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That time of year

December 9th, 2011 at 07:17 pm

Well, it's that time of year when my thoughts turn toward my personal end-of-year expense reporting and analysis,one of my favorite things to do. Soon, I'll be posting my ranked 2011 expenses for all the world to see.

I also enjoy goal-setting for the coming year, and enjoy reading others' goals, too. However, my financial goals are not very substantial for 2012, seeing as how I'm not working. Every penny I make must go into the checking account to pay for everyday living expenses. Retirement savings has been on hold for a while now.

I think I've already proven I'm pretty good at cutting expenses, but there's really not much of anything left to cut, unless I go live in a hut with the aborigines or decide I don't need running water anymore. The last significant thing I cut entirely was cable TV.

Perhaps a worthy goal would be really working harder to increase my freelance jobs. Like setting a goal of doing 3 things each week in pursuit of more freelance work. I tend to get a little lazy about it. I'm always browsing Craig's List, where I find a lot of different stuff, but I sort of consider that passively looking. I need to take more aggressive steps to market myself.

Let's take a look at 2011 freelance/contract work:

1. My one real estate client is pretty steady with giving me work, either PR or marketing copywriting. But there are times when I go weeks without hearing from them. I make about $50 to $60 an hour with them but it's not steady.

2. I worked f/t for about 6 weeks in April/May (contract job) for a start-up news website. $25/hr. It was nice while it lasted.

3. I spent most of the summer and into the fall editing a 346-page first novel for someone in my free time. $1,000.

4. I'll make another $1,000 or so on this current contract job updating an annual directory that's very much like the Writer's Market listings.

5. I've been editing more emails for the guy I found on Craig's List, but this is small potatoes, pay-wise. Maybe $20 a week. But it's ongoing. But, hey. If I could make $80 a month from him, it's no longer small potatoes. That could easily pay two utility bills, like electric and water. Or phone/Internet and sewer.

6. I did other miscellaneous freelance writing jobs for a local investment manager and a chemical distributorship website (both found via Craig's List), and 2 other people in the real estate business.

Well, anyway, aside from freelance writing, I'll also be reporting in a few weeks on $ I made from assorted product testing, focus groups, online surveys and academic research studies. There were not insignificant sources of income, as you'll see. Oh, and of course the credit card cash rewards. Smile

I had a real scare last night and into this morning. Without warning, my Dell computer just froze up on me. When I rebooted, I got the b/w screen and some words, partially cut off, in the top left corner of the screen flashed in front of me. It read, "something board failure."

Now that could be a keyboard failure, which is no big deal, although my wireless keyboard/mouse is only 2 years old. OR, it could mean a motherboard failure, which would be a very big deal indeed.

Being out of work, minimizing expenses is always uppermost in my mind. When I bought the wireless keyboard for my new computer 2 years ago, I ended up with 2 perfectly good wired keyboards. One from the new computer, and one from my older computer which still worked fine. I vaguely remembered giving one to my mother, but she gave it back later,and I said, oh I don't need a spare, keyboards never give out. So I recycled them both at the landfill after trying unsuccessfully to sell them on Craig's List. Another example of how my anti-clutter nature sometimes trips me up.

So my mother mentioned she had an extra Gateway keyboard I could try out to see if it was just the keyboard. so this a.m. first thing I ran down there, picked it up and returned, only to find out that the darned thing is so old the plugs don't fit my newish computer. I should have known better.

So that was a wasted trip. And then I had to go right back to that same area so I could pick up a cheapie keyboard/mouse at Wal-Mart, still hoping it was just the keyboard, not a motherboard issue.

Spent just $23 for a Logitech keyboard and mouse and lo and behold,things started up just fine. Thank GOD. I'm still tempted to fiddle with the wireless keyboard. I did try changing the batteries in the back of it, of course, but I'm not sure the batteries I had on hand were completely charged. It might be worth it getting brand new batteries and trying it, just to see.

Anyway, I'm so relieved to have my computer running again and not freaking out about how much data I could lose. Although actually, most of my freelance work I could find and save again by going in the Sent folder of my yahoo email account since I always email my work to clients. All my photos would be on the memory card of my camera and I could download them all again if I had to. And older documents from 2 years ago and earlier would still be on the disk I saved stuff to when I bought my new computer 2 years ago and wanted to transfer it all over to the new computer. So it wouldn't have been a total loss.

4 Responses to “That time of year”

  1. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I'm glad it was just your keyboard! As far as the info on your computer such as documents/photos, etc. - you might want to check into dropbox(.com I think) and box.com. You can store up to 5 MB (backup copies) for free.

    I use box quite often when I create a document at home and need it at school.

  2. Dido Says:

    I'm glad your computer is ok after all!

  3. Jerry Says:

    That is SO scary when cash is tight and the computer fritzes out on you! I had that happen a couple of months ago while I was traveling -- RIGHT before an important research meeting no less -- and to make matters worse, my AppleCare insurance had just expired a couple of weeks before. Talk about something that leads to an immediate panic! Fortunately I went to the nearest Apple store in London, and the support guy made the repair for me on the spot, AND he didn't even charge me for the new keyboard. I could have hugged the guy. I'm glad yours was a cheap fix, too...
    Jerry

  4. DeniseNTexas Says:

    Whew, that was a close call on the computer issue! I'm glad that worked out well for you. Smile

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