[$-92,864] I’m Back from My Vacation! The Good, the Bad and the Fallout


I’m baaaack!
And you missed me!  :heart:

Sorry for taking sooo long to reply to your comments. I was out of the country so I turned off apps, etc., to limit data usage. Thus, I was not getting notifications that there were comments. Duh!   I thought I’d literally bored you guys to death with my previous posts; or that no one had anything to say.  Boy was I wrong. Thanks for checking up on me.


My Vacation

The Good
I FINALLY did it.  I took a real vacation. With passport in hand, I traveled half way around the world. I even enjoyed the long flights. It was beautiful, fantastic, awesome, incredible!!!! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it!!!!   I can’t put into words how much I needed this trip.  Worth. Every. Penny!!!  :screams:

The Bad
: …that I couldn’t stay longer. 😥  Hell, that I couldn’t stay forever! I’m so envious of people who can live abroad whenever and however they want. I started plotting my return before I even left. Once I got back I kept researching… How could I get to live there, at least for a few years? There are a few options, but all would require SUBSTANTIAL pay cuts. I was on the verge of applying to one opportunity, but I couldn’t go through with it. My debt load and financial obligations (saving for retirement) wouldn’t allow it. 😥  I HATE DEBT!!! I resent the naive, ill-informed decisions that I made about money over the past two decades that are robbing me of life opportunities now.  Grrrr!

The Fallout
It’s ugly. My ‘budget’ exploded like a Samsung Note 7. I overspent my budget by over $1500! 😯 I can’t blame it all on vacation though. I’d split it as 70% vacation related, 30% good old me going way over budget on food and health/clothing expenses. Beyond depleting my Opportunity Fund, which was planned, I took money from my Health Maintenance and Emergency fund to cover my overspend.

I know! I know! Booo! Hisss! Don’t chase me with your pitchforks. I know. Overspending is NOT an emergency. Show mercy. I’m impatient and weak. My second priority now, is to replenish my Emergency fund to pre-vacation levels with any spare cash. My first priority, however, is to build up my Opportunity fund again so that I can go home for the holidays. I haven’t seen my extended family in a couple of years and my parents are getting on in age. I’ve been away too long and family is important.

I’m planning to use any bonus I get at work after the holidays to help in starting to refill these accounts. If I get a small annual ‘raise’ (really just a cost of living adjustment) next year, I also want to increase my HSA (Health Savings Account) contribution. I could max it out ($3400/year in 2017) with $141 gross from each paycheck. MAYBE I could swing that??? Sigh…

If I weren’t spending $2300 a month on debt, I could afford these things. I hate debt!  Arrgh!


I Need More Money!! Is it Time for a 2nd Job?

I want more money. I have too many goals and not enough cash. I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons of getting a part-time job. It’s on my 2016 Goals List as something to explore.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any profitable skills outside of my career. I am prohibited by my employer from performing the work I do for them for other employers, so that option is out. That leaves me looking elsewhere. I’ve recently spent some time looking again and I’m running into the same problems as when I’ve looked around in the past.

One. Part-time jobs want ALL of your time.
I found a few jobs that sounded pretty reasonable at first, like working in a bookstore. That sounds like a relatively low stress job that I could do on the weekends and evenings, right? Well, upon examining the ad, the employer requires that you be available to them mornings, afternoons, and evenings, Monday through Sunday, so they can schedule you to work whenever needed. Umm yeah, I have a full time job, so that’s not an option. Next!

Two. Specialized requirements.
“Must have own vehicle.”  Uh, nope. That is not in my budget. I’m not gonna go further into debt buying a car just to get a low wage part-time job.That’s known as “hustling backwards”. Sigh. Is a bus pass good enough? No? Oh well. Let’s keep looking…

“Must be able to operate a forklift.”  Seriously?!?  LoL! No!

“Must be able to lift and carry 65 pounds.”  Ha! If you read my gym posts, you know I have spaghetti noodle arms. I can’t even do a single push up. I told you I was weak! In more ways than one it would seem. LoL.  Yeah, those jobs are out. Next!

Three. Requires sales.
Ugh! You must meet a daily / weekly / monthly sales quota or you’re out. I don’t like being sold to and I REALLY don’t like selling. I don’t like pushing things on people that they don’t need like merchant credit cards, unnecessary warranties, etc. That bookstore job I mentioned earlier; they also have a sales quota. Even if I magically found the time to be every place at once and get that job somehow, LoL, I’d get fired within the first month for failing to upsell anything. It seems that every job is a sales job these days.  I don’t want that added pressure and stress.

Four. The money doesn’t add up. (aka the Wrath of Uncle Sam)
The jobs I see pay minimum wage or a bit above. Yeah, that’s like, um… low. Those that advertise $10 or even ‘up to $15’ an hour seem worth a second look, but once I subtract what I’d likely give up in taxes and other mandatory contributions, what I’d bring home doesn’t look so hot. Plus, I have to subtract transit costs, to and from the job and other incidental expenses. Is it worth the stress and wear and tear on my body and overall health?

The $15/hour online jobs are often independent contractor positions, which opens up tax complications, including the additional 15% in taxes one must pay when working these types of jobs. Plus, I’ve read accounts of people trying these jobs and the advertised hourly rate being difficult to attain in the real world. It’s more likely you’ll earn $10/hour at best. Maybe that’s OK if you are a full time student or a stay at home mom with no other job and are thus in a low tax bracket, but it doesn’t work for me.  A 10-15 hour job (incl public transit costs) could come down to something like $4.50-5.75 dollars an hour. Is that the best use of my time?! If I’m going to spend time training and working I want a job that can go somewhere.

I did find one job that pays $11/hr (w-2, not independent contractor), appears to be low stress, and is only on weekends. I don’t know how many hours per week are required, but I applied for it. So let it not be said that I am doing nothing. It’s a long shot though, so I’m not holding my breath. In the mean time, I’ll keep looking into my options.

Maybe a better use of my time would be to devote my non- working hours to my health and  long-term career planning and training.


Health & Gym update

I have not been back to the gym since I stopped going to the small expensive studio. So my meager ‘gainz’ have deteriorated back into flabville. I feel recovered enough to try working out again, so I have joined a local YMCA. It’s a trek to get to. I have to take public transit to get there, which adds a motivation barrier. Membership is about $65/mo, which is reasonable here (high cost of living area). I’ll try it out for a few months. Because it’s so far away, I won’t be able to get there in the mornings. I’ll have to visit after work and on the weekends. GAH!  😦  NOT looking forward to the crowds!

I’ve been a member for a little while already and I still haven’t made it out there to work out. Bad sign. It’s a very good gym. It offers a lot of equipment and classes and is full of people and very big. A little too big actually. It’s a large and intimidating facility; VERY different from the other little studio that I came from. After just a few minutes of going up and down stairs and elevators during the orientation, I was lost. Crowded locker rooms with nudity and no privacy scare me. Pathogens scare me. You can tell that I never played on a sports team as a kid, huh? It will be an adjustment. I’ll see if I can brave it.


Unfortunately, this “Y” seems to be busy year-round, so I won’t get a calm December to ease into the place. I can’t imagine what it will be like in January. 😯  It may be a free-for-all, seriously. I will have to start with the free orientation sessions to get more acclimated to the place and the equipment.

I’m in a busy patch at work. I’m overloaded with projects, working extra hours, including weekends, pulling an all-nighter (there may be more of those on the way), and am generally stressed out. I hoping that once this passes in a few weeks, I’ll be able to get into a rhythm of going to the gym after work.  I also need to take some time to rest because I hold onto stress. Maybe I need more rest than most?


If exercising and resting (rather than taking a low wage second job) save me from having even one more surgery, it will have paid for itself.


Long Term 2nd Career Planning
With my part-time job hunt going bust, I’m thinking I should use this time to think long-term about a second career and/or starting my own business down the road.

One second career option i’m evaluating would require a certification to start. One way in would be to get the basic certification, the work for individual customers who’d hire me for a certain number of hours each week. This work would pay closer to $20/hr to start and then go up. Later on, with some experience under my belt, I could transition to full time. This could be a lower paid, lower stress second career that I can fall back on if/when I get burned out/laid off,/aged out, etc., or just decide to make a change from my current career many years from now. I need to examine this more. The plus side is that this job path is portable, meaning that I can do this job while traveling, which is what I’m looking for in a second career. No more being tied down to a cubicle.


Business Ideas
As I’ve posted about before. It’s important for women to have a second way to make money as it becomes very difficult to get hired or stay employed in our 50’s and beyond. With lifespans increasing, and healthcare cost skyrocketing, we need to have a business of our own (large or small) to gain income in our 50’s and 60’s (or earlier!). Right now I’m in the brainstorming phase. I want to come up with 3-5 ‘viable’ (non-absurd) ideas and then lay the groundwork to evaluate them over the coming months. The certification career path above will likely play into one business option.

I also would love to have a (side) business that is semi-location independent. It would be something that I can take anywhere and start up anywhere. I don’t want to be tied down to one place like I am now.  I have many ideas, I just need to take the time to evaluate them. And by evaluate I mean not just examining if there is a market for this product/service today, but will there be one 10-20 years from now. Ha! Good luck with that, huh?


Hey, I just noticed that this is my 100th post! Cheers!!

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to.  Anyone else trying to plan ahead?


“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW) [All posts on one page]




  1. thesingledollar · October 16, 2016

    I think this is sensible: a second (dead-end) job is NOT a good idea right now. You need to focus on the job you have, on your health/general state of being, and on what you want to do in the future when you have more financial flexibility. I’d definitely support “extracurricular activity” aimed at that last one — and who knows, it might include some part-time income — but I don’t think you’re in a place right now where it makes sense to be working at starbucks 15 hours a week.


  2. The Bookworm · October 16, 2016

    You are going to continue to do well because you are hungry. I know people who “poor mouth” and refuse to reflect on their expenses. When I humbly ask “have you considered a second job”, they quickly reply “No/nope”. That baffles the fiery, bad place out of me because I have been teaching and working a part time job since I was 22.


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · October 25, 2016

      Yes, I see your point. Thank you. I’m not against hard work. I know what’s like to have multiple jobs. I want to try to make the best use of my time. I don’t think that an after tax effective hourly rate of $5.27 is it. If I find something more lucrative, then of course I’ll consider it. As soon as my workload goes back to normal at my 9-5, I’ll be able to spend some time thinking of income strategies.


  3. Cynthia · October 18, 2016

    Take it easy DDSW! The last thing you need is to get sick. You are making steady progress, You will be below 90K before the end of the year. That’s a wonderful accomplishment! Please be kind to yourself and don’t overdo it.

    Have you considered skipping the gym altogether? Walking is free. There are wonderful free exercise videos online and dvds at the library. All you really need is a good yoga mat and some comfortable workout clothes. Just a thought. 🙂


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · October 25, 2016

      Thanks, Cynthia. Yes, I don’t want any more health problems. Thanks for the encouragement to rest. I do hold on to stress a lot. That’s another reason that I need to start exercising again. Yes, I walk… a lot! I have no car, so I walk everywhere. It’s not enough for me right now though. I really need strength training because 1) I’m super weak, and 2) it’s good for burning fat and building muscle. I do have yoga DVDs and a mat here, but absolutely zero will power to workout on my own. My room is tiny but I think I could manage it. Perhaps if I spend some time stretching and doing poses before going to gym, that might be the way to get me back into doing yoga.


      • Cynthia · November 1, 2016

        I find yoga definitely helps me deal with stress but l too, sometimes, struggle to make enough time for it. You know, yoga will help you build strength too. Trying holding plank pose for more than a minute; you will feel yourself getting really strong!!! You could also take the $65 and pick up some 5 and 10 pound weights and some strength bands. Don’t get me wrong though, if you enjoy the gym and find it fun and helpful, then it is worth the money. 🙂


        • doubledebtsinglewoman · November 1, 2016

          Oooh. I like plank pose too! I know from experience that I will not get up and exercise with anywhere near the intensity and variety as I could get in a class. A class motivates me to be somewhere at a certain time. Being around other people doing the same thing is incredibly motivating to me; especially once you get to know the instructor and other students and vice versa. I need that accountability. Otherwise I will not work out. I know that about myself. Many people may not need classes, but I do. Case in point. I HAVE 5 and 10 pound weights. Do I use them when I have spare time? No. Do I use them when I’m a gym class? Absolutely. I like having an instructor there to tell me if my form is wrong. Etc. Etc. I need to figure out which place is best for me for now. Thanks, Cynthia!


  4. Cynthia · October 18, 2016

    And congrats on your 100th post!


  5. Linda · October 18, 2016

    Have you considered babysitting? I don’t think it’s something professional women consider, but it can bring in some quick cash. When I had a low paying full-time job and law school loans to pay, a friend recommended me to someone who needed a baby sitter that same night. I had no other “credentials” other than my friend’s good word, my years of babysitting experience as a teenager, and my own professional reputation to protect. I ended up being an occasional babysitter for that family, which was a nice, easy way to earn some side income. You might check around with colleagues and friends. I charged $20/hour, in a high COL area, so I bet you could get something close to that.


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · October 25, 2016

      Thanks for the idea, Linda. Ummm. Babysitting…isn’t my thing… 😦 for a variety of reasons. I guess I’m one of those ‘professional women’ 🙂 Perhaps someone reading this will be inspired to start a babysitting side hustle. Glad that it worked out well for you. 🙂


  6. Bizanu · October 18, 2016

    Yayyyyyyyy the vacation happened! So happy for you and congrats on your 100th post!


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · October 25, 2016

      Thanks, Bizanu. It was loooong overdue. I made a plan and made it happen. And this was a good post to be 100th – celebrating an accomplished goal.


  7. Isabella · October 19, 2016

    Yes, I think you should just give up the gym scene as Cynthia mentioned above. You are not committed to this and always have an excuse! Just walk as was mentioned. It’s right out the front door, and you won’t feel guilty about missing the gym anymore. Gyms are highly overrated. I have lost 18.5 pounds in the last 3 months by watching what I eat and counting calories (1200/day) , walking in my neighborhood, riding my bike around an apt. complex in the area, or riding a stationary bike we have here at home. I only spend 20 minutes each day on exercise, but the key is consistency. And girl, I am 64 years old, so you can do this! It’s just great that you took a vacation.


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · October 25, 2016

      Hi Isabella! Well I’m not going to give up on the gym yet. I still have a few options for how to make something work.


  8. Freelance writing is location independent.


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · October 25, 2016

      Hey there! Yes, however I haven’t seen any writing gigs that pay well. If you know of any, pass them my way!


  9. Angie · October 24, 2016

    You have so much of the same thoughts as me. I’m currently brainstorming for a 2nd “career”. I’m looking for something PT or seasonal, enough to live off of (assuming I will not have to pay off debt or save more for retirement), and flexible location (at least can move to different cities and still work easily). It is tough requirements when you don’t want to own your own business.

    If you feel you want to go to the gym, some of the smaller gyms or studios will give you a membership or free classes for cleaning. You come in early or late, clean the studio a few times a week in exchange for a membership. No dealing with getting paid or taxes.


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · October 25, 2016

      Yeah, we’re thinking along the same lines. Have you considered doing some type of freelance or contract work? One thing I’m considering for my ‘working retirement phase’ is doing contract work 6 or 9 mo out of the year on remote or on-site contracts for different employers (different cities) and then traveling the other part of the year. It sounds nice anyway.

      Good tip about the gyms. The ones that I’ve seen have paid employees who clean or the owner themselves if its really small. It’s something to keep in mind though. No harm in asking, right? Thanks!


  10. Tonya@Budget and the Beach · October 27, 2016

    I’m also plotting out what my “retirement career” might look like. I know it won’t involve a lot of sitting and hopefully to a lot of computer time, although I will probably always incorporate video somehow into whatever I do. I’m thinking something in health and wellness. As far as the second job that is a tough one! To pay off your debt faster you obviously either need to cut expense way back or earn more, or both. I don’t know your story well enough to know what your savings rate is currently. I do think there are think out side of the box type things anyone can do. Freelance write (and you don’t have to drive!), dog or cat sitting, baby sitting, and yes, I have even cleaned my friend’s houses before. But if you have a germ thing that might not be in the cards. There are also other work from home things like swagbucks and stuff like that. I don’t use them myself, but I know a lot of people who do. But I also understand the other side of the coin. I work full time now too, and my downtime keeps me sane. It’s hard enough to keep up my blog! And with your health concerns, it’s all something to consider…


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · November 1, 2016

      Hi Tonya. Thanks for stopping by. I agree that I don’t want my retirement career to involve a lot of sitting and computer time. I already have had enough of that for a lifetime.
      Yes, there are many options for further improving my financial situation, the challenge is to pick the best one for me in terms of income, savings, opportunity cost, possible health consequences, etc. It is good to have options. For that, I am grateful.


  11. zeejaythorne · October 31, 2016

    Low-wage jobs that require you to provide a vehicle are NOT the thing. Ugh. I’m glad that vacation was rejuvenating.


  12. Jax · November 1, 2016

    If you start on your second job search again, consider the public library. Most would be thrilled to have someone *want* to work nights and weekends.

    You are making such great progress on your debt! Don’t get too hard on yourself. Take care of your health first. Good luck with your business ideas!


    • doubledebtsinglewoman · November 1, 2016

      Thanks, Jax. I used to work at a library back in the day when I was a young student. The library might have been an option for me now, but there were bedbug scares at a couple of libraries in the general area where I live a little over a year ago (as in bedbugs were actually found). So, I have to nope out of that. Too squeamish. Sigh. Thanks for the suggestion though. And thanks for the well wishes.


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