Ahh, November. The last of the somewhat mild temperatures before winter grabs South Dakota in her clutches and doesn’t let go until probably April! My extra income was limited this month (I only waited tables two nights) due to traveling for a friend’s wedding in Kentucky, spending a weekend in the Black Hills with a friend from out of state who had never been to South Dakota before, and being on call for my full time job over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday.
From my two nights of waiting tables, I made about $200 in tips (plus my normal $5/hour serving wage), which is a great combined hourly rate considering I only worked seven and a half hours. One night in particular certainly did not come without its frustrations, however, and I seriously wonder how many years I’m taking off of my life by doing this job. I’m definitely going to cut back on waiting tables because the extra few hundred dollars every month is just not worth the frustration. It has served its purpose over the last two years, especially when I was still trying to pay off my student loans, but my sanity is a priority now.
When I am on call for work, I am only paid for the time spent working on a call. When we are put into the on-call rotation, our hourly rate is bumped up by 5% (across the board, not just when we are on-call). Each of us is on call for a total of approximately 21 days out of the year, which is divided up between 24-hour weekday shifts, 72-hour weekend shifts, and occasionally longer holiday weekends like mine. I was on call for 96 hours this weekend, and I only had one call that I spent 30 minutes on, so I will get overtime for that but obviously it won’t amount to much. I’m thankful for having a rather uneventful on call weekend as it allowed me to relax at home yet still be productive (Mike and I finished installing the laminate flooring in one of my bedrooms, I did some touch-up painting around the outlets and light fixtures in that room, and I completed various cleaning/organizing tasks around the house).
I mentioned in last month’s recap that my trip to Kentucky should be fairly inexpensive, and it was! Four of the seven nights were spent with family/friends, so no lodging cost was incurred, one night in a hotel was covered by Mike’s employer due to him interviewing a prisoner incarcerated in Kansas for his agency, and for the other two nights, we shared an Airbnb house with four friends, which totaled roughly $65 per person for both nights. His employer also reimbursed him for our toll expenses in Kansas and roundtrip mileage from South Dakota to Kansas, which covered nearly all of our gasoline for the whole trip since my vehicle is fairly fuel efficient. We traded off buying meals, so I spent about $250 total between the Airbnb, the two tanks of fuel I purchased, and my share of meals. Not too shabby at all!
My other trip this month (to the Black Hills) was also rather affordable. My friend and I shared an Airbnb for three nights, and thanks to some extremely rude houseguests in the unit above us who were stomping around at 2 AM on a Sunday night, my host gave me a $65 refund. Other than that, the Airbnb was great! It was an old historic hotel with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, super high ceilings, and a fully equipped kitchen, plus it was centrally located for the things we wanted to do (lots of hiking and sightseeing). I even spent $18 on slots at a casino in Deadwood (I know, I know), but left with $19.21, so I can’t complain! My friend ended up buying most of the food and gas since I paid for the lodging, so my total cost was roughly $300.
I also joined a few websites in the hopes of doing mystery shopping. I have completed two as of the writing of this post. Once I have a few more under my belt and receive reimbursement for them, I will do a blog post about how they work and answer some common questions, in case anyone is interested.
Here’s an update on how I divided up my leftover income for the month:
- Wisdom Teeth Removal Sinking Fund (flat amount): $200 – This was my third and final allocation towards this procedure. It sounds like the total cost will be roughly $2,200 since I am being put to sleep for the removal. The only oral surgeon in town is an out-of-network provider (to go to an in-network provider, I would need to drive three hours one way; not worth it to me), so my insurance may not provide much of a cost reduction here, but I can hope. I now have $2,221 saved, so I will be able to cash flow the procedure in January. Fingers crossed that the actual cost will be less and I can put the excess I had saved into my emergency fund!
- To Auto Loan (the remaining leftover income after the $1,000 flat amount I transferred to my emergency savings fund and the $200 flat amount for my wisdom teeth removal): $918.57 – I now owe less than $9,000 on my vehicle! I bought my vehicle brand new in 2015 for roughly $30,000 with a five year loan. Ouch. We live and learn, but I’ll be happy to have this paid off early and I plan to keep this vehicle for several years to come.
- To Emergency Savings Fund (flat amount): $1,000 – To truly be comfortable with my emergency savings fund, I would like to have about $20,000 saved up, which equates to about 5-6 months of living expenses for me. So far, I have $3,500 in a high-yield savings account (I also have $3,000 in another account that I’m continually adding to and saving specifically for home ownership projects and repairs).
December should (knock on wood) be a pretty low-key month, as I don’t have much travel planned. I also don’t really “do” Christmas gifts, which should help. I will probably split the cost of some gifts for Mike’s family with him since they usually include me in their gift-giving, but it won’t be your typical holiday craziness/overconsumption/overspending.
Talk to you next week!