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Posts tagged with: odd jobs

Everyday I’m Hustlin’

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First, a funny story…

When hubs and I first moved to Arizona he didn’t immediately have a job. He rustled up all kinds of side-gigs, though, including buying/selling stuff online (which can be quite lucrative if you’re good at it), working security at fraternity parties and clubs, doing random odd jobs that mostly included manual labor (e.g., wheel barrowing rocks from the front of a house to the back, laying flagstone, etc.). Early that first semester a new grad school friend asked what my hubs did and I told her, “He hustles!” Her eyes got all wide, “Really!?! Like…he sells drugs???” LOL!!! Apparently I’m not gangster enough to realize that “hustlin’” is a slang term for slinging drugs. I laughed and explained myself – “No, husband doesn’t sell drugs! He just does a ton of random things right now to earn an income!!!”

But I still like to think of the term (hustlin’) as referring to working your butt off to try to make money (through legal means, of course)!

So, all this to say…I’ve been trying to figure out some ways to hustle up some extra income for myself.

Initially I thought I might try to apply for other online teaching jobs. But after discovering how well paid I am compared to other online teaching institutions, I didn’t think it’d be a sound investment of my limited time. A better use would be to continue trying to beef up my research program, publish, and land a better long-term position (more on that discussion in this post).

But in the meantime…what could I hustle up?

Well, I’d love if I could do more work for my current online teaching university (since their compensation is more than fair). The problem is that I’ve been trying to get extra classes from them for over a year at this point and every time I’ve been granted an extra section, it’s been canceled due to low enrollment. I haven’t been able to get new classes altogether because the instructors have been hanging onto their classes (no surprise since everywhere else pays peanuts in comparison).

So I emailed my boss today with a novel idea.

“Hey – what if I developed an entirely new course for the department? I have a great idea for one that I honestly think would be a valuable asset to the program and, as luck would have it, it just happens to be my own area of expertise! wink, wink!”

(Side note: obviously my tone was more professional, but that’s the gist)

Annnnnd, I received a pretty prompt reply:

“As for your question about a [redacted] class – you are correct, no such course exists in our curriculum. The idea of developing one is outside of my direct control – as it would need to be something the department deemed appropriate and worthwhile. That said, I know they are always considering additions to the curriculum as appropriate and possible. Let me float the idea around the department and see if this is something they’d be interested it. It may be that developing it for [online dissemination] would be a nice way to make it available to students across our campuses. Let me think on this and get back to you.”

YEAH, BABY!!!

I mean, let’s not get all excited and count our chickens before the eggs have hatched! But I would just LOVE if I had the opportunity to create this class. Not only is it an area I’m passionate about, but then I’d be able to add a 3rd class to my online teaching portfolio! Hello extra money, get in my bank account (False. You won’t be in my account long enough because you’ll be busy paying down my debts). You get the point.

So there you have it. Just putting out feelers, planting seeds of ideas, and trying to hustle up a little extra cash. Now, let me get back to grading. I have exactly one week between Spring and Summer sessions and I plan to use my entire 3 preschool days being CRAZY PRODUCTIVE with research. If I say it, it will happen. And all that good stuff. ; )

Hope you’re kicking butt at work lately!


Where’d the Raise Go?

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My husband’s employer had shared a few months ago, that he was due for a raise. My husband was ecstatic. A raise? Finally!

Months later and still no raise.

Turns out, the company hit a rough patch and there will be no raises this year. I’d be fine with that but…
layoffs started Friday.

It’d be nice to have one year, just ONE, where one of us wasn’t up for a layoff. We could survive his layoff fairly easily. I’d go back full-time and he has enough odd jobs to carry us for months, but it sure would be nice to have 12 whole months of no layoff fears.

Eh. Maybe next year.


Finding Odd Jobs…

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I’ve had a few readers ask how my husband and I find odd jobs.

I’m fortunate to still be connected to previous employers and do work for them when the owners are unable to complete the projects themselves. When I’m not busy with that (which is almost never. I work A LOT for them), I take writing jobs off Craigslist, work as a car shows greeter, and help as an ‘ambassador’ at large gatherings like ComicCon and sporting events with security companies. You can look for these kinds of jobs on Craigslist (be very, very careful on Craigslist) or by approaching employers who host mobile type events that require large amounts of temporary staff. If you are willing to invest the time, these temporary or part time jobs are very easy to find. I make anywhere from $100 to $150 a day with temporary jobs.

My husband is incredibly handy. When he’s not working his 8 to 5 job or going to school, he helps others with construction and plumbing projects. He does exceptional work and has never had to advertise his services. Word of mouth has been his greatest ally. Make sure to follow the laws of your state. California is very strict – no projects over $500 are permitted for unlicensed contractors.

I also heard about a website called 48days.net. On the left side of the website, there is a Post-It labeled “Take a Look at Dan’s 48 Low Cost Business Ideas”. He lists some great ideas for making extra money.

If you have any other ideas – SHARE! ; )


Financial Injury Report… Part II…

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When it comes to cars, I have a poor track record.

Sure I get my oil changes, my tires rotated, and every once in a while, I’ll throw in a radiator flush when the service guy nags me enough, but that’s pretty much where it ends.

I’m more of a reckless, fix it when it makes weird noises kind of gal.

This always worked when I was in college – but maybe that’s because dad was always there to ‘borrow’ my car and bring it back a few days later after he paid a mechanic to clean up my mess.

After I graduated, I bought a new car and with that, bought myself out of any service requirements for at least 50,000 miles (in my mind anyway).

Unfortunately for me (and VERY fortunate for my car), my husband believes in regular maintenance. Both our cars hit 60,000 miles this month and he scheduled maintenance on his truck this month and mine next month.

He worked with a family friend and was able to get the service done for $300. As I was figuring out where to pull the $300 from in our budget, the lovely state of California sent his truck registration bill of $295 – the fee unexpectedly raised yet again from last year (Thank you Arnold Schwarzenegger).

My husband and I were both able to work some odd jobs this month – thank goodness! – and should have most of it covered. But this week is turning out to be one expensive week!


Ways to get by while on unemployment…

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My budget was already threadbare but living with 50% less salary and on unemployment benefits has forced us to find ways to somehow reduce more.

First, we cut our dental and vision insurance. This is something that can easily be re-instated but the $25 a month can help me now.

Second, I cancelled all my appointments health related or otherwise. None of my appointments were an emergency and I requested that my doctor renew my prescriptions without the annual check-up since the last 6 years have been clear of any problems. These appointments and tests run in the neighborhood of $500.

Third, I called my cable company to cancel our cable, reduce our internet speed, and reduce our phone service. I explained our situation and was surprised when they offered reduced internet costs, reduced phone costs, and added free services and free channels for a 12 month period. I would tell you how much I’m paying – but I’m afraid they’ll figure out they made a huge mistake and ‘correct’ the discount… or fire the guy who gave it to me. I would have cut out the internet and phone entirely but my husband needs internet for school purposes and job searching late at night when he gets home (free internet at the library is closed) and I’m uncomfortable without a home phone for emergencies.

Fourth, I contacted my student loan company for a deferment.

Fifth, my husband and I contacted friends and family and let them know we’d be available for odd jobs. Since unemployment doesn’t start for nearly a month after a job loss, my husband has done everything from pulling weeds to insulating walls. I have been helping a company with paperwork at night after work. We use this money for groceries and for the important bills like electric and water. At no time should you feel you are ‘too good’ for any type of job.

Sixth, we cut off all our subscriptions and memberships. If you’re like us, you may not even remember you have some of them since they are automatically billed to your credit card and you may not look at each item on your online statement. Some examples: gym memberships, club memberships, magazine and newspaper subscriptions (some automatically renew unless you cancel). Savings – $50 a month.

Seventh, we’ve been using more public transportation. It takes twice as long to get somewhere, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s far from fun, but it saves $50-$75 a month.

It’s not a lot, but each item buys us a little more time.


Slowing Financial Progress… on Purpose

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My husband works a lot. He works days and nights and I do what odd jobs I can to help pay our bills more quickly.

We don’t see each other often. Perhaps that’s why our marriage is so great. We don’t have time to fight – heck we’re just so darn excited to see one another we don’t really… um… talk much.

He took a rare three nights off last week and we went running and cycling together every day. We made dinner. We walked the dogs. We watched movies. We remembered what it was like to be married.

I couldn’t help but think about how wonderful it was to have him around – to see him relax, even for just a night or two. He must have been thinking the same thing. He said, ‘I want to work less and live my life more.’ He has decided to work 6 days per week and 2 nights per week – and yes, that’s a cut-back (he was working 6 days and 6 nights).

I can’t agree with him more. As he toils to pay our debt, I can’t help but wonder if our self-inflicted punishment of hard labor is worse than the crime of spending. I wonder if one day, we’ll look back and regret the time we missed when our life was just us. We can cover our bills plus some without the extra work so we’ve decided to slow down.

So… we will pay things off more slowly BUT I have my husband back – and I’ve missed him dearly.