by Elizabeth S.
Side gigs are looking good!
I’m flying high on recent good news regarding side gigs. I booked the dogsitting gig from Rover, and it will be for $160. In other exciting news, the border I mentioned is coming to stay with me tomorrow for $150 per week. I will need help with my pets while I am staying at the Rover gig, so I will kick some of that first-week money to a friend for help with my pets. He will stay at my house for next to nothing as it’s a break from his current housing situation.
Obviously, this isn’t a tenable long-term solution. I can’t be paid to watch other peoples’ animals while paying someone to watch my own, but in this case, I can make a tidy profit and hopefully get a good review in order to book more gigs. I’m actually not interested in dogsitting at all – I signed up for Rover for dog walking and medicine administration since I can give injections and IVs (and I am particularly good at giving cats pills. Happy to share the very strange technique I use should anyone be interested).
If things go well with the border, he can stay up to a month, which would mean an extra $600. He takes possession of his new place on September 15th. We decided to reassess after each week so that we are both comfortable with the arrangement.
I’m continuing to track spending each day. I spent my weekend at the cottage with my family. I contributed some wine and brought nice thick pork chops from the butcher for one meal. They were an absolute steal at $3.99 a pound, and I was able to pick up five of them for less than $16. I picked up two small bottles of craft beer (I can’t resist a good sour!) and a t-shirt from the brewery on my way out of cottage country. The brewery has the same name as the lake my dad lives on and we love to represent the lake wherever we go. That was a $30 purchase I could have avoided but don’t regret. I take my credit card debt seriously, but I am not in dire financial straits. My last two lake t-shirts have holes in them from being worn so often!
On the way home from the cottage on Sunday, I stopped for groceries at a nicer grocery store (rather than a discount grocery store like I normally do). I spent $27 on house-made sausages, some butternut squash, kale, sardines, potatoes, cheese, and kefir. I haven’t spent any money since Sunday (woo!!). I’ve enjoyed homemade meals since. This morning, I will be ordering coffee and canned cat food from Amazon as I’m going to be out of the house from 8am to about 10pm. That’s another $32 to be divided out of the grocery and pet food buckets ($15 and $17 respectively).
Unplanned social expenses
Tonight will be a bit of a challenge, as one of my mentors from work is leaving. We have worked closely together for years, and she is a friend to me. There’s a going-away event at a restaurant, and I didn’t budget or plan for this. I am so happy to acknowledge that I can attend guilt-free without touching savings or my credit card – thanks to the extra cash I am bringing in from side gigs. If I have to find extra cash to fund my social life, I will happily do that rather than miss out. Could I be out of debt sooner if I directed every spare penny to debt? Of course, as one commenter pointed out yesterday (click if you would like to see me a bit defensive about my spending – oops). But that was never my intention.
My goal is to pay down debt while building savings and continuing to enjoy my life. I do want to be mindful of the fact that these “surprises” keep happening, and they really shouldn’t be considered surprises. I hope readers recognize I’ve never tracked spending or had a budget that I’ve honored before, and I intend to take this first month as a bit of a temperature reading. It would be grossly premature to set firm goals right now. I am someone who chases goals like a dog with a bone, and I want to assess this situation thoughtfully before making decisions. So, for now, I’m not making any earth-shattering changes. I’m collecting data, being mindful, and making sure I don’t add to my debt or take from my meager savings.
I am crazy proud of myself for finding some extra money with side gigs because I didn’t think it was possible with the kind of hours I keep. I’m going to end today’s post on that happy note and promise an update at the end of the week. Friday is payday, and I will share how I spent my last paycheck. Expect screenshots, some grocery receipts, and accountability.