Monday, March 09, 2009

Money Monday: March 9

Last week went really well – I actually made it through the whole week without a single purchase! Not even groceries! Woo hoo!

The trick is, of course, to make this actual savings as opposed to merely deferred purchases. It doesn’t do you a whole lot of good to not spend money in week one if you then roar out and spend double the money in week two. So I’m going to be continuing to show restraint in my daily life, and make sure I’m only buying what I actually need…no matter how much money I could “save” buying stuff we don’t need on sale.

So I’ve made my list for the supermarket and will stick to it religiously tomorrow when I brave the peril of loss-leaders and coupons.

While continuing to work at saving my money by not spending it, this week I’m going to shift my attention a bit and look at possible secondary income streams.

What I’ve been finding this year is that my work tends to come – and go – in bursts. I get a project, I work my patookis off for a few days, and then…well. That was fun. And, uh, now I guess I’ll…um…hmm.

Send off the invoice and wait. I doodle around with marketing and send hopeful emails to remind clients that I’m here! Helllooooooo, totally ready to solve your Reporting Services problems!, and futz around with networking and so forth…and then I’m just sort of at sixes and sevens while waiting.

The goal isn’t so much to make a zillion dollars as to give me something constructive to do with my downtime. Sitting around fretting isn’t helping my stress levels much, so doing something that brings in even just a few shekels each month would be good.

I’ve been trying to work my way back to performance level on the harp. The tennis elbow slowed that down considerably, but I’m still chipping away at it. With the wedding season coming upon us, I’d like to have my cards in the churches and local bridal shops PDQ – but before I do that, I need to be ready to perform. “Well, I kind of suck right now, but by July I should be good to go!” is really not a great way to sell yourself.

The other thing I’m considering is crafty-stuff. I enjoy a wide variety of crafts, and do a few of them well enough that I could be selling it. I already have the necessary permits and licenses in place, so I’d be fully legal and not having to worry about the gummint swooping in to rain on my parade later.

I even have most of the tools I’d need to start production.

What I lack is raw materials, and a willingness to go into any form of debt to get them.

SO, whatever I decide to actually do, I’m pretty sure the method I’m going to take is going to be what I call the ‘shoemaker’ method. Remember the story of the elves and the shoemaker? He had enough leather for one measly pair of shoes. The elves made the shoes and they fetched enough money to get leather for two pairs of shoes.

And so on, and so on, and so on, until the shoemaker was a prosperous man again.

The shoemaker didn’t go out and get a huge loan so he could buy enough leather for fifty pairs of shoes, payable at 19.99% interest forever. That method has been in great vogue of late, and personally…I don’t think it has worked out all that well. Instead, the shoemaker worked with what he had, and built on that. Rolled his profits back into his business until the business was thriving.

That’s the approach I’d take with this. Rolling the profits back into the business to keep it growing until I reach one of two things: Market saturation (can’t sell any more), or maximized effort (can’t make any more).

At that point, excess profits become money I can spend.

Or, in the very real event that the business makes no money at all and dies a slow, agonizing death, well. At least I’m not adding being in debt for hundreds or thousands of dollars to the pain of failure. Insult, meet injury! Injury, insult! I just know you two are going to get along…

Meals this week are coming out of the Sonoma Diet book – check your local library, they probably have it. I got my copy at a thrift store for a quarter a couple years ago, and found the recipes pretty darned good. And yes, I found the diet aspect of it worked well for me, too…which won’t hurt either right now because, ahem. Yes. My jeans are getting a trifle snug on me, lately.

Anywho, we’re looking at some pretty good eats. Chicken en papillote (chicken in paper, with mixed vegetables), marinated flank steak, Tandoori chicken, balsamic chicken…all of it served up with heapin’ helpin’s of fresh vegetables. And garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. I cherry-picked the menu around meats we already have in the freezer, so my grocery bill hit will mostly be for produce…and I don’t mind paying for fresh produce.

Of course, I say that now…let’s see how I feel in a couple hours, after I’ve actually gone shopping…


Anonymous said...

Of course, the other part of the shoemaker plan is free labot. THAT I've never been able to pull off.

natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

I would **so** pay you for a viking hat for my son. Although not til fall 'cause at the rate he's growing there's no telling how big his noggin will be by then...

I believe that other readers here have said similar things, [the fish hat comes to mind] so that would be an easy way to get started on the "crafty stuff", you know?

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's those comfort meals that feature mashed potatoes and corn that will "get-cha".