Debt, be gone. That’s the goal.
At the beginning of the summer I “suggested” to Mark, my husband, a teacher, this: You should really get a summer job.
Per usual, we were in the midst of a huge balancing act – life. We had to weigh whether we wanted more time together this summer after hectic, stressful year or more cash for the family. Working the summer might be stressful in the short term, but better long-term, right? Wrong? We had no idea.
An opportunity presented itself.
Mark was offered a well-paid summer school job, but that would have meant finding yet another nanny and paying and trusting this person to watch the kids full-time. That is one huge ball of stress. So even as it was financially viable, we passed. The kids got in quality time with pops. Priceless.
I backed off of this wife-ly “suggestion.” Our summer has been relaxing and lovely.
But, can I be real, here? I’m a hustla.
We decided our best shot for side work was for me to spend some evenings and weekends doing things like Google Voice-ing El Salvador in search of the perfect immigration expert. It meant hiring a translator and taking a day trip on a Sunday to get that little-heard voice. I did all that as I pursued a little freelance work, something I’d never had much success with in the past. My journalism, my writing, all of that has been improving over the years, and a friend gave me a good lead, so I went for it. My bylines and stories were played up in an international news outlet. Not gonna lie – that felt pretty good! It sounds so cool, so chic, so now…in theory. But this meant forcing my mind to work when it had other plans. Weekend/evening brain wants to stare at Laila & Eli’s faces, watch Game of Thrones, catch up with Mark, stare blankly into space or observe new blooms and controversies in the backyard wildflower garden.
Sometimes weekend/evening brain gets time to itself — if it’s taken on a run, for instance.
Point being: it was not easy to force myself to use time reserved for relaxing for work. But I did it.
Mark and I put our heads together to scrimp and save all summer.
All of that strategy and work means we will this week pay off about $2.5K in little debts.
These are the annoyance bills – $400 here, $300 there, $500 here, etc. etc. Stuff like
the last hunk of Eli’s medical bills from two surgeries and 30 days in the hospital, the remainder of our tax bill, etc.
Now that these are off of our backs we can start looking more toward piling up savings tackling our student loans.
In other news, I’m glad I signed up for a flexible spending account at my workplace. Here is a basic definition of an FSA from How Stuff Works:
A flexible spending account (FSA) is a tax-advantaged financial account into which you can automatically deposit a portion of your pretax paycheck. You can use the money in the account to pay for qualified medical expenses not covered by insurance, like dental and optometrist visits, certain “FSA-approved” over-the-counter medications and supplies for chronic conditions.
I’m pretty sure that if you don’t use it within the course of the year, you lose it, so it can be a gamble if you’re not too sure what your medical expenses will be. I set mine at $1K – I cover myself, Laila and Eli – and so far, so good. I’ll probably put at least double the cash in next year.
I gotta admit: We are 20 days behind in day-to-day budgeting. Hey, you can only do so much at once. I think when we do make our next budget, we’ll do two-months out, since most expenses are the same from month to month any way.
What’s your side hustle and what have you managed to pay off? Was it worth your investment in time, and were there any side benefits? Do you have an FSA? How has it helped you save? Do you wish you would have put more or less in there? Well, let me know in the comments or below! I’d love to hear about your financial challenges, successes and advice along the lines of anything above. xoxoxox.
We are on a journey to knock down debt and save. I *try* to write something about our financial goals each Monday. If you’d like to see what we’ve done so far, just check out the Monday money madness category. I stick all money talk in the category Cash-money.