.

    That felt like the next level of income and one that seemed impossible just a year ago. It seems that every month the income I'm earning from this side hustle continues to grow and I'm so blessed by this fact. I know as long as I focus on helping more people it will continue to grow.

    This is the best side hustle. 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. All the things I want to be in life.

    August 2019 YouTube Income

    My YouTube income was high again this month thanks to several videos that did well and had high CPMs.

    I shared a video about how YouTube Ads work and how CPMs work if you are interested in learning about how you can make money on YouTube.

    I plan to keep focusing more on personal finance topics that will raise the overall income of my channel due to the higher CPMS based on topic. I loved doing mom life content and vlogs with my baby, but they definitely don't pay as well or reach as wide an audience. I'm also not a mom that's confident enough to give advice.... but I do have something to say about earning money online and handling money wisely!

    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 haven’t dedicated nearly enough time to my Etsy shop and the items in it but I want 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.

    I also plan to start working on the strategies I noted to prepare for December when affiliate marketing income is high.

    Popular YouTube videos on my channel:

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

  • Welcome to Pennies Not Perfection!

    Welcome to Pennies Not Perfection!

    I've been oversharing my life online for over a decade now and Pennies Not Perfection is the ultimate connection of where my communication and passion meet: talking about handling money without stress and anxiety.

    Over the years after I graduated college I taught myself the basics personal finance by reading personal finance blogs, books and magazines. I knew that I was doing it wrong when I felt overwhelmed and stressed every paycheck.

    I also knew that debt could ruin my life. I'd seen my half-sister take her life due to debt and depression and I'd seen my mom lose her house to foreclosure. I know that without knowledge and a plan, I'd likely end up in a bad situation because I'd seen it happen to the people closest to me.

    That desire for financial success and knowledge led me on a decade long adventure to pay off $5,000 in credit card debt, $22,000 in student loans, and $43,000 in parent plus loans, which I'm currently still tackling, along with paying off a car and cash-flowing a wedding and multiple large vaations. It's also inspired me to buy a home, invest my money for the future, and learn how to budget and cut impulse spending.

    There is no one path to financial success. I pull from different "financial gurus" taking the advice that works for our family and leaving the rest. There's no one size fits all plan.

    Ultimately I've learned you don't have to be perfect with your financial decisions to win. You just have to make a choice, pay attention, and keep learning. Perfection is not required to win with money.

    In the decade of learning about personal finance, I've made plenty of mistakes. There is always more to learn and our world and stage of life is constantly changing and requiring adjustments.

    Today I'm working on this brand, Pennies Not Perfection because I want to inspire other women to take control of their financial futures. To learn how to budget. To learn how to deal with the emotions and problems around impulsive and emotional spending. To start or increase investing for a beautiful and secure future.

    On this blog and my YouTube channel I plan to continue sharing our own journey to financial success for inspiration along with sharing tips, tools, and information that might work for your situation too. Remember that I'm always still figuring money out and am not a financial planner. More of a financial motivator, because I know that YOU have the strength and ability to learn about money and make good choices for yourself.

    If you've ever internalized the messages from society that you're bad at math or not good with money or not smart enough to invest, let them go now. None of that is true and you are 100% capable of winning with your money.

    I'm not a financial expert or a financial advisor, but I am a financial encourager. I will be here to motivate you and encourage you every step of the way.

    I hope my experience and transparency helps you see that you too are capable of doing anything. You've got this!

  • July 2019 Online Income Report – $1,037.44

    Welcome to my online income report! Each month I share what I earned from online endeavors like this blog and my YouTube channel. I like sharing real numbers to inspire myself and others.

    Since May when I realized more online income could keep me from going back to full time hours, I’ve tried to squeeze as much work into online income generating activities as possible. In June that didn’t necessarily pay off in income earned but it set a good foundation for coming months.

    Growing my online income is so important to my current financial goals and that focus matters so much to my family right now!

    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.

    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.

    I knew that earning money online was possible because I had done it once before as a blogger. 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 goal each month 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 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 $700-$800 a month now when I was only earning $300-500 last year. That might not seem huge since it's small numbers but that means I have doubled my monthly online income!

    My goal for a while now is to bump up to the $1,000 a month mark consistently with the income I’m generating from the online business activities. It’s amazing to think that it’s within reach and soon I could be earning $1,000 per month.

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

    July 2019 Online Income Report

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

    Total Income: $1,037.44

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

    That means I don’t keep all of it it and at least 25% will be gone 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, I HIT MY GOAL! I made $1,000 in a month!

    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.

    What I Worked On In July 2019

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

    Made affiliate marketing improvements.

    Implemented a few immediate tweaks I learned from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

    These changes mostly focused on the programs I use under Awin and have seen a drastic increase in that affiliate marketing income. I realized that more programs under Awin and ShareASale had much better cookie lengths which made sales easier than fighting everyone and their momma for the 24 hour Amazon affiliate marketing income. I’ll still link to Amazon but I no longer plan for it to be my main affiliate marketing income.

    Overall I’m happy with the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course so far because it’s helped me focus into a better direction. I still have so much to implement from the course that my biggest struggle is time to do it all.

    Opened an Etsy shop.

    I opened my Etsy shop at the very end of June after dragging my feet all month due to being scared. I opened with a few debt free charts and “Christmas in July” planner products. I’m super happy with the printables I’ve created so far and hope to continue adding new ones.

    Just getting started on some products I can sell is exciting and I’m thrilled to open up another source of income for future income reports. Even if it’s not a huge success money wise I’ve learned that every little bit adds up!

    My goal for my new Etsy shop in July is 10 more products and at least 10 sales. This is achievable I think and allows me to ease into learning and selling on Etsy.

    Started a mastermind group. 

    I’m now meeting semi regularly with a group of other YouTubers who are wanting to grow their online income. We are all somewhat similar in size, topic, etc. I think currently I’m earning the most but others have faster growth and we all have something to learn and teach each other.

    I know myself well enough to know I need accountability to hit my online income goals. This means I likely will want a business coach one day and for now a mastermind group. This will give me the accountability I need to hit big goals.

    So far it’s a very positive experience and one of the big reasons I’ve been able to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to want more from my channel.

    July 2019 Online Income Wins

    Time to celebrate some things that went right with online income!

    Income over $1,000.

    Like I’ve mentioned, my first goal was to get to earning at least $600 a month, and more recently I challenged myself to start hitting $1,000 a month.

    That felt like the next level of income and I’m thrilled that I was able to hit it in July. It might not be a straight up path for me with my online income but I’m thrilled that I keep climbing steadily and my audience keeps growing.

    This is the best side hustle. 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. All the things I want to be in life.

    July 2019 YouTube Income

    My YouTube income was higher this month thanks to several videos that did well and had high CPMs.

    I shared a video about how YouTube Ads work and how CPMs work if you are interested in learning about how you can make money on YouTube.

    focusing more on personal finance topics raises the overall income of my channel versus doing vlogs and baby related content. Luckily I love talking about money so it’s not too hard to stay on brand.

    However, I don’t want to ever stop myself from creating or sharing videos I love even if I know they won’t make money. This is a creative outlet for me first and foremost and a side hustle second.

    Another video that did quite well was my video about how to setup sinking funds!

    This video explains what sinking funds are and how to set them up. Sinking funds have made budgeting so much easier for us and I love them so it’s been great to share how others can utilize them in their budget.

    Because the video is focused on a money specific topic it has had great CPMs and made decent money on the channel despite a relatively low view count.

    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 haven’t dedicated nearly enough time to my Etsy shop and the items in it. I want to create more items and also promote what is already there.

    Create more affiliate focused videos. In July I made a couple affiliate product focused videos and they did quite well for my channel. 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 in August. I also plan to start working on the strategies I noted to prepare for December when affiliate marketing income is high.

    Popular YouTube videos on my channel:

    Thanks for reading/watching/following along with this online income journey!

  • June 2019 Online Income Report – $799.96

    Since May when I realized more online income could keep me from going back to full time hours, I’ve tried to squeeze as much work into online income generating activities as possible. Earning more money online is HARD but ultimately it's a great option if I want to stay home more with my little one.

    In June that didn’t necessarily pay off in income earned but it set a good foundation for coming months.

    Growing my online income is so important to my current financial goals and that focus matters so much to my family right now!

    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.

    My original goal was to earn at least $600 dollars a month to help pay for the additional daycare expenses for my daughter. I knew that earning money online was possible because I had done it once before as a blogger and I had seen hundreds of others do the same and more. If people could earn tens of thousands a month online, surely I could earn $600 a month.

    While I’m not earning a full time income online I am happy to show that I’ve grown my income to hit that goal each month 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 my last few here:

    Online Income Reports – Pennies Not Perfection

    As you can see, my income in 2019 has been trending much higher than my income last year. I’m consistently earning $700-$800 a month when I was only earning $300-500 last year.

    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.

    June 2019 Online Income Report

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

    Total Income: $799.96

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

    That means I don’t keep all of it it and at least 25% will be gone 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.

    What I Worked On In June 2019

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

    Made affiliate marketing improvements.

    Implemented a few immediate tweaks I learned from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

    These changes mostly focused on the programs I use under Awin and have seen a drastic increase in that affiliate marketing income. I realized that more programs under Awin and ShareASale had much better cookie lengths which made sales easier than fighting everyone and their momma for the 24 hour Amazon affiliate marketing income. I’ll still link to Amazon but I no longer plan for it to be my main affiliate marketing income.

    Overall I’m happy with the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course so far because it’s helped me focus into a better direction. I still have so much to implement from the course that my biggest struggle is time to do it all.

    Opened an Etsy shop.

    I opened my Etsy shop at the very end of June after dragging my feet all month due to being scared. I opened with a few debt freedom payoff charts and “Christmas in July” planner products. I’m super happy with the printables I’ve created so far and hope to continue adding new ones.

    Just getting started on some products I can sell is exciting and I’m thrilled to open up another source of income for future income reports. Even if it’s not a huge success money wise I’ve learned that every little bit adds up! My goal for July is 10 more products and at least 10 sales.

    Started a mastermind group. 

    I’m now meeting semi regularly with a group of other YouTubers who are wanting to grow their online income. We are all somewhat similar in size, topic, etc. I think currently I’m earning the most but others have faster growth and we all have something to learn and teach each other.

    So far it’s a very positive experience and one of the big reasons I’ve been able to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to want more from my channel.

    June 2019 Online Income Wins

    Time to celebrate some things that went right with online income!

    Income around $800.

    Like I’ve mentioned, my first goal was to get to earning at least $600 a month, which represents what we pay in daycare costs each month (even though it now is directed at our student loan debt snowball).

    I’ve been hitting that amount and more each month for this whole year. Hitting around $800 a month is a lot of money that I wasn’t otherwise generating before so I want to make sure I’m proud of that accomplishment even as I want more and want to get to the next level.

    Getting out of my comfort zone.

    One of my bigger wins in June was not a number at all, but a mindset and actions behind it. I got myself out of my standard comfort zone in June and forced myself to try new things that were scary to me.

    I did things like a mastermind group and creating a product to sell that scared me.

    June 2019 YouTube Income

    My YouTube income was slightly lower this month despite more views and higher watch time. Why’s that? I did more vlogs and non finance content. That type of content does not pay as well because advertisers have higher CPMs for financial related content.

    This was pretty eye opening for me, even though I knew that was the case. Do I really want to work twice as hard on content that makes less money? Or do I want to focus in on the budgeting & money topics that my audience wants to see and YouTube pays better for creating? Obviously I need to think about what I really want my channel to be and where I want to spend my time. Since the time I do have is so limited, obviously I want to make it count.

    Things I did well in June: consistent video production making at least 3 videos per week. I wanted to be more consistent in making videos and I definitely achieved that.

    I also did a collab video with two other YouTubers that gave me a little spike of 60-65 subscribers. I think doing more collabs will be an ongoing push to reach new audiences that might like my content. I’m responding to collab requests with more positive responses than ever before.

    What I’m Working On Next

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

    Grow the products in my Etsy shop. I opened an Etsy shop at the very very end of June. I didn’t promote it until July had started and I didn’t have many products when I opened. A goal in July is to double the number of products, or at least add 10 more.

    Implement what I’ve learned. In June I was focused on my Etsy shop so I wasn’t able to fully pay attention to affiliate marketing. After taking Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing I had pages and pages of notes and ideas to implement. I plan to start working on the strategies I noted to prepare for December when affiliate marketing income is high.

    Popular YouTube videos on my channel:

    Thanks for reading/watching/following along with this online income journey!