Preparing For a Summer of No Income

Preparing for a summer of no income

Having summers off represents one of the greatest advantages of some professions, but also one of the greatest stressors.

Many people in the education field, including college professors, work approximately 8-9 months out of the year and have 3-4 months off. Not all employers provide the option of extending paychecks over 12 months. Many other professions are also cyclical in nature and after months of intense work you might suddenly find yourself without an income and with nothing to do.

The more prepared you are for the summer, financially and otherwise, the more stress you can remove from your life and enjoy the time off as it is meant to be enjoyed.

  1. Calculate your monthly expenses and then calculate exactly how much money you will need to get through the summer– Calculate the absolute minimum amount of money you will need to get through the summer (We are talking beans and rice diet and not spending a penny) and also calculate a realistic amount you need to continue your current standard of living. Don’t forget that most people don’t get paid as soon as they go back to work. Some people will be back at work for 2 weeks to a month before they receive their first paycheck. Also, don’t forget that you may have additional ways to save money in the summer like less commuting costs, less convenience food, etc.
  2. Save, Save, Save– Every extra penny you have needs to go into savings to help you get through the summer. If you do not have the absolute minimum amount of money to get through the summer you need to start making some plans now. How can you currently save more money? How can you work over the summer?
  3. Set yourself up for extra income during the summer– I have been buying items to sell on eBay when I happen to make it to a thrift shop or yard sale but haven’t had the time to list them. I will be listing them this summer. I also plan on indulging my hobby of scouring thrift shops for more items to sell online. This usually provides extra income and I love doing it. I also picked up a few 6 week summer classes to teach that I wasn’t planning on but if the classes don’t fill up that income is not guaranteed. Let friends and family know they can pay you to babysit or pet sit if you are interested. I also plan on trying to earn more Swagbucks for extra spending money.
  4. Be realistic about your summer plans– We had been planning on going on a cruise to celebrate a milestone birthday but unfortunately we had unexpected expenses present themselves during the year that meant that we couldn’t afford the cruise. However, we ended up renting a couple of condos on the beach with the price split between family and friends. We are going to have just as much fun and save a lot of money! I also knew that I needed to buy a couple of plane tickets this summer so I ended up factoring that into the amount I would need to get through the summer. However, if you are wondering how you are going to pay your bills this summer knowing you haven’t saved enough money you might have to cut any activities that aren’t free from your summer plans.
  5. Plan Free/Frugal summer activities – We live in Florida so our main summer activity is hanging out at the beach which only costs us a little bit of gas. There is also the discount movie theatre which is .75 cents on Tuesday nights. I plan on renewing my library card this summer and catching up on some reading. Exercising at beautiful, local parks is also free. There are tons of fun, free summer activities that you can take advantage of.
  6. Spend time with family and friends- Priceless but free! I never feel like I have enough time to spend with family and friends during the work years so I make sure to have plenty of time for them during the summer.
  7. Plan on doing frugal things you didn’t have time for during the rest of the year– If you aren’t working then your job is to save even more money. For example cooking more meals at home, hanging your clothes to dry instead of using your dryer, planting a garden, etc.
  8. Adjust your mentality– Summer is a time to rest and recharge after working the rest of the year. Take time to be outside and enjoy the little things. Don’t think that spending money is a requirement for having fun. You know that novel you have always wanted to write? Now might be the time.
  9. Get Organized– Get rid of things you don’t want/need, clean and organize the entire house.
  10. Try to take care of things that you didn’t have time for during your work year– For me, this list includes getting new glasses (mine are currently so scratched after 6 years of use that I can barely see through them), going to the dermatologist (a must for Floridians), detailing my car (my labor not paying someone), finishing sewing projects (I have clothes that need mended and pants that need hemmed in addition to other projects I plan to tackle) , deep cleaning the house, any store returns I have been putting off, etc. This is also a good time to fix things that need to be fixed.
  11. Travel frugally– I happen to believe that travel is good for the soul and I sacrifice in a lot of other areas so that I have the money to do it. There are some inexpensive ways to travel including house sitting, camping, road trips, cheap plane tickets, visiting family, etc. If you believe in doing this enough you can figure it out.
  12. Stock up on bargain basement deals– If you have the extra money and storage space, stock up on items you will use throughout the year at bargain basement prices when you find them. Having a stockpile of basic food goods that won’t go bad quickly saves me tons of money throughout the year. Over the summer I have time to follow the grocery store loss leader sales more closely.
  13. Set yourself up for success before you go back to work– Put systems in place to make it easier to adjust to returning to work. I will fill my freezer with drop and go crock pot meals, stock my pantry with the basics, clean and organize the whole house, take care of appointments and car maintenance all so that the transition back to work goes much more smoothly.
  14. Put a plan into place for the next year for your next summer- Three months of summer always seem to fly by. However, planning ahead makes a huge difference. If you are transitioning to only working 8 months of the year it usually takes a little while to perfect your system of saving for summer. If what you did this year worked great then implement it again for next year. If you wished you had saved more during the year then adjust your system for next year.

Best tips from others who have had summers off:

Mandy- “Don’t mindlessly shop. Only go to the store with a list and stick with it. That’s what I did when I wasn’t working. Take advantage of free things like your apartment pool or gym.”

Leanne– “I would make sure that I had things lined up ahead of time. I would look toward industries that gear up in the summer, rather than slow down. For example, teachers and professors could always look to teach a specialized program at a summer camp.” She also suggests that before you make a purchase from a store, Macy’s for example, you check eBay. She recently bought a $60 Macy’s blouse on eBay for $8 including shipping!

Fate- “I did an auto deposit of 1/3 of my paycheck into a savings account during the work year at a different bank so I never see it. That’s what I’m living off in the summer.”

Karin– “I would probably get really creative with food and try to have fun with it. I know an adjunct who made it kind of a project to eat everything in her pantry and not buy groceries (aside from milk, bread and eggs) for a few months. And I’d pick up a fun, cheap hobby like painting and/or writing to make good use of my free time without spending money. So basically I would focus on saving money and having (almost) free fun instead of trying to figure out how to earn- that is, if you have some money set aside to get you through!”

Tiffany– “Play on your strengths with a part time job as a tutor, SAT prep, or nanny. Produce something of value in your free time like a blog or a self-published book.”

Maureen– “No dryer, hanging clothes. Using air conditioning units only until the room is cool. Buying only dry cat food. Staying away from stores because if I go to the store I buy something.”

 

Do you have any great tips for surviving a temporary period of no income? Share your story with us!

 

SWAGBUCKS INFOGRAPHIC: Mother’s Day By The Numbers

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4-29-16 Goodwill Finds- Michael Kors, Lilly Pulitzer, Nine West and More!

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Pictured above are the Michael Kors, real leather, ankle boots that I found at Goodwill today. They feel like butter and fit me perfectly. They were $9.99 which I thought was a lot until I looked up what similar shoes were selling for on eBay (~$75-100) and on the Michael Kors website (~$100-$500). Then I suddenly felt like I got a bargain!

We live by several colleges and many students have to move this time of year. This is a great time to go to the local thrift shops that are packed with donations of items that students simply couldn’t or didn’t want to take with them.

I had a great trip to Goodwill today. I was looking for some stuff to sell on eBay since I will not be teaching the first half of summer and I also went with the goal of looking for some size 6 Nine West Heels to teach in. Nine West heels fit my feet perfectly and I can wear them for 12 hours straight without them hurting my feet. 

I honestly thought I would be searching for those elusive and expensive heels for most of the summer and I can’t believe that I found a black pair and a white pair today (See below photo)! I LOVE these shoes because my feet love these shoes and I believe the black pair is real leather. I buy Nine West business shoes every time I find them in my size (which isn’t very often) and then they usually last a long time compared to cheaper brands but I spend almost all of my time teaching standing and walking back and forth between buildings, schools and classrooms so I’m rough on my shoes.

If you live in Central Florida and see any in a local thrift shop let me know!!!!!!!! No kidding.

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20160429_160016The above teal jacket (it doesn’t look teal in the picture) had such super cool lining and was in such a great color that I couldn’t resist. It’s Mossimo brand. 
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The above picture is of all of the items I found overall including Ann Taylor petite black dress pants, a maxi dress, assorted shirts, a Levi’s Polo shirt for B and a Polo Polo Shirt for B (he can wear polo shirts to his new job), a Mossimo striped dress, a Lily Pulitzer beach bag, the above pictured teal Mossimo jacket, a banana republic sweater and a really expensive winter coat for B.

The last purchase is really kind of funny because it’s close to 100 degrees in Florida right now but this is actually the best time to buy winter stuff from thrift shops because it’s already becoming difficult to remember what cold feels like.

20160429_155541Speaking of the best time to buy winter items I also added to my Ugly Christmas Sweater collection with the above beauties that I will store with the other ugly prize sweaters I will sell on eBay next Christmas. Or we might have our own ugly sweater party, who knows! I also purchased the Grey Herringbone J Crew jacket to sell and the completely crazy flamingo sweater that sells for a crazy amount on eBay. I’ll post an update on what it sells for. 
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I love Maxi skirts and the above boho skirt caught my eye.

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Above is a picture of B modeling his new winter coat. Pickles added the cat hair when I brought it home. Below is a picture of the really expensive interior lining and pockets. Someone paid a lot of money for this coat but thankfully it wasn’t me!

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4-16-16 Community Garage Sale Finds

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A couple of days ago I happened to see a sign for a community garage sale for a nice community down the road from where I live. Today I woke up early quite coincidentally AND remembered the sale and ended up going. I was really excited by my purchases. Everything I purchased above was for .25 cents to $3 but most of the items were $1.

I was really excited about finding some Miss Me jeans for $1 that I plan to sell, as well as Guess jeans and Aeropostale jeans. I’m going to try selling jeans on eBay for the first time so I was excited to find a few deals.

I also bought some clothes for myself including a couple of maxi skirts, some cute tops for our beach vacation, and some Hippie type pants that are very popular right now. In the picture below, I also found a set of three IKEA woven baskets for $1 that I had been wanting to buy at IKEA for about $15-20 but never had.

I love community garage sales because you get to go to so many sales without driving long distances between sales. I really hope I can find a few more this summer!

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3-27-16 A Few Frugal Things

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– We were going to meet my Mother at Cracker Barrel for Easter today but instead Mom decided to make a big Easter dinner. She only spent $33 for a whole ham dinner because of discounts she receives from working at Target. We are bringing dessert. I wanted to make a Peanut Butter Pie but our Dollar Tree was out of all natural peanut butter so I am making a Devil’s Food Cake with chocolate icing for $2 from Dollar Tree. Cheaper and I didn’t have to make another trip to the store. And Mom said she is sending us home with leftovers!

– We have been using paper towels instead of snake bedding and a cardboard box with a door hole for her house for the snake’s tank because we are trying to get rid of mites. This is also significantly cheaper than her regular bedding. (See picture above)

– I continue to give my college students paper that was printed on one side but blank on the other to write their in class essays. This way the paper gets used on both sides and not thrown away. While this doesn’t actually save me money I feel that it is a good life lesson for my students and it does save the colleges a small amount.

– I was completely out of blank paper for copies but several of the schools I work for give us free school supplies. I asked about paper and although they don’t normally provide it they did give me an entire unopened ream of paper because I asked. Another school gave me free expensive pens. I LOVE new office supplies, something about being a teacher maybe! I try not to buy any that are provided for free from my jobs and I actually end up buying very little.

– I have really been enjoying reading a few free Kindle books. Amazon offers so many books for free that I am trying not to buy any. It’s been a long time since I have actually purchased a kindle book.

– We really get a lot of use out of our Netflix and Prime Video streaming services and I just signed up for a free week of Hulu. Even if I keep the HULU subscription it’s still much cheaper than cable and I can cancel at any time.

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– I just received another free $5 Amazon.com gift card from Swagbucks and did an activity that will earn another $5.

– I lost my nice stainless steel reusable water bottle so I have been using a disposable Gatorade bottle until I get another.

– I ran out of my chemical free toothpaste so I have been cutting open the ‘empty’ ones and this lasts a lot longer than you think.

– I wore out the wheels on my professor rolling bag, my father has some I can use to replace them, and in the meanwhile I am using my back up rolling bag that was less than $1 at the Goodwill Outlet in Austin

– There are a few things that I would like to buy to add to my teaching wardrobe but I don’t NEED NEED them and I am committed to not buying any NEW clothing for a year. So instead I looked on eBay but didn’t find what I wanted so I added them to my thrift list.

– I have realized that a gray pea coat jacket would make my life a lot easier because it doesn’t have to be lint brushed as much as my black one (I have a white cat and her hair is very, very noticeable on black). The exciting part is that I bought one at the Goodwill Outlet in Austin, TX when I visited my sister. I couldn’t bring it home on my last trip but she saved it for me.

– We bought a few things for the same price or cheaper on Amazon Prime. This saves even more money because then we don’t have to go to a store and possibly buy even more. We also get free shipping materials for our eBay business.

SWAGBUCKS INFOGRAPHIC: Spring Break – By The Numbers

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Antiques in Exchange for Moving Help – Antiques we will sell on eBay

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A close family friend of our recently lost both of his parents. His parents had owned an antique shop and had collected many beautiful treasures over the years. Their collection was so massive that it will take years to sort through all of it. B and I went to help him clear out their house and he very kindly gave us all of the items in the pictures to keep or sell on eBay. We got some really cool things. Some of which we will keep forever but others you can find in our eBay stores HERE and HERE.

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Men’s Suits from Goodwill

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I’m very proud that my father completed a 9 month very intensive training class and is transitioning to a new job. He already owns several suits but needed a few more. We had a huge amount of luck on the same day that I found all of these clothes. The suit on the left fit my father so well he doesn’t have to have it altered in any way!

Starting a new job can be stressful and buying a new wardrobe can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be. I’m proud to have a father who is a thrift shopper like me!

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We also found this human to dog radio to play with his dog. Apparently, his dog can tell the difference between the radio and his normal voice so after being startled by it at first he started ignoring it.

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Dad also found this Hard Rock cafe jean jacket! Apparently these sell quite well online but I think he might keep it.

2-13-16 Goodwill Shopping Trip Haul

2016-02-13 15.25.32I had some fantastic luck last weekend when I went shopping at Goodwill with my father. The local Goodwill is right next to a huge university so there are generally tons of clothes. I really needed more sweaters to wear for teaching because we have had unusually cold weather this winter and I felt like I had already worn all of my winterish dress clothes several times (and I had). As you can see in the picture above I had great luck with sweaters and also some clothes for everyday life. I love trips like this where I have so much luck!

I got-

  • 7 Sweaters for teaching ~ $3 each
  • 6 Shirts for wearing in my daily life ~ $3 each
  • A pair of gray dress pants ~ $1.50 half off
  • A patterned dress skirt to wear regularly ~ $1.50 half off
  • I also was lucky enough to find a small cast iron skillet! (We have a large and medium one already) for $3.99
  • Two large mason jars $.99 each
  • A Wired Magazine book
  • A large basket that the cat quickly took possession of $3.99


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Close up pictures of what I found below 
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Free Birthday Gift Items from Sephora and Ulta

My birthday as this past weekend so I decided to pick up my yearly freebies from Sephora and Ulta. If you are a member of both of their free rewards program you are eligible for a free gift for your birthday. These gifts are typically sample sizes of higher end brands. It is a nice way to try out an expensive product without spending any money. image2-22

This year Sephora is offering a mini Marc Jacobs lipstick and eyeliner or a facial cleanser with a face mask. I chose the Marc Jacobs mini gift.

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Ulta’s birthday gifts change every 3 months. If your birthday is in January, February, or March you will receive a sample size of Benefits Roller Lash mascara.

Remember to get your freebies this year!

 

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