Everyday I’m Hustlin’

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Logged into my email today to see this little guy smiling back at me:

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Sure doesn’t get old to see these “loan payoff” emails! I’m now officially down to 7 Navient loans (out of what 12). To be fair, I’d paid off this loan prior to last month’s debt update, but it took until the next billing cycle (now) for them to acknowledge that the loan was, indeed, paid in full.

Anywho…..pretty exciting stuff! Still lots of big loans ahead, but it’s a nice little pat on the back, indeed!

Lots (and lots!) going on in life right now! We’ve been house-hunting twice (no offers yet). We have lots of work/social functions (Last weekend was an “early faculty” happy hour. Tonight is a departmental social function). Next week we’re going back to Texas as a family. Originally hubs was going to go on his own (to spread his grandfather’s ashes with his mom), but it’s Labor Day and the kids have 2 days off of school anyway so we decided to just all go back together. I’m going to be doing various dad-related duties while in town, including:  1. going to social security office with him so I can get official permission to talk to them since they don’t recognize power of attorney, 2. meeting with a financial advisor to better invest my dad’s money, 3. meeting with a realtor to sell the Texas house.

I’m a teeny bit bitter that a chunk of my trip is going to be monopolized with dad-related stuff when I have two siblings who live in the same city that are perfectly capable of doing the things I’ll be doing. But such is life. There are ebbs and flows. Sometimes my sister picks up more of the “dad slack” and sometimes it falls on me. It’s already a huge relief for his Utah property to be sold and, although we’d originally talked about renting the Texas house, no one has stepped up to take control and my #1 stipulation is that I don’t want to deal with it. Since the duties have fallen to me anyway, I’m going to handle it how I want….which is to get rid of the property so I don’t have to deal with it. We have other (more personal) reasons why we want to get rid of the property instead of renting it, too. Mainly that, due to my dad’s disease, he has a tendency to f*ck stuff up and I just have a gut feeling that if we were to try to keep and rent the property, he’d find a way to mess it up. Might just show up at the front door (illegally) and demand something of the tenants. Or might cause an altercation with the property management company. Who knows? To limit liabilities (and make my life easier), the place just has to go.

So that’s what I’ll be doing the Friday before Labor Day (the only business day that I’ll be in town). Hoping I can get that drama out of the way and enjoy the rest of the long weekend doing low-key and cheap or free activities with the family.

Do you usually travel for Labor Day? We typically don’t, but it’s just worked out that way this time. 

What’s the last debt you paid off in full? Every new Navient loan that I pay off feels like a major triumph. Sooooo over that company! I swear! Once our house situation is squared away I plan to refinance my student loans through another company so I can get a reduced interest rate (and just not have to deal with Navient anymore).


Someone thinks I’m Smart

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I think one of my most controversial ongoing decisions on this blog is my commitment to homeschooling.  Now I will admit this summer has been a doozy for me emotionally, and the thought of just sending all the kids off on buses for 8 or so hours a day has been appealing at times.  Of course, then I think about all the calls from teachers I would get because of certain behaviors or disorganization or…and the hours of homework each night and so on.  So it’s been pretty easy to squash that thought even in my most miserable times.

And then today I saw this article posted online and I was so grateful for the logical and statistical reasoning for homeschooling…Homeschooling is the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century

My way is the smartest way!  For  once! And maybe not to all.  But right now, I’ll take that win.

We are actually starting school this week.  I’m super excited about it.  We are not returning to our co op, and the classes I had planned to teach for money, well, that didn’t happen either.  So the money stress is off. I bought some new curriculum in June at our state’s homeschool convention, have dug through some of my older stuff.  If they were in public school, I would have a 6th, 7th, 11th and 12th grader, but in reality I have a 5th grader who is in high school science, a 8th grader in high school English and math, a 12th grader who just has to take a limited number of classes at a time, and a college level student who just needs to catch up in math.

I love that homeschooling lets me really cater their learning styles, bolstering their weaknesses and really let them fly in their strengths.  I know not every agrees with this choice and the limitations it has put on my job search at times, but I know it’s the right choice for my kids.

On the job front though, as I am truly looking and applying for most anything, I decided to eliminate my homeschool conditions for employment.  I know I can homeschool at night or weekends…or even longer lunches if that is an option.  And with the right money, I could afford to hire some help to at least keep the kids on track.

Just ending with “Homeschooling is the ‘Smartest Way'”…sometimes it’s just nice to hear that.



Lessons from Therapy: Day #1

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I just had my first therapy session this week and I’m happy to say that it went better than I’d expected! I was nervous about whether we would “click” and be a good fit, but we really gelled in terms of personalities and it felt like I was chatting with a friend (albeit a friend I’m paying to listen to me. heh).

I’m only one session deep at this point so, obviously, this person doesn’t know all of my “issues” yet. We mostly focused on my Dad’s health issues (and the time it takes to deal with said health issues – there’s a literal crisis every week) for my first session. And while I don’t plan to divulge all the inner details of my therapy with everyone reading (sorry!), I do want to touch on some things that come up as they relate to my finances.

For instance…my therapist suggested we hire a nanny/house-keeper. She got that one of the key stressors in my life right now revolves around time. Lack of it, to be precise. So she suggested I look into agencies where I could hire someone to come and help with the kids, drive to/from school if needed, do laundry, clean, cook, etc. etc. etc.

omg – that would cost a small fortune, right?

But even though I really don’t think that’s feasible, I kind of liked the idea of trying to hire out some help. I started thinking about “what if we hire a cleaning service to come monthly?” That’s not something I’ve ever done in the past. Never. But, given our imminent move (and likely to a place that’s a little bit larger), coupled with the fact that we’re already always behind on cleaning, it does relieve a good bit of stress to think that – at least once a month – our house could be thoroughly cleaned.

Again – the therapist doesn’t know all my “issues” yet, and we haven’t even touched on finances, financial goals, financial stressors, etc. etc. etc. But seriously….maybe not a terrible idea if it helps keep my mental health in check???

What do you guys think? Is it silly to even be considering hiring a cleaning service when we’re still so entrenched in our debt payoff? Or could I think of it as one of the costs I pay to have such a great income (meaning – since I’m working 2 jobs and making more money than I’ve ever made before, I have to make some trade-offs in other areas. Like, paying for cleaning help so I can spend that time focused on work)??? Thoughts???


Holy Crap – ANOTHER Raise!?!?!

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Guys. I can’t even. Pinch me, because I don’t even believe it.

I got another raise!!!!

Well…..kinda.

You know how I work 2 jobs (a full-time one + a part-time one)? Well, I just got my contract in from my part-time job and something that has literally NEVER happened before occurred. Without even being notified/informed/asked, one of my classes was large enough that apparently they opened a second section. To be fair, this has happened once before, but I was asked about it ahead of time. I think this time it just slipped past because my boss is on maternity leave so either she approved it knowing I would say yes or someone else may have dropped the ball in asking (at this institution I teach the same 2 classes every semester and they are considered to be “mine” in ownership of intellectual property, materials, etc. So if a class is full, they ask me if they can add students. If there’s enough demand, they ask if I’d be willing to teach another section, etc.). Here’s the thing – I totally wasn’t even expecting it! I was caught completely off guard!

I immediately logged into my instructor dashboard to check the enrollment status and verify whether this could possibly be true. Yep. Section #1 is maxed out (30 students) and Section #2 currently has 20 students (max is 30, but 20 is still in the “safe” range. I only worry about sections being cancelled due to low enrollment if we’re down in the 10 or less number of students).

So here’s the good and the bad.

The good is that even though this is just a second section of one of my existing courses (meaning no additional prep and the courses are merged in the LMS so it’s really, truly like teaching one big class), I get paid like it’s an entirely new course!!! Yep! I was only getting paid for 2 classes previously and now I’m getting paid for 3!! AHHHH!!!

The bad news is that the class is writing intensive. So although there’s no additional prep-work and it’s easy in terms of the day-to-day stuff (e.g., emails, announcements, etc.), it’s going to be SIGNIFICANTLY more time invested in grading. Gah! What am I going to do?! I’m strapped as it is!

Thankfully, at my full-time job I’m only teaching 1 new class this semester (I teach 3 classes total, but 2 of the 3 are repeat courses, which are always easier than teaching a class for the first time). Hopefully given the 2 repeats, it won’t be too much work to keep up with.

So now I’m teaching 3 classes at my full-time + 3 classes at my part-time. 6 classes total in one semester. I know adjuncts who have had to teach more as a way to make ends meet, but for those not familiar with academia, that’s a boat load of classes in a single semester! Thankfully, 5 of the 6 are online classes. Another big sigh of relief, because there wouldn’t physically be enough hours in the day if I were needing to teach in-person, hold in-person office hours, etc.

But this is good news! I now have my contracts for BOTH of my jobs for the 2016-2017 academic year (at least kinda….my part-time job is semester-by-semester but I have a lengthy employment history with them at this point). PLUS, both of my contracts reflect a pay raise!!!

Time to get on with the house hunt! AHHHHH SO EXCITED!!!!!!!


Going for Broke: Things to Consider When Investing Without a Broker

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Most investors work with a broker to help them find and purchase the right stocks for their portfolio. However, you can go it alone if you prefer. When investing without a broker, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure your money is as safe as possible and make it work hard for you.

Understand How to Buy Stocks Through a Direct Stock Purchase Plan

Many companies listed on the stock exchange allow you to buy shares directly from their transfer agent, without using a broker. This process cuts out the middleman and can lead to you saving a lot of money in broker’s fees. However, not all companies listed on the stock exchange offer a direct stock purchase plan. To find out whether a company you want to invest in allows investors to buy shares in this way, go to the company website and look for a section titled “investor relations“.

Consider the Direct Stock Purchase Plan Fees

The fees you have to pay to open and use a direct stock purchase plan depend on the company you want to invest in. In general, most direct purchase plans carry a fee for setting up the account, which is usually between $5 and $20. You can also expect to pay transaction fees ranging from roughly $0.03 to $0.10 per share when buying shares and $15 plus $0.12 per share when selling shares.

Decide How Much You Can Afford to Invest and Over What Time Period

Investing in stocks can be a good way to grow your wealth, but it’s important not to overstretch yourself by investing more money than you can afford to lose. Remember that the value of shares can go down as well as up, so you must not assume that you can pull your money out of stock market investments whenever you need the cash. Keep an emergency fund in an instant access bank account so you always have enough money on hand to meet unexpected costs. Next, decide whether you want to invest over the long or short term. Investing over the long term can be a lot more efficient, as you only have to pay fees when you buy or sell shares, not while you are holding them.

Decide How You Want to Make the Payments

Direct stock purchase plans typically accept payments by automatic bank debit or check. Consider how you will make the payments, while ensuring that you always retain enough cash in your bank account to cover your regular outgoing bills, and check that the direct purchasing plan you want to use accepts your preferred method of payment.

Consider Scheduling Your Purchases

One method of investing, which is known as dollar-cost averaging, involves purchasing a small number of shares on a regular basis, such as every week or every month, rather than buying all the shares you want to own at once. This method of purchasing shares can reduce the risk of losing money, as your initial investment is spread over several months, so there is a much lower risk of buying shares while their price is at a high point. Many people regard this to be a much safer method of investing than trying to guess when the share price is at a low point and schedule your buying to coincide with it. Many direct stock purchase plans allow you to automatically schedule your share purchases for every month or week.

Get Advice on Your Investments

Being a successful investor relies on choosing the right shares to invest in. Making the right decision can be the hardest part of investing, so you need to seek out and listen to expert advice. A good starting place is to get advice from Money Morning, which offers regularly updated tips on the best stocks to buy. Follow industry news to find out which companies are predicted to grow, so you can decide which ones offer the most attractive shares.

Conclusion

Investing without a broker can be very financially rewarding, but it also presents risks that you need to take into account. Always plan your investment budgets and schedules carefully and get advice so you don’t make the wrong decisions. When you know which companies you want to buy shares from, check their websites to see whether they offer direct stock purchase plans. Although these plans usually charge small fees, they can be a much less expensive option than purchasing shares through a broker, giving you the opportunity to make more money from your investment activities.

Peter Berry is knowledgeable in trading stocks and shares and enjoys helping others when it comes to investments. He regularly writes about investing, small/startup businesses and technology.


I’m Still Here

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I don’t even know where to start. I really crashed this summer emotionally, like really.  Thank God for my kids.  My obligations to and for them are the only thing that saved me I think.  I know it’s still kind of taboo to talk about depression, and I never would have expected it as I tend to be a glass half full kind of girl.   But I definitely have been going thru some major depression, borderline suicidal times this summer.

I pulled the kids from just about everything and hid in the bed as much as possible.  Self sabotaged a bit with work, and just generally cried ALOT!  I was just overwhelmed and could see no way out.

Not much has changed financially.  We are still living for free and barely scraping by with my two part time jobs.  I can’t think about the future without getting just overwhelmed with it all.  But I have started some new routines to try and shake my “blues.”

My new routines include:

  • Spending time in God’s word EVERY morning, first thing.
  • Focusing immediately, every time I find myself spiraling down in my head, finding something to be grateful for: air conditioning, a working car, our health…and I’m working on this with my kids as well.
  • Lists, lots of lists.  Things I need to do, things I want to do, things I need to think about doing.  Mostly to get things out of my head at this point, rather than putting them into action but that will be next.
  • Giving myself permission to just stop, breathe and most importantly say no.

I did get a kid free week in July when all four kids attended a summer camp together. (Note: one of the benefits offered with the twins adoption was one week of paid summer camp every year.  Since the twins turn 18 year this, this is the last summer we could use it.)  They loved it and I didn’t know what to do with myself.  And we are now spending three weeks at our family’s lakehouse.  Sleeping in a bed, not having to go outside to go to the bathroom and having comfortable seating…well, it’s been a really nice break from our living situation (not that I am not grateful.)

I have no idea what the future holds, and I’m overwhelmed trying to get back on my feet.  We are spending pretty much nothing, and I’m focused on saving.  Unfortunately, due to my emotional challenges I have ‘fallen off the wagon’ on seeking work.  But I feel better, I think I’m getting back to myself.

I don’t know when I will get back to writing regularly, but I will be back as I can.  I really appreciate those who have reached out.  God has a plan for me, for us, I am clinging to that with everything I have got!

 


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