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Happy Halloween Everyone!

Halloween CarIt’s Halloween, and those in U.S. States that adhere to Daylight savings get an extra hour to add to the late night/early tomorrow fun. I’ll probably be in bed already by that time, but an extra hour of sleep is nice too.

Tomorrow I plan on hitting the craft and specialty stores in the area for discounts on Halloween treats and decor. It’s my partner’s favorite day for home deco shopping, and it’s also the best day of the year to buy Christmas gifts for my roommate from college (she loves skulls).

Anyway, other than that, I’m spending the weekend preparing for my first ever craft fair! I’m selling lamps made of liquor and wine bottles, scrabble tile Christmas ornaments, and homemade bath fizzies! I plan on sharing pictures of these items in the coming days, so you can see what I’ve been up to! Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Duct Tape Purse (Because I’m Awesome)

My friend Mell has never been much of a purse person. She keeps her phone,  keys, ID and money all in one place: her bra. I’m jealous she can get away with it. Anything extra in my bra sticks out like an obvious rectangle in a tiny bra.

Anyway, she recently decided she wanted to start carrying a purse around, for water bottles, books, and other things she needs that don’t fit “up there.” She didn’t want something huge, and she didn’t want to pay a bunch, so for her birthday, which was right after thanksgiving, I decided to make her a duct tape purse. I wanted to do something personal, and she’s always liked duct tape wallets, so I looked up patterns and tutorials. Since her favorite color is green, I thought a green-and-black checkered pattern would be the way to go. It turned out great!

Green and Black Duct Tape Purse

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52 Week Savings Wrap Up

This last year, I really put a focus on saving money for my student loans. My goal was to pay $5000 on top of my minimum payments. This $5000 was to go to my loan with the highest interest rate.

As a strategy to get me in the habit of saving, I decided to do the 52 week challenge. It went pretty well- I made it until june before saving got difficult. Then, it got really hard to do as a weekly thing. The 52 week thing also wasn’t going to get me anywhere close to my goal of $5,000, so I decided to speed things up. I started putting any extra money from my paycheck toward my savings, but still kept track of the weeks. So when I got paid, I’d look at what week I was at, say, 35. Then I’d see how many weeks I could afford to pay. If I had $150 extra. I’d pay weeks 35-38 for a total of $146. This helped me finish the challenge early, and save some extra money.

As it turns out, I saved about $4000. Not quite my goal, but still pretty great. My goal this year is to pay off that high-interest loan, which has about $6000 left. My strategy is going to be different, based on what I learned this year.

At the beginning of the year, since I was only saving a couple dollars each week, I had a lot of extra spending money, which I spent, since I’d reached my weekly saving goal. But that wasn’t helping me reach my end goal. So this year, instead of having weekly goals, I’m going to make it a race to pay off that loan. The sooner I can do it, the better. This “sprint” method is motivating me to plan ways to get extra income now, rather than waiting til june to get strategic.

As far as how to get extra money, I have three main assets right now:

  • my writing
  • my editing skills
  • my craft-savvy

I tried this year to hire myself out as a freelance editor. I got a couple of jobs, and flaked spectacularly on them. I am still going to try to wrap those up and salvage the situations, but basically it boils down to me not prioritizing my freelance work, meaning (rightfully) unhappy clients.

As I finish up these long-overdue jobs, I’m also going to be submitting my writing to websites that pay for articles. Since most of these are direct-submit or sites you pitch too, I’m more confident I can just get the articles written, and not worry about putting things off and making people unhappy for waiting on me.

I won a pretty cool looking planner in a contest recently, so once that gets here, I plan on jotting down all the sites I’ve bookmarked that I want to submit to. I’ll set out a day to send pitches to all the sites that want them. Then I’ll set out a day to write each article, as well as a day to edit each piece. With this plan laid out, I’m less likely to just let the sites sit as an un-utilized resource.

This year, I’ve finally allowed my crafty side to shine. I’ve done a few great projects (which I’ll be posting pictures of soon), and I recently organized my craft room so that I have a work-space. I have a lot of work I want to do on it- adding shelves, and a bottle-rack for all the bottles I’ve accumulated (most of which will become lamps.)

Most of what I’ve made so far has been as gifts for friends. I’m thinking that I need to make some items that are worthy of sale and start up an Etsy store. I still need to look into how I want to do shipping- and how taxes work, but I definitely think I can get something going. I think I’m going to aim to get 10 items done and ready for sale before I open up a shop. A big item will be the bottle lamps, but I’ve also got some cool ideas for mirrors and other decor.

Anyway, that’s a little bit on how my savings goal went this last year, and my plans for 2015. Thanks for reading, and let me know what savings strategies have worked for you, and also if you have any experience with freelancing productivity tips, or how taxes and Etsy work.