At the beginning of the summer, I outlined my grand plans to earn extra income this summer. And grand they were. Summer school wraps up today, and I only have two more meetings on the docket. Thanks to all of my school-related side hustling, I’ll have clocked in just shy of $3500 after taxes. That doesn’t even include the money I made tutoring or contributing to Tip Yourself. For someone who is hellbent on crushing her mortgage, you’d think I’d be pretty content. But I can’t help but wonder if I’ve been hustling too hard. Continue reading “Am I Hustling Too Hard?”
Letter grades are one of the hallmarks of the American education system. Whether it’s an A or an F or something in between, letter grades define our academic abilities as students for nearly two decades of life. And then what? People still talk about succeeding and fret at the notion of failing. What would happen if we altered the verbiage and recategorized failure?
That is, in fact, one of my favorite parts of summer school. Since these are non-credit classes given my students’ ages, I assess individual skill strands. I don’t have to worry about assigning letter grades that have to translate into GPA points and transcript data. My favorite category? Not yet. There is no F. There is no no. Instead, a student is either mastering a skill, developing a skill, or hasn’t done it quite yet. More chances will be offered, and there is more work to be done. She hasn’t failed. He hasn’t flunked. They’re just not ready yet.
As someone who
obsessed obsesses over failure regularly, removing the notion of failing from my mindset has been liberating. I haven’t flunked personal finance. I haven’t failed a goal. I’m just not there yet. I’ll get there. I might be on mile two while everyone else is eyeing the finish line, but I’ll keep trudging on. In the spirit of summer school, here are my not yets–financial and otherwise. Continue reading “Harnessing the Power of Not Yet”
There’s something about money: It brings out the best, the worst, and the most awkward side of people. Since I’ve dedicated a fair amount of time this summer to side hustling, I’ve had to do some explaining for how I’m spending my time. I get it. A lot of people think teachers have summers off and spend time eating
bonbons ice cream straight out of the carton. But even fellow educators have had some really interesting things to say when they hear about my hustling. As usual, my interactions lean more towards awkward rather than awesome. Continue reading “Frugally Awesome…Or Awkward: Part 4”
Since this is a post on investments, let’s get the platitudes out of the way: You’re in it for the long-haul. Look at the market’s performance over time. It’s just a bump in the road. That many Bogleheads can’t be wrong. This also isn’t going to be a post about how my dividends are now another income stream or how my returns are outperforming my spreadsheet estimates by six months on my FIRE journey. Why? Because that isn’t my reality right now.
Right now, my savings account is outearning my Roth IRA for the current year and year-to-date. My Roth is only .2% ahead of my savings since inception. The numbers are bleak. But I get it. I understand the power of compound interest. I think the estimates are far too generous, but I get the principle. I’m sold on investing. Since my big goals for the year centered on investing, I thought I’d share three mistakes I’ve worked to correct this month: Continue reading “3 Investment Mistakes I’m Trying to Fix”
My dad’s been teaching me lessons my whole life. Whether it was showing me how to dry the floor with a towel underfoot only to be busted by Mom or helping me build a sarcophagus to scale for a history project, my dad’s wisdom knows no bounds. And with Father’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d share some of my favorite finance lessons from my dad.
You get what you pay for. File this under the “told you so” category. Like
that one every boyfriend except my husband who my dad seemed to have a sixth sense about, he was also a master at anticipating which of my purchases would end in disappointment. From cheap toys when I was growing up to even cheaper clothes in my teens, he spent a lot of time predicting the soon-to-be casualties of a single day of play or one go-round in the spin cycle. Of course, there are happy exceptions. But he’s been right more than he’s been wrong (grumble, grumble) when it comes to this adage.
Get your hands dirty. When something breaks, my instinct is to look for a new thing on sale. My dad’s inclination, though, is to meticulously dissect whatever has broken and then tinker around with it until it is fixed. In the spirit of full disclosure, he is a mechanic by trade. But I’m not talking about cars. Whether it is the riding lawnmower that the previous homeowner was trying to junk, a washing machine that suddenly refused to spin, a toilet that never sounded quite right, or anything in between, he operates on it all. Every once in awhile, he gets stymied or realizes the cost of replacement parts simply isn’t worth it. However, by and large, being willing to tinker and developing an understanding of how most things work has served him–and me!–incredibly well.
It would cost $0 if you didn’t shop. Growing up, my mom was my accomplice when it came to hitting up all the best sales. My dad? Not so much. Still, I would do my best to infect him with my enthusiasm for shopping. After unleashing a deluge of shopping bags across our kitchen table, I would root around for my best purchase to showcase. My claims of scoring yet another pair of super-clearance shoes for $13 would be met with a pause and a standard reminder that not shopping nets 100% savings.
Your time is worth something. Now, there are times when I think my dad takes this mantra a little too far. Grocery shopping at the corner store for example. I really do think my time is valuable, but I’m not about to pay $1 for a banana. Sorry, Dad. Still, when I recently found myself planning a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my license plate sticker in person in order to avoid a $2 online processing fee, I stopped myself. I could be blogging, I could be side hustling, I could be relaxing. Really, anything is probably a better use of my time than navigating the mile-long lines overrun with soon-to-be-new-drivers, apprehensive guardians, and cranky state workers.
If you’re going to work that hard, work for yourself. When I was three, my dad bought an automotive repair. For essentially my entire life, I’ve watched him toil away, strategizing when the economy was strong and sacrificing for his few employees when it wasn’t. While my dad would never try to talk me out of teaching, he would watch me spend hours planning lessons, hosting meetings, and agreeing to all sorts of extra, unpaid duties. He’d smile, but he’d also ask when I was going to run a school, become a writer, or work for myself in some capacity. It wasn’t until I started looking for different income streams like tutoring that I really started to see what he meant.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, grandpas, uncles, and nephews out there. May your weekend be full of family, relaxation, and a little wisdom.
So Tell Me…What is your favorite lesson–finance or otherwise–that a family member taught you?
No, I don’t have a crystal ball or a super power. I have a salary schedule. In addition to revealing exactly how much money my coworkers make, a salary schedule also lets me predict the future in the sense that I know exactly when I’ll crack the six-figure salary mark.
I imagine there are a lot of people working in different sectors that would love to have this information at their fingertips. There’s no guessing. There’s no wishing. There are no bonuses, no commissions, no extra effort, no deal closings to be calculated or approximated. There’s just a 20×20 grid with time of service on one side and advanced degree hours on the other. And after almost a decade of staring at this chart, I’ve realized exactly one thing: it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. Continue reading “I Know When I’ll Make 6 Figures”
studying diligently and calmly cramming in the exact fashion I tell my students not to for my National Board certification test tomorrow, I have a fun guest post from Giles Kirkland. Giles is a professional mechanic and dedicated money saver. Take it away, Giles!
For many people in today’s world, a car is a necessity. Often, it’s for getting to and from work, while at other times it serves to do school runs and family trips. In short, there are plenty of people who can’t afford to be without their car, even when the car offers nothing but large, regular expenses.
When you think about it, a car has plenty of expenses outside the initial selling price. Once you drive away with it, you’re looking at fuel costs, repairs, servicing, tests and car insurance. If you’re not careful these can easily catch up over the year. So how do you know if your expenses are too high? Here are 5 signs you’re spending too much on your car: Continue reading “Guest Post: 5 Signs You’re Spending Too Much on Your Car”
Earlier in the year, I set the goal of opening a taxable investment account by my birthday. I was spending a lot of time researching Betterment and Wealthfront. It seemed like robo-investors were a pretty painless way to up my fairly pathetic investment game. Now that thirty has come and gone, here’s where things stand in my little part of the investment world: Continue reading “Betterment, Wealthfront, or None of the Above”
Sometimes I think I should turn in my personal finance blogging card. This past week, I’ve been confronted with two different money dilemmas that have me stumped: emergency funds and found money.
I understand the basic principles of both. Emergency funds are one of the most talked about topics in personal finance. And na-na na-na boo-boo, finders keepers pretty much sums up my feelings on pennies on the sidewalk. But it turns out, I have a knack for complicating even fairly straightforward topics. Perhaps you’ve got some advice? Continue reading “Advice Needed: Savings Accounts…and Stealing?”
This past week, I took a long, hard look at my iPhone. Dozens of apps slotted into folders on my home screen – some apps are overused, some never used, and an overwhelming amount of apps that fell somewhere in between. Midway through my quest to clean up my smartphone a la Marie Kondo and Christopher Mims, my index finger hovered over a green and white app. Last fall, I agreed to pilot using an app that seemed to be the perfect blend of motivation and finance. Almost six months later and more than any other app, Tip Yourself still sparks joy with every click. Continue reading “Tip Yourself: Spark Joy on Your Phone”