Friday, February 24, 2012

Ways I'm increasing my income

File:20dollarbill.jpgIt's no surprise that the most basic personal finance plan is to decrease expenses and increase income. 

Well, I have been looking for ways to make money while working on my own time. Obviously this is the classic "be your own boss" situation, but it's a little more than that to me.

I have a college degree and a part time job that takes up my whole life. I've been trying to get my finger in a lot of pots so I can hopefully get a full time job when one becomes available and that means I do a lot more than I get paid for. 

Therefore, I have been working on a few different things: 1) Sell all the junk I have. I read an article recently on Frugally Sustainable about how to get the most out of consignment shops. This is my goal for spring break when it comes to the 16 months worth of baby stuff I have. I also want to get rid of a lot of my books. 

2) Free lance writing work. This has come in the form of working for one of those online study guide sites. The pay isn't awesome, but it's from home and I've done a really good job of pairing up the things need to do for school with the things that they will pay me for and it is working out well.

3) Mystery shops. I haven't started this one yet, but my sister does it. She has a site where she can select the shops she does, she pays for the services (meals, small purchases, etc) upfront (some are even free, like test driving a car) and then gives the desired feedback to the companies. She gets a certain dollar amount back on the purchase (usually enough to cover herself and a guest if they eat cheap, etc) and a payment for her feedback. As a former customer service employee myself this is something I am excited about. I not only get to give my feedback but I also will get paid for doing the things I wanted to do anyway.

4) Making well-planned decisions. This is a little more complicated. I currently pay $300 a month on my gazillion dollar student loans (okay, $50K, but I was irresponsible and paid too much for a 5 year bachelors). I also just got accepted to grad school. Because I work part time right now and didn't make much at all last year most of my tuition will be covered under grants and scholarships, and when I am in school my student loans come out of repayment. Due to my meager teacher salary that extends through the summer I can not work, be in school, and actually make the same amount I am making now. This still isn't much since I am part time, but it's definitely enough to live cheap and get to spend the summer with Odin. Oh, and him not being in daycare saves me a bunch too. 

5) Finance individual large trips. I am planning a 10 day backpacking trip the beginning of August. As I said above I am planning on just taking classes and not working. Therefore, I am going to work a 2 week summer program at work to finance this trip. 

6) Keep my options open.  Though I have a job for next year, it is still a part time job. I'm not giving it up unless I get a lot better offer, because I love where I work now, but I can't possibly find that better offer if I don't look. Therefore, I applied for a graduate assistantship for the fall, have a few full time interviews in process, and am still going to apply to more schools. Constantly looking for new opportunities is a better plan than waiting for something to fall in your lap. 

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