A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

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Part-Time Lifestyle And Income Report #3 (Week Of August 19)

Income Report Context

Earlier this year, I was earning a salary of $60,000 in a job I despised, and my family was making over six figures annually. We were able to pay off some debt, invest, and save. After many months of searching, I took a lower-paying job that I hoped would be a better fit. The new gig turned out to be a total horror show, so I eventually quit and embarked on a career break.

Now I'm trying to figure out my next steps. I don't feel like I'm on a break anymore, but I'm also not working 40 hours a week. Instead, for the time being, it looks like I will be cobbling together freelance and hourly gigs to help bridge the gap between our family's expenses and income. This is an entirely new journey for me: until now, I've always worked full time.

Fortysomething's job covers many of the bills, but not all of them. I need to earn ~$1000 a month after taxes in order for us to break even. Ideally, I'll earn more than that so that we can put money into savings and investments.

I thought it might be fun and informative (if only for myself!) to post a weekly recap of what I'm referring to as my New Part-Time LifestyleTM.  Assuming I can make myself stick with it, I'll stop in every Friday or Saturday to share what I've earned throughout the week, any challenges that have come up, and how I'm feeling about my new approach to work life.

Personal Income This Week

Online Teaching Job: $264

This week I worked 12 hours, per my boss's request. I could have worked more; there's plenty to do now that we're updating all of the courses. I'm not entirely convinced that management's expectations and budget are realistic given the time frame they're working with, but if I feel crunched next week, I'll ask if I can work 15 hours on a regular basis.

Updating the courses is actually a lot of fun for me. Curriculum design was always my favorite part of teaching, and I think I'm good at it. However, the online learning system we're using is clunky, and making changes is not as straightforward as it should be.

Fortysomething keeps saying that this is one of those jobs that will probably expand over time and that if I stick with it, I'll probably get more and more hours. I would not be opposed to that.

Rover: $21

My Rover total is rather paltry, but that's because I had only two bookings: a drop-in visit with a regular cat client whose human friend likes me to check in while she's doing overnight shifts at work, and a "walk" with a shy dog who just wanted to sit under the table and eat treats (me too, buddy). Keep in mind that a) this reflects my total earnings after Rover took its cut and b) I don't charge much for the cat because her owner was one of my first clients and I haven't upped her rate yet.

That said, two good Rover things happened this week:

1. I met with and booked two new clients for next week. Both of these clients have expressed an interest in me being their regular sitter. One client needs me to check in with her puppy twice a day, several days a week, for the next few weeks. That will definitely be worth it.

2. The shy dog's human friend has decided to have me come over weekly, so that's another regular gig.

Total income this week: $285

In Other News

1. I officially found out that I didn't get the job that semi-ghosted me. "You were a good candidate, but we selected a better candidate!" Cool, thanks.

I'm not disappointed by the rejection. The whole process has been rife with red flags, leading me to believe that the job probably isn't worth what it pays.

In retrospect, I'm starting to think that their candidate search was a charade put on to appease HR when in fact they knew who they wanted all along. It's just a hunch. The lack of a true phone screen, the fact that the second-in-command missed 3/4 of my panel interview, and the blase manner in which they communicated with me following the interview make me think it could have been a sham. I was a good candidate for the position, I would have done the job well, and I should have been treated with more respect.

Anyway, frustrating situations are beneficial in that they help you figure out what your boundaries are. I've decided I am done applying for full-time job openings posted on the Internet. If opportunities arise through friends or my community, and if it feels like the hiring process will be a collaborative one, sure. But I'm done with the apply, wait, interview, wait, interview, wait, wait, wait nonsense. It's too inefficient and gives the employer way too much power.

If you're thinking, Wow, this really seemed to bother you! Yup. It did. I have no patience for bullshit.

2. I played a lot of online board games with Done By FortyTenacious Feminist, and Frugalish Physician this week, which was immensely fun despite the fact that Done By Forty is a total game shark. I know, I know, he's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Still a shark.

3. I've been running a lot. My current goal for the rest of the month is to run 4.5 miles x five days a week, plus 7-8 miles one other day. After that, I'd like to ramp up to 5 miles x five days a week, with one long run.

I've also been thinking about what I want to do with my running. Although I'm the most average middle-of-packer you'll ever meet, I am absolutely passionate about the sport, and I really want to push myself to see what I can achieve. Establishing a healthy, sustainable training regimen is part of that. Racing is another part.

For the first time in years, I have the time I need to train for whatever I want to do. But as is so often the case, there's an inverse relationship between time and money. With us being on a limited budget (and OH YEAH, still working to pay off $37K in student loan debt), it's hard to justify paying, like, $70 to enter a 25K race.

On the other hand, I'm healthy now. I'm in shape now. And running is something that is very important to me. So maybe it's worth taking a page from YOLO me of the past and just diving in, even if it's not the most budget-friendly thing to do.

So I don't know.

Anyway, how was your week?


  1. Solid miss on that job anyway. XP to them.

    Not that you asked but I bet it would be worth budgeting for a couple of races a year. Expensive they may be but I think in the grand scheme of things, it's easier to find a bit more money than it is possible to find sufficient time to train for races if you're working and earning full time.

  2. Urgh, applying for a job is hard enough anyway without it just being a smoke-screen for them to say they 'legitimately' hired the person they wanted all along. URGH. I'm so sorry your time was wasted like that!
    Which games have you been playing? Haha, I love that you've outed Done by Forty - the sweetest people are the most dangerous in board games or so I've been told once or thrice by my loved ones...

  3. Yay for board games! I feel like it may be a loooong time before I beat DB40. If it ever happens.

    1. You very nearly did today! You were one building away.

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  5. "I played a lot of online board games with Done By Forty, Tenacious Feminist, and Frugalish Physician this week, which was immensely fun despite the fact that Done By Forty is a total game shark. I know, I know, he's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Still a shark."

    This is the best compliment I'll probably ever receive.

    It's been so much fun playing with you all!

    That's a bummer about the job, but I always figure that your are interviewing them at the same time that they are interviewing you. It sounds like you dodged a bullet.

    I like Revanche's idea above. Budgeting for a run or three sounds like a good use of your money.

  6. Yes to what Revanche said. IMHO, in spite of what most PF bloggers say, financial independence simply means having the funds to spend on what matters to a person. This is important to you (and to be honest, not too expensive in the grand scheme of things, as far as entertainment options). Get thee a sinking fund for races, stat! LOL.