My new job!

In my post “Six Months to Freedom” I told you all about Mr Woodpecker and I’s plan to eliminate our credit card debt in 6 months.

Part of the plan to pay off this debt in 6 months involved me getting a seasonal job. I applied for around 8 jobs online. Within the day I heard back from Kohl’s. I was in for an interview on the following Thursday. On Saturday they called my references. On Sunday they called to offer me a position. Wednesday I came in for orientation and following Thursday I started training. I’ll be working Point of Sale (POS), which means I have to solicit credit cards. But I also get to talk with people, which I love. It doesn’t pay super awesome, but it is higher than minimum wage. I’m just happy to have  a job. So far I like my manager a lot, which is great. I am still in training, so we’ll see how I like the job once I start working more hours.

I also put an ad up on Craigslist for tutoring and a girl contacted me. I offered a rate of $40/hr. We met a few days later for 2 hours. A very easy $80 made. She is a great person to tutor, very smart, just is taking her Chemistry class online and needs a little guidance. Hopefully we’ll be meeting a few more times before the end of the semester. (Don’t worry, she attends a different school than the one that I teach at, so there is no conflict of interest.)

I am excited about the new job. I’m excited about getting this date paid off. So far this month we’ve paid about $1000 on the credit card, it is a great start to this 6 months of insane, gazelle intensity.



As this busy semester starts to wind down the realization of summer is starting to set in. Sure, I’ll be getting less money and thus will be more limited in my budget, but I’ll only have to really work ONE job.

I won’t have a class to teach over the summer. So no more evenings preparing lectures, grading lab reports, giving lectures, ect.

Online tutoring opportunities will be limited. Our hours at get very restricted over the summer as there are less students to tutor. I remember times last summer that I would “float” in the evenings for hours and never get one session. I believe I made about $25-30/month last summer. Nothing to write home about at all.

Real life tutoring will also be scarce. Last summer I only got one request for tutoring and they ended up going with a different tutor.

I’ll have my evenings back. I’ll have my weekends back. I won’t have my early morning lectures and labs anymore.

Oh my! I’ll have my LIFE back.

Sure, sure, it comes at a bit of a financial set back, but MAN will it be nice to just focus on one thing for a few months. =D

Tutoring – A Cash Cow

Many of you know that I did quite a lot of tutoring in 2009. I was making anywhere between $50-300 each month from tutoring.

Because I picked up an extra class this semester I haven’t been tutoring as much.

I’ve had one “in real life” session with a girl that I tutored last semester. And so far two morning scheduled hours on and one floating session in the evening on Tuesday when I had finished preparing lecture notes.

I have gotten SO many emails from students who want tutoring. Literally about 2-3 a day. I could easily see how someone could make a full time job of it, if you get on the right lists. All of these students want tutoring 1-2 times a week, an hour each session, and during the day – many are willing to pay more than the recommended rates to get a tutor since there are far fewer tutors than people who want tutoring.

It is nice to know that if all else fails, I could survive on tutoring online and in real life. I can work up to 30 hours per week at and then fill those hours in with in real life tutoring. Or the other way around depending on how I could schedule those weekly tutoring sessions. At $20-100/hr for IRL (depending on where in the country I was living) – that’s not a bad deal.

If I were to have just 10 weekly tutoring sessions, at a rate of $40/hr (reasonable) – I would be taking home $1,600/month! That’s enough to cover all of my basic bills.  Add in just 5 hours per week more of tutoring and I’d be walking away with a cool $2,400/month.

Granted that is all without-taxes, benefits, ect.

However, I’m taking home from my main job $2,500/month for about 50 hours of work per week – I could make the same amount by tutoring (and lying to the government) and only working 15 hours per week.

That is kind of nuts to think about. If I were truly just in this for the money. It almost seems like opening up a side tutoring gig would be the way to go. Less hours. Cash payments. Seems quite lucrative to me!

Too bad I’m not in this just for the money…

Who Wants Tutoring!?

I thought that December would be a slow month for tutoring because the semester is ending on December 18th – so I would essentially only get 3 weeks of tutoring students instead of 4 weeks. BOY WAS I WRONG!

I tutored one girl three hours yesterday and three hours today. She only pulled out enough cash from the ATM to pay me for 5 hours, so she still owes me $20. I don’t count money that I don’t have in my hands into my total – so I received $100 from her today. (I don’t believe in counting money that is “in the mail” towards your total, because you may never get it!)

Then I tutored another girl 2.5 hours this evening – for a total of $50.

So in 24 hours I managed to get $150 in “extra” cash. Not to mention that on Thursday I’ll be subbing for another prof at the community college, so I’ll get an “extra” $100 from doing that.

I’ll most likely be tutoring all three of my tutoring clients during finals week. So I estimate I’ll get at least $100 from that (at least). I have 3 paychecks this month from the community college PLUS my sub money – so I’ll get around $780 from the community college this month.

With my other month from tutoring online (~$30 for December) and surveys (have a $3 check headed my way!) – I think it is completely feasible that my “extra” income this month could top $1000! Holy crap! That’s a ton of money! I’m setting my December goal to be $1,000 of extra income. (Normally I set this at $600). It’s like the universe KNEW that I needed some extra money to go home for Christmas. =D

Extra Income October

I haven’t really posted anything about this, but I made a goal for myself to earn an extra $600 in October. If you actually come to my site you may have noticed it in my side bar. The extra $600 is supposed to be from income that I make outside of my “9-5” job.

So – teaching at the community college, tutoring in real life clients, tutoring at, online surveys, selling goods, ect – essentially ANY way I can get money that isn’t my “regular” paycheck.

WELL – as of today I have officially met that goal!

Here is “sorta” how it breaks down for what I’ve done thus far – I’m only counting money that I have RECEIVED – not money that is just “theoretical”. For instance, yesterday I “theoretically” earned $100 for substitute teaching. But since I don’t have that money in hand – it DOESN’T COUNT! =D

Money from teaching at the community college: $452

Money from surveys: $3 (another $10 is on its way)

Money from tutoring in real life: $135  – ($60 more still on the way this month)

Money from tutoring online: $20 (from tutoring done in September)

GRAND TOTAL: $610!!!

(Keep in mind that there is still another $70 I can potentially earn this month, meaning I went over my expected goal by $80 – GO ME!!)

What is this money used for?

Well, according to the budget that I’m following now, the money earned from teaching at the community college is used to pay for my basic spending – food, dog daycare, dog food, cat food, toiletries and gas. Because I get paid every two weeks, I have a constant influx of “spending money” – which is REALLY nice. =)

Since I don’t have a spot in my budget for entertainment and clothes, this gets paid for by my tutoring money. So any extra money I make tutoring the students at the school I work for full time or tutoring online, I can use as I please. =)

I’m using the tutoring money that I made this month to go see a hockey game ($105)! I also bought some really cute black shoes that were on sale for $40. I needed some semi-casual shoes to teach in that were comfortable for standing for 3-4 hours at a time – and these definitely fit the bill and are still EXCEPTIONALLY cute. =D

Last Minute Teaching Request

When I woke up I knew today would be busy – but I didn’t think it would be THIS hectic.

First, I’m tutoring one of my students who has an exam tomorrow from 11am – 1pm today (She also owes me $40, so I’ll be walking away with a SLICK $80 – if she remembers to bring her money!).

I was also supposed to be tutoring this girl that I don’t particularly like (she made me me wait for 45 minutes the first time we met, and then wasn’t very apologetic about it) this evening from 6:30-8:30pm.

Then this morning I got a call from my chair of the Chemistry department at the community college that I teach at. He wanted to know if I could fill in for him this evening for his lecture that is from 6pm to 9pm because he is sick.

While I KNEW that I had to tutor girl above, I also really want to make sure that I get a class next semester. So I agreed to filling in. (This is actually how I got the class I’m teaching at now, I had to fill in for him in June and he agreed to give me a class – I’m assuming this means he’ll also give me a class next semester if I fill in for him now.)

The upside is that I also get PAID for substitute lecturing. So I’ll get an extra $100 (approx) for filling in for him tonight (as opposed to the $40 I would get for tutoring girl I don’t like).

I did tell girl I don’t like that I would meet up with her after the class for a few hours if she’d like and also during the day tomorrow. I ALSO gave her the number of my labmate who is feeling very broke right now (he said last week he only had $60 for the rest of the month) – so he may offer to tutor her tonight.

So all in all – I’ll walk away with at least an extra $180 for my extra work today – but it will be a long day FOR SURE!

Now… on to my “main job” and in my breaks trying to get my lecture notes prepared for 6pm!

What I’m Doing with my “Fun Fund”

Remeber from my budget that any money that I make tutoring is mine to use as I please – and thus far this month I’ve made $155 from tutoring. This is my “fun fund” to pay for any really fun things that I want to do – and Mr. Cousin and I have decided the fun thing that we want to do in November – Go see a hockey game!!!

I haven’t been to one since I lived in San Diego (well, not an NHL that is, I’ve been to two minor league games – one in Indianapolis and another in Chicago), so we’re driving to Columbus to see the Columbus Blue Jackets play my “home team” the Anaheim Ducks. I’ll be sporting my Duck’s jersey to be sure. We agreed that I would buy the tickets for the game and he would get the hotel room – a pretty fair trade off.

I had a lot of trouble with the tickets because I HATE buying things through Ticketmaster. I think it is ridiculous that I have to NOT ONLY pay a “convenience fee” per ticket but ALSO a service charger per order. When I was adding these things up I would end up paying $100 for two $40 tickets. That’s just bullsh*t as far as I’m concerned.

This is also Mr. Cousin‘s first hockey game, so I wanted to get DECENT tickets. Not in front of the glass or anything, but GOOD tickets. I prefer sitting center ice because I think it is better to watch the entire game. And I want ones that were in the upper section of the arena but not so far up you have to squint to see the puck.

After looking at eBay (and making a bid and PROMPTLY getting bid out of my pricerange), and Craigslist (they sold the tickets a few minutes before I emailed) and all sorts of ticket sites – after a week of searching I found the tickets that I wanted on the ticket exchange through the Blue Jacket’s website.

They’re center ice. Upper section. Third row. For $50/each. And I only had to pay a $1.75/ticket reissuing fee. So none of the “convenience” charges of Ticketmaster. So I ended up getting much better seats for the same price.

I’m SO excited about the game – and glad that my hard work with tutoring is paying off in such a nice way. =)

Prevention of Firing

I’m essentially working 4 jobs right now.

Job 1: My main “9-5” job. I put that in quotations because I don’t think I’ve EVER worked the exact hours of 9 to 5. Some mornings I’m in at 8am, some at 10am – and I rarely leave before 6pm (except on Thursdays) – and typically I come back after I let my dog out for a few more hours once or twice a week. Also, I come in on the weekends probably for around 2-8 hours, every other weekend.

Job 2: This is my “steady” teaching job. Once a week I teach a Physical Science class at the community college. It typically involves 4 hours in the classroom and about 4-6 hours of prep work outside of the classroom. There is no promise that I’ll have this job next semester or next year, but I hope that I will. I would prefer to teach a Chemistry class, but given the choice between teaching nothing and teaching Physical Science – I’ll take Physical Science.

Job 3: Independent tutor. Currently I have 2 girls that I meet with on a weekly basis for an hour to an hour and a half of tutoring. I set my own rate and my own schedule (typically Sunday and Tuesday evenings). I also have 1-2 other girls that meet with me before exams for exam prep and review. Last month I made over $200 by doing this, this month will probably be around $100, because of the week I missed and losing one of my clients.

Job 4: Online tutor at I’ve worked at for a year now and really, I don’t need the money from it anymore. I turn down around 3 students a week for private face-to-face tutoring that is tax free and pays twice as much. So I don’t NEED to work at anymore. However, I love the convenience of it and that fact that I can do it even while on vacation (like last week in Chicago). I also like that I’ll still be able to get hours over the summer, which I won’t get with face-to-face tutoring which runs concurrently with the school year or as an adjunct at the community college (because there are less classes offered in the summer I likely won’t get one). So my goal is to do the “minimum”  necessary to keep a good standing at this place so that I’ll be able to fall back on it if I need to.

The last 2 reviews I’ve gotten from have mentioned two things that I need to make sure that I do:

1) Have a good online percentage (when you tutor a very few number of hours, logging in a few minutes late or logging out a few minutes early is not good for your percentage)

2) Have a good acceptance rate

Currently my acceptance rate is at 100% for the last 30 days (out of 1 request however), and my online percentage is 100% for the last two weeks (out of 2 scheduled hours).

An arbitrary number of hours that I FEEL that I need to be scheduled is 10 hours/month. I prefer to do them in the morning where I can get paid for waiting. I also FEEL like I need to take at least 5 tutoring sessions per month. The main goal is to make myself useful. I don’t want my mentor to look at my numbers and think that I could be dispensable. I want to look like I’m a benefit to the organization, even if it is through a minimal amount of effort.

So I need to make sure that I spend 1 – 2 days/evenings at some point in the month getting some tutoring hours in. While it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I stopped working at, I don’t want to be fired for lack of tutoring – thus, I need to find some time to sit down and help some high school students online – and besides, the extra money is always nice. =)

Asking for Money

I’ve found it very interesting that now that I’ve been tutoring for a while I have a difficult time being upfront about payment. I mean, I mention my rate in any email correspondence, however I feel awkward and weird when at the end of the tutoring session I’m like “Ummm soooo…. $20 please?”

It isn’t like when you go into a store people are embarrassed about ringing you up on the cash register, so I’m not sure why I have a problem being upfront about the money. I guess it is a little difference, and I have no problem telling people that it is okay if they pay me next week if they don’t have the money then. I understand forgetting a wallet or checkbook – I used to do that all the time!

However, it just seems so weird after spending an hour diving into the intricacies of chemical bonding to then out and ask for money. I’m not sure why that is… perhaps just because money is a difficult thing to talk about and tutoring is so much more personal than just going into a store and buying shoes.

A Budget – for November

So, my money has already been dispersed and is being used up for October (oh the “benefits” of getting paid once a month), but I sat down and finally put together a budget that I’m happy with to implement starting November. It is one that I can live within, pay my debt, and still have spending money – a feat I didn’t think I’d be able to achieve! I will probably adopt a similar, modified version of it for the remainder of October. But for now, this is what I have:

I’ve color-coded the entire thing so that you can see which account each expense will come from. Essentially the only reason I have the Chase account is to deposit my tutoring checks I receive. Otherwise I use BofA to pay bills (no ATMs in my state) and ING for regular expenses (because there are no overdraft fees). Also, I should note that my “main job” income is the sum of the amounts in the BofA account, Chase account, ING checking and ING savings – these values just represent how I plan to allocate the money among these 4 accounts through my direct deposit at work.

Things to note about this current budget:

Monthly Savings

In addition to saving $100 per month towards my Emergency Fund I’m also creating a basic savings account for non-emergency expenses. These include yearly expenses (car registration, Christmas, ect) and things like unexpected medical expenses (to avoid what happened last month with my Urinary Tract infection which “stole” so much of my money and wasn’t budgeted for.

In graduate school I would have had separate envelopes for each of these expenses and simply put the physical “$20” or “$10” in the appropriate envelope. While this worked in theory, it took at least a year for each envelope to get fully funded and often when the expense came around I had the account only half funded. So I ended up still having to absorb a lot of the cost in my monthly discretionary money – which defeated the whole point of the envelope system.

So rather than using an envelope system, I’m setting up one yearly account where everything will get “lump summed” and $140 deposited monthly into it. Then if any expense arises that needs the funds (like my ACS renewal for instance) – I can pull up to $5 x 12 (or $60) out of the account to pay for this expense. Essentially “borrowing” from the other funds knowing that I’ll still be contributing to the ACS fund each month and thus returning the money to the other funds that got borrowed from.

I think this will be a “clever” way to avoid the sticker shock of yearly expenses like vet fees and car registration, without having to save up for an entire year to get the full benefit from it. Can you guys think of any other yearly expenses that I might be forgetting or numbers that I might want to adjust (though keep in mind I need to stay at $140 total).

Discretionary Spending

First I just wanted to note that it was completely intentional that my money from the community college will go to pay for my discretionary spending in the month (food, toilettries, ect). This is because of how the paydays are scheduled. I’ll get to start out the month with the first $196 from my primary job paycheck. Then the next week I’ll get a deposit of $226 from the community college and then two weeks later another $226 paycheck. So at no point during the month should I be thinking “Well crap, I’m poor for the rest of the month” – because it shouldn’t be more than two weeks before I get more spending money.

For instance, in November, I’ll get my first paycheck on October 31st, then the second on November 6th, then the third on November 20th. It is a very nice way to spread out the spending money so I don’t “accidentally” spend in all in one week or anything.

Currently there isn’t a lot of wiggle room in the budget. I have allocated $80 to transportation, $180 to care for Jack, $45 to dog food, $40 to toilettries, and $300 for food. And that maxs out my budget, there is a $3 difference between what I’ve budgeted and what I make in regular income. So there isn’t room for gifts, clothes, or random expenses like that. Hopefully most of that will be mitigated by the monthly savings program. However, I would like to have a LITTLE more wiggle room – of at least $100. And this is where the tutoring money comes in.

You may have noticed that I haven’t included it in my budget – neither my income or my “real life” tutoring. And the simple reason for this is that I can’t budget what I don’t know I’ll be making. So I’m assigning absolutely no purpose to how I spend this money. I can use it as my “free money” to pay for entertainment, clothes, gifts, whatever I see fit. Last month I made $235 from both of my avenues of tutoring, so it isn’t like I’m skimping on anything. Regularly I can expect to make at least $40/week from tutoring during the school year, so this is more than enough to use as my “fun money” for the month.

Other Minor Points

Just some other things of note: 1) this budget assumes that I have cancelled my cable TV; 2) this budget assumes that I don’t go over my minutes on my cell phone (hasn’t happened in 2 years); 3) this budget assumes that I stick with a $10/day budget – which I think will be completely reasonable; 4) this budget assumes that I’ll be teaching at the community college, which will hopefully also be the case in the Spring – but will not hold up in the Summer when tutoring will die down and my chance of teaching will be practically zero.

Any Comments?

Have I left anything out? Are there any glaring problems that you can see? I obviously still have time to iron out some kinks before payday comes around, so I’d love to hear your suggestions.