In my desperation, I would frequently ask for advice from my friends. My friend Gregg, who used to be a GM of a car dealership used to tell me to sell cars. He convinced me that I would be good at it. After a year of thinking about it, I finally decided to try it out. I was hired without much problem, and I began selling Toyotas in November of 2013. I was not wildly successful mainly because I’m not really an aggressive person and I don’t enjoy standing for hours doing nothing except staring out into a car lot, waiting to pounce on a customer. I don’t really like it when sales people approach me either, but this is another story. In my year and a half at the dealership, I have been able to make a decent income. The way I was able to save up $7000 is detailed below.
LISTENING AND TAKING ADVICE
When I was flat broke, I took my friend Gregg’s advice and started working in car sales. It’s important to ask for help when you need it and then take action when someone gives you good advice. It’s scary, but in order to go forward, sometimes you have to jump off a cliff and see what happens.
OTHER INCOME SOURCES
On my days off, I frequently earn income from focus groups. When I was broke, I did research to find the best company in KC that paid the most money for my opinions. I received between $75 and $200 for each focus group event. I’ve received money for taste tests, I was paid to give my opinion on a court case and a card company paid me and my daughter money to find out which new toy products were the best. This focus group company’s website is http://www.qafocussuites.com/ If you have spare time, and you need money, this is worth it. You have to be persistent, though, because you won’t qualify for all the focus groups. Also, my best advice to really poor people is that when the survey asks for your income, put down $35,000 per year. That’s what I did and I think it’s ok to fudge the numbers because you’re the one who needs it really bad. The money I received from Q & A Focus Suites when I was flat broke was like heaven. Pursue this if you’re desperate for cash.
I also earn money from my videos. I enter contests if there’s a cash reward. I also receive a small amount from Google for my YouTube videos. In all, I’ve probably made about $500 from Google, a few thousand in winning video contests and a few more thousand making videos for people and companies. I recently won a $550 cash award for video contest that my dealership sponsored.
I’ve learned from entrepreneurs that it’s really important to have many sources of income. It’s my goal to have 5 different solid sources of income in the future.
In 2013, me and my daughter were living in a room that cost $500 per month. This $500 included everything. I had no other housing expenses. I lived in a Hyde Park mansion with a family of 10. This was a co-housing situation. We had full access to the house, including the kitchen, yard, living rooms and pool. It was a positive experience, but after a while, I felt cramped and wanted my own space. I began looking for houses. It was a scary experience considering I would be in debt for 25+ years. The thought of being tied to an expensive mortgage was too frightful. Then I had a dream. In the dream I was peering over my father’s shoulder to see how much he had left to pay on his house. In the dream I could never determine how much he owed. When I woke up from the dream, I knew what course I should take. I should take over the mortgage, considering it would be a lot less than starting from the beginning of a mortgage. I found out that he owes $50,000 on the 5 bedroom house and he pays $450 per month. So, now I pay the $450 mortgage payment for a 5 bedroom house. When I pay off the $50,000 I will own the house. So now we all live together and my child care costs have evaporated with the move. My father frequently watches my daughter while I work late. We all split the costs for everything. We’re also considering renting out one of the rooms on AirBnb to cover more expenses.
My car got totalled last year and I was forced to buy one. I decided that I wanted a low monthly payment. I drive a lot and I’m an environmentalist so I wanted either an electric or hybrid car. The Nissan Leaf’s range wasn’t good enough, so I decided to get a Prius. Since I work at a car dealership, I bought a Certified 2011 Prius for the invoice price. My monthly payment is $190 and my monthly fuel cost is $80. I bought an oil change program and had that financed. This saved me money to buy the oil change program in advance. Through my research, I learned that the Prius is a very reliable car. It has been so far. My future dream car is a Tesla, so I most likely will not be driving the Prius when the hybrid battery needs to be replaced.
My daughter goes to a preschool. It costs $680 per month. I pay $380 per month because my affluent brother pays $300 per month. In 2013 when I was completely broke, my mother asked my brother if he could help pay for preschool expenses. He said yes and he has paid that for several years. This expense will be ending in two months, so I will be saving that additional $380 per month. Both my parents take care of my child when I am working late, which happens often. Without this help, my life would be pretty dismal.
I might mention here that I am a single mother with no financial help from the baby daddy. I rarely buy new clothes for myself. I don’t spend money on booze, movies, bars, concerts, events, or hardly anything. I used to spend money on those things in the past, but my life has changed dramatically. In my free time, I read, write, make art, videos and spend time with my daughter and family. Time is my most precious commodity. I cut my own hair and have done so since I was 18 years old. So, I have saved 27 years worth of hair cuts. Over my lifetime, I’ve saved about $3,240 by cutting my own hair.
Eating out enhances the quality of my life. As a busy person, I rarely have time to cook on a daily basis. I allow myself to spend money eating out because that’s the one luxury that improves my life. I used to feel guilty every time I spent money at restaurants, but I’ve decided to embrace it now. I deny myself of so many other things, that eating out is the one thing that I feel good about plus it solves many problems all at once.
I have other random expenses and I buy my daughter new clothes, all sorts of extravagant things on special occasions, but I don’t buy expensive things on a regular basis. I do buy expensive electronics though, when I need them, as I just purchased the iPhone 6+ and spent nearly $900. It is completely worth it though. It is a great tool. Before I got the iPhone 6+, I had a hand-me-down iPhone 4 from my brother. He’s always getting the newest Apple stuff, so he’ll give me his older electronics, including the MacBook that I’m currently typing on. I don’t have a subscription to a cable company, and I’m on a family plan for my phone, which is much cheaper than an individual plan.
So looking at this list it is apparent that family help combined with not spending money on non-essential things are the two reasons I was able to save up $7000. If I tried to do all this on my own and I spent a lot on myself, I probably wouldn’t have a dime. As I create new forms of income, I will write about it. Stay tuned!
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