Monday, January 5, 2009

How I Made My Financial Goals Last Month

Here are all of the ways I made extra money above my regular income last month:

1. Bank Interest - I love bank interest. Bank interest really is the perfect passive income. It requires absolutely no work on my part, other than making sure I have money in the accounts to begin with, of course! Currently I have 3 money in three different banks that pay interest - my local credit union, ING Direct and While it isn't a lot of money each month, I love that it just automatically appears in my accounts.

2. Tenant Rent - This income does not appear in my little counter on the right, but I am including it here in case anyone is looking for ideas on ways to make extra income each month. My home has a one bedroom apartment in it that I rent out. Being a landlord is not easy money, however. It is a lot of work and responsibility.

3. eBay - Didn't make a lot of money here, but I did sell a few items. This is on my list for my 2009 goals. I plan on doing a lot more with eBay in the coming months.

4. - I had hoped that my online book selling business would really boom in December as people were buying Christmas gifts, but I can't say that I saw that happen. Overall it was a pretty standard month for me. Still, this is a great way to make extra money each month, and in fact, my aunt gave me a big bag of books so I have some new ones to add to the inventory.

5. Closed a bank account - In addition to the accounts mentioned above, I had another small account at another local bank. It was a business account for a small hobby/business. I had been really unhappy with the bank's customer service and decided to close the account.

6. Mystery Shopping - For the most part, the money I get from Mystery Shopping is not income, but is actually reimbursements. I make very little actual extra money doing Mystery Shopping, however, it is a great way to go out to eat with a friend (since I mostly shop restaurants.) However, due to the accounting most of my Mystery Shopping reimbursements come in the month after I do the work, so to make things easier, I simply put the expense in my "Dining Out" column of my budget and the reimbursements in the next month's income.

7. Holiday Bonus - This is what really made this month great. I was not expecting much of a bonus at all, but we were fortunate. Compared to past years it was a small bonus, but considering where the company is right now, it was unexpected and welcome.

8. Part Time Temp Job #1 - There was a lot of work at PTTJ #1 in November and December. The work that I did in November got counted towards December because it was paid out Dec. 1 (and I never add the money to my goal tracker until the check is in hand.) So, I got two checks in December for this job. I work there in the evenings and weekends when there is work available.

9. Part Time Temp Job #3* - Another "when there is a little extra work" job, I was able to help out one night at PTTJ #3 last month, which was great! I love helping out there.

10. Paid Surveys - Again, not a ton of money here - just $6.00. Still, it was $6.00 I didn't have before and for a very small investment of time. I tell you, I wish I had a lot more of these to do.

11. Escrow Reimbursement - Certainly not something someone can rely on, but this check was really welcome this month. My ex had extra home insurance for his camera equipment. That was removed when we were divorced in June. My payments didn't change then, but they reimbursed me in December and my payments are about $20 less for next year. Which leads me to -

12. Savings - Got to love Savings. Savings are even more passive than bank interest. What do I consider savings? Savings are any amount that I can shave off the $900 goal each and every month. When I took over the house and set my budget, (and started this blog) I took the same figures that I had been using pre-house and added to it all the known mortgage and house expenses. As I have written before, I made the conscious choice to continue to set money aside for Christmas, to continue to pay down my credit card at far above minimum payments, to not eat Ramen noodles. This meant that when I added everything up, then subtracted my salary and the tenant rent, I was $900 short. "Savings" in this context isn't coming in under my grocery budget, it is making a change that reduces that $900 consistently. In my case it was decreases in property taxes, changing my insurance and changing how I managed my emergency fund. These were all changes that took place at the end of May, and have saved me $161.44 each month. This month I will be able to add that $20 decrease in my mortgage payment to it.

This month - This month is going to be a bit harder. I don't have any part time work lined up yet. There is some at the end of the month, but once again, that will pay in February, so it won't help me much. That means I need to rely on my own power to make money this month, which means I need to work hard in the sales area. I have eBay and Amazon sales I need to do as well as selling my friend's furniture. The good thing is that after such a great month in December, I do have a bit of a buffer built up. That makes things a little easier.

Photo by: Carol Esther

*By the way, in case you are wondering there is a PTTJ #2. It has work just 3 weeks out of the year though. My next time working there will be in February.


Bouncing Back said...

I just got a check for a mystery shop done in late November. I plopped all the money into my E-fund. I had to take the dog to the vet anyway, the little extra I got as the shopping fee pretty much covered my gas and the snack I felt compelled to buy each time I went. Sometimes I have a good month with book sales, sometimes the books just sit in a bag by my desk. Good luck with your plans for 2009.

Dawn said...

Thank you for the good luck wishes! I hope 2009 is a wonderful year for you as well!

I have been really happy with my book sales - it is slow, but steady money. Mystery shopping for me is "fun money."

Debt Settlement said...

Good ideas to earn a few extra bucks! I'll have to try some of these out!

Dawn said...

Debt Settlement - Hope they work for you! I made my goal again this month, so it can be done.