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Archive for January, 2008

Another $11.97 into the Tiki Fund

January 28th, 2008 at 06:38 pm

Thanks to an eBay sale and another sale from my Web site, I added another $11.97 into the Tiki Bar savings account today. It feels good.

I know it's only small amounts, but just deciding to do this and keep track of the results really keeps me motivated and constantly thinking of new ways to make extra money.

$55.97 closer to a tiki bar!

January 26th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Thanks to some craft sales and another Amazon book sale, I'm adding another $55.97 to the Tiki Bar fund. It isn't a lot, but it sure feels good to make some progress! I've also decided to raise the Tiki Bar Fund savings goal to $1,500, since I'm almost half way to my original goal of $1,000.

Two steps closer to savings goals

January 23rd, 2008 at 06:33 pm

I sold two book through the Amazon marketplace, so those profits are going to the Tiki Bar Fund.

(I'm applying the $20 challenge principle to my Tiki Bar Fund-- using new sources of revenue to boost my savings.)

The total sales came to $17.87, but after shipping and fees my profit was only $7. (Boo.) The tiki bar fund total is now $399.19.

I should be able to add more to that by the end of the month, due to some pending eBay sales.

On a more exciting note, I just got a check for $1,947 for a freelance project I did late last year. It's going directly into my IRA.

My goal is to max out my IRA this year with $5,000 in contributions. This is a good jump start. Only $3,053 left to go!

On another note, I just got $75 worth of Amazon gift certificates in the mail. We use an Amazon credit card to and these are our accrued "Rewards". I used the certificates to buy my crib mattress, so that was a nice bonus for baby that didn't have to come out of our pockets.

First trip ever to Aldi's

January 23rd, 2008 at 02:28 am

I went to Aldi's for the first time tonight. We needed a lot of pantry-stocking basics. At first, I wasn't impressed. The prices seemed very similar to those at Wal-mart on most items.

But the small savings must have added up. At the checkout, I paid a little less than $54 for an entire cartload of groceries. I'm guessing we can eat on that stuff for more than a week.

I even bought "luxury" items-- meat and fish, which we don't normally cook at home. Geesh. I can't even get by on $54 at Wal-Mart!

It's really time for me to start that price book so I have more than a vague idea of what things cost. I'll definitely be patronizing Aldi's again.

First baby money anxiety

January 18th, 2008 at 07:37 pm

My hubby and I are expecting our first baby April 4. It's causing a bit of anxiety. We've always been somewhat conservative financially. As in, even though we both have held full-time jobs, we have always lived on one income only and saved the rest.

This has worked out well. However, our plan for when a baby came along was for me to go from full-time to freelance. After child care costs, I'd have next to no take-home pay so it wouldn't really be worth it. It'd just bump us into a higher tax bracket.

But freelancing isn't easy. It's hard to plan when you don't know what projects will come your way or how long it'll take to get the check.

Right now, I'm having a bit of anxiety. We simply don't know how much this little one is going to cost us.

Maybe I shouldn't worry, because even without my freelance income we are managing to pay bills and sock a little bit away. The savings account balance isn't growing as fast as it used to, but at least it's still growing.

And, even pre-baby, we've been rather thrifty. We've used second-hand stores to get a lot of what we need for the little one. We've only spent about $120 so far and we have the crib, stroller, play mats, blankets, toy chests, and a large laundry basket full of clothes.

We're using a Xmas gift certificate for the car seat, and we are going to use gift certificates from last year's credit card rewards for the crib mattress. We're planning to use cloth diapers, which will save $ in the long run, but require an up-front investment.

We've also put $2,000 into a 529 plan for junior, to get a jump on college savings.

Still, even though we're thrifty on this front, we have no idea what it really costs to have a baby.

We still want to meet our other goals: Starting a business, investing more in the stock market, maxxing out our retirement accounts. And we'll need a new car in two or three years.

Can we keep our expenses low even with a baby or is there something we just haven't thought of yet?

Post post, and hope the cash trickles in...

January 18th, 2008 at 03:40 am

Today was productive. I just set up an eBay auction for some very nice perfume I won at a holiday raffle. I also put 4 like-new books up for sale on the Amazon marketplace and posted two listings on Etsy.com, the craft Web site, for some tote bags that I made out of vintage Transformers and Batman fabrics. Hopefully some of these will sell in the next few weeks so I can pad the tiki bar fund! (although, not as much as I like because auction fees really add up. What a racket!)

It's time to also think about expanding my craft repertoire to boost sales so I can get closer to my goals. I'm thinking of designing/ selling a simple and inexpensive sewing pattern for reusable grocery bags. And maybe branching out into sterling silver jewelry. That will take a whole new skill set, but would be very exciting to learn.

Anyone have any experience selling on Etsy?

January 16th, 2008 at 05:43 pm

As part of my plan to pad the tiki bar fund, I am thinking of selling some of my indie crafts and patterns on Etsy. I have heard mixed reviews. A friend of mine said Etsy isn't that great because most of the site's visitors are sellers rather than buyers. Do any of you have any experience with Etsy? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Using the change jar to get closer to my goals...

January 10th, 2008 at 05:36 pm

It's that time of year again. Time to empty the giant plastic beer bottle "piggy" bank. It's the receptacle for all of my spare change, linty pennies I picked up on the street, as well as my go-to guy for bus fare and parking meter money. When it gets overwhelming, I empty it out. It's been about a year.

This year, with my honey's blessing, I'm putting that money in the Tiki Bar Fund. This will probably be the last big "easy" boost the fund will get this year. A sad thought considering it's only early January. I'm actually going to have to go out and (somehow) earn the rest.

I rolled as many coins as I could last night while watching television. Holl-ee cow. When I counted, I had $112. I also cashed in pennies at the Coinstar, for a total of $26.19.

I know, I know. Coinstar charges 8.9 percent to sort, but I ran out of wrappers and my bank won't take loose change. I wrapped all of the silver, so it's worth it to me to pay $2 or so just to get those pennies off my hands. I guess that isn't very thrifty of me, but I'm choosing my battles.

I went to the bank this morning to deposit all of my ill-gotten gains. This afternoon, I'll transfer it into the official Tiki Bar Fund online savings account.

The grand total: The pennies came to $26.19, for a grand total of $138.19 in change. Plus, I found a bonus $4-- a lottery ticket that my mom gave me for Christmas, so I'm adding $142.19 to the fund. Yay! I'm now up to $392.19!

Now the real work can begin.

First $250 in a high-interest online savings account

January 10th, 2008 at 02:45 pm

I have opened a high-interest online savings account for my initial $250 "investment". This is money I earned selling handmade indie crafts in December. (If only every month were as good!)

The deposit cleared today, so I am officially earning interest. I chose EmigrantDirect.com. I already have a savings account with them and have been very happy. The Web site is easy to use and getting your money in and out is fast and easy. It currently has an interest rate of about 4.5 percent--with an APY of about 4.65 percent-- much higher than the measly .05 percent my normal bank offers!

When I was shopping around, I found that Bankrate.com has an easy to use tool listing the highest paying accounts, their minimum balances, etc.

Let's see if I can figure out how to link to Bankrate's Guide:

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/rate/brm_mmasearch.asp

A new year, a new focus

January 9th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

A bottle of wine can make a big difference in your life.

This New Year's, about 1/2 way through a bottle of Fuki plum wine, I finally admitted to myself and the world my deepest desire. To be my own boss, and how? By opening my own Tiki bar. I've always been a tikiphile. Collecting mugs at thrift stores and online for years. I have hundreds. I also used to be a Bourbon Street bartender, so I've slung a few drinks in my day. Throw in that I've quit just about every day job I've ever had after two years because I can't stand having overbearing bosses, or slaving away all day to make someone else rich.

So Eureka. Tiki bar it is.

What does this have to do with your blog, you ask? I am going to chronicle my quest to turn any extra money I have into enough money to achieve my dream.

I'm naturally thrifty, which is why I love second-hand shopping so much. But the real question is can you achieve big goals through small, incremental actions? Well, we'll find out won't we?

Along the way, I hope to come up with some ideas you can apply to your own life. We all have dreams, big and small, and maybe we can reach some of them together.

Oh, don't tune out and think this is going to be another boring, preachy personal finance blog. I personally hate that stuff. I'm not going to suggest buying 50 lb bags of bulk oatmeal to save money. Pah-lease. No rinsing out of plastic bags, either.

Here is my plan. I can't afford to use my regular paycheck to save for this project, so I am going to use "extra money".

Just what that is, I'm not sure yet.

I do sometimes sell indie crafts and such, so that will be one source of extra money. Over Christmas I earned $250 selling my handmade items. It was just sitting in my Paypal account. This is the seed money to get this project started.

Change on the street? That too.

I'll probably dabble in some eBay auctions and selling books and videos on Amazon and Half.com. Anything I earn from Google Adsense will go to the cause as well. (So start clicking, folks!)

This "extra money" will go into a high-interest savings account, that way my little bit of money is out there working for me. Once the balance grows, I may move it to other investments. We'll figure it out as we go along.

This is going to be a long, hard challenge. But I hope a fun and interesting one. Won't you join me on my journey?