Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Recession Entrepreneurs

I have seen news stories and articles about the recession spawning a surge in entrepreneurs. The uncertainty of the job market is encouraging individuals to start their own businesses (home based or otherwise) either as a side job or as a new career.

I have looked into the prospect of starting a home based business to supplement my (decreased) income and I have come to realize something.


Between zoning laws and home owners association rules I don't see how anyone can legally operate a home based business.

I am all for restrictions, I mean I don't want to live next door to a brothel. But me at the sewing machine making a purse......I don't see how that bothers anyone.

Anyone have a home based business? How were you able to do it?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Updating Skills for Less

A while back I discussed taking a class to improve my skills in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop so that I can be more marketable in my field.

I did some research and came up with 3 options.

1. Take a class at the local university
Cost - Illustrator : $190 for intro class and $215 for advanced class
Photoshop : $190 for intro, $205 for intermediate, $215 for advanced 1 and $215 for
advanced 2
Total - $1230

2. Take home course with Penn Foster
Cost - Illustrator: $535
Photoshop: $738
Total - $1273
Software included

3. Buy books and teach myself
Cost - $350
Total - $350
This total is if I bought all 6 books I found that I could use to teach myself.
Some of the books are specific to fashion.

There are pros and cons to all 3 options

1. With options 1 and 3 I would need to purchase Photoshop ($700) on top of paying for the classes.

2. With option 1 I would have to pay for the extra gas to drive to the school, parking and I would have to change my work schedule because the classes are during the day.

3. With options 1 and 2 I would probably need to buy some of the above mentioned books because they are specific to fashion.

4. With option 2 once the course is complete I will earn a certificate. With option 2 I would have to take 9 courses to earn a certificate.

The question many of you are probably thinking is

How am I going to pay for any of this?

If I go with option 2 I can pay monthly
If I go with option 3 I can buy one book at a time (I could also buy them cheaper at half.com or Amazon)

What should I do?

Time to Pay Bills

I was pleasantly surprised when I got my pay stub this week. I thought my pay cut was going to be in effect and I budgeted accordingly, but I guess it did not go into effect in time.

I reworked my budget to fit my new (lower) salary. I deferred my federal student loan, the interest rate on my private student loan must have changed because my payment dropped by almost $100 (thank God), and I am working on lowering my electric bill.

New Budget

Pay Check 1 - $830

Student Loan - $556
Electric - $212 (Working on lowering this amount)

Total - $768

This leaves me with $62 for 2 weeks. $30 to fill my tank, that last 2 weeks and $32 for groceries.

My pay check was for $1085.

Surplus - $255

Magazine Subscriptions - $31 (I let the payment laps and was getting angry letters from them)
Book Club - $17 (I ordered a book about turning your craft into a business)
Target - $7 (I needed some lotion)

With the $200 I have left I am going to pay off some charges I put on my Master Card. Yes, I've used the card I paid off. I'm so ashamed, but I'm doing it so they don't cut the card off. I pay off everything I charge.

I also got my tax refund. I wish I could put my refund in my savings account or use it to pay down a credit card, but it has been earmarked.

Tax Refund - $995

Car Repair - $650
Sister - $245
Mother - $100

There goes my refund, but at least I was able to complete one more of my goals.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How Far Would You Go To Be Debt Free

Would you sell one of your kidneys if it meant you could be debt free? How about your eggs (if you're a woman)? Or some bone marrow?

I was doing some research on debt repayment and found an article about a woman that sells her eggs for $10,000 a pop to pay off debt. I must admit, it peaked my interest, if only for a moment.

It got me to thinking.......

How far would I go?

In some countries the poor line up to sell organs for money, if we could do that here I wonder how many people would do it.

I don't like children and do not want any (I won't change my mind, I've felt this way since I was 12), why shouldn't I make some money off of my unused eggs?

I don't drink (my kidneys probably look show room new), why not cash in?

The moral battle wages on, but in the mean time......

How far would you go?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

You are the Result of your Choices

I have recently become fascinated with the show "Being Erica". If you have never heard of it, it is about a woman named Erica who is given opportunities to go back in time and relive situations that she has grown to regret. At the end of each show she reflects on the opportunity, and it seams (the show is only 3 episodes in) that her life isn't changing that much.

Anyway, I got yo thinking....

What choices have I made in my (financial) life that I regret and would change if I could?

I regret

1. Getting the second degree
2. Not fighting for the job I really wanted after I graduated with the first degree
3. My choice in career
4. Living off my credit cards in college

I try not to dwell on the past, what's done is done, but where is Doc Brown when you need him? (Back to the Future for those who didn't know)


What would you change?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Trying to Make a Doller Out of 15 Cents

I know my posts have been sporadic lately, but as you know I have been going through some things at work. To catch everyone up I have been demoted at work and had to take a 2.15% pay cut AND my hours have been cut back by 2.5 per week.

I decided I could either get mad or get productive. I decided to get productive (I got mad too.)

1. Come up with a new budget
I am going to have to learn how to survive on $1660 compared to $2100.

I deferred my federal loan for a year - Saving $180 a month.

2. Get a part time job
So far no luck, but a new store, pharmacy, and supermarket are opening near my current

3. Find ways to lower variable bills
I turned down the thermostat to 72 and don't turn in lights unless I am reading.

I am continuing to save, I am going to try to maintain my goal of $100 a month (but no less than $50).

I'm undecided on what I am going to do about acquiring new skills so I can get a new job. I've been told I can get books and teach myself the software. Has anyone tried this? How effective is it?

After everything that has happened to me in the past month I have been giving some serious thought to starting my own business. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time but never did. I know we are in the middle of a horrific economy, but many businesses started during the Great Depression.

It's something to think about.