Goals Update for August

So true!!

Two weeks after not posting, I’m back for an update on my 2014 goals.  One of these days I’ll have a better posting schedule (goal idea for next year?).  Rambling aside, August was a great month AND as of today I was able to mark an entire goal off as completed.  I sold a bag of clothes this morning that Platos wouldn’t buy (“too old”) to a woman bringing the total number of things I’ve gotten rid of this year to 368.  We’ll count it done as of August for ease of recording.


Pay $10,000 off student loans

This month I was able to knock off $814 from principal bring the total paid for the year to  $5,945.66.  I still have a little ways to go in the next 4 months in order to meet my $10,000 mark, but with a rebate coming my way and some expected lower expenses, I know I’ll make it.


Beat ten video games  (8/10)

I finally beat Final Fantasy IV: The After Years after trudging through 27 end game bosses.  It was a massive pain.  Getting a 3DS earlier this month gave me motivation and I beat it after playing it as much as possible after school.  Now I get to enjoy Pokémon X.

Change jar goal -COMPLETED

I was able to completely fill it this month!  I got $247 and some change.  Most of which went into checking, but I put a good chunk into my retirement savings.

Earn extra income $1900

I’ve already met my $1500 goal, but this month was a HUGE leap.  I earned $400 in extra income bringing my total to over $1900 for the year already.  My writing and sales income has spiked and I hope this continues!

Read 100 books in a year (47/100)

I read 6 books this month, bringing the total for the year to 47.  I really need to get working on this goal.  Otherwise, like the last 5 years, I’ll be just mere books short of my 100 book goal.

Donate to 10 causes

I made one contribution to a charity plus tithes at church.  I’ve contributed to a total 6 charities this year.

Try 40 new recipes

I tried 2 new recipes in August for chocolate buttermilk cupcakes and Asparagus & Mushroom quiche.  Both turned out really well!  I’ve tried 24 new recipes this year.

Complete 20 crafts

I have ideas…but I didn’t complete ANY crafts this month.  It’s sad, but since the weather is getting cooler, I’ll probably be doing more in the coming months!


In terms of my other goals, they’re in progress or done!  I’m very pleased with my goals so far and it looks like I’m winding down on almost all my goals.  I do need to concentrate more on reading now…which I’ve been doing.  It just gets hard to find the time some days even though I could happily read for hours.

I'm a Black belt in the sport of extreme reading.

September is here meaning all things pumpkin are afoot, the school year is in full swing and there’ll be lots of fun things in store in the coming months!  I’m hoping we get fall weather soon AND it doesn’t get cold for a long time!  I dislike cold…




8/17: Sunday rambles and links

I realize I don’t post on here nearly as often as I should.  I guess part of it’s because I freelance write and despite my love of writing, I find it different to write on my blog.  Yeah…I need to work on that.  Outside the blog sphere, I did come back from vacation last Saturday night and we had our first day of students on Wednesday.  It’s nice to be back in the groove of things, but I definitely miss my friends and family back home.  This coming weekend I’ll be seeing quite a few at a book sale and Doctor Who party though, so no worries there!

That's a chicken coop that looks like a Hobbit hole.

Geek links

There’s a Doctor Who themed restaurant in New York.  Who wants to go?

Rumor has it that Jenna Coleman is leaving Doctor Who. I’ve enjoyed her character in Doctor Who, so it’ll be sad to see her go.

Your Ipad is safe as long as you don’t get a red one.

This guy built a DBZ scouter.  (insert over 9,000 joke here)

If you have a copy of Pokémon X and live in North America, you can get either a Pinsir or Heracross through mystery gift now through September 17th

If you like retro games, someone sent me this link to play old games on your computer.  I also like SNESfun.com


I've actually done this with a friend when I leave tips :)


Robin Williams passed away on Monday and this article inspired me to want to be the same.  Robin Williams has long been my favorite actor and he had a powerful positive impact on many lives, myself included.

I love pumpkin spice lattes, but releasing them August 25th is criminal Starbucks.  It’s not even September!

Looking for something new to try in the kitchen?  These are all winners in my book; Red roasted pepper risottoBBQ kidney bean burgers and peanut butter cheesecakefor dessert

Pokemon X (Nintendo 3DS)

I can’t remember if I posted about it, but I was saving up to buy a 3DS.  Long amazing story short, a friend gave me the last $20 I needed to get it and bought my pearl pink 3DS with Pokémon X!  I’ve been playing it all weekend (after finally beating Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, darn 27 final bosses).  I’m very impressed with it so far and can’t wait to play more later today!  With that last bit, I leave you with the wise words of the fourth Doctor;


2014 goals: July Update

Quote of the Week (B&W) $5- 36 full page quotes to use in your classroom. Teach your students about friendship, courage, being unique, and not giving up. Lead discussions about the quotes or have your students reflect on the meaning and write. So many ways to use these quotes!

August break! Nine days of not working, plus a couple days of staff days lay ahead of me for the first two weeks of August.  My school is year round and we have a week off in between now and the staff days leading up to the 2014-2015 school year.  In the past we had two weeks, but due to snow, we only got one week off, tis a shame.

Since I’ll be heading out on break without internet, I wanted to do a quick update on my 2014 goals for July.

Earn $1500 in extra income  ($1463/1500)

Writing amounted to only $51.50 this month because my company is now processing checks between 20-30 days instead of what used to be 15 days (or less).  On a positive note, I’m getting more business and can expect a big check next month!  My sales were good this month though, netting me $119 and next month I already have at least one big sale scheduled!

Pay off $10,000 in student loan debt   ($5196.03/$10,000)


Over halfway there, but its August, meaning I need to get myself in gear.  Luckily, I realized a mistake I was making with my WellsFargo loan…I’ve only been paying my payments due in the future, not the actual principal.  Oy.  I’ll be writing checks with the words “towards principal” for the next seven months since that’s how far ahead I am.  Geez…I feel dumb.

Read 100 Books (41/100)

I need to read more, even though I did read 8 books this month, I’m still pretty behind.

Beat 10 video games (7/10)

I FINALLY beat Super Mario World and I gave the secret levels a start already.  I’m still making my way through FFIV: The After Years and found out I’m still a good ways away from being done.  Maybe in August I’ll beat it.

Complete 20 crafts (9/20)

Thanks to my mom and I’s craft day, I finished two this month.

Donate or volunteer for 10 causes (6/10)

I made two donations to the African American Cultural Festival this month plus my tithe to my church.

Get rid of 365 things (261/365)

I only got rid of 28 things, but next month should be better since I have a couple sales lined up and a trip to goodwill in order.


Have a great weekend and week ahead everyone!  I’ll have a new post once I come back from vacation!

My experience with online side hustles

Nelson Mandela

Sometimes you need something more to cover expenses or you might be like many and have debt.  I fall under the debt category because of my student loans.  I knew what I was going to deal with in college when I took out the loans and started to look into ways to make money in my own time without sacrificing time with friends, relaxation time or evne time to do other things (church, volunteer etc.)  I had part-time jobs, but I wasn’t successful in getting anything more than a couple hours a week in the summer months (and I didn’t work outside of subbing once a week during college).  Therefore, I turned to the online and babysitting world for side hustles.

My first two bouts online were with a website (no longer operational most of the time) called gather.  I discovered mypoints and swagbucks through it.  For a good four years I earned a couple hundred dollars a year writing for it (gift cards).  It provided a couple gifts and helped me buy a number of things over the years.  When it crashed over a year ago, I knew I needed to find something better because my earnings on it had crashed.  It was a good move and now I’m happy to say I’ve found more and better sources. Below are my side hustles and my experiences with them.

Side Hustle Ideas: 35+ Ways Anyone Can Earn Money on the Side


I actually just discovered this one on Sunday and installed it on my Ipad.  I’ve earned over 3,000 points by letting it run here and there already and I can cash out starting at 5,000 points.  I’ve heard some people can earn up to $120 in paypal or giftcards and that’s what I’m aiming for (provided my Ipad has power!)



I found swagbucks around 5 years ago in college and I’ve been using it since. I earn around $5-25 a month doing it regularly and it’s great!  It is harder to get points if you don’t shop online, but running videos in the background while you do other things works well.



Another one I’ve been doing for years, but since I don’t really shop online, my earnings are pretty slow on it.  I only cashout for a giftcard ($25) around twice a year.  Maybe when I have more spending money I can utilize it more and cash out more.



This one is a little slower, but there’s a daily login bonus.  I’ve cashed out through them 3-4 times in the last year and have another one coming up.  It’s great for e-giftcards and they offer coupons on things as well.



This is my biggest money maker in terms of side hustles.  I can easily make $100+ a month and it really helps.  Over the next couple of months I’m hoping to do more freelancing, especially since I’ve gotten a solid base at this point.  The only downside is the company I freelance to takes 2-3 weeks to send me my paycheck.


Online sales

They’re a bit unpredictable, but I usually make around $100+ a month in online sales.  I’ve been selling online for a few years and gotten better over time.  I flip a lot of video games that I know are worth money and I can make most of my $100 just doing that.

Take risks and chase your dreams! Live your life/dream and not anyone else's...

Side hustles of the past

Redgage -I couldn’t make anything on this error filled website.  I only made around $2 despite the work I put into it (which wasn’t for long!)

Gather -This is where I got started with my online earnings.  I did it for years, but then in the summer of 2009, the points started declining and in 2012, the website went down and never really came back.  I cashed out all my points and stopped going there.

hitpredictor  -I have a fair amount of points there from two years ago, but the rewards change so frequently/go out of stock, I’ve never been able to cash out

Sidetick  -It no longer exists, but I was able to cashout once for $30.


Those are the websites and online side hustles I’ve tried out.  There are a lot out there and it’s only growing as more people turn to the internet to make money.  Sometimes its not a lot, but when you can buy all your Christmas and birthday gifts for the year and get yourself other things, that’s something!  Oh and pay a few thousand extra on student loans, that’s a big plus too.

Do you do any online side hustles?

Ways in which I’m not frugal

When you’re paying off debts or saving up for something, frugality is a necessity (along with a budget).  Tied in with that is frugality or, by definition,  economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful (dictionary.com)  .  I’ve been frugal since I was in college and now that I’m paying off my student loans, it’s taken even more importance (because I actually earn money, but have more bills to pay).  I’ve always been good with money, I just have student loans because well, that’s another story.

Nelson Mandela

I was browsing forums the other day and stumbled across a trend of frugal things people do that society frowns on.  Some things were gross (stealing food from strangers after they finished a meal?) and some were sad (if people have to do these things, you never realize how fortunate you are).  Some were by choice.  Reading it made me think of the things I won’t do to be frugal and there are a few.



I live in a city that is the second most expensive area in my state to live in.  Most places cost $900+ to read (some being just 1 bedroom) and those aren’t always the best places.  I got very lucky when I was searching for a place closer to work (I was commuting with a 20 year old car 45 miles both ways) and found my current place.  I got it for $800 a month (2BR, 2BA), plus a washer & dryer, an amazing landlord and it’s within ten minutes of where I work.  It’s also in a good area of town, which can be tricky to find.  Some might argue it’s expensive, but for this area and what I get, it’s worth every penny.


Not having a roommate

I’m an introvert and I need my space, sometimes more than most.  My best friend and I were roommates the last two years of college and it was awesome.  The roommate before and one of the girls I lived with afterwards were complete nightmares though.  It does save money to split the cost, but I’d fine with spending the extra $400 a month to have a place completely to myself.


Buying organic/natural foods

One thing I won’t skip out on is eating healthy.  This doesn’t mean I’m doing all my shopping at the local farmers market or Whole Foods, but I do go as organic and healthy as I can.  I’m a vegetarian too and I make all my meals from scratch, plus I do all my baking from scratch.  If I’m faced with buying generic flour from $2.50 or organic for $5, I’m going with organic (the actual organic, not the mislabeled) everytime.  Same way from produce (unless it’s inside the skin, like bananas).


Having a new car

Older readers might remember my complaints about my old car.  It was 21 years old and I ran it until the transmission went out.  Not wanting to deal with that again, I made the decision to buy a new car.  I do not for a second regret the decision. It gets good gas mileage, I can travel safely and I don’t have to worry about it breaking down once a month (which was true for the entire last year I had it).



A popular trend to save money for some is to not have internet.  With work (online and my fulltime job) I need internet and a reliable one at that.  While I don’t like Comcast, they do have a monopoly in my area, so I am forced to pay their fees for a necessity.  Maybe someday I’ll live in area with something other than Comcast.


Miss spending time with loved ones

If a friend is in need and needs help, I’m there.  If a friend wants to see a movie, I’m there.  Of course the fun things are within reason, but I’ve had friends who really need help in a tight spot and I help them out as best I can.  Loved ones mean far more than a dollar to me and I’m not going to be frugal over that.  If a friend needs gas, I’ll give them the $10, for instance.  $15 in gas to see a friend, $10 to make a friends day or money to help a family member is worth far more than my frugal code.


What are things you won’t be frugal on?


Mid-Year Goal Reflections

We’re over halfway through 2014, yikes!  It doesn’t seem that out there for me as I’m already working on IEP’s, school curriculum and documents that are for the year 2014-2015.  I’ve even had my school calendar for 2014-2015 for a month.  The 2014-2015 school year is starting in a little over a month (I teach summer school, but my school is year round, so its a little different).  As I look at my goals, I find myself reflecting on not only how far I’ve come, but how far I have to go on some goals.  I even finished one goal already, hurray!  By the end of the month I may have another goal completed too.  Let’s review:

Dreams + Determination = Success :) #quotes #inspiration

Goal: Earn $1500 in extra income (sales and writing)

I’m a little over $100 away from finishing this goal and I anticipate possibly finishing it this month!

 Goal: Pay off $10,000 of student loans

I’m just under $5,000 and with only 6 months to go, I’ll be bumping up the payments.  I want to pay more, but I only make so much.  I did get a raise last month though!

Crafts, Video Games and Reading

I’m progressing at a good rate on all 3 and I know that by August I’ll be around 3/4 of the way through all 3.


I’m doing pretty well with this goal and I’m around 100 items away from completing it.  Once I have a couple more sales, take books to the used bookstore and sell some old clothes, this goal will be done!


I’m embarrassed by this one because I’m only halfway through.  I did specify charities and while I do help out with a lot of odds and ends, I’m not really expanding as much as I’d like to with this one.  There’s so much I can do, I’m not utilizing it…

Wardrobe goal

I have a vacation week coming up the first week of August and I plan on taking one day to go to the city and get a new wardrobe and thereby get rid of a lot of worn out things in my closet.  Heaven knows I need to.

Recycling/Traveling/Bear Bank

They’re all works in progress, though the traveling one does need more progress!


I’ve been busy in my kitchen throughout the year and I’m excited to try even more things in the future.  Over halfway done with this one!


In July I plan on working more on all my goals and hopefully checking another goal off my list!  I think I might actually meet some by the end of the summer, meaning I can focus more on my harder/more intensive goals.  The debt repayment one is the one I want to focus on the most, but its probably the hardest goal (due to restraint of funds).  Where there’s a will, there’s a way though!

June Goal Recap

Yes (John Green)

June felt like a month that went at a moderate pace.  For once, I didn’t feel like it breezed by faster than some months this year.  I was glad for that since it meant I was able to balance my life at a slower pace.  June itself was a good month and I had a week off from work, meaning I spent a week and a half traveling around to visit family and friends.  I look forward to those 6-7 weeks throughout the year when I can do that.  It’s hard being far away from family, especially since they’re getting older and from friends who mean a lot to me.  I have plenty here, but I definitely get nostalgic to move closer to family sometimes…ok a lot.

Goal wise, June was a pretty good month.  I think the only goal I was dissatisfied with was my extra earnings, but it happens.  More on those below!


Extra earnings ($1247.13)


$53.62 -Writing

Total: $197.62

My freelance check has been taking two weeks to get to me, so that hurt my extra earnings for the month.  Sales were great in the beginning of the month, and then basically stopped.  I had three people in a row cancel their orders, which stunk.


Reading Goal (34/100)

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortsenon

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

Horrible Histories: The Awesome Egyptians by Terry Deary

Paper towns by John Green

Tales to Inspire by Bathroom Reader Institute

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

Boy Next Door by Betty Cavanna

I was a readaholic this month (when I had time) and I’m already well on my way to reading a lot more in July.  I actually took one weekend to just read mostly and it was wonderful.


Beat 10 Video Games (6/10)

Bible Adventures (NES)

Final Fantasy IV & FFIV: Interlude (PSP)

I played a lot of video games this month and beat two.  I’m currently making my way through Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and have no doubt I’ll have it beaten by the end of next week.  After that, it’s time to reload either Shadow of the Colossus or Persona 4!


Complete 20 crafts (7/20)

The only one I finished this month was a Dalek piece for my Doctor Who bathroom. I started on Rose in the beginning of the month, but haven’t worked on it in two weeks. My goal in July is to get her finished and the tenth Doctor. Oh and I need to start on gift crafts in July.


Volunteering (5/10 opportunities)

I slacked off on this one with the exception of donating to service dogs of Virginia.


Pay off $10,000 of student loan debt ($4650.81/$10,000)

I was VERY happy to pay off over $2,000 worth of student loans this month. I only wish I could do this every month, but I don’t forsee this happening again until I get my next tax refund. I’m halfway through the year though and not halfway through, so I’ll need to up the payments…somehow.


Get rid of 365 items (233/365)

I only got rid of 27 things in June, but since I’m already ahead for the year, I’m not too bothered by this fact. I anticipate I’ll get rid of a lot more in July, mostly due to giving away things to friends and (hopefully) more sales.


Clothing goal (replace and add)

This is a weird goal because I don’t have a formal way of tracking it. I’ve been more adamant this year about recycling or donating clothes that I no longer need, but also getting better quality clothes and making my overall wardrobe better. By the end of the year I hope to have a couple more things in my wardrobe and get rid of the things I really don’t want.



I took my recycling twice this month and it felt so good to do it! I’ve learned a lot more this year about what things can be recycled and how, which has affected what I buy and even how I buy things.



I went to visit a close friend in Maryland in June, which was awesome. I also discovered why people complain about the beltway and why I’d not want to live there just because of the traffic! That being said, I DO want to move closer to the Northern Virginia area someday, only I’ll stick with the outskirts like Manassas.


Try out 40 new recipes (22/40)

I didn’t do a ton of new recipe experimenting this month (due to being out of town), but I did make some new Japanese recipes, one of which is a definite keeper, Miso soup. I’ve had it many times and it is a personal favorite, so I’m glad to have found one that tastes just as good as the ones I get in Japanese restaurants. The other three things I made didn’t get recipe cards made for them.


Filling bear bank to the top

I put money in it every week in June. I’m worried about it not getting to the top at this rate, but I do put what little spare coins I get in. I’m planning on investing in coin wrappers in July to prepare and I already have plans for when it’s full and ready to be banked!


Get out there more

I did a good job of this and found myself out and about more often. I went to Doctor Who: Rise of the Cybermen with two friends, went out exploring Rockville Maryland, went to places with friends and met my first online friend. We’ve been friends for 7 years and met this weekend. It was a lot of fun and we clicked super well!