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From: Maureen (
Subject:         Re: making ends meet..........
Date: May 15, 2008 at 11:29 am PST

In Reply to: making ends meat.......... posted by Jackie on May 14, 2008 at 7:24 pm:

I also work a regular job, but I'm in health care so I can work a Baylor shift - very long weekend hours but home during the week. I also have home-based work. I tutor high school kids in math and science, help them with career planning and college apps and SAT prep, and do an adult ed class in career change planning. When we lived near a university hospital, I did a lot of proofing/editing and preparation of presentations for doctors, many of whom didn't have access to cheap grad-student labor.
Our budget is bare bones - beans and grains, peanut butter, soymilk, staples bought at a coop, veggies out of our garden, some things from a local farmer's market. I use a crockpot to make batches of food that can be frozen for later - not only is it easier, there's less waste. Junk food?? too expensive! My kids know chips, desserts, and soy ice cream - even prepared veggieburgers - as things we get for special treatsw, not as part of daily intake. We're vegan, and that really helps.Dr. Bronner castile soap is useful for bathing, shampoo, floors, laundry and washing the dog - so no need for fancy bath products or expensive (and toxic) cleaners. Don't need to buy clothes - I wear scrubs and sweats and that's it; the kids pretty much live in sweats and they have jeans for the rare times we go anywhere. We're not churchgoers, so none of us own any dress clothes or jewelry, and my homeschooled daughters will not be dating until they have left home. That eliminates a huge budget item titled "enslavement to current fashion". Goodwill is our shopping choice for just about everything - clothing, bed linens, appliances, electronics, used books and tapes and DVDs. If we can't find it there, we check Craigslist, and we use Freecycle a lot. I got shingles on Freecycle to re-roof one side of the house. If something in the house needs repair, we go to the library, get a book and I figure out how to fix it myself. We did slowly collect a lot of very high-end backpacking gear, but we bought it used and now our future vacations are already paid for - we went kayaking and backpacking for three weeks last summer, and it cost nothing as we'd have had to eat anyway! so, that's how I live on a shoestring.
You're a certified teacher??? you know how many kids, right now in this month of May, are about to flunk a grade in elementary school? you could pay the rent just tutoring kids, and you might, right now, work up flyers and a press release for your local paper (and the local schools) about your summer catch-up lessons to give kids a jumpstart on next year.
One thing I learned: when you are publicizing your talents as a teacher, your materials have to be absolutely impeccable. I can't proofread my own stuff, so even though I proofread professionally, I still got a colleague to help design my flyers, write my copy, and proof it for typos and suchlike. It helped! We bartered services - she's a publicist and copywriter, and she gave me her services in exchange for - guess what - tutoring her daughter for the AP chemistry exam. You might try exploring local coop groups or feeling out your acquaintances for some kind of barter or group buying coop.

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