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Archive for June, 2013

June 2013 Survey Income

June 29th, 2013 at 06:03 pm

As I reported last month, my wife recently left her job and my goal is to up my survey income to at least partly make up for the loss of her income. In late May, I got more focused on the surveys with the hope of increasing my monthly income by at least $200. There is a lag time of anywhere from a few days to 6 weeks between when I do a survey and when I get paid so I haven't fully seen the results of my efforts yet but it definitely made a difference.

For the month of June I earned $739 making it the second best month of the year. Not only that, but beginning the week of May 27, I also started tracking the surveys I do as I do them. For the past 4 weeks, I've done surveys that will pay me a total of $843. If things continue at that rate, July should be just fine. I would love to see my average for the remainder of the year be around $800/month as opposed to the $600/month I averaged for the first part of the year.

Very interesting personal financial history

June 18th, 2013 at 06:43 pm

I posted this to the forum but I know some only hang out here and I think this is worth sharing.

Something possessed me to pull out my file of financial spreadsheets tonight. This file dates back to October 1992 when I had handwritten records that later transitioned to computer generated reports. At first, they were updated weekly, then monthly, then less often than that. Reviewing the numbers was like opening a financial time capsule of our lives.

These reports strictly tally our financial holdings - savings, checking, money market, stocks, and bonds (including mutual funds). It doesn't include other assets like our house, cars, etc. The reports also list our debts but I'll leave that part out of this post.

We were married on July 12, 1992.

The first report is from 10/15/92. Total assets = $8,195.21.
We first hit 5 figures on 2/14/93 with $10,098.46.
The next milestone was on 12/12/93 with $25,064.02.

We bought our house in spring of 1994 so on 5/1/94 we were back down to $11,720.47.

I finished residency and started in practice in July 1993.
By 12/12/93 we were back up to $32,502.16.

9/3/95 we broke 50K with $51,039.00.
5/17/98 we passed 100K with $104,912.72.
Then 150K on 12/31/99 with $152,896.84.
And 200K on 11/14/03 with $200,761.12.

300K came just over 2 years later on 2/10/06 with $300,096.47.
We peaked on 5/6/08 with $400,810.10.
Then came the crash.
On 12/31/08, we were down to $280,208.22.
But we didn't panic and run screaming for the exit.
We hung in there.
On 12/31/09, we were back up to $395,673.33.
We hit a new all time high soon after that despite the crash.

We topped 500K sometime in early 2012. I don't know exactly when.
But by 12/31/12, we were at $578,177.09.
And as of last week, we were at $634,130.87.

To add to the story, I also have a record of what % of income we were saving starting in 2001. I don't seem to have it recorded before then. The dates are when we upped the percentage.
5/01 - 10% of take home
1/02 - 12% of take home
1/03 - 12% of gross (all subsequent numbers are % of gross)
1/04 - 13%
1/05 - 16%
1/06 - 17%
7/07 - 18%
7/08 - 19%
1/09 - 20%
7/09 - 21%
7/10 - 22%
7/11 - 23%, which is where we remain today.

We started our lives together with next to nothing. Of that $8,000 in 10/92, a few thousand was from wedding presents and that was 3 months after we got married. The total was considerably lower on our wedding day. With careful spending and dedicated saving, our holdings have grown and grown through up markets and down markets, through debt repayment (over 100K in student loans for one thing), through buying our home, having a child, owning a few cars along the way, home repairs, medical bills, travel, parties, charitable giving, and everything else that life has brought us (or thrown at us). We've been able to steadily increase the percentage of income being set aside for savings from well below the recommended 15% of gross to well above it.

For those just starting out, don't get discouraged. Do what you can. Increase it as you are able. And just keep at it. Over time, it really does add up. Compounding is a wonderful thing.

Update to stuff

June 13th, 2013 at 06:07 am

Well my wife is officially unemployed. Her last day was May 30. I ran the numbers and her average monthly take home pay was $385. On top of that, a total (with match) of $480 was going into her 401k, so $865 total that we're down as a result.

We're addressing that in a few ways. We are tightening up the spending particularly in the area of groceries and dining out. We have typically averaged about $300/month eating out. For the past few weeks, we have cut that back significantly and have been doing a lot more cooking at home. For example, I used to go straight from my office to our synagogue on nights when I had meetings and I'd stop and pick up dinner on the way. Now, I've been stopping at home and getting dinner there instead so that probably costs $2-3 instead of $8-10 when I'd eat out.

We've also started using coupons which I haven't really been in the habit of doing for a while. It saves $2-3/week but it all counts and all adds up.

I've been more careful about where I buy gas and have been paying cash a lot more since many stations charge more for credit. I used to stick to stations that charged the same for cash or credit. The problem has become that those stations are charging more. So instead of $3.33 for cash and credit, I'm going to the station that is $3.27 for cash and $3.37 for credit and paying cash. Again, not a big savings but it's something.

The main thing I'm doing is really focusing on my survey participation. It's probably too soon to make a dependable prediction but I've started tracking my actual surveys done. Previously, I only tracked the money when it actually comes in.

For the week of May 27, I did $291 worth of surveys.
For the week of June 3, I did $210 worth of surveys.
For the week of June 10, I've done $185 worth of surveys and the week isn't over yet.
I also do an ongoing survey that pays me $150/month which works out to $34/week.
So for the past 3 weeks, that means I've generated a total of $788. That's a weekly average of $262.66. Multiplied out for a year, that's $13,659. I realize I can't really extrapolate based on less than 3 weeks of data but there is certainly a high probability that I will earn more in 2013 than I was shooting for originally (8K). At that rate, I could earn almost 8K just from June to December and I already took in $3,000 through March, so 10-11K for the year is certainly doable.

This also includes only online surveys. I regularly get invited to do in-person studies but don't usually get to them for scheduling reasons. I'm paying more attention to those and trying to find ones that I can work around to do. Even if I could only do one every 2-3 months, it could add another thousand or more to my total.

On my wife's end, she is doing the sewing/quilting thing and has already sold 20 or more items. A friend bought 9 $5 tote bags from her yesterday for teacher gifts plus a $60 patchwork beach bag for herself. Our neighbor bought an iPad cover for a gift and a Kindle cover for herself. And there have been numerous other sales so that's doing well so far.

I'll post at the end of the month with the monthly survey total as always. I'm at $322 so far so it should be good.

May 2013 Survey Income

June 1st, 2013 at 04:10 pm

Quick recap: I'm a family practice physician and have the opportunity to participate in many medical market research surveys. Doing so provides me a decent second income. These are not available to the general public, though I also do some general surveys like Pinecone, Harris, and Opinion Place and earnings from those are included in my totals given here.

For the month of May, I earned $640. Not bad at all though a bit below what I'd like to average this year.

As I've reported previously, my wife just left her job (Thursday was her last day). One of my goals is to make up a chunk of her income by increasing my survey income. During May, particularly the second half of the month, I really stepped it up and responded to every single invitation I received. Of course, there were some that I screened out of, but I got to do a lot of them, more than I typically would. I'm very optimistic about June's income since there is a lag of a few weeks between doing a survey and getting paid. Most of that May activity will equal June income. Stay tuned.