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Archive for October, 2013

New Photo Business! And other updates.

October 25th, 2013 at 04:30 pm

So it's been a little over a week since my last update. Things have been real busy with work, freelance work, and the start of a new facet of my freelance work-- photography.

I've been practicing photography as a hobby for quite some time now, and I had my first engagement photo session a few weeks ago. After all was said and done, I looked at Craigslist to see who was advertising there... and realized my photos were just as good (and in some cases a bit more professional) than the ones posted. So what did I do? I created a website, and started posting ads on Craigslist as well.

(want to check it out? http://www.taradeephotodesign.com)

For only being up for just over a week, I've booked two sessions with people I don't know- a wedding ceremony tomorrow and an engagement session next weekend. Not bad! I also have a couple of baby/family shoots in the works with people that I am friends with.

I also got some freelance work going with a nonprofit I used to work for, so I'm making up for the $250 or so I lost with drill being cancelled due to the government shutdown, which is really nice.

I did have some expenses that went along with it-- setting up and hosting the site, domain name, etc. I'm going to register for an LLC next month when I get paid, so I can be "official." I did also buy a new flash for my camera so I can get the indoor shots at the wedding more easily/effectively. I used my $50 Amazon gift card for that, so while it is still a business expense, it didn't affect my bank balance but for a couple of dollars.

So far, so good then Smile

While all that is happening, the job hunt is still going forward. I have an interview next Thursday with a company that is essentially a temp agency for creative professionals. I'm hoping that will go over well. They do contract-to-hire, so I'll basically work for a company on a "test basis" for a few months, then be hired on full time (ideally). So we'll see how it all works out.

Beyond that, nothing is really new on the financial front. I've been doing well making food/coffee at home so I don't waste too much money on food. I cooked dinner 4 times in the last week, and still have some leftovers. Time to hit the grocery store again!

Tomorrow I'm going to a murder mystery night at my BF's house. That'll be $20 (his room mate organized it, and all things accounted for, that's what he estimated it at per person, including dinner), and I do have to find something to wear. Hoping to find something awesome at a thrift store today *crossing fingers* - it's set in 1939, so this will be my Halloween costume as well.

Sunday I'm carving pumpkins with the BF. One of our favorite traditions Smile

Tonight will be low key. I've got that wedding to shoot in the morning (my first!) and I'm hitting the rehearsal tonight to talk with the couple and take some test shots in the church. Then BF and I will grab some dinner and either stay in and watch a movie or go out to see Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks. Easy going...

Anyway, this was a bit longer than expected. I hope you're all doing well!

Update

October 15th, 2013 at 06:51 pm

So it's been a little over a week since I've updated. This past week has been hideously busy, and I'm starting to get worn down with all of the stuff I'm doing for work. Despite the fact that I don't have a job lined up quite yet, I'm really looking forward to the election being over.

That being said, it was a pricey week. The more I have to do, the less time I have to cook. I hit the grocery store yesterday, but prior to that it had been well over a week... so I ate a lot of meals at restaurants and fast food places.

I also went shopping with a friend of mine on Sunday, and bought probably more clothes than I should have. It was all stuff that was practical- things I can wear to work, sweaters (I'm dangerously low on warm tops I can wear to work), a Victoria's Secret bra on sale for $15 to replace the one my washer destroyed. Nonetheless, that's about $80 I wouldn't have otherwise spent. Sigh.

I bought my plane ticket to Seattle- and it was only $312. That's almost $100 less than I anticipated, so I'm very happy about that.

Talked to BF last week, and we've decided to postpone our Europe trip until the spring. Hitting Copenhagen, Germany, and Zurich in late December is going to be freezing, and we'd rather go when we'll enjoy the weather a bit more. That being said, my new target savings goal is the $3,000 I'm trying to save for my taxes in April. I'm hoping to hit that long before April, but we'll see!

I had a job interview that went fine last week, but is not a job that I'd ever want to take. I don't understand why a company would advertise a "marketing specialist" position that is nothing but direct sales... sigh.

I did get a response from a nonprofit I'd really like to work for, but the salary level is quite a bit lower than I would prefer. At the same time, if I don't get any other offers, that might have to be what I take. It's enough for me to live on, but I feel like I could do better. Nonetheless, I'm thrilled to get a response. I've been applying to many, many places. It's frustrating to not hear back.

I picked up a bit of freelance work for a previous employer. That'll be some nice extra income! It's looking like I'm probably not going to have drill this month, though, because of the government shutdown... so that's about $250 I've budgeted for that will likely not come to me this month. I guess it'll balance out?

I did my first engagement photoshoot this past weekend, too- which was really fun. I wish the weather would have been a bit nicer. It was really overcast, but didn't rain... so I guess it could have been worse! I'm hoping that I can start booking paid gigs at some point, so this was good practice.

As mentioned, I did go grocery shopping yesterday- and made a big dinner for the BF and myself. Being so busy, we haven't really had any alone time recently, so it was nice to have a relaxing night in. I have plenty of leftovers to show for it as well Smile

I think that's about it. Sorry for the all-over-the-place hodge podge of updates! Hope everyone is doing well and working effectively toward their goals!

Payday and Goal Update

October 5th, 2013 at 04:38 pm

So I got paid yesterday and deposited my check. This morning, then, I moved some money around.

I paid $1,750 to Sallie Mae. Happy to report that my target loan account is at $10,297! If I could drop it under $10k this month, I would be really excited about that.

I've been thinking about my goals, and cutting that loan down is supposed to be my main focus... but I'm getting anxious about still not having a job as of mid-next month. So I put another $1,000 in my EF, just in case. Hopefully once I find something I'll be able to just apply that to the loan.

I have some big purchases coming up-- about $400 on a plane ticket to Seattle to visit a friend. I'm thinking I wont have to spend more than $200 once I'm out there. I'm hoping it'll be even less than that.

BF is buying me a ticket to Europe for my graduation gift, but I have to handle all of my expenses once we get there. We're still not exactly sure what our route is going to be once we get there, but he really wants to visit London... and I know it's supposed to be incredibly expensive. I wanted to visit Paris, but I know it's the same story. Germany is the one place we know we're visiting-- and we'll have a free place to stay there, thankfully. We're still working out the kinks otherwise, but I've budgeted $1,000 for the trip. I would hope it's not going to be more than that for two weeks split between us (hotel-wise).

I know that spending money on traveling might seem counterintuitive to saving... but it's a really big priority in my life, I miss my friend terribly, and I've never been to Europe. Besides, it's kind of hard to pass up a free plane ticket. I just feel blessed that I'm in a position to be able to make these trips and cover my bills. I can honestly say that this is the first time I've ever been able to do that.

Because I'm a contracted worker, I have to budget in taxes prior to April. I'm shooting to save at least $3,000 for that, as I know I'll get a deduction for my student loan interest payments-- which cap at $2,500, but I've paid in far more than that this year, so I'll get at least that much. So $2k for federal, and I'm guessing roughly $1,000 between state and local.

I'm also really hoping that by the time my birthday rolls around in May that I'll be able to buy a new car. What I get will largely depend on what kind of money I'm making at my next job... we'll see.

All that being said, in order to cut that loan in half by the end of the year, I need to pay off $4,297 on it. That will be do-able if I find a good paying job (or any job) as of next month- so let's hope I do find something. I'll be scraping by until then.

I hope all of you are chugging along on your goals and finding some progress! Have a great weekend!