Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Personal Finance Confessions: I don’t have a “side hustle” April 28, 2011

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 11:04 pm
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If you’re into personal finance, then you probably know about the “side hustle”.  For those of you not in the know, the “side hustle” is freelance work outside of your regular 9-5 job.

I was reminded of my lack of a side hustle after reading Ramit Sethi‘s article, Forget Frugality:  Focus on Earning More.  His article pointed out that there are two different ways to “spend less than you earn”:  either spend less, or earn more.  He emphasized the benefits of increasing your earnings through a side business or freelance job.  Some commenters felt that Sethi’s advice was obvious, others were annoyed at his assumption that it’s easier to earn more money than to be more frugal and save money.  Still others pointed out that you can do both!  Earn more AND spend less!

And so here I am, side hustle-less.  And I’ve got plenty of excuses (valid or invalid, you decide)!  I’m pretty sure my employer doesn’t permit us to have additional jobs.  Conflict of interest or some such thing.  I suppose I could look into it to be certain.  I love my current job, so I wouldn’t want to do anything that takes away from that.  Plus, I’m not really sure what extra work I would do.

I don’t have a lot of freelance-friendly skills that I’m aware of.  I guess there are a lot of different things one could do as a side hustle.  J. Money of Budgets are Sexy has been featuring assorted opportunities through his Side Hustle Series.  The most feasible one might be Mystery Shopping.  It seems like it could be a lot of fun, and I could get rewarded for trying new stores/restaurants/etc.  Still, I don’t go shopping very often, so it might add extra stress trying to fit in shopping trips.  I don’t think I’ve got the artistic skills to sell things on Etsy.  Maybe I could sell my old stuff on Ebay?

If I were to do something else outside of work, I’d need a good plan.  And I’d probably have to do something that either is enjoyable or that pays well if I want to make having a side hustle (or two) worth it.  To be honest, I’d much rather avoid or cut back on expenses than commit to an extra job that’s not rewarding (either emotionally or financially).  I could save money (and also eat healthier) if I brought my lunch to work every day instead of depending on the cafeteria.  That’s a change right there that would help me spend less.  I value my free time more than the possible extra money I could be making “in my free time”.

I’d rather stick to one job that I love (i.e. my current career path) and focus on that, than be distracted by other pursuits.

So, what are your side hustles?  Do you find it worth it (in terms of time, money, happiness)?  Or would you rather work on spending less than on earning more?


It’s Take Control of Your Finances Day! April 17, 2011

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 2:14 pm
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Well, the weekend is finally here.  And that means that it’s Take Control of Your Finances Day! (or weekend) And I don’t think it could come at a better time!

Walking around the office Friday, I heard multiple people say that they still haven’t filed their taxes.  It made me so anxious!  Many used the excuse that they were going to owe money, so they were holding off until the last minute on purpose.  But still.  Some people hadn’t even started!

But I digress.  I’m pretty excited about this weekend.  I’ve been getting some good resources, blog posts, etc. from fellow personal finance people.

First off, it’s important to improve your Financial Literacy.  Good thing this month is Financial Literacy Month!  They’ve got a great list of 30 steps on your path to financial literacy.  They have a great list of resources, including lots of free worksheets to help you figure out your financial priorities and goals.  (Special thanks to Kim @moneymanagement for sharing these links!)

I also think you should check out the resources I shared last year and last week.  They include books you should check out and websites and checklists to use to organize your finances.

And you should also check out Jenn’s post from Paying Myself about setting a personal finance goal:  Fully funding her Emergency fund.

So, what have you done to Take Control of Your Finances?  Anyone else have some good advice for what to do?


Calling All Personal Finance bloggers! Let’s get ready for Take Control of Your Finances Day! April 7, 2011

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 11:06 pm
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I’ve mentioned this a few times on twitter, but I also wanted to get the word out on my blog as well.  Some of you may remember last year, when I decided to declare the weekend following tax day Take Control of Your Finances Day.  Well, this year, Tax Day isn’t actually on the 15th (so as not to conflict with Washington D.C.’s observation of Emancipation Day).  Instead, we get a few extra days, with April 18th being the new deadline.  But since you’ve hopefully taken care of everything by the 15th anyway I’ve declared April 16th (and 17th) of this year Take Control of Your Finances Day.  Technically, it’s a weekend, not a day, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  As an added bonus, April is National Financial Literacy Month.

The goal for the weekend?  Take some time after you’ve filed your taxes to figure out where you are financially, and where you’d like to be.  Try to learn something new about personal finance.  Make a commitment towards your goals.

I’d love it if my fellow personal finance bloggers shared either an old post or wrote a new post about how they’ve taken control of their finances.  Share your advice!  Send me links to your old posts, and I’ll edit this post to include them.  And if you have a new post, I’ll compile a list on April 15th/16th/17th in a new post.

I’d like to think my post from last year is a good start.  But I’ve got a lot of other resources I’d like to share.

To everyone hoping to take control of their finances, I’ve got some new website and book recommendations off the top.


Try out this Financial Tuneup checklist from the New York Times.  It gives you individual tasks to tackle.

You can also get Financial to do lists geared towards your own financial situation through LearnVest (which I’ve tried and enjoyed).

Books (get them at the library!):

I recently read Kimberly Palmer’s Generation Earn and found it a very useful guide for setting goals and figuring out how to reach them.

And I’m partway through Beth Kobliner’s Get A Financial Life, and so far, it’s the kind of book I would want to buy, then highlight, make notes, and bookmark to remind myself of all the important information.  And right on her website, you can check out her advice on how to get your financial life in order.

Blog posts:

Empty for now…until you submit your posts!  Email them to me!  Or leave them in the comments below.

Well, I’m really excited for next weekend (the 16th and 17th).  I’m going to sit down with my tax forms, pay-stubs, benefits elections, and my account (to easily review my spending and retirement investments), and try to figure out what I’m doing right, what I should change, what my goals are, and how I’m going to reach those goals.

What are your plans for Take Control of Your Finances Day?


How much would you spend on an engagement ring? April 5, 2011

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 11:01 pm
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The whole discussion about engagement rings started last night, when I saw this post on Savvy Sugar (now known as PopSugar Smart Living)  about the average cost of an engagement ring for 2010.  Their number?  $5,392.  This comes from a big list of average wedding expenses compiled by and  I feel like that list could fuel a few more posts on its own!  We could touch on the individual costs mentioned, or even how they compiled and analyzed the data.  Either way, I was blown away.  You know I’m not keen on the idea of spending a lot on a wedding.  To be honest, I have no good concept of how much engagement rings cost.  But that number seemed really high.

So, I shared that article on Google Reader, which also means it showed up in my Google Buzz.   And then so many friends started commenting.  Some friends thought the number looked about right, some too high, some too low.  We’d heard the rule of thumb being 1 month’s salary, 3 months’ salary, or Michael Scott’s confused 3 years in “The Office”.

There was a discussion about not wanting “blood diamonds”, and one friend suggested conflict-free diamonds that he bought for his fiancée through Brilliant Earth.

The discussion was among single, coupled/dating, engaged, and married people.  We didn’t come to one solid conclusion on what you should spend.  Rather, we seemed to agree that it is up to the individual on what to spend.  Some would rather spend the money on a honeymoon or a house.  A nice ring is important to some people.

It really was quite the discussion.  I think that’s the longest discussion I’ve seen among my friends on Buzz.  Definitely the longest non-politics discussion!

So, how much would you spend (or did you spend)?  Do you think an expensive ring is an important part of the wedding and/or the marriage?  Would you skip the diamond all together and opt for a nontraditional engagement ring?


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