Thursday, June 7, 2007

Break even challenge

Since I’m not working full time for the summer, I sat down at the beginning of this month and figured out how much money I actually need to make to “break even,” that is, to make it through the summer without having to tap into my emergency fund or savings to pay the bills. First, I took our total outgo budget, including our fixed expenses, gas, groceries, and a small allowance for eating out and entertainment. Then, I subtracted out my husband’s stipend. That was how much I needed to earn per month for us to keep up with our bills. That number was $1800 (400 less than my salary at my full time job, which is worthy of further consideration in the future ). I then divided that 1800 by 30 and calculated that I will need to make an average of $60 a day, 7 days a week.

Now, if this were to be done with a regular job, then I wouldn’t calculate it for 7 days a week because, really, who wants to work 7 days a week? But I don’t plan to earn this money just from one job. I’m going to spend the summer experimenting and playing with different ways of earning money through freelancing, working part time jobs, blogging, writing, mystery shopping, and trying various online opportunities. Since I can do this for an hour or two a day, or take whole days off, I’m going to average what I make weekly over the seven days of that week.

I have very few worries about being able to make $60 a day. I already have a tutoring gig that starts next week where I’ll make $60 three days a week for two hours a day of work, so that only leaves four days of having to scrounge – and plenty of time during which to do the scrounging. Mostly, this will be an experiment in record keeping for me, tracking how much I’m actually making from various activities. Hopefully, I will be able to prove to myself that I can easily get by – if not ahead – should I ever leave or lose my full time job for any reason.

Here are the rules I’m setting for this challenge:

• Part time tutoring and essay grading for my current employer will count as break even money on the day I do the work
• Freelance work, commissions, interest income or anything I make requiring a payout at a later date will count on the day I receive the payout
• If I go under my weekly grocery budget of $50 or entertainment budget of $25, that will decrease my break even requirement for that week
• Gift cards and other rewards from point programs will NOT count as income but will instead count to reduce spending
• Personal spending or discretionary spending above what is budgeting will INCREASE my break even requirements for that week
• Grocery rebates will count as INCOME when they are received, but the original purchase MUST fit into my $50 a week grocery budget or it will increase my requirements of the week it was purchased

I may add more requirements as I go along and notice things that work or don’t work. I’m going to try to check in once a week with a challenge update, and give a weekly total, daily average, and current update total. Wish me luck and stay tuned!


PF101 said...

This is a great goal and it will be interesting to read all the different ways you come up with to make money. Good luck to you! I've made this a Post of the Day

tehnyit said...

Good challenge. Just be sure that you are also counting the cost of the incidentals that would add up to a significant amount over a 7 day period.

Eg, the cost of fuel as we run around town chasing the discounts.

Good Luck!