Finding a Second Job

18 Nov

So I actually applied for a job that seemed thoroughly interested in me. It is sort-of in my field but in an area that I have never been exposed to and it somehow does not require a license, which most jobs in my realm require. Anyway, they asked me if I would ever be interested in becoming full-time if I liked what I was doing part-time. That’s a tricky answer for me. I said that I would consider it but the truth is, I’m not really sure. If it was more money you would think that it would be easy but the fact is that my current position has excellent benefits. The pay sucks but the benefits are top-of-the-line. And since it’s unionized, I have a lot of extra perks here or there.

I have no idea how it’ll work out but if they do choose me, I would be working insane part-time hours along with my full-time job so I might be dead.

My husband is trying to get the ball rolling on his website. His is a lot better than this one. :-)

I am also trying to get my account going with another site, in which people pay to download files from you. I’m not going to kill myself to do it but I am definitely going to bring my stuff with me when I have some free time at work and work on it there.

Everyone always says to just increase your income. I have been trying for over a year now. And we’re still not there. But I hope we are soon.

Also, I hope we’re moving soon. Our closing date has come and gone…

..and we’re still here.

Life Update

11 Nov

I haven’t been around too much lately. Things have been crazy with Hurricane Sandy, attempting to get a second job, working on another blog that will be read more than this one, etc.

HOUSING

We were approved by the co-op board and our closing date has come and gone. Hurricane Sandy really knocked us out for a punch and put a major delay in many of our plans. Of course, more fees must be paid and we have been paying quite a bit into this property already but once it’s over, we will have our own place, we will be making payments that are less than our current rent and we will hopefully enjoy our new surroundings. I’ll have to write about all of the unexpected expenses in terms of purchasing a co-op, which no one will care about because most people do not live in areas with them! I really hope that we can close before the end of the month but that is looking less and less promising.

GETTING A SECOND JOB

Unfortunately, I have really gotten no where with this. After my initial excitement and interviews, I haven’t heard anything. One place I interviewed at said that my schedule didn’t really work for them. Another place, after calling me, never called me back once I returned their call. I did have another interview last week but they seemed to, in actuality, want someone part-time. My husband was also having a difficult time with finding a second job so we started another blog about something he is very familiar with and it seems to be doing okay. We have only existed since October and we are getting over 100 views everyday already so hopefully we can continue on an upward trend.

My husband and I also talked about his goals. Although he really loves where he works, he has been there for over four years and there is no room for growth. Absolutely none. Over the years, he has received tiny raises and then small bonuses but after doing some research, he could be making quite a bit more money at the senior level. Once all of the housing stuff settles down, I think he is really going to think long and hard about what he wants to do and possibly look for another job.

SAVING MONEY & RETIREMENT

This area has been problematic for us and I think the fact that this housing stuff is never-ending is part of the problem.

We were in the position of saving nearly all of my paychecks every month until the co-op stuff started. Now, instead of putting them into the savings account, I have been putting them into our checking account because I have been writing checks non-stop. I haven’t even been able to keep track of anything anymore since they seem to have cashed some checks and not others. I also have not been able to do anything in terms of retirement because I feel stuck with this house stuff over my head.

 

How to Save Money on Moving

23 Oct

My husband and I have been preparing to move. We still need approval via a cooperative board but nonetheless even if we do not receive it, we will be moving anyway since a friend of his is taking over our apartment. Instead of making this a rushed process, we decided to just put together boxes over the next month. I get overwhelmed by this and my husband has a lot of “stuff” so it takes me a long time to pack things away. Not only that, but for insurance purposes and for my own knowledge, I have been listing every single thing as I pack it away. It seems like the optimal time to do it!

But moving can be expensive. When my husband and I first moved in together, we didn’t have any stuff, so it was pretty easy. Now that we have items like an entertainment center and couch, moving seems like it could be a lot of work — even though we live in a small, one-bedroom apartment! As the resident cheapskate, I have come up with these ways to help save a ton of money on our move.

1. Boxes, Boxes and More Boxes. Many people struggle with this one and I admit, I am lucky in this regard. The place I work receives boxes on nearly a daily basis and little by little, I take them home. If you know you are going to be moving, start taking boxes from your workplace way before you begin your move. We live in a tiny one bedroom apartment so having boxes sitting around is not the most glamorous thing but I know it’s for a short while so I suck it up and just ignore the boxes. Boxes are everywhere and all you need to do is ask around. Ask your boss or the person receiving shipments if you can take the empty boxes home from work. If you don’t really receive shipments, ask around – ask your friends, ask your family and even ask local businesses. When I needed some extra boxes one time, I simply walked across the street to a store I frequented and they let me have whatever they had on hand.

2. The Packing Up & Moving Out Part. Packing up your things can take a lot of time which is why we’re starting to early. I recently realized that my brain is converting itself into a minimalist type of person so seeing how many things my husband has already stresses me out! If you start a month or two ahead of time, you can easily pack things up slowly without anybody helping you. Now that you’ve been working on that you need to get your actual move sorted out. This is usually the expensive part but keep in mind the following ways to save money:

  • Renting Your Own Truck. Renting your own moving truck and/or van may save you a lot of money in the long-run. If you don’t have a ton of stuff or have more than one person helping you, this may be a viable option.
  • Using Your Friends’ Abilities. Your friends are an awesome resource. Barter with them and butter them up! Offer to help them with projects in the future or buy them a pizza.
  • But…If you do end up needing to hire movers for whatever reason, shop around first. Call various companies and check their credentials. Do they have insurance in case they break something? Do they have good reviews? Don’t sign-up with the first company you see.

Moving can be an expensive process. I am definitely not looking forward to the move but I am looking forward to starting new and organizing our “stuff” in a new way. I will be implementing a lot of these little tips once the move gets underway!

Have you have an expensive move? What have you done to save some money?

Starting Your Blog By Shopping Around

16 Oct

My husband and I are looking into starting a blog as side business. Tired of trying to find second jobs without getting anywhere, we decided to focus our efforts on something he truly loves to write about and that I could work on in the background.

When you are trying to set-up your blog, your choices seem endless. Once you know what you want to blog about, you might not know where to go from there. There is so much information on the web it’s hard to even know where to start. In order to avoid becoming overwhelmed, here are some simple baby steps you can take to make things easier for you:

(1) When looking for advice, try to stick to a few different sources at first. Whether you’re checking out books from the library or perusing various websites, I recommend that you start off by looking at only a few resources. One great site to start off at is Blogging with Amy. You might think I’m crazy by saying you should limit your research but I really only recommend you do this at first so that you’re not completely overwhelmed. Once you have a clearer idea of where you’re heading, start expanding your searches into the areas you need to look into.

(2) Decide on some of the “big things” so that you can get started. Once you’ve decided on a topic, you might want to get the “big things” out of the way. Many of these may be things you only consider once; however, they are big hurdles to get out of the way. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The name of your blog – Is someone using what you wanted already? Is it unique, catchy and/or easy to remember? Do you have tagline that you want associated with your name?
  • Domain and hosting – Have you researched where you want to purchase your domain from? GoDaddy.com is not the only domain provider and I would look into other sources (i.e. Namecheap) as well in order to determine which provider will work best for me. Who is going to host your blog? Do you plan on doing all your business through a particular website (i.e. WordPress) or are you going to use multiple entities to bring your blog to life?

(3) Know what the point of your blog will be and who you are addressing. Is this blog for you or are you trying to make this a business? Are you using this blog to network or showcase your talents in an area such as photography? These decisions will ultimately push you in the direction that your blog should go.

For us, this has been a learning experience. Although we just started on this path, it has been a challenge deciding every little thing so far. I just remind myself that over time, everything will be easier and things will eventually go smoothly.

Have you had a challenge starting and staying with a blog?

My Little Update on Life

7 Oct

My husband and I have not really saved any money in about two months. That’s a painful existence for yours truly!
What have we been spending money on begrudgingly?

  • The Co-op: We have been writing checks like it’s nobodies business.
  • The Mortgage: They already started pulling money out of our accounts for mortgage-related fees.
  • Vacation and Gifts: We went on vacation last month. We’ve been writing checks for gifts. It seems to never end!

 

After my previous posts, I still haven’t had any luck in landing a second job. Many places find my hours at my current job to be problematic. My husband hasn’t had much luck either so we are looking into a few different options, such as:

  • Creating a new blog that we would work on together. It would include one or two other people. This would be a blog that we work on seriously and something we would try to make money from—not like my lame attempts here! ;-) The blog would also be completely unrelated to the topics discussed on this blog.
  • Using a website that I might be able to upload things onto for money—if people purchase them.

 

I hope everyone is doing well. My real entry will come soon!

Saving on Low Carb Diets

26 Sep

My husband is fat.

It’s blunt. And I put it out there. But it’s true. And he’s the first to say it.

My husband has been overweight since I met him many years ago. In fact, when he used to stand on his Wii Board to work out using Wii Fit, it would tell him he was technically considered obese. If you look at him, you probably wouldn’t guess that, but according to his BMI, he is obese. (Please don’t forget that BMI is not a good factor for everyone. He is a big dude.) When I first met my husband, he told me that he used to be over three hundred pounds! I could not believe it, except for the fact I caught a rare picture or two of him looking much bigger than he currently looked. He told me that he lost weight doing his own version of Atkin’s.

What Is Atkin’s?

I’m sure you have already heard of Atkin’s, which is a low carbohydrate diet that is supposed to induce rapid weight loss by reducing your intake of carbohydrates and stimulating ketosis. His intent was to merely use this as a launch pad to eventually transition into another phase of eating, which Atkin’s is supposed to let you do.

Why Atkin’s?

My husband eventually stopped losing weight and once he transitioned off of Atkin’s, put some of the weight he lost back on—approximately thirty pounds. After almost two years of struggling to lose LITERALLY a single pound, he decided to go back on Atkin’s as a lifestyle choice, not just a short-term diet. He decided to do this upon our return from vacation and he has already lost over five pounds, which makes us both very happy.

Here is the thing about my husband: he eats less than I do, he eats better than I do and he works out anywhere from three to four days a week. Here is the thing about me: I eat like crap, I eat all insane hours of the day/night and never work out. I’ve never been overweight. He has always been overweight. I have never, ever seen someone struggle as much as him to lose a single pound. It breaks my heart and almost seems a little unfair that I could sit down with a Slurpee and chips while he chomps on a salad and the end results stay the same.  He has an insane amount of self-control when it comes to eating, whereas I do not. It seems that for whatever reason, his body only responds to his version of Atkin’s. He has been restricting himself to 30 g of carbohydrates a day, which I could NEVER do.

Atkin’s – Not a Friend of Your Wallet

If you look up a list of foods that are low in carbohydrates, you will find that list incredibly small. Atkin’s severely limits what you can eat. In fact, I had to make a list of things that I could purchase from the store for my guy and that list was quite short. I have to look up recipes so that he can get some variety in his diet.

This means that your ability to shop sales is also quite limited. So what can you do?

1. Make an All-Encompassing List First

The first thing I did was list everything, within reason, that was low in carbohydrates that my husband could eat. Depending on the carbohydrate limit for the day and what foods you like, this can vary a bit. Generally, your list will include meat, fish, cheese, eggs and certain vegetables. My husband needs to still get in some carbs everyday, especially because he goes to the gym, so he limits himself to the lowest carbohydrate breads he can find. If you’re looking for a start, this list has a pretty good overview.

2. Find Your Sales & Stock Up

Once you know what you are looking for, start searching for your sales. Luckily, there were some decent meat sales this week and it’s even easier when the person on the low carb diet isn’t as picky of an eater as I am! Freeze as much as you can, especially if you know there won’t be another good sale for awhile.

3. Check Your Labels and Make Note for Next Time

You will find that all foods are not created equal. If you buy that fake cheese or fake hot dog crap, it is loaded with who knows what and tends to have carbs (or a bit more in carbs) than the regular stuff does. When you find something that is low in carbohydrates, such as a certain brand of bread or snacks, make note of the item so that you’ll be able to pick up the item again next time. I have seen nearly identical looking things vary greatly in carbs.

4. Make Meal Plans Wisely

In order to make the most of your food, you really need to look into low carbohydrate recipes. After awhile, if you just eat burgers wrapped in lettuce, you’re going to get tired of them.  If you have ground beef or turkey, try to find as many recipes as you can using those ingredients. Simply Google recipes and start writing them down!

 

Have you found changing your lifestyle and how you eat to be difficult on your wallet? Do costs prohibit you from eating the way that you want?

Why Purchasing a Co-op Isn’t For Everyone

23 Sep

I have been looking at real estate for the past year. I know my neighborhood, considering I have been living here my entire life, and I know what I like. I know more than anything I would like a house. But, my husband and I cannot afford that. We live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and purchasing a home right now is not an option. In fact, where we live, it may never be an option. This is something I have reluctantly come to terms with at this point in my life.

I have always read pieces, blogs, message boards—you name it, I’ve probably read it—written by people who tell you to never purchase a co-op. It kind of makes me chuckle, because they make it sound like you always have an option. My own father tells me I should buy a house when it’s obvious we cannot afford one. Theoretically, it may be better for you, since you can do what you want to your own home but it’s not always the most practical choice.

Right now my husband and I are in contract to purchase a co-op. And without reservation, I can honestly say I will never purchase a co-op again. I have now become a naysayer!

Why Did I Look At Co-ops In the First Place?

In certain parts of the States, I am sure you will find people who have never even heard of a co-op. The idea that you are not actually owning something and in fact, just own shares of a corporation, would probably completely bewilder people. The fact that you must abide by and answer to a group of people who decide how you should live (also known as the cooperative board) may seem outrageous to people.

For us, it’s just a fact of life. Co-ops are ubiquitous where we live. The buildings in my neighborhood (that look like apartment buildings, yes) are almost entirely co-ops—not condos. There is a certain precedent for this. And they will continue to exist primarily because this is a launching pad or a way of life for some people. Co-ops are the only thing that my husband and I could reasonably afford. In fact, the mortgage and the maintenance will be lower than our rent.

What Has Changed My Mind

I knew that I would be charged fees for everything—but I had to start keeping a log.

Sure, you have to pay the bank. Closing costs. Fees for this. Fees for that. My eyes glaze over just thinking about it.

And yes, you have to pay the lawyer. Good times.

And then, lest you forget, the management company. We have to pay them for the application ($400), we have to pay them for one other thing that I already forgot about ($250) and we have to pay them separately to fill out one page—ONE PAGE—$150. They give you a list (yes, a list) of things they want from you—as intrusive as a physical examination from a doctor—that paint your financial history. Tax returns. Pay stubs. W-2s. You need a million references. Not enough, you say? Well it’s a good thing you have to make seven copies of every document so the board can have enough copies to go around and know your entire life story.

Everything takes so long and everything is such a huge hurdle. After we submit everything, we need to also have an interview with a board, where they will decide whether or not we are worthy.

And really, this is more than a month away. After all is said and done, the board can reject us. That’s right—after paying the fees, after paying the lawyer, after putting 10% of the purchase price into escrow, the board can simply say no for whatever reason they feel like.

Only the Strong Survive

Purchasing a co-op is a very long, drawn-out process that is definitely not for everyone. I say that I would never do it again but I guess I would if I had no other option. But if I did have an option, I would never do it again. Sometimes I look at my husband and tell him I regret doing this. I’m not sure if I really regret it or if I am just complaining because things are getting so tough with the co-op. But I think I will be happy once all is said and done and we finally move into our new home.

Have you ever though twice about purchasing a property? Do co-ops exist in your area?

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