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

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?


June Wrap-up: I spent a lot edition July 3, 2009

Filed under: Personal Finance,Travel — Stephanie @ 5:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

June really was a busy month for me.  Work was pretty hectic, and I managed to spend quite a bit of money!

One big ticket item (or collection of items) was reserving flights and hotel rooms for Pi Reunion.  For you non-MIT people, it’s yet another example of our true geekiness:  we’re getting together ~3.14 years after graduation.  Yep, we’re nerds.  And as with years past, it’ll be held in Las Vegas (which my coworkers find funny, that the casinos are going to let a bunch of MIT people in…haven’t they seen “21“?)

Well, so there was a registration fee, which covered getting a group rate on the hotel room, and a few other events, including a show.  Then there was the hotel room itself.  And lastly, the flights…oh the flights.  My boyfriend and I were both hoping the other would take care of finding flights…which meant that I only got our tickets a week or so ago.  So, there were fewer options, and the flights were pricier.  Lesson learned.  I also discovered that, even if those travel websites are useful, it’s still quite the headache searching the different sites (like Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, and Priceline), as well as the airline sites themselves to look for the best deal.  Finally found something I could live with through Priceline (thanks William Shatner!), and bought tickets.  Bought both our tickets at the same time to make things easier.  And already got Aaron to pay me his half of the flight costs!

Hopefully I wont spend too much more money gambling!

I also hit 10k miles on my odometer.  Last time I went for the recommended tuneup (5k miles), I was able to convince the salesman that it was worth it to give me that for free, after all the trouble I had getting my car to begin with.  No luck this time around.  So that was ~$100 gone.  Going to try to look for deals/coupons in the future to see if I can get the tuneups cheaper in the future.  The salesman did try to sell me a Prius.  Apparently 10k miles is just too much to put on one car!  I laughed at him…I’m assuming he was joking?

I got quite a few emails from Mint alerting me to the fact that I went over my spending limit in my budget for 4 different categories.  And my credit card sent me email alerts for expenses over $100 (I had set up this alert a while back).  So I knew I was getting pretty spendy.

I do know that there were really only a few big purchases, and I’m not planning on continuing to spend like this in the future.  The good news is that, somehow, I managed to squeak by this month and actually get into positive net worth territory.  Next month it will be even better, I’m sure.  I also realized that I’ve actually been tracking my networth (at NetworthIQ) for two whole years already!  And in that time, my networth has gone up ~$48k.  I’m pretty proud of that.  I’m not going to stop now.  It’s actually made me even more excited to eliminate my student loans and car loan.

Next goal:  eliminate a loan from my list (car, or one of the many student loans).  Thinking I should get rid of the car loan first, since it’s at a higher interest rate (if I can figure out how to do prepayment with the credit union my car loan is with).  In the meantime, also paying extra on those student loans!

How are you doing at staying within your budget, and meeting your goals?


Went a little spend crazy December 9, 2008

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 11:55 pm
Tags: ,

So, I’m always trying to avoid spending money if at all possible. But I think the one problem with that is that I’ll spend a lot of money all at once to make up for that. I don’t think it’s like diets, where you try to be good and then follow up by eating half a chocolate cake and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. I think it’s just that I rarely spend money on things for myself, which means that there are large gaps in my wardrobe where clothes that I got 5 years ago aren’t quite fitting the bill.  So I spend.  I try to get good deals. But let’s go on a journey through my spending this past Sunday.

The purpose of the shopping trip: get something to wear to my boyfriend’s company holiday party. I don’t want to look too young (one of the women I talked to Sunday thought I was closer to 18…even though I’m actually 24!), so I wanted to look sophisticated, mature, and beautiful. And all the dresses I have in my closet may have fit me back in my sophomore year of college…but they just aren’t quite zipping up the way they used to!

I ran into a friend at the mall, who told me all the things I need to dress up for an event like this.  The dress, the shoes, the clutch, the pashmina…I wasn’t even sure I knew what all those things were!

I went to plenty of stores, and I have to admit, I was getting pretty darn sick of trying on dresses.  Though most of the ones I tried on “fit”, they just did not look good on me.  I also seemed to be grabbing dresses that appealed to the “younger me”.  And I think I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to get a good idea of what the dress looks like.  And it seems that some stores seem to know that there are people like me.

I finally went to Ann Taylor Loft, where something actually looked good on me.  But I have to say, I think it really helped that the employees there knew what they were doing, and how to sell things.  Well, that’s the cynical side of me talking.  The grateful side of me appreciated their help.  They gave me their opinion on dresses, and helped me pair jewelry with the dress.  They showed me awesome shoes that made the dresses look better.  And yep, I bought a dress (and those shoes…gosh they’re good salespeople).  And silly me, I let them trick/convince/guilt me into getting their store credit card for a little extra discount.  I know, it’s a hit to my credit score.  But oh well, what’s done is done.  I did get compliments on the dress from other customers, rather than just the salespeople, which made me a bit more confident in my purchases.

And rather than buy accessories at Ann Taylor Loft, I headed to other shops in the mall to buy all the other things you’re supposed to wear at a fancy event.  I picked up a clutch and some slightly outrageous earrings at Aldo, and bought a wrap for just $10 at H&M (rather than the $40-50 at other stores!  deal!).  It helped that I didn’t get a real pashmina…100% rayon works for me, if it looks the same!

So, I spent over $100.  Yeah.  I’m going to use the excuse that I don’t really have any of those things, and I need more mature and sharper looking items to wear…I can’t keep dressing like a college or high school kid forever. 

So, there’s my shopping confession.  And I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping!


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