Sunday, July 1, 2007

How Can I Cut Expenses and Raise Income

Let’s see, let’s start with the mortgage. How can I reduce this expense? I already have a fixed rate, 5.8% 30 year mortgage so refinancing isn’t an option. I’m going to have to think of more radical suggestions like a roommate. Eek. I don’t know. I didn’t like having a roommate in college. I can’t imagine having a roommate now when I own the house. Every little thing would drive me nuts. I do feel a little guilty about living alone in a four bedroom house. I have heard of a local program which finds housing for homeless high school kids. I live right next to a high school and it would only be for the school year. I could look in to that. There is always foster care but that is a huge time commitment. I wouldn’t want to tackle that alone. Maybe a nice elderly person? No, I’m thinking short term, 2 years max. I wouldn’t want to have to kick them out when I want to sell. My house was a vacation rental last year. I could move out again during the popular months of January thru March. That paid for my mortgage for 5 months this year. The only problem with that is that I can’t really settle in. It is only for 3 months though. I might do that again next year if I still have my house.

Ok, how can I increase my income? I don’t want to get a second job. Unless it is something that I really enjoyed, a second job would infringe on my sleep time and I would never be home to enjoy my family, friends and house. Then it would have to be something I can do from home like selling on ebay or making crafts. Perhaps I could draw pet portraits. I would like doing something creative. I have to be careful about expenses though. Hobbies can cost a lot more than the money they produce. I should know, I have quite a collection of arts and craft stuff. There is a swap meet nearby. I’m not sure if I could make money selling things there. So far I have been stumped by the bathroom break question. I need someone to go with me so I don’t have to leave my stuff to run to the bathroom or wear a diaper all day.

Other income ideas could include baby sitting, pet sitting, house sitting although people often like to trade for those services. House cleaning on the weekends is always an idea as well as tutoring since I am next to a high school.

And the last part of this money saving equation, cutting expenses. I really should get rid of cable TV. I won’t have time to watch it anyway if I start up one of my money making ideas, or two or three. I would like to plant a small container garden. My yard isn’t big enough for a large one. I have tried to grow tomatoes, squash, onions, garlic, melons, beans and strawberries this year. Only the tomato and a melon has survived. Having two residences makes it hard to keep up with plants which is one of the reasons I am trying to sell my house and move so I don’t have to drive back and forth between the two.

I already consolidate my errands, shop at thrift stores, buy food on sale, try not to eat out, track every dollar spent, and even wash out and re-use plastic baggies. The one place I could cut back though is the grocery store. It is often the only store I go to for weeks and sometimes I shop for food to entertain myself. I really need to eat what I have instead of buying things that appeal to me at the moment.

Well, that’s my list so far. I will keep on thinking.

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