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November 2016 Self-Employment Income of $7930 (Net Worth of $534,180)

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This couple turned dead end cubicle jobs into motivation to start their own businesses and earn $100,000 a year working from home. Great tips on how to make life work for you!

It’s that time again! I like to use monthly income and net worth updates for motivation. Posting them pushes me to try harder, I am forced to look at our numbers, and I started blogging so I could share with all of you and get feedback. I would also like to inspire more people to create income streams out of something they truly enjoy.

My Backstory for New Readers

I worked in a dead end cubicle job from after college in 2005 through July 2011. It wasn’t possible for me to grow in the department I enjoyed, and the rest of the company would have sucked my soul out through my ears.  My highest salary there was $35,500 after 6 years.  My original plan was to stay there for 30 years and retire.

Thankfully, that plan went to crap. The company was in a slump in late 2009, so they told me to “look busy”…

That led me to creating Budgeting in the Fun Stuff in February 2010 even though I had zero professional writing or blogging experience.  It grew faster than I expected (thank you!), and I have been fully self-employed since July 2011. My husband joined me very willingly in 2012 (he was in his second year as an elementary school librarian following 4 years of teaching 8th grade science).  BFS itself has made more than $100,000 since I started.

My husband and I live on the income we earn through our online business, professional pet sitting, his seasonal sports officiating, and our first house which is now our rental property. We currently bring in $70,000-$100,000 each year – 100% self-employed. If you’d like to start your own site, I worked out a special for my readers with Bluehost – lower rates on all 12+ month packages (for example, $2.95 per month for 36 months for their “basic” plan). I use Bluehost too for my smaller sites –  I signed up for the 36 month package with their “Plus” plan since I have multiple smaller domains.  BFS got too big for cheap hosting and is on Pagely for $20 a month…I miss the cheap prices on that one…

I also republished a free three part series to help:

Or if blogging isn’t your schtick, check out my recommended tools and services to help you save money! I’ve also personally done all sorts of side hustles including being a jewelry reseller from online bidding sites to pawn shops in my late teens, being a cow mascot in my early 30’s, selling my hair for $100+, and starting my own professional pet sitting business in 2014. Email me any time for ideas as well since side hustles and entrepreneurship have become my whole life!

Onto this month’s update!!!

 November 2016 Self-Employment Income

  • Crystal for Hire (Freelancing like Writing, App Review Replies, and Blog Ad Management) – $1900
  • – $975
  • (and occasionally some of my personal sites) – $0
  • Bluehost and VistaPrint – $0
  • Whistle Pet GPS (brand new affiliate) – $0
  • eBook – $5
  • Professional pet sitting (also Mr. BFS and me) – $3500
  • Renting out our first house – $1250
  • Sports officiating (hubby’s hobby job – between seasons) – $1400
  • Total = $9030

November 2016 Main Self-Employment Expenses

  • Normal Expenses (Paypal fees, Staff Writer for, Etc.) – $280
  • Pinterest Maintenance (I use Kathleen and Anne at – $200
  • Tech / Back End Blogging Stuff (I use Doug Triplett) – $360
  • New Theme – $40
  • Annual Backup and Firewalls – $200
  • Domain Renewals and/or hosting renewal – $20
  • Total = $1100

Overall, we brought in about $7930 this past month.

Yep, I finally hired a tech person again!  I have been awful about taking care of my websites’ security and keeping the themes updated, so welcome to Doug!!!  Pet sitting brought in more than our normal thanks to the busy week of Thanksgiving.  Sports officiating brought in more than usual since it was the end of varsity football season and all the schools are finally coughing up all of hubby’s checks.

Our Target

To put things into perspective, we need about $6000 a month just for our monthly nut. $4000 covers our monthly bills like the remaining mortgage ($1000), Liberty Healthshare ($300), my car payment ($275), car insurance ($125), property taxes and insurance on both homes ($1300 a month), and income taxes ($1000 a month). The other $2000 a month usually goes to food, utilities, car maintenance and gasoline, life insurance, and splurgy extras. You can check out our our budget anytime.

Any extra after that $6000 is divided between savings, investments, and even a little for fun. It also helps make up for not-so-good months that pop up.

So, this month we made about $2000 extra and that went back into our emergency savings since we borrowed from it for my husband’s Lasik last month.  I’m concentrating on growing affiliate income on BFS now, so hopefully that number will increase each month too…

Our main financial goal is to continue making enough overall to work from home as long as possible since we both prefer self-employment over “normal” day jobs. Our secondary goal is to use the majority of any extra money that we ever have to reach financial independence as soon as possible (we are aiming for age 50 or before). We may still choose to work even if we ever have enough saved not to, but we would like to make that choice ourselves.


Please keep in mind that this income comes from 25+ hour work weeks online divided between me and Mr. BFS. We put in another 30-50 hours a week split up into pet sitting. When it’s a sports season he’s involved in, Mr. BFS puts in about 20-30 hours a week into reffing. My personal minimum work week has become about 50+ hours.

We also end up paying more in income taxes since we do have to cover the employer’s part as well. I was working 100+ hours a week personally for over a year before I was able to leave my old day job. I just want to be clear that this isn’t easy money in any respect. I want to inspire everyone to accomplish their dreams, no matter what it takes. I am not saying it will be simple or fast. It just can be done.

Net Worth Update – End of November 2016


Cash (in all checking and savings accounts) – $100,325  (-$3045)
Stocks – $18910  (+$215)
Retirement – $173,025  (+$11,075)
Home – $306,000 (same)
Rental House – $122,000 (same)
Cars – $13,350 (same)


Home – $191,150 ($600)
Car – $8280 ($270)

Total Net Worth = $534,180
Last Month: $525,065
Total Monthly Change:  +$9115

My Thoughts

Wowza, the market bounced back!  $5000 of that increase was because I moved $5000 of our cash into our 2016 SEP IRA, but the other $6000 was just a great bounce back!  I assumed the presidential election would be a good time to take advantage of a temporary market crash, but I didn’t invest in anything before it started bouncing back.  I’ll be cash ready for the next stock market hit.   Double yay that our cash wasn’t more than $5000 lower!

November was all about pet sitting, the Board Game Geek Convention, and the 3 F’s – Friends, Family, and Food.  We also finally got official and filed the paperwork through our tax lawyer and CPA to become C&L Stemberger Enterprises with both of our main businesses as DBA’s (Doing Business As).

Our home values are still based on official evaluations we had done in April. Our car values are based off of Kelley Blue Book combined with what I see selling on Craigslist.

In case you are ever wondering, the car loan is at 0.9% interest, so we are not planning on paying it off early. I had been starting to hear that siren call of debt freedom though, so I set up our mortgage payment to take out $1250 instead of $990 with the extra being applied towards the principal.  Our mortgage is at 4% interest, so that made more sense to me.

Our cash reserves do have a significant amount in them, but that is by design.

Overall, we want $60,000 broken up in the following ways – $5000 in checking, $20,000 in our emergency fund, $20,000 padding in our blog income account for paychecks, $10,000 in our rental home account, $5000 in a car account for issues or our next down payment.

And we also have two accounts that build $2000 per month (hopefully) throughout the year. One account is for our income taxes, property taxes, home insurances, and HOA dues.  The other is to save up for the current year’s SEP IRA contributions as well as the following year’s Roth IRA contributions since we like to throw in all $11,000 to our Roth IRA’s at the beginning of each calendar year.  That second account for the IRA’s is behind right now.

Overall, I’m still financially optimistic for 2016. We hit my $500,000 goal earlier this year. 🙂 Now we have been working on the BIG goal set at $550,000 (a 10-15% increase over last year).  I’m not sure it’s possible anymore, but we’ll give it a shot!

How have you been doing lately? What are your short-term and long-term financial goals?

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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