October was the most I’ve made for subbing since I started a couple years ago. My goal has been to add $2K to our monthly income and I’m getting closer to reaching it.
I still want to add different income streams as well. I’ve considered Amazon Flex and VIPKid – which are feasible ways of making extra money – but my heart isn’t in it. With everything going on with our daughter, it’s been difficult for me to get motivated to do something I’m not interested in. And that is totally okay.
I also think about the ROI – Return On Investment. Meaning, is the time and energy I would invest in an opportunity like that worth what I’ll get back? For some it would be, absolutely. For me, in this season I’m in, I need to spend my time on things that will lift me up and inspire me.
I think there are enough ways to add income that you don’t have to suffer through any of them. My heart is in writing, so that’s what I’m going to pursue. It will take more effort and time, but as long as I’m getting some personal satisfaction out of it I’m okay with that. I just need to make it a priority and start submitting pieces to various sites.
If you’re wondering what kind of income opportunities are out there, read my post about how to make extra money.
October had some unexpected expenses. I still struggle with planning for these, and we ended up borrowing $200 from our savings to cover everything. However, I plan on paying this back in November.
My husband is not scheduled for much overtime through December, which is unusual. Unless he gets more work, I’ll have to use my subbing income to help make up the difference, instead of paying down my student loan debt.
I’m thankful I can add this income, but I’m so bummed that my original plan is probably not going to happen. I wanted to pay at least $1,000 toward my student loans each month and get it paid off by summer. It just feels like we’re always spinning our wheels, and I’m tired of it. I need to find a way to bring in more income.
But let’s get on to my October review. Here’s the good and bad for the month:
GOOD: I was able to work 13.5 days this month substitute teaching. That will add over $1800 to our November budget!
GOOD: Of course we used our September income for our October budget, and September was a good overtime month for my husband. This meant we were able to get back on track with our 529 contributions and student loan payments.
GOOD: I was able to pay over $1,400 toward our credit card debt, which got us back to just the one 0% card we owe on.
GOOD: Our gasoline expense has been going down since August – from $270 to $140! I’m not sure why – probably because my husband is working more, which means he’s driving his big gas guzzling truck less!
BAD: Our utility bills have been higher than average lately. For our natural gas bill, we are on an average monthly payment program. This means our monthly bill is the average over a typical year, so it stays the same from month to month. However, if we’re over or under, the gas company makes an adjustment once a year. This happened in October, and we owed $140 more than our regular payment. Our water bill was also the highest of the year, and our power bill is still hovering over $300.
BAD: I sent my oldest son to go get new glasses, knowing it would mostly be covered by insurance. He decided to also get contacts, which was not, so I agreed to pay him back for half the bill. This had to come out of pocket since he already paid it, which meant I couldn’t use our HSA funds. An unexpected expense.
GOOD/BAD: My husband decided to take a 2-day camping trip with our youngest. This was a good idea since they rarely hang out together. Of course, he decided to do this about 3 days prior, so it wasn’t budgeted for. He spent over $200. Another unexpected expense.
BAD: I had to cancel 2 sub days and lost one due to a snow day. This meant I lost an additional $400 in income.
Our Savings & Debt
We have really improved our spending since I started budgeting off of our previous month’s income. We used to spend an average of $500 from our savings each month. Now, if we spend any savings at all, it’s less than $200.
In addition to that, we still add close to $100 a month to our savings account with the “esave” program we’re signed up with through our bank. (Basically, whenever we use our debit card, the bank rounds up to the next dollar and transfers that amount into our savings account.)
So, it’s not growing by leaps and bounds but we have a much better handle on it than 6 months ago.
We’re still committed to contributing 10% of my husband’s pre-tax income to our 401K, and his company matches 3% (so, 13% in all). We also put in $100 to our college 529 account every month, unless things are tight.
I wish we could save more, but it’s not happening right now.
Our debt hasn’t budged much either. We’re doing well at keeping it from increasing (well, except for the medical bills), but not great at bringing it down. I’m hoping my husband’s overtime will increase soon so I can use my income to put towards debt.
Progress has been slow, and it can get discouraging. Especially with the struggles of life adding to the stress. That’s why it’s so, so important to remember the blessings.
- I’m able to add to our income when my husband’s is lacking
- Our retirement account has been doing great, with a YTD rate of return over 20%
- We’ve been able to keep up with our medical bills just using our HSA funds
- Our daughter has been fairly stable for a few months, which is a *huge* blessing
- I have all my kids at home right now, and I’m loving it!
- We are all in good health, even my mom and in-laws
- I did have a sub day cancelled because of a snow day – but these are the best days to relax at home by the fireplace!
- My mom and brother are coming out for Christmas, and bringing their little dog Rocky – so that will be 7 people and 3 dogs in the house!
When I reflect on all of the goodness in my life, our financial struggles are put into perspective. I get my eyes off the problems in front of me, and focus on the bigger picture – and the future!
What are you grateful for right now? And what are you anticipating for the future? I encourage you to widen your vision, and remember that your problems are temporary. Maybe you’re right there with me, going 2 steps forward and 1 step back.
But that means you’re still a step ahead, and every little step counts.