Monday, August 13, 2007

What ever happened to the break even challenge?

Some of you who have been around my blog a little while may remember that at the beginning of the summer, I set a Break Even Challenge for myself. Then at some point, I just stopped.

The truth is, I really just got too lazy to keep tracking it. At the point where I left off, I was making enough money from my part time job to break even on a week to week basis, but I was so far behind from the first three or so weeks of not working outside my home at all, that I was not likely to ever catch up. So I kind of just stopped.

What I realized is that, yes, I can break just about even by working about 20 hours a week at my tutoring job, even without doing anything else, as long as I stick to my budget. This proved to be a somewhat useless piece of information. "Breaking even" didn't leave any extra money for Retirement, Investing, or paying off debt. The budget I had made was also a stranglehold kind of a budget, without a whole lot of room for play, and one to which my husband never agreed. So every week I would consistently go over budget, make no progress on my financial goals, and be extremely frustrated.

The other thing I realized was that some of the "make money fast" internet stuff I had been counting on to supplement the part time income during slow periods just didn't cut it. While it is some nice extra pocket money that I can use to play, it takes up a lot of time that I should probably be spending thinking about the future instead of the present. If I spent more time doing tasks that would, in the long term, improve my career or my husband's career or generate a long term stream of passive income, I would be much better off than grabbing a dollar here and a dollar there.

So, no, I didn't break even for the summer, but I really did learn a lot from the challenge. I know that if I keep working at the long term stuff, investing wisely, and paying down my debt, there will be a time when my part time income exceeds me outgo. Until then, though, it's back to work for me.

See all the challenge posts:

The challenge
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5 - Success


Eric said...

I've had horrible success with Adsense, but I've done well with PayPerPost and Associated Content.