February 2018 Statement of Net Worth Update

Hello and welcome to our February 2018 Statement of Net Worth Update!

Remember last month when I said that I could enjoy having only 8 liability accounts for a couple of months? Well, I found a great deal on a car that I loved so we went ahead and purchased one early!

You guys would be proud of me. I researched the KBB value of the value of the car as a private party sale before I bought it. This is the value that I assign to cars on our Net Worth Statements. When we bought the Dodge Dart I mistakenly looked at the KBB value when buying from a dealership and compared that amount to what we were paying and thought we were getting a good deal! Then, when I added it to our Net Worth Statement I found us once again thousands of dollars under water. Not this time! Not only did we get a great deal on a car that I am absolutely smitten with, the purchase of it actually increased our net worth. We are getting smarter and smarter with each car purchase. Keep an eye out for a future post depicting how we got our 2012 Chevy Sonic for $4,700!

February SNW Breakdown Image


You’ve already learned a little bit about the star of the Asset show, our new Chevy Sonic. I adore this car. I’m absolutely in love.

The only asset that decreased this month was the Dodge Dart and that’s mostly because I had been guessing at the mileage in previous statements. I took note of the actual mileage and I found I was off by about 5,000 miles! I corrected it and we had the huge decrease reported. I am going to check in every month to see what the mileage actually is before reporting from now on.

The Savings – Taxes account will be zeroed out on our next Statement of Net Worth because we didn’t need the savings at all. We got a refund! So this money will be going toward Navient.


Again, the star of the show is the new Sonic account at $5,000. I am so happy that under the Assets column the Sonic is worth $505 more than the liability. For the first time ever I am not upside down on a car loan.

The loan term is 36 months at 4.3% interest. This is a little higher than I’d like to pay, and higher than the financing we had set up through my credit union (3.49%). But it was part of the negotiating process, and we can always refinance in a few months with our credit union. In fact, I think that we can get our credit scores even higher and maybe qualify for an even lower interest rate than originally offered to us.

The interest rate on the Dart loan was 3.99% at our credit union.  Since we were approved for the Sonic at 3.49%, they went ahead and did a one-time interest rate reduction for the Dart and brought it down to 3.49% as well. So, we should start seeing a slightly larger decrease in this account each month going forward.

Another unexpected change happened over on the Navient account! Check out that decrease of $1,681! No, I didn’t make that much extra to send from my Shipt paychecks. I only paid about $200 extra! It turns out that I signed an agreement stating that if I made my first 12 payments after graduation on time, a certain portion of my loans would be forgiven! Hooray for responsibility!

Planned Debt Pay Off

In January 2018 I stated that I thought we would be able to pay about $1,000 extra to our Personal Loan, but the process of purchasing our car cost us a lot of money:

  • $52 Oil Change for Lease Return
  • $108 on Used Car Inspection
  • $159 Car Detail for Lease Return
  • $253 Partial Payment of Tax, Title, and Plates on Sonic

After parting with all that money, we were left with $200 extra to send to our Personal Loan account. A far cry from $1,000 but it’s something and I think it’s understandable! I am proud of us nonetheless.

Here’s our updated debt snowball for February 2018

  1. Personal Loan – $2,037 (9.5% interest rate)
  2. CP Visa – $3,825 (9.5% interest rate)
  3. PMI – $5,252

At the end of February I estimate that we will have about $500 – $750 extra to send to debt. I look forward to checking in and reviewing the actual amount we were able to send!


We increased our net worth in February by $3,940 for a total Net Worth of (38,408)! We are getting closer and closer to becoming worthless.

Please don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for daily updates on our journey to a positive net worth.

Thanks for reading!




January 2018 Navient Review

I made some pretty amazing strides against Navient #9 this past month. It feels amazing knowing the principal is going down, and seeing the way my regular monthly minimum payments are being applied and are already starting to change as a result of my hard work.

On December 1st 2017 my first increased minimum payment of $217.42 applied, and all of it went to interest. On January 1st 2018 $212.76 of my $217.42 went to interest and $4.71 applied to principal.

I’m excited to see how this changes over the next few months as a result of paying Navient #9 off and moving on to Navient #1, both of which are high interest low balance loans.

January 2018 Breakdown Image

Weekly Breakdown


  • $104.29 Paycheck
  • $31.29 Saved for Taxes
  • $30.00 Gas
  • $50.00 Sent to Navient!


  • $198.40 Paycheck
  • $59.52 Saved for Taxes
  • $30.00 Gas
  • $100.00 Sent to Navient!

I was bummed this week because I had to stay home for a day due to icy road conditions. My first two orders of the week only paid $7 each with no tips, so I was really upset wondering if all of winter would be this way.

But the next day the roads were much better so I got an order on schedule and was able to pick up an extra promo order that same night.

The weekend was incredibly busy, and I actually broke my record of the most money I’ve ever made in a week with Shipt! Take THAT, snow!


  • $200.73 Paycheck
  • $60.22 Saved for Taxes
  • $30.00 Gas
  • $ 100.00 Sent to Navient!

Since we had to cancel our trip to Puerto Rico, I had 40 hours of vacation time saved up at my full time job that I couldn’t roll over to 2018. I decided to take off Mondays and Fridays for the rest of the year because those are the busiest Shipt weekdays.

Monday, December 11th had blizzard-like conditions just after I dropped my daughter off at school. I sat around at home dejectedly until it let up around noon, so I took some orders then. At 6pm the conditions got bad again so I stopped. In those 5 hours I made $68.81 plus $20 cash tips! This is in addition to what I was making at my day time job for my paid time off!

Cash Tips

I set aside any cash tips I receive in my Savesaurus Rex box. I’ve never touched them, and I’m not sure how much money is in there currently. My guess is around $100. I don’t really have a plan for my cash tips yet. I might save them until tax time when I see how much if anything we owe to the IRS. At that point I’ll probably combine it with my Savings – Taxes account and make a big payment to Navient.

Part of me thinks I should clean it out December 31st, save 30% of it for taxes and send the rest to Navient. It doesn’t amount to much right now since I just started Shipt in September, but next December 31st should be a whole year’s worth of cash tips assuming I keep Shipting so it could become a sizeable amount. Do you have any thoughts?

Cash Tips

I took that Saturday off to help my mom move in to her new home. If I had worked this day as well, I might have made more than $250!


  • $162.46 Paycheck
  • $48.74 Saved for Taxes
  • $15.00 Gas
  • $100 Sent to Navient!

This was the week that I decided I was putting Shipt and my student loans over my own family and taking care of my home. I vowed this week to stop doing that.  Read more about my thought process regarding that here.

However, I still had taken time off from my full time job so I decided that I would go ahead and Shipt my regular work hours and not feel guilty about it. But I ended up helping my mom buy and install new appliances in her home a couple days this week so I wasn’t able to Shipt as much as I could have.

Due to that, I made only a little extra money but I also didn’t drive as much so I didn’t need as much gas as usual, either.

At the time of writing this post, December 29th I have just used the last of the vacation days at my full time job while still rolling over the maximum amount of hours I’m allowed for 2018. We should see a big reduction in the amount of money I’m able to put toward Navient every week but we will have a much happier home and better relationships because of it. I’m okay with that trade off.


I was able to send $350 total extra to Navient in the month of December! Hey, it looks like I finally have the timing and posting of payments worked out. We are down to a balance of $590.06 for Navient #9.

Since I am planning on slowing down the side hustle, I think I will be paying an extra $150 per month from now on. That means it will be around March or April when this loan is paid in full. That’s a little disheartening but like I said above, having a happy home life more than outweighs the disadvantage.

I hope you will join me next month for another review of how I am attacking my student loans.

January 2018 Net Worth Update

Hello and welcome to our first Net Worth Update for 2018!  I have a big goal this year, but I don’t know if it’s a stretch goal or a delusional one. I think by the end of this year, we might become worthless! I say this because our net worth increases thousands of dollars a month usually. It’s a tall order but we will see what happens.

This month we have a smaller than usual increase in net worth due to the holidays. We cash flowed all our gifts for the first time ever. I actually didn’t expect us to have any money left over but we had an extra $325 at the end of the month that we were able to put on our personal loan!

Please keep reading for a detailed breakdown of the changes in our net worth for January 2018.

SNW Breakdown Image


The home value decreased a bit this month but that is due to normal fluctuations in the housing market.

I wanted to talk more about the decrease in our Savings – Emergency Fund. You will remember last month that I was putting my income tax savings from Shipt in our Emergency Fund because I didn’t have a designated place for it yet.

We went ahead and opened up 2 new savings accounts, one for my husband’s bonuses and one for Savings – Taxes. I will not be reporting the bonus account as an asset on our net worth updates because my husband needs the freedom to purchase big ticket items from that savings so I don’t want to have my eyes on it. Also, this keeps him from taking money from the end of the month to make those purchases as well! We both win!

We transferred the excess money from Savings – Emergency in to the new account Savings – Taxes and added to it as the month went on and I collected more Shipt paychecks.


Not one increase this month! I do believe that’s the first time ever! Not only that, but I just love to see this side of the chart shrinking. I took off the Equinox since it’s paid in full.

Though I will be adding an account for the next car I get, I can enjoy seeing only 8 debt accounts for a while.

Navient decreased $203; I will have more info about that in an upcoming post next week. I’m waiting for the next bill to post before I detail all the extra payments I made during that bill cycle.

The personal loan decreased $387 thanks to the excess of $325 at the end of December and our regular minimum payment.

Planned Debt Payoff

At the end of January I think we will have nearly $1,000 extra to send to debt. Last month I shared our smallest 3 debts and explained my reasoning from straying from the debt snowball method that we all know and love. I am doing a hybrid plan of:

  1. How much our monthly obligations will decrease by paying the balance in full.
  2. What the interest rate is on all debts that are within “firing range”.

Here are our 3 smallest debts as of January 4, 2018. These are listed in order of the typical debt snowball method, taking in to account balances only:

  • Navient #9 – $590.38 (6.5%)
  • Home Depot – $2,275 (0%)
  • Personal Loan – $2,364 (9.5)

Since I’m already devoting all of the money I make from Shipt on knocking out Navient #9, the excess money at the end of the month I am sending to our personal loan. It has the highest interest rate and nearly the same balance as our 0% debt at Home Depot. Even the payments we send are similar: Home Depot is $175 a month and the personal loan is $150 a month. Therefore we don’t gain much from focusing on Home Depot just because it’s a slightly lower balance. The personal loan eats money!

I think the personal loan will be paid in full by the end of March, but I have high hopes we might be able to get rid of it by the end of February!

Here is my updated list of attack items on my personalized debt payment plan:

  • Personal Loan – $2,364 (9.5%)
  • CP Visa – $3,796 (9.5%)
  • PMI – $5,375 (see below)

In order to get rid of PMI we need to bring our mortgage balance down to 78% of the original value of the home found on our appraisal at the time of our purchase. That amount was $72,000, so we need our balance to fall below $56,160 to get rid of PMI.

Our PMI payment is $54.54 per month, but we would of course keep sending the same mortgage payment that we have been sending all along so that $54.54 would become an additional principal payment.

When I crunch the numbers on Rocket Mortgage’s amortization calculator I can choose only a one-time extra payment, and a repeated extra monthly payment. Given that information I can see that a one-time extra payment of $5,375 made tomorrow would save us $11,760.69 in interest and reduce the term of our loan 54 months (4.5 years).

If I were to send an additional $54.54 a month on top of the $24.52 extra I usually send for the rest of the time we have the loan, we will save $16,137.62 in interest and reduce the term of our loan 106 payments (nearly 9 years).

I can’t find a way to calculate doing both of these things, but I do plan to do both of them! And the good news is, I think we should be able to accomplish all three of the goals outlined above before the end of 2018. Maybe even more!


After paying all of the bills and sending the extra payment to our personal loan, we paid off a total of $1,306 in debt and raised our net worth $701 for a total net worth of $(42,438).

I know my numbers aren’t very impressive this month, but I am proud nonetheless. We moved forward even though we gave at Christmastime with the same generosity as we have in recent years, but with much less stress. We didn’t go in to debt.

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


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.


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.


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!


November 2017 Statement of Net Worth Update

Hello and welcome to our November 2017 Net Worth Update. This is an exciting update because this is the month that reflects the changes I decided to make in October. I signed up to be a personal shopper through Shipt, and decided that any money I made over the amount to pay for gas and save money for taxes would go toward my student loans!

This is also the last month with my tiny $90.61 minimum payment so I really think that this should be the last month that any of my liabilities grow instead of gradually coming down and dropping off.

Nov 2017 SNW

Our home is the asset that dropped the most this month, but that’s nothing compared with November 2016 when it dropped over $1,000!

Our Christmas Club account matured November 1st and was added to our regular savings account. We are going to use the funds at the end of November for Black Friday shopping, after paying off a debt of course. More about that below.

Our Savings – Car Insurance fund also dropped because my hubby borrowed money from it for a table top arcade system he’s been wanting. The game system is pretty cool, and it’s this consideration for each other’s wishes that makes our debt free journey possible. It can’t be all work and no play so I’m okay with this every once in a while. We will be replacing the lost funds at the end of this month and paying our car insurance December 1st. The charge will actually hit our credit card November 11th and earn us 1.5% cash back and we will pay the credit card December 1st.


Only one account grew this month: Navient, and by a whole lot less than usual! That’s because every week I paid an extra $25-$50 with the money I earned from Shipt. As of December 1st my minimum monthly payment increases from $90.61/mo to $217.47/mo. So I really don’t think we should see this one growing anymore.

Speaking of which, I have been really reviewing my statements lately for my Navient Posts and I have student loans that have grown SO MUCH. Ones that started out at $6,000 and are $8,000 now. I think I’m going to make a post about each one and how it’s grown.

In happier news, check out the Equinox account! We had money left over after paying all the November bills and we paid an additional $554 on the Equinox! Once this bill is gone we will save $475/mo until we have to get a replacement car in March. We haven’t been saving up for a replacement car because we’ve been focusing on debt pay off instead. Even though the Equinox doesn’t charge us interest I chose to pay this one off because it frees up so much money per month.

Debt Payoff

At the end of this month, we are planning on paying off the Equinox and then using the rest of the money for Black Friday shopping. This is when we will get a start on our Christmas shopping and really treat ourselves to whatever we want this one day a year. Last year I got 2 boxes of Tupperware, a crock pot set for keeping our Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners warm, leggings, boots, a basket set with fabric liners, and a couple of chenille knit throws which I adore.

I haven’t for sure decided the next debt I want to attack, but I think it will be the CP Personal Loan. Both it and the CP Visa are my highest interest loans with 9.5% each. I really looked forward to doing a balance transfer through Capital One but I haven’t gotten an offer in so long I’ve kind of given up on that option.

If I were to get the balance transfer option, I would probably then start working on my debts in the typical debt snowball fashion: from smallest to largest. As of right now my smallest 3 debts are:

  1. Equinox – $800 (0% interest/ $475 per month)
  2. Navient Account #9 – $1,165 (6.5% interest)
  3. Home Depot – $2,625 (0% interest/ $175 per month)

As of right now, my motivation isn’t particularly high to work on Navient any more than I already am with my side hustle. For one, I already give it extra money and for two, this debt doesn’t “hurt” as much. It should! While paying it off doesn’t make my payments any less, intrinsically I know it betters my future so hopefully my feelings on that will change in the future.

As for the next couple of months I’m not sure if there will be a lot going on in the debt pay off department what with our annual Black Friday splurge and Christmas spending and recovery coming up, but we will see.

I’ve also been thinking about adding a line item to our debt snowball to get rid of the PMI on our home loan. Right now our mortgage payment includes $54.54 going in to escrow to pay our private mortgage insurance. This will stay on our loan until our balance is at 78% of the original value of our home according to the appraisal done when we purchased it. Our home appraised for $72,000 then and our balance is now just under $62,000. We would have to have a mortgage balance of $56,160 in order for the PMI to fall off on its own and without us beeding to pay for a second appraisal. We are currently $5,621 short of that. Do you guys have any thoughts about accelerating our mortgage principal payment to get rid of PMI? We would of course continue paying the same mortgage amount we have been all along so that $54.54 a month saved would go right on the principal. So the $5,621 would save us a ton of interest over the life of the loan, and then the $54.54 extra every month thereafter would also save us a ton. I’m seriously thinking about it!


At the end of October we were able to reduce our debts almost $2,000 and increased our net worth $1,580 for a total net worth of $(46,408)!

Thank you for reading and please check back for more information on my progress paying my student loans down!


(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!