December 2017 Navient Review

The assault continues on Navient #9!

The wonky billing cycle from Navient breaking all of my loans up continues on this bill cycle. For the January update we should be back to a full one month cycle.

This billing also reflects my first increased payment of $217.47 that was paid 12/1/2017. Thanks to the larger payment, many of my individual loan accounts decreased.  In addition to my minimum payment, I was able to pay extra each week to Navient #9 thanks to my side hustle, Shipt!

December 2017 Breakdown

This is an extra special update because I am finally done paying the accrued interest on this loan!

The Story of Navient #9

I was awarded Navient #9 on 10/3/2012. It is an unsubsidized loan, which means it has a higher interest rate, and it also accrued interest while I was attending school and any of the time that I was in deferment or forbearance. This was awarded the same semester as Navient #8 which was subsidized so that one has a much lower interest rate and did not accrue interest while in forbearance and deferment.

This was my last semester before graduation. It looks as though I was trying to be smarter about taking out subsidized loans and minimizing the unsubsidized amount.  I think at that point I had seen what trouble my student loans could become so I took out only what I needed: $939.

I then let that loan sit for almost 5 years while I hid my head in the sand and ignored all of my loans. In that time of inaction, I allowed this account to grow from $939 to $1,264.77.

 

Weekly Breakdown

11/17/2017

  • $122.32 Paycheck
  • $36.70 Saved for Taxes
  • $30 Gas
  • $50.00 Sent to Navient!

11/22/2017

  • $160.78 Paycheck
  • $48.23 Saved for Taxes
  • $20 Gas
  • $100.00 Sent to Navient!

This pay came a little early thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday. It was also a HUGE pay check due to Shipt offering incentives for orders that no shoppers have claimed yet, also known as promos. Some of these promos can be $20 on top of the regular pay and tip. The downside to that is if too many orders are going unclaimed it triggers a hiring wave in our area, which means less orders for all of us.

I picked up a couple $20 promo offers this week.

12/1/2017

  • $38.46 Paycheck
  • $11.54 Saved for Taxes
  • $25.00 Gas

This pay was super short. Shipt was offering a holiday bonus for members that could shop a certain threshold of orders in 3 days. They may have been trying to avoid the promo snafu that happened the week before.

Since there was no way I could meet the threshold in 3 days with my one order a night rule, I stayed off the schedule to support the other shoppers who did have a chance.

After taxes and gas, I didn’t have anything extra to give to Navient.

Recap

For the billing cycle 11/14/2017 – 12/7/2017 I was able to pay a total of $150 extra to Navient, but according to the Breakdown above, Navient #9 reduced a total of $200. I am obviously still having a little trouble making the amounts match up.

In the November 2017 Navient update, my breakdown was off $25. I think that maybe my last payment of $50 on 11/9/2017 perhaps didn’t post until this month’s cycle. I will figure this out eventually! Sorry for the confusion.

As of 12/7/2017, my Navient #9 is $940.04. Every payment I make from here on out to this loan will be applied to principal.

November 2017 Navient Review

I’m still struggling with a clear and concise way to relay my journey to paying off my student loans to my readers. I think my last attempt at an excel spreadsheet showed too much information so things became unclear.

While I would love to display all the details of each individual loan: The award date, the accrued interest, the interest that’s added each month minus the minimum payments and the extra payments, all of that information muddies the heart of the matter and I think it’s only valuable information at the beginning and the end of each individual loans pay off.

I’m going to attempt to update once a month the overall progress and then go deeper in to each week of that month

*EDIT* 12/9/2017 –  The balances reflected in this billing cycle include the minimum payment of $90.61 which was paid 11/1/2017.

November 2017 Navient Breakdown

This billing cycle was a bit wonky because my Navient customer service rep offered to break my loans up for me so I could pay one loan individually online instead of calling in and waiting on hold each week to make the payment to a specific loan. Calling in and saying out loud that I wanted to pay X amount to my loan was kind of rewarding and I miss that. I knew my coworkers could hear me say it out loud, and the rep taking the call was my witness as well.

Breaking up the loans sounded like a good idea at the time, but what I didn’t realize is that once a month I would get 11 individual emails, and my bank would have one page of transactions all from Navient for each minimum payment being made on those 11 accounts.

Now it appears that the act of breaking up those bills tweaked my billing cycle.

Getting all of my student loan balances now is a process. Since each loan is individual, they each have their own bill so I have to open 11 different PDFs, and only 10 are visible on the first page. I have to click “view more” to get my last student loan balance.

Soon I will have all the PDFs on one page! It’s the small things.

I’m currently working on my lowest balance and highest interest student loan, Navient #9. My income based repayment plan is automatically drafted from my checking account on the first of each month so I can take advantage of the 0.25% interest rate deduction.

On top of that, I put all the earnings that I can from my side hustle, Shipt. Read more about my experience with Shipt here.

Every week on Friday, my Shipt paycheck is direct deposited in to my account. Since I’m a 1099 employee, I tuck 30% of the earnings in a savings account specifically for taxes. I then fill my gas tank.

The gas I get each Friday not only gets me to the grocery store and to my customers but I also go to my full time job and take my daughter to and from school on the same tank of gas. After these two things are taken care of, any money that is left goes toward Navient #9.

 

Weekly Breakdown

October 6, 2017

I received my first paycheck from Shipt this day in the amount of $76.97. I saved $23.09 for taxes, put $30 in the gas tank and sent $25 extra to Navient.

October 13, 2017

I was paid $12.84 from Shipt this week because I decided of the two participating Shipt grocery stores we have in my city, I liked one better than the other so I chose to shop exclusively at that one. I got one order. I quickly got over myself and decided to shop both stores from here on out.

I saved $3.85 for taxes, and put $10 in my gas tank.

October 20, 2017

I was paid $92.12, saved $27.64 for taxes, put $30 gas n the tank and sent $25 extra to Navient.

It took about this point for my husband to come on board with this side hustle of mine. He didn’t like it at all so we came to a compromise: I would only deliver orders as late as 8pm, and I would work every day necessary until I reached my goal of $100. I figured $100 was the minimum I could make to save for taxes, fill the tank, and put $25 – $50 toward my student loans per week. This compromise has been working well for us!

October 27, 2017

I was paid $106.79, saved $32.04 for taxes, put $20 in the tank, ad sent $50 extra to Navient! This plan is working!

November 3, 2017

I was paid $100.93, saved $30.28 for taxes, put $35 in the tank, and sent $25 extra to Navient. It wasn’t my $50 goal, but $25 a week is respectable, too.

November 9, 2017

I was paid $117.34, a little above my $100 goal but that was due to promotional orders and good tippers. I still held up my end of the compromise: Stay home on my hubby’s day off, but working on his day off if I haven’t yet reached $100 for the week.

This pay was also a little early due to a bank holiday.

I saved $35.20 for taxes, put $30 in the tank, and paid $50 extra to Navient.

Recap

For the Navient billing cycle 10/6/2017 – 11/14/2017 I was able to pay a total of $150 extra to Navient. According to the breakdown above, Navient #9 reduced only $125.53.

This is something I’ve been struggling with when attempting to share my student loan pay off progress. I can’t get my numbers to match up! I’m thinking that perhaps the payment I made October 6th may have credited on the previous month’s bill.

I think this is the format I’m going to stick with from here on out, so the payments should match up when I make my monthly updates.

(Mis)Adventures in Side Hustling Vol. 3

Hello, and welcome to my blog where I document our family’s journey to a positive net worth. Currently I’m reliving my misadventures in side hustling because I’m all about self-deprecation and it makes for good story telling, so why not?

In late September on my commute to work, on a rare occasion I had the radio playing. Even rarer there was a commercial on and I listened absently. They were advertising a grocery deliver service called what I thought was Shipped. Wonder how that works? I thought and promptly forgot all about it.

A few days later I was scrolling my Instagram feed and saw a post asking if anyone had any side hustle suggestions. I quickly read through the comments because I’m always looking for extra income. At the time I was still waiting for my dreaded haunted house side gig and not looking forward to it.

One of the commenters gushed about Shipt. Aha! That’s what it’s called! I forgot I wanted to look in to that! I thought. Through further reading I learned that this woman made $5 per delivery + 7.5% of the order total + tips. “It adds up quickly!” she added. Hmm.

I found out that Shipt was hiring in my area so I applied online. In a couple of days I had an interview where I recorded myself answering a couple of questions. There were some essay questions: “Imagine a customer has organic raspberries on her order but all you see in the organic section is one carton of organic raspberries with a bit of mold. Please write a text to the customer explaining the situation.” One of the dreaded recorded questions: “Why do you think you would make a good addition to the Shipt team?”

After about a week I received a welcome packet which included a Shipt tee shirt and a company credit card. I was excited about this last bit because I figured that I would be buying the groceries and being reimbursed. I had plans to set up a separate bank account with $500 in it to replenish with reimbursements and to take my profits from once a week.

I was happy to learn the process was much easier than that. All I do is grocery shop with the app, scan the bar codes to make sure I have the exact item the customer requested, pay with the company card, and collect my paycheck once a week! It’s all very seamless.

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, of course. That’s why I’m writing this post! Now, I want to mention that while there is definitely a learning curve to being a personal shopper I feel as though some of these things I didn’t know could have been learned through research or reading the weekly newsletters sent out instead of just jumping right in like I did.

What I didn’t know right away was that when you add yourself to the delivery schedule, the hour window is the hour of delivery not the hour worked. For that reason, I was very late on my first 2 orders.

I also didn’t know that the items on the grocery list give you a location ID which corresponds to the aisle, the shelf, and the position on the shelf. Had I known this I wouldn’t have been near tears in the freezer section desperately looking for chipped beef. I had no idea what chipped beef was much less have the ability to locate it in a grocery store and deliver it to a customer.

Now I can find anything as long as it’s in stock!

My absolute worst experiences with Shipt involve not being able to locate the customers to deliver their orders. This story I’m about to relay is extremely embarrassing, and I really don’t want to share it.

Here goes.

I received a pretty simple order: A bunch of diet coke, bleach, and sugar. The customer was not responsive to my text messages but that was okay since the order was easy. We have some standard text messages we send out: I like to first thank the customer for their order, and let them know what to expect in terms of contacting them if I have problems with their order. I then shop the order, ask about substitutions if some of their items were out of stock, check out, and then let them know I’m on the way. I sent all these messages with no reply.

A lot of our Shipt orders deliver out to the country. Our customers are pretty savvy because not only are they saving time by not doing their own shopping, but many of them live pretty far from the store so they’re also saving on gas.

That was the case with this order as well. I was looking for a house number and having the hardest time finding it. By process of elimination, I narrowed it down to a little yellow house, but the house had no house number on it.

There was a car in the driveway so I knocked at the door. No answer. I tried contacting the customer again by text and phone but got no answer. I went to a neighbor’s house and asked if they knew where I could find the house number on my order but they weren’t sure either. They thought it could be the little yellow house because there was a little old lady that lived there, but her name didn’t match the name on my order.

They advised me that there was another house behind the house on the other side of the yellow one (boy this is getting hard to follow even for me and I lived it!). They advised me that there was a dirt road I would have to take to get to the home in the back. So, off I go to the other side of the yellow house and found a young man working on a car in the driveway. I asked him if the dirt road next to his house leads to another home behind his. He said yes, so off I go on the dirt road.

God, this is embarrassing.

I drove down the dirt road and it’s horribly rutted. I prayed my car wouldn’t get stuck in the mud and that I wouldn’t bend the frame of my vehicle taking this “road”.  I glanced behind me and noticed the young man standing there watching me and a woman has joined him. His mother. The guy jogs up to me and says “Um, this is our back yard.”

After completely dying inside, I apologized profusely and proceeded to leave these people’s yard as their dog attacked my car.

Eventually I got a call back from the customer. The story was the customer put in an order for her grandma and forgot to let grandma know to expect someone at the door. The customer then went back to work and forgot about it. Grandma was a bit of a recluse and was hiding from me in her little yellow house. Granddaughter let grandma know I was safe. She let me in and offered me ice cream and beer 🙂

I have learned a lot about Shipt shopping since that mortifying night.  I now allow myself one shop a day after work. It’s quite relaxing; I compare it to doing a puzzle. I look where I need to go, find the product, scan it, and get a satisfying ‘beep’ and the item disappears from my list.

As long as I allow myself plenty of time it’s really a fun job. Any time I stray from that rule I get super stressed out and start shaking from the anxiety!

What happens if I’m late to deliver an order? Well, the customer often doesn’t mind at all. But Shipt keeps track of how your customers rate you, how often you reject orders that are offered to you (so you aren’t picking and choosing only large ones with a bigger payout), and how often you are late. The worse your stats, the less shops you are offered.

I like this rule because it makes you desperate for any offer you finally get (I’ve been there!) so that you will do anything to not screw it up.

If you are considering becoming a Shipt shopper, you are probably doing your research if you’re reading this. Good for you! Once you become a shopper, join the Shipt Shopper lounge immediately. There’s so much great information there.

A gem I learned recently is that once I have an order I should remove myself from the schedule so I don’t have to reject more orders that come in while I’m shopping the first one. Remember, rejecting orders would hurt my rating. That’s good information because if I accept the offer to prevent damage to my acceptance rate, I’d probably be late on both which would do much more damage to my ratings.

I’m so glad I have most of the kinks worked out now. When I get paid from Shipt I put 30% back to save for income taxes (Shipt is a 1099 employer), I fill my gas tank, and the rest goes toward Navient.

If you follow me on Instagram you will see a breakdown every pay day of how much I was able to send to Navient.

I’m so grateful I came across this side hustle, I really enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.

XOXO,

 

Dolores

December 2017 Statement of Net Worth Upate

Hello and welcome to our December 2017 net worth update! We were able to pay off our Equinox lease this month and I am so excited! Cue the confetti! We paid $475 a month on this debt and it is going to free up so much money in the future. Even though it was a 0% interest debt, we went forward with paying it off because of the sheer amount of money it would free up.

That’s our big update for this month! We had some short comings as well that were kind of sort of planned. We usually do splurge for Black Friday so we went ahead and did that but we didn’t spent very much at all. We got a couple of Christmas presents so those are taken care of, my husband got a new recliner for his game room, and I bought some Hunter rain boots and a North Face jacket. I also got an Ancestry DNA kit for myself which I have been wanting for eons.

But, even though we had our little splurge session above (about $500 worth) we were still able to pay off debt which I am ecstatic about. Without further ado, on to the breakdown!

December 2017 Breakdown

Assets

Looks like the home is on the rise again! When I checked Zillow.com our home is projected to raise 7.2% in the next year bringing it to $90,000! Don’t mind if I do!

The car insurance fell a bunch because we paid the car insurance this month. I have our car insurance come out of our credit card automatically every 6 months, so we get a 5% discount from the insurance company for paying in a lump sum and we earn 1.5% from our credit card rewards program for paying it through them! Discounts on discounts? Yes, please.

The Savings – Emergency account is growing unusually because I have been chucking my tax savings from Shipt in to it since I don’t have a Savings – Tax  account currently. Hubby is also earning bonuses now and he wants to open another savings account to keep that separate for big ticket items in the future. Not sure where he’s going with that, but it’s his bonus so he can do what he pleases. Anyway, I think a trip to the bank is in the future in order to set up a Savings – Bonus and Savings – Tax account so we can track these more accurately.

All other assets are fluctuating as normal.

Liabilities

We have two stars of the show over on this side of the ledger. The first being that the Equinox is at a zero balance! Hooray! Seriously, where is the confetti?

The second is *drumroll* our Navient account for the first time EVER in the 14 months that I have been tracking our net worth for the world to see did not grow! We are now in for 11 more months of increased payments due to the reevaluation of my income based repayment plan, and Shipt looks like it’s something I’m going to be doing for the long haul. I feel really comfortable that I have worked out the kinks in my learning curve and I know exactly what I’m doing now.

I’m pulling an average of one order per weeknight 4 nights a week, and 2-3 orders on Saturdays which makes it possible for me to pay $50-$75 per week on my student loan in addition to my regular monthly payment.

The Visa went up a bit because my hubby took off without me to make his recliner purchase so he didn’t have the credit card with him that we pay off every month. And I haven’t paid it off because I’m still a sort of naughty human who is trying to break the “debt is okay” mentality.

Debt Pay Off

I’m not sure how much debt we will be paying off this month with Christmas coming up, but I do think we are going to be paying some extra.

Our smallest 3 debts as of 12/1/2017 are:

  1. Navient #9 – $939 (6.5% interest)
  2. Home Depot – #2,450 (0% interest)
  3. Personal Loan – $2,75 (9.5% interest)

This is where I’m going to stray from the Dave Ramsey debt snowball method. Home Depot isn’t costing me anything to pay off slowly, and I’ve broken this down to an amount to bring the balance to $0 way before the promotional period expires for our new furnace. In or around April I may start focusing on this debt because we need a new central A/C unit. The one we have currently uses so much electricity so I think replacing it will pay for itself and I plan on using the 0% option again when that time comes.

I mentioned last month that I’m not particularly motivated to throw even more money at Navient #9 than I already am because it doesn’t change my payment in the short term.

I am choosing to work on our personal loan next. It has the highest interest rate that we currently pay, and paying it off will reduce our bills $150 per month for good. Our CP Visa account is also 9.5% but once we pay extra money on to it, it’s possible, and maybe even probable that we will just re-spend that money so it won’t necessarily stay paid down. However, once the personal loan is done, and depending on what’s going on with how long that takes we may work on the CP Visa Account or Home Depot next. But, that’s at least 2-3 months in the future. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

I am also still waiting on the 0% balance transfer option from Capital One which just has not wanted to spawn for me! If that comes available, we will be getting rid of both CP Visa and the personal loan! If that were to happen, I’d probably be forced to work on my student loans next since some of them have the next highest interest rates at 6.5% and lower.

But again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Conclusion

We were able to pay off $1,518 worth of debt this month and we increased our net worth $3,359 in one month! Our net worth is now $(43,049). Since we started our journey our net worth has increased almost $25,000! That’s amazing for only a little over one year! I am betting that we will become worthless in 2018! 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!

Dolores

Changes: Random Reflections

It’s starting to get cold again in Southern Michigan. It’s a funny thing to be back home where I grew up and see everything that I used to see as a child now as an adult.

Yesterday, at our local grocery store I saw 2 young teen girls running around giggling and clutching at each other while they ran through the aisles, imagining someone was watching them. Well, someone was watching (me) but probably not the someone they imagined. My eyes caught briefly with one of them and her eyes slid right over mine as she dismissed me.

These girls grabbed my attention because they reminded me of me. Their clothes, coats, and shoes were bedraggled. Their hair was unkempt. Shipt had brought me to this side of town that I don’t frequent often on my own now, but somewhere I often was as a child. Often to this same grocery store in fact. I could also be seen running through the aisles giggling with a friend while I imagined a cute boy was watching me as I disappeared around the next corner.

I was a happy child even thought I didn’t have the best clothes, never owned a pair of Nikes, or a Starter jacket. I had great friends, ones that read this blog (hi, guys!), and an awesome mother who made sure my sister and I were always active in things that didn’t cost money.

Sometimes I think that if I look hard enough, I’ll be able to see myself 25 years ago. I’ll be able to see my dad again if I look hard enough at the motorcycle passing me by. And if he has a child behind him clutching his back, it’s possible that I’m looking at myself circa 1987. These girls were me, circa 1992 as they slipped by 2017 me.

Around this time of year I always get reflective on how far I’ve come. It’s because of Halloween, I imagine. I bought a home when I moved back to Michigan that I very may well have walked past as a child. It was in the “nice” neighborhood. The neighborhoods where I used to walk on my way to school every day, inhaling the aroma of their dryers pumping out the sweet, warm smell of their laundry in the morning.

We had to do our laundry at the laundry mat and my mother would make sure there was not a droplet of water left in those clothes before we could fold them and take them home. They never smelled good to me. Maybe because we had to use the off-brand? I vowed when I was old enough I was going to buy Tide and Bounce for my own laundry. I didn’t know what Downy was back then but I live by that stuff now. I’m not a fan of Bounce.

At more than a few of the houses I would pass, I would get a short reprieve from the cold as the cars they were warming up in their driveways would brush my legs with warm exhaust as I passed. I couldn’t imagine the luxury of letting a car sit empty just running the gas so the occupant wouldn’t be cold.

We often didn’t own a car, and if we did the reliability of it even turning on to get us where we wanted to go was never guaranteed. And I can’t tell you the amount of times I heard: “Do you think cars run on water?” when I would ask to be taken somewhere.

And every year at Halloween, my best friend’s family and mine would traipse the same course that we took to school every day in “the nice neighborhood”. Up one side and down the other back to her house. I dreamed that one day I would be have the ability to pass out candy when I was older.

I guess that’s why this time of year sticks out so vividly for me, because at this time is when the things that I did not have stood out in stark contrast with what others did have. This is the time of year when I dreamed of everything I might achieve, and today I can reflect on what I do have.

A couple of days ago my husband walked in the house and said he could smell our laundry when he was coming up to the house and it smelled amazing. Also, I need to wrap this up because my car has been warming up in the driveway for almost 10 minutes now.

I hope that you all have a safe and happy Halloween.

 

(Mis)Adventures in Side Hustling Vol. 2: A Halloween Story

Hi, and welcome to my blog. If you’re new here I’m currently smack dab in the middle of a 3 part series I’ve named (Mis)Adventures in Side Hustling. I’m documenting my failed side hustles since the start of our family’s debt free journey.

I really should have known better that my second side hustle would not be a good fit for me, but I wanted to embrace the uncomfortable. I imagined what a good story it would be for my blog, all the funny anecdotes I could share here – not the one I’m about to share! I imagined what a story it would be for the interviews I would be asked to be a guest on once we made our way in to a positive net worth.

Friends….. I auditioned to be a haunted house actor. And I was hired! And I worked one night.

I found the job listed on Facebook and decided to give the audition a try. I dreaded it so much because I am an introvert to the extreme. I like to drive my car home from work in silence just so I can think. I walk my dog every morning with no earbuds in, partly because of safety but mostly because I enjoy the silence. When my family is all off doing their own thing after dinner and time spent together I like to dim the lights, light a candle, and read a book… you guessed it, in silence.

So going to a haunted house and screaming my lungs out was not my idea of a good time! But I did it for you guys!

Auditioning wasn’t so bad. We were taken in to various spots in the haunt and planted there by an acting director. Then the owners walked through and we were given the opportunity to scare them. When I was sure they were coming, I started to breathe loudly so that they could hear me in the corner of my room and once they were looking I basically did a jump scare. I jumped up and screamed. I’m cringing just thinking of it.

When I actually came for my first night of work I was assigned to a room full of pin up magazine clippings. My task was to scare guests and scream about how I hate beauty since I’m so ugly.  I might have been offended if I hadn’t been given this truly lifelike mask to wear.

Misadentures in Sidehustle 2. face

Whenever I showed a picture of it people thought it was makeup!

My coworkers were all very…. Not my crowd. There were troves of men sitting around chewing tobacco, spitting on the ground, smoking cigarettes, and playing loud heavy metal music. Nothing against all of that (except spitting, I really hate spitting) but it’s just not my vibe. I sat quietly while I waited for the attraction to open just observing the bazaar mating — I mean flirting – ritual taking place around me with the very few women at the haunt.

Another thing about the haunt was that it was very sketchy. And by that I mean unsafe. Workers were paid cash and very little of it, but I was there more for the experience and the story which I dreamed of relaying to you, my readers.

Before opening, I went upstairs to my area. I gained access by taking a ladder through a hole in the ceiling which led to the next floor. When the attraction opens, the trap door to the bottom floor closes and doors leading to that area are closed. Other actors more familiar with the area had been jumping the 3 foot distance to the floor all night and walking down the next 2-3 stairs to get to the costuming and makeup area.

I decided to come back down because I needed my hospital gown for my costume. I could have taken the ladder back down but that would involve me turning backwards looking for purchase on a homemade ladder nailed at a 90 degree angle that I was unfamiliar with. I decided to do what all the cool kids were doing and make the jump.

I placed my hands on either side of the opening of the trap door, went to swing my legs down – and the toe of my shoe caught on the floor behind me! I pitched forward, my face barely missing the edge of the opening and fell 3 feet on to the wooden landing directly on my knees, tumbled, and fell down some of the wooden stairs as well before stopping.

I was really hurt. I was really embarrassed as well, numb but still able to walk so I decided to stay for my shift. I was able to get an ice bag for my legs and I went ahead and worked that night. Luckily my haunting assignment involved sitting at a vanity table in front of a broken mirror (really, were they trying to tell me something?) so in between guests I had my legs up on the vanity with the ice.

Misadentures in Sidehustle 2. elevated

Even though I was really injured and I had a feeling of dread every time I knew guests were coming my way and I was going to have to perform, I smiled for days remembering my favorite guest reactions from my one day of haunting.

Guests came in to my room behind me. They didn’t often notice me until someone else in their party pointed me out, sitting in the corner rocking with my long hair all over my face. They had to get by me in order to move on to the next room, and I had worked out a cue with the girl (I do mean girl, she was 12) in the next location that when I said “Why do they always leave me?” they were then heading in to her room and she could start her haunt.

Here are some of my favorite reactions:

A couple and their poor 4 year old daughter. The little girl was terrified already and I could hear her coming because she was crying loudly. Poor thing! What cruel parents! Anyway when she came in my room, saw the door by me and I’m there looking creepy as all get out she says, “No no no no no no nooooo!”

A teenage boy in a group of guys. The guys had come in and were reacting rudely to my room (the pinup posters, remember) and didn’t notice me until one of the other guys pointed me out. The teenage boy says “Oh no that’s worst nightmare!” Happy to be of service, boys! Haha!

Some funny responses to my cue:

“Someone has to stay!”

“Have you seen your face?!” Me: “My mirror is broken!”

Little did they know that after lamenting their departure with fake tears, I would hobble back to my vanity and grocery bag of ice.

And every time I heard the bell clanging which let all the actors in the haunt  know a new group of guests had arrived I would be so filled with dread that I would groan, and not always inwardly!

At one point, the 12 year old girl needed to use the restroom, and she asked me to cover her haunt spots and abandon mine. I needed to go in to a dog cage and pretend I was trapped there (on my knees! OUCH!) and then when the guests left that room I needed to run to another location, climb into a coffin, and struggle to get out while another actor held it closed. My job was to call for help and jostle the lid from the inside. On my mad dash getting in to the coffin, only the top section for funeral viewing was open and I wacked my shin on the bottom section meant to hide the legs.

When I limped around the next couple of days, it was fun to tell people that I banged my shin getting in to a coffin when they would ask what happened to me. Oddly enough, that wasn’t my first time in a coffin!

Finally, the night ended at about 12:30am and we all headed back down to the costume area. When I grabbed my keys to make my escape, I noticed my keychain wallet was open and the cash I had in it ($20) was missing. One of these people, after seeing the night that I had decided to rob me! My drivers’ license is on the outside of the same wallet so there’s no way they didn’t know who they were stealing from.

I collected my spoils from the night, $25 cash (a profit of $5 for the trauma I went through) and I told the owner that someone had stolen $20 from me. His response: “I don’t know what to tell you.” Granted, anyone could say that they had some money stolen in an effort to collect a bigger pay day but the haunted house had the biggest opening night in history with over 100 groups of 2-6 guests paying $15 each. He could have peeled off a $20 and made me whole.

I said “Then I’m not coming back, I’m not going to work with thieves.” And I hobbled off into the night with not even my dignity intact. In all honesty I was happy to have a valid reason to not come back. The only reason I even came in on the first day was because I felt like I owed it to the people that run the haunt. I had a location and if I didn’t show up they would be screwed! Once I saw that they had no feelings of obligation toward me, I was happy to give up my own misplaced feelings.

When I got home I was able to take a look at how bad my legs were.

Misadentures in Sidehustle 2. leg first

Here is another view a couple days after:

Misadentures in Sidehustle 2. leg old

 

At the time of this writing it’s been a little over one month since that incident. My knees don’t really hurt that much anymore except when I try to crawl in to bed on my knees or get on my knees to look for something under the furniture. I can’t do that. I hope that I’m not permanently injured!

(Mis)Adventures in Side Hustling Vol. 1

During the past year I have tried my hand at a few different side hustles, some of which were not necessarily bad, but just not the right fit for me at that moment. I’ve had some pretty entertaining adventures so I thought I’d document them here.

My first side hustle I came across by accident. I have always been interested in dance but coming from a very poor childhood I wasn’t able to take dance lessons like I would have loved to. This was before the days of YouTube tutorials and automatic replay so I couldn’t even watch something repeatedly to try to get it memorized.

I did attend dances and things in my teen years. I wanted to try out for cheer-leading in High School but I forgot my permission slip on the day of try outs, and while I watched the other girls try out I realized the coach was an absolute bear and I just didn’t like the vibe there at all. She approached me afterwards to ask if I would be coming back tomorrow for makeup tryouts and I told her no. She seemed surprised!

Fast forward to my 20s and the first episode of So You Think You Can Dance. I was obsessed with that show. I adored watching all the different dance styles and how the dancers were able to take direction from a choreographer and quickly adapt to a completely different style of dance.

All in all, because I loved dance so much I thought that I would inherently do well at it. I was wrong. I contacted a local dance studio and signed up for an adult ballet class one day a week at $35 per month. I came in to the class in late January when the other students had been in the class since it started in September. I arrived feeling like a clumsy ox and not knowing any of the moves to do the warm up much less the choreography they were practicing after the warm ups. I quit going after about a month.

Before I learned that little tidbit above (the clumsy ox and NOT an impoverished ballerina bit), I had been listening to personal finance podcasts and tracking my net worth. I really wanted to take dance lessons again but I didn’t want to add another bill to our budget. That’s when I heard some advice, which I wish I could give credit for but I’ve been listening to so many podcasts for so long now that can no longer remember who said what. This is the advice: “If you want to take classes at a gym or yoga studio try contacting them to offer a talent you have in exchange for class time.” My talent was working office work. I could even do janitorial work.

I contacted the dance studio and asked if volunteering in exchange for dance lessons was something they would be interested in. I didn’t hear back for at least a couple of months. Then suddenly I got a reply saying that they actually needed someone to work there but the hours were so few that they didn’t want to list the job anywhere. It was 3 hours every Thursday and 4 hours every other Saturday and it was paid!

It was great at first. The woman that hired me was sweet, and the one that worked full time during the day was great and very knowledgeable, and everyone, teachers, students and parents adored her. Those two had the studio down to a science, and all I had to do was be a warm body to take tuition payments and sell snacks from the counter when the day girl was off, all while listening to great music coming from the studios around me. I also got to watch dancers perform and everything was great even though I wasn’t taking any classes yet myself. I was very happy until everything started changing.

The day girl quit and went in to insurance sales. They replaced her with a dance mom who I just didn’t get along with right away. One day I walked in to Dance Mom telling me with a grin on her face that the woman that hired me had been fired! Suddenly I was the person at the counter with the most experience equating to about 40 hours total. I had no idea what I was doing outside from taking payments and selling snacks and now I had no one to refer the questions to. I felt like I was always saying “I don’t know.” and dreading coming in to the dance studio on my scheduled days. At the end of year was the dance recital which again was the hiring woman’s job and she did it very well. Everything became very confused, the parents were unhappy with the change, and it all became rather soul sucking which is sad because I started our adoring the place and marveling at my good fortune.

I stayed at the studio through the end of the school year, and I offered to come back in the fall because money is money and I could have used it. But I was advised my schedule wasn’t useful to them at that point so I wasn’t asked to return.

Fine by me!

 

Dolores