Preparing for the Resumption of Student Loan Payments

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

I don’t pretend to know what anyone’s financial situation is like. I know that our stories are different, and depending on where we lie on our path, the story changes with time. I have already written about what one should be doing with their federal student loans at this time, but the advice is not finite. I find that the best mode of action, historically, has been to share with others what I myself am personally doing with my student loans, and letting others walk away with what they’d like to keep for themselves. So here it is. A little update on me, preparing for the resumption of student loan repayment once the 0% interest resumes at the latter part of 2021.

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO

For the past year, I have been holding onto my usually aggressive student loan repayment sums for multiple reasons. Firstly, the uncertainty of the economic and social situation due to the pandemic. Mike spent 10 out of the 12 months last year not working. I honed in on only working part-time at one of my offices so as not to spread disease among different population groups. Family members lost jobs and we didn’t know who would need our support. Siblings moved back into parent’s homes, parents themselves moved, and a majority of our immediate families went without work or school for most of 2020. So I paid my minimum payment (in order to avoid forbearance just in case it affected the terms of the loan in the long-run) and took the rest of the income and invested it into a High Yield Savings Account.

Meanwhile, to compensate for Mike not working, I maxed out my 401K for the first time ever, and dabbled into a brokerage account. But for the most part, we enjoyed the relaxed vibe of staying at home and doing nothing for the most part of 2020. I wasn’t as tight on finances as I should have been. I have financial independence to thank for that – and you can read how pursuing financial independence has actually benefitted us during times of COVID.

Regardless, I am starting to feel that the end of an era is near. With the available vaccinations increasing in Southern California, I am anticipating the reopening of most of our economy, which will also signal the end of the student loan forbearance (currently scheduled for September 2020). So, like any Spring bird preparing for what’s ahead, I am gathering my resources like figments of a bird’s nest, and preparing for the return of my aggressive student loan repayments.

THE GAME PLAN

Because my loan was huge ($575,000), we initially stayed with a student loan forgiveness program instead of refinancing back in 2017, in case something unexpected came our way (oh, sayyy COIVD?). However, now that the loan amount is dwindling, we are starting to see the light. The OG plan was always to refinance once the loan reached under $300,000. Why this number? I have found that this number is the threshhold for many student loan refinancers. Many of them won’t even consider a refinance if the loan amount is more than $300,000. It is also the threshold that transitions one from a high interest rate (ours is 6.8%!!) to a lower interest rate (around 3%).

Luckily, under the REPAYE plan, the interest rate was half-subsidized by REPAYE, which meant we were able to stay in the student loan forgiveness program while paying interest fees around what we would have paid if we had refinanced. This is why it is important to understand your loan repayment options, which you can definitely learn more about here. This subsidy ends after three years, and we reached that mark during COVID (November 2020). Luckily, due to the 0% interest rate in effect right now as part of the COVID relief program, we have not jumped into the 6.8% interest rate bracket. However, our goal is to be under $300k by the time the 0% ends and refinance to an interest rate that is hopefully lower than 3%. I do not recommend refinancing your loan before the deferment period ends, but I do recommend preparing for it by planning to pay off the largest chunk you possibly can and then refinancing to a better rate to make the going easier for you in the future. Think of it as a snowball method.

OUR PREPARATION

We are doing a few things to prepare for Fall. None of these things are out of the ordinary for us. They are actions that I’ve been advocating for years. Although I must say that we’ve loosened the reigns a bit recently. Our frugal muscles have become droopy, and it’s time to exercise. Here is what I plan to do in the upcoming months.

  • Tightening up the Master Budget. Since we eliminated a majority of our spending due to the lock-down, I have found that over the past year, I have loosened significantly the reigns on spending buckets that would usually have tightly closed lids. The savings we received from cancelling subscriptions, gym memberships, and most importantly, international travel trips has given me a lot of leeway with home and lifestyle improvements. Now, it is time to tighten the purse strings once more. If you need a refresher on mastering a budget, you can refer to my free course here. Don’t let any stone go unturned. You can create monthly frugal challenges to make the saving more fun. Here’s a few of mine.
  • Resume Side Hustles. In order to protect my family and my patients, I had decided to stop my dog-sitting and my bakery last March. I also decided that it would be best to only work at one dental office at a time. But now that things are opening up again, I have started to resume my side hustles. I have returned to the bakery where I once worked as an early morning baker and have started the position of Wholesale Director in March. I love being back with the Rye Goods crew, and truly enjoy my alternative work life. I also have continued to write for this blog, as well as guest write for Bogobrush. If you wish to grow your income, too, check out my ever growing list of ways to earn extra money here.
  • Research Refinance Options. If, like us, you plan to finagle your way down to the smallest loan amount possible with the hopes to refinance for the lowest rate possible in order to snowball your way to student debt freedom, then I highly suggest starting the research on refinance options today. There will be different companies vying for your attention. It would be best if, when the time comes, you are well-versed enough to be able to refinance in a jiff. The worst possible scenario is choosing a refinance company that won’t give you the best deal, or waiting so long that you will be stuck paying the high interest fees when loan repayments resume. A few things to note. Do not apply to them if they pull your credit. You want to maintain your good credit score for when the actual time comes. Also, the smaller your debt, the better your rate. So save, save, save! Lastly, make sure you have budgeted out enough emergency funds to cover your monthly payments after exiting from your student loan forgiveness program in case of job loss or an emergency. Preparation is key before pulling the trigger. Here are a few refinance options that I’ve been recommending to colleagues.
  • Speak to Travis Hornsby from Student Loan Planner. Still don’t know what to do? Speak to Travis and his team at Student Loan Planner. They are knowledgable and give great advice. I highly recommend their services for those who do not know what to do with their loans. I send all of my closest friends and family members to him because I trust his team and know that they are up to date with the finest details regarding student loans.

I feel like a warrior getting dressed for battle. It has been a long year of nothingness. I must admit that it was lovely and nice, but I am ready to get on my horse and face the challenges of loan repayment once again. Instead of our usual yearly update (because there is nothing to update you on), I hope that this post suffices. I will write a lengthy one as September draws near, as well as after our planned refinance.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

How To Use Affirm to Grow Your Wealth

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

In general, I am not a big fan of financing companies because I believe that they enable people to buy more than they can afford, with disregard to social responsibility and actual value. We live in a consumerist society focused on bombarding its constituents with more reasons to buy. The endless cycle of consumption is a rabbit hole that many fall into and never get out of. Because of this, I am generally hesitant to promote financing to my readers … unless it has potential to grow their wealth.

Before reading on, I do want to make the following statements.

I am assuming that the person reading this post is financially educated and savvy, does not live paycheck to paycheck, wishes to grow their wealth, has mastered their budgeting basics, and has an aversion to spending on frivolous things that don’t add value to their life. I would like to say that if you are not all of these things, we need to start elsewhere on growing wealth, and this FREE Mastering a Budget course is a great place to start.

This advice is not for those who are privvy to emotional spending, stress shopping, or just mindless consumption, that which pervades much of our American society. If you feel you have the aptitude and wherewithal to use the information I have yet to divulge about taking advantage of financing in order to grow your wealth, then I welcome you to the rest of the post. But if you have even the slightest uncertainty, I recommend you start with beginner posts such as any of the following:

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With that said, let’s continue on to how we can use financing companies such as Affirm to our advantage.

What is Affirm?

Affirm is a financing company that has recently experienced an increased exposure due to financing partnerships with multiple companies. In January 2021, they went public with the ticker symbol $AFRM and have seen an increase in stock value since their IPO at $45. I have personally seen Affirm used in a few of my favorite companies such as East Fork Pottery, La Marzocco, Nisolo, Dyson and Leesa. While this post was not written in sponsorship with Affirm, the eureka moment for utilizing its financing options came to me at a time when I was mulling over alternative wealth growing strategies.

Given that someone has good credit and can secure a 0% interest rate with Affirm when buying big purchases, they can extend their payments over a short number of months (because long-term financing leads to increased rates) which may allow for investment opportunities.

We aren’t talking big bucks here, of course. But what if everyone who is financially stable approaches all forms of consumption with a mindset of, “pay myself first.” If they embrace this mindset, then they would likely prefer to pay for their new Leesa mattress in three payments over the course of three months with 0% interest rather than upfront. If a new mattress costs $1,200, then divvying up payments into thirds allows for $800 to be invested over the course of one month and $400 to continue being invested for an additional month. You are still able to obtain the product at $0 additional cost to you via Affirm financing while Affirm gives you the time to grow your money. Of course, this is assuming that you were already going to buy this product that adds value to yourself. It is not an excuse to buy, just because.

This concept of pay yourself first is not the mentality that many people take. However, I view it as a great strategy for growing wealth – one that simply requires the reframing of our approach to paying for stuff.

It seems quite silly. Small, even, for some people. It can be especially controversial for finance people who promote paying everything upfront in cash. Some people may view Affirm financing as debt. I would like to argue that we can reframe this perceived debt as a calculated decision made to grow your own wealth before growing someone else’s.

Finance gurus who dissuade the use of credit cards may be cringing at my suggestion, but I guess I’m not exactly conventional in that regard. I mean, I use the opening of credit cards in order to fly globally for free by travel hacking! So yeah, I love credit cards (as long as it is used in a controlled manner to further yourself along your life path). And I like the flexibility Affirm gives people, who may take advantage of the opportunity to grow wealth.

As I said at the beginning of this post, if you are someone who hasn’t yet mastered your spending and your budget, I recommend not trying this tactic. But if you are ready to go next level with the way you pay for your stuff on a day-to-day, it’s something worth considering.

Financial Advice for Young People in their 20’s

I find that financial literacy is quite low for people in their early 20’s and 30’s. This is not a fault of their own but rather, a cultural failure that presents us all with opportunity for improvement. As a society, we do not openly embrace talk about money. In our educational institutions, we do not teach young children about finance. Within our media channels, we promote a consumerist lifestyle. Culturally speaking, we value hard work, status symbols and the physical earning of money over the actual growth of financial wealth.

I was once young too. I was financially illiterate. I obliterated my savings, worked multiple jobs, and took out more than half a million dollars in debt trying to chase the American dream. Only now, in my early thirties, am I realizing that the short-comings of my financial education is the cause of my financial mistakes. We learn these things later than we should.

The success of young people greatly depend on our ability to talk about money. So I am now talking about it.

In order to combat this information gap, I wanted to share five finance tips with our young population.

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Top 5 Things Young People Should Do To Get Ahead in Finance

Master Budgeting Skills. It doesn’t matter how much money you make if you don’t know how to budget. You could make a million dollars but if you spend a million dollars, you aren’t any richer. In my opinion, knowing how to control the outflow of money is more important than increasing income. Mastering a budget is the first step to financial independence because you learn how to manage your cash flow. Without this control, everything else is irrelevant. Budgeting requires an awareness of your spending. It’s like losing weight. The first step to being healthier is knowing how many calories are being eaten and burned. Without monitoring what goes in and out, there is no chance for improvement. Mastering a budget is mastering your self-discipline around spending. But it takes a lot of practice and work. So start early and make the habit stick! I wrote an entire course on How to Master a Budget and published it for FREE to help others get started.

Learn how to flex those frugal muscles. Being financially savvy requires the same diligence and work as being physically strong. Just like real muscles, frugal muscles can grow – with practice. Learn how to be frugal. Realize that not everything needs to be bought. There are many alternatives to spending! For example, try skipping the spin or yoga class and run outdoors or go on a hike. Instead of dining out, try cooking a new recipe. Want to read a book? Look for it at the library. Be creative in finding ways to get what you want for free. Try making things instead of buying them. Learn the art of the trade. And when all else fails, find the beauty in living without. Remember, everything you think you need you were once without, and you were just fine. It all comes down to understanding that every clutter you own used to be money and every dollar you spend used to be free time. Here are a few frugal challenges to get the ball rolling.

Choose a social circle that will uplift you financially. Sometimes, when we tell others that we want to opt out of brunch or happy hour because we are trying to save money, we get a negative reaction. People can get defensive when you turn them down in favor of saving yourself a couple bucks. Trust me, I have been there. However, there is a saying that I love to preach. You are only as good as the five people that you spend the most time with. You will have an easier time on your financial journey if you have like-minded people around you to celebrate your wins. These are people who will motivate you to save, as well as support you when times get tough. If you have difficulty setting boundaries, perhaps this is a good place to start.

Invest in yourself before anything else. I am not entirely against spending. I believe that spending on things that add value to your life is important. However, you want to make sure you invest in yourself before anything else. When I refer to investments, I am not referring to a car or a home. I am referring to investing in things such as continuing education, management skills, mental health, physical health, relationships and personal time. After you’ve invested in yourself, you may see that informational wealth and good health can lead to financial growth. And THEN you can think about investing in other things.

Start planning for retirement now. It is best to start planning for retirement as soon as possible. Due to the exponential potential of retirement funds, early starters will have an advantage over those who wait until they are in their 30’s or 40’s. If possible, maximize your 401k and get your company match. If you have extra money, I would recommend funding a ROTH IRA on top of that. If you have additional income, you can invest it in the market, get into real estate, or for the most conservative, keep it in a high yield savings account to earn interest. Make money work for you, instead of working for your money. Those who act now will go through the difficult parts in their youth but will have an easier time as they age. And vice versa. The unwillingness to act could lead to a very difficult financial future. If you are in your 30’s or 40’s, there is no use crying over spilled milk and lost time. It is not too late for you, but start TODAY.

These are just the basics but all of these things will help create a strong foundation for the decades to come. Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask, be willing to listen, keep an open mind, and constantly seek information. That, in itself, is another level of wealth.

The Ever-Growing List of Ways to Earn Extra Income

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

There are two paths to growing wealth: spend less money, and earn more money. I have already addressed the former in my Ever-Growing List of Things I’ve Given Up in the Name of Frugality. It’s about time I address the latter.

I am ALL about the side-hustle. I have spent the last fifteen years of my life working multiple part-time jobs and creating side hustles. I had three jobs in Undergrad at the same time, and worked after school in dental school. Job titles that I’ve held include Jamba Juice worker, Jamba Juice Training Mentor, Banana Republic Visuals Specialist and Retail Associate, Dental Assistant, Private tutor, Tutor at a tutoring company, University Librarian, Rover Dog-Sitter, Baker at Rye Goods, Owner of Aero Bakery, Dentist, and Blogger. I have earned extra money writing entire websites as well as guest-writing for people, being a “lab-rat” for all sorts of University research studies, baby-sitting, baking treats for parties, and other random title-less positions.

I know COVID-19 has caused many people to lose their jobs. I hope this post finds you, somehow. There are endless ways to earn money. There is no reason to stick to what your degree or license is on. Many jobs require very little experience, and honestly most of what I did I learned along the way. I had no culinary degree and yet I reached out to a bakery via Instagram and asked for work. I took the only shift available (the early shift from 2am to 6am) and balanced it with my 5-day-workweek as a dentist. From there, I learned how to open my own bakery and manage that from the comforts of my home.

Likewise, I had only lived with my family dog for four years, but I deemed myself good enough for dog-sitting. I simply applied on the Rover App which only required a few lines of information and a few essays as to why I would be a good fit.

I have never changed diapers in my life but I sure as heck volunteered to babysit. I used to dabble in writing and somehow, I was paid to write all of the content of an entire website at the age of 20. No one gave me permission to create a blog, or be on podcasts, or half of the other things I ended up doing. But I did them, and you can too. All you need to do is throw yourself out on a limb, ask people around you how you can be of service, and give yourself the permission to try, and fail, and grow. You need to be vocal, confident, and trusting of your skills and talents. I believe every person has a long-list of things to contribute, and by offering to do so, we not only make ourselves richer but those around us richer too.

Onwards with my ever-growing list of ways to earn extra income.

  • Start a blog. I use WordPress as my hosting site and I started this blog for free. I first learned I could earn money for this blog through this course: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I then turned the blog into a business site which costs a yearly fee, but the money you earn from your blog can easily offset that fee. I would highly recommend growing your e-mail list via ConvertKit so that you can reach even more people.
  • Create an E-Course. I created my first E-Course called Mastering A Budget. My course is FREE but for those looking to sell their courses, I highly recommend Teachable. It is such an easy program to use, and I know many people who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars via Teachable. Write E-courses on things you care about or know a lot about. Trust that what you have to teach people is valuable!
  • Save electricity. We participate in OhmEvents and shut down our electricity during high-usage times. The first month, we earned $80. The second month, we earned $70. You can earn over a thousand dollars a year saving electricity. It can even pay for your utility bills for the year! Sign up using my affiliate link to OhmConnect and start earning now. If you use my affiliate link to sign up, you will automatically earn $20!
  • Pet-sit. There are many apps from which to pet-sit, but the one I use and recommend is Rover. You can choose to dog-sit either at the pet’s home or your home, walk dogs, or just swing by and check up on dogs! Getting paid to play with pets is the best!
  • De-clutter your stuff and sell them on Poshmark. I recently discovered Poshmark and have had high success selling my things on this platform. I make about $50 a month selling things on Poshmark. It’s also a good place to shop responsibly and frugally (see my previous post here).
  • Baby-sit. There are many parents who need baby-sitters. Especially now that WFH is more common. Over-whelmed, over-worked, and over-extended parents need a break! Guess who can offer their services…
  • Clean Homes. If you know how to clean, then you have gold on your hands. I know many people who hire others to clean their homes for them on a weekly basis. If you don’t mind getting on your hands and knees and you like to work in solidarity, then perhaps cleaning homes is the right gig for you. Plus, nowadays, professional cleaners are much needed! Turn on a Spotify playlist and get to work.
  • Drive for Uber or Lyft. After your day shift, drive in the evening for one of these companies. I heard that certain nights and weekends are popping. My brother did this for a while during his year between undergrad and dental school. He mostly drove around the city that he already lives in. It’s a great gig for night owls.
  • Deliver food via PostMates, GrubHub, or Amazon (Whole Foods). Food delivery has become increasingly popular and there is prestige to becoming a Whole Foods delivery person (I hear there’s a daily waitlist!).
  • Create Websites. Know a little bit of code? Understand the basics of websites? It’s okay. I didn’t either but look at me now! I am not tech-savvy. I have problems when my phone updates. And here I have built this space from scratch. Offer your services to someone who is just starting their business. I am sure they have a lot of other things to worry about. Create their website, learn along the way, take their feedback, and keep tweaking.
  • Be a photographer or videographer. Nowadays, almost anyone can turn these hobbies into a real job – that earns decent income! You can sell your pictures online so that others can print them and frame them around the house. Or you can shoot for events or companies. Just ask around. There are many people who need professional pictures. It is the digital age, after all.
  • Tutor. I used to tutor high school level math, Spanish, biology, and chemistry. I do think that everyone has something to offer. Tutor music, dance, finance, basic life-skills. Hold virtual classes via Zoom. Do something fun, like teaching a class on how to make a latte. Or how to tend to plants. Do a workshop of calligraphy – and make it a series! The word is at your fingertips.
  • Lead Yoga and Gym Classes. My best friend is a yoga teacher for CorePower Yoga. And although gyms are closed now, you can always make yoga videos on Youtube and get paid after a certain number of views. Or you can host a Zoom meeting and have people tune in. Charge them a registration fee and give them access to your Zoom room after they’ve paid. It doesn’t have to be a work-out class in person.
  • Be a professional de-clutterer or home organizer. People are stuck in their homes. They have turned their attention to long-ignored spaces. (I know I have). The de-cluttering craze has gone viral (was it not already?). But many people give up half-way through because of the rigorous process and the overwhelm. I have a friend who started a business that helps people de-clutter their homes. Consultations via Zoom or Facetime are easy to set-up. Help people create the ideal WFH spaces.
  • Work Part-Time at a Grocery Store, Bakery, Restaurant, Hotel, Coffee Shop, Retail Store, etc. This one ends up being the hardest gig to land in 2020. Who knew? But as the economy reopens, be prepared. Keep an eye out. You’ll likely have to play the numbers game and apply to as many opportunities as you can, but don’t give up!

Over time, I will add to this ever-growing list. Feel free to chime in!

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How I Made $288 in July 2020 Blogging from Home

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.  I started blogging right after graduating from dental school without ever thinking I’d earn money from it. At the time, I turned to this blog as a place to record my daily life. Ever since teenhood, I have kept some sort of journal or diary, which has evolved over time from paper to Xanga to Melodramatic, and now onto WordPress. For almost twenty years, I’ve processed information through writing, but never once did I think I would earn money from it. It’s been three years since owning this site but I am happy to say that it is now getting a little bit of traction and has started to earn me a little income. If I wasn’t working as a dentist during the day, I could see how this could become a steady day job. Still, even with my day job, it had turned into a fun side-hustle for me. I decided to log my earnings for my own personal tracking but also to share publicly how much one can make blogging from home. Now that remote work seems to be in the near future for many, I do think that blogging is a good option for people who wish to work from home. Likewise, it is an opportunity to be your own boss and have your own space. Since you are writing your own content, you have the flexibility to work whenever you want to, which I know can be a good or bad thing. Of course, you can always practice habits that will separate work from home. Lastly, this is a great hobby or job for creative people. You have autonomy over how to execute your ideas and thoughts, making this a very freeing experience for those who don’t quite fall neatly into a traditional work environment or big company hierarchy. But first, how did I start to monetize the blog? If you are new to blogging, you may not know that you can earn income from owning such a space. I certainly didn’t. But then I took this course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketingand it changed my life. Related Posts:

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is working with brands that you love in order to spread the word about their products and in return receiving commissions for any referred patrons. Sometimes these are physical products from almost any company you can think of. Other times, they are intellectual products such as courses or services that help improve other people’s lives. The best part is that you don’t have to “sell out” to do affiliate marketing. You don’t have to scheme or cheat people. For me, it’s really just promoting companies that I believe in. For example, the companies I choose to partner with are those that promote sustainably sourced products using fair trade and ethical factory conditions. I like to promote small name businesses trying to create social or environmental impact. I try to keep it to an exclusive few even though I’ve been approved for over 2,000 different companies (so far). There are a few nuances to affiliate marketing and I didn’t know much about it prior to the course. But the course helped me to learn A LOT and it’s just another case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” You could learn it all yourself, but it’s hard to without a guide to get you through the basics. I highly recommend this course if you wish to monetize your blog but don’t know where to start.

Extra Income Report

Now, onto the numbers. In July 2020, I made $288 in extra income. Of that, this is the breakdown:
  • All $288 is from sponsored posts. I count the monetary value of products that I receive as “income”. I do not accept products for review without first learning about the company and product. As a minimalist, I also only look for products that we currently need. I am honest in all my product reviews and list both pros and cons because I want to be as helpful to the consumer and the company, both.
I believe that July was a little low since I published half as many posts as June and May. Yet I received 800 more views than a normal month which shows that this blog is growing. I know it seems like not much, but as something I do for fun, I think it’s a nice little additional income. Over time, I hope to continue posting more income reports. Maybe it will help others looking for a side-hustle get a feel for whether blogging could become an alternative for them. As always, my goal with this blog is to promote intentional living. Writing is a way to create a lifestyle that is in tune with what you want to do. Sure, it may not be the perfect job, but if working from home and having flexibility help allow you to live your dream life (one that includes traveling the world or becoming a stay-at-home parent), then I hope this space brings you that value. If you are interested in starting a blog, I use WordPress. Feel free to sign up using my affiliate link. If you already have a blog, I want to refer you to the course that helped me monetize mine. It’s a really great starting point. It’s called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

How Californians Can Make Money Saving Electricity with OhmConnect

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

What if I told you that Californians can get paid to save electricity? I mean, we should all already be working hard to reduce our energy bills, but sometimes, during mid-summer night’s heat wave for example, the last thing you want to do is turn off the electricity. I get it.

Not to fret. This is not the blog of deprivation. This is the blog of wealth, in all aspects of the word. In order to get paid, all you have to do is participate in saving electricity one hour at a time during designated “OhmEvents” with OhmConnect. OhmEvents pre-determined time periods when energy usage is typically the highest.

How to participate? Easy. OhmConnect will send you a text (usually a day before) about an upcoming hour-long OhmEvent which you can choose to participate in. You can power down as many electrical appliances as you want, unplug your chargers, turn off your A/C, procrastinate a little longer on the laundry and the dishwasher (be real, you were already doing it), and take the kids or roomies out to the park to expel energy into the ecosystem in a completely different way. If you have a SmartPlug, you can turn off your electronics via an app even when you are away from home. You can also hook up your Nest or smart thermometer to Ohm and it can turn off your device during the hour, to help you save further. Depending on how much kWh you decrease your usage by, you will be awarded points which translates to cash.

How does OhmConnect have the ability to pay people money?

The government pays a stipend or perk to not have carbon-intensive power plants turned on. The way in which this is prevented is by not reaching a certain energy usage threshhold. Meaning, the more people participating in OhmEvents, the less energy is used, and the more likely that the government will pay the stipend, which then partially gets divvied up and dispersed to Ohm participants.

OhmConnect Promotes Slow Living

Aside from the benefit of having a positive environmental and financial impact, there is also the incentive to practice slow living. Participating in an OhmEvent means turning off the TV for an hour and perhaps picking up a book. If it’s hot indoors, it may mean taking the kids to the park or beach outdoors where you longingly feel for an oceanic  breeze. Maybe it’s your cue to commit to that weekly run you wrote in your list of resolutions months ago. Does the Ohm hour land in the evening time? Plan a candle-lit dinner to rekindle your relationship with a loved one. Or teach the kids how to make forts using blankets and read using flashlights.

The best thing about OhmConnect is that it improves your life three-fold – you are leveling up your bank account, your environmental impact, but also (most importantly), your relationships.

How to Earn Even More Money

Spread the word.

When you sign up using my referral link, you will automatically get $10 added to your account for your good intentions. Furthermore, you can help make a bigger difference by getting your friends and family to sign up using your own referral link. For the month of Plastic Free July, all referred friends that sign up for Ohm will result in $40 cash for you, $10 cash for them. They will not receive the $10 if they did not sign up using a referral link, which is why I provide mine here.

We have only been doing this one week, but to be honest with you, it’s very fun. I sent my referral link to my dad who already procrastinates dishes and laundry until after 9 p.m. in order to reduce the electricity bill, and he was stoked to save money and get paid doing it, too!

I think it’s kind of fun finding activities that revolve around zero-electricity usage. But hey, if you really want to, you can still use your laptop or iPhone unplugged.

After one week, I have earned $81 using OhmConnect! I love it, and I think many people would too.

Let me know how it goes 🙂

How I Made $390.38 In June 2020 Blogging From Home

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.  I started blogging right after graduating from dental school without ever thinking I’d earn money from it. At the time, I turned to this blog as a place to record my daily life. Ever since teenhood, I have kept some sort of journal or diary, which has evolved over time from paper to Xanga to Melodramatic, and now onto WordPress. For almost twenty years, I’ve processed information through writing, but never once did I think I would earn money from it. It’s been three years since owning this site but I am happy to say that it is now getting a little bit of traction and has started to earn me a little income. If I wasn’t working as a dentist during the day, I could see how this could become a steady day job. Still, even with my day job, it had turned into a fun side-hustle for me. I decided to log my earnings for my own personal tracking but also to share publicly how much one can make blogging from home. Now that remote work seems to be in the near future for many, I do think that blogging is a good option for people who wish to work from home. Likewise, it is an opportunity to be your own boss and have your own space. Since you are writing your own content, you have the flexibility to work whenever you want to, which I know can be a good or bad thing. Of course, you can always practice habits that will separate work from home. Lastly, this is a great hobby or job for creative people. You have autonomy over how to execute your ideas and thoughts, making this a very freeing experience for those who don’t quite fall neatly into a traditional work environment or big company hierarchy. But first, how did I start to monetize the blog? If you are new to blogging, you may not know that you can earn income from owning such a space. I certainly didn’t. But then I took this course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and it changed my life. Related Posts

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is working with brands that you love in order to spread the word about their products and in return receiving commissions for any referred patrons. Sometimes these are physical products from almost any company you can think of. Other times, they are intellectual products such as courses or services that help improve other people’s lives. The best part is that you don’t have to “sell out” to do affiliate marketing. You don’t have to scheme or cheat people. For me, it’s really just promoting companies that I believe in. For example, the companies I choose to partner with are those that promote sustainably sourced products using fair trade and ethical factory conditions. I like to promote small name businesses trying to create social or environmental impact. I try to keep it to an exclusive few even though I’ve been approved for over 2,000 different companies (so far). There are a few nuances to affiliate marketing and I didn’t know much about it prior to the course. But the course helped me to learn A LOT and it’s just another case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” You could learn it all yourself, but it’s hard to without a guide to get you through the basics. I highly recommend this course if you wish to monetize your blog but don’t know where to start.

Extra Income Report

Now, onto the numbers. In June 2020, I made $390.38 in extra income. Of that, this is the breakdown:
  • $380 is from sponsored posts. I count the monetary value of products that I receive and review as “income”. I do not accept products for review without first learning about the company and product. As a minimalist, I also only look for products that we currently need. I am honest in all my product reviews and list both pros and cons because I want to be as helpful to the consumer and the company, both.
  • $10.38 is from affiliate links. This means that people clicked on a link I wrote about and I earned commission for referring a consumer.
I know it seems like not much, but as something I do for fun, I think it’s a nice little additional income. Over time, I hope to continue posting more income reports. Maybe it will help others looking for a side-hustle get a feel for whether blogging could become an alternative for them. As always, my goal with this blog is to promote intentional living. Writing is a way to create a lifestyle that is in tune with what you want to do. Sure, it may not be the perfect job, but if working from home and having flexibility help allow you to live your dream life (one that includes traveling the world or becoming a stay-at-home parent), then I hope this space brings you that value. If you are interested in starting a blog, I use WordPress. Feel free to sign up using my affiliate link. If you already have a blog, I want to refer you to the course that helped me monetize mine. It’s a really great starting point. It’s called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.