Money is intimidating without context. I do income reports as a way of being transparent when sharing our college savings journey. Each month I detail our savings, earnings, what went well, what didn’t, and our goals for next month. It’s my hope that our strategies will help you build your own wealth.

Let’s do this! 

monthly savings: $600

The first and most important aspect of hitting our savings goals is budgeting. Like any other fixed expense, we set aside a certain amount each month for The Mister Fund: $600. I know what you’re thinking: It sounds like a lot. It sounds unaffordable and daunting and all the other words that once prevented me from saving in the first place. Blah!

Okay, okay, but I promise it gets easier once you break it down. Saving $600 a month translates to:

  • $150 per week, or
  • $21.43 per day

Realistically, coming up with a little over $20 a day doesn’t seem so scary, right?  It’s just a matter of finding the money in your budget. If you don’t yet have one, grab the very simple Excel sheet I use.

monthly earnings: $109.50

In addition to savings, I use side hustling to funnel even more cash into The Mister Fund.

  • Etsy Sales: My DIY blog is MetroCozy, and I have an Etsy shop of the same name. I sell building plans and knitting kits to the similarly crafty. This month I received two orders for customized baby gate plans for a total of $69.50.
  • Credit Card Cash Back: I use my Nordstrom card for fun spending, and I’ll get a cash back “note” every so often. This month I got $40 of in-store cash, which I spent on really.cute.socks. I planned to buy these socks anyway, so I took the $40 I would have spent and contributed to The Mister Fund. It’s a simple trick that helps me take advantage of every freebie that comes my way.

the fun math

My favorite part of income reporting! As of September 2018, we’ve saved a little over $15,000. Assuming we continue to invest $709.50 per month over the next 15 years (at a 7% return-a standard assumption), here’s the final number:

Meet Sarah

sarah szczypinski



etsy store logo


Champagne Bears The Year of Cozy Big Bloom Paper Flowers


Watch writing classes at


This is it, guys. This is what saving $21.43 can do for your kids, or if you’re saving solo, what it can do for YOU if you’re working toward retirement, buying a bigger house, or doing almost anything else you want!

october goals

I’m happy with this month’s progress and I’m looking forward to doing even more in October. Lately I’ve been thinking about the missed opportunities to save in a passive way. October goals include:

  • Apps: Oh apps, I need you. There are so many earning apps to use nowadays, and I just haven’t jumped on the bandwagon (yet). Here are a couple I’ve been meaning to try out:
    • Acorns: This app lets people automatically invest spare change from debit and credit card purchases by rounding up to the nearest dollar. You can choose investments based on risk level and set a timeline to help grow your money. As someone who hasn’t paid with cash in 15 years, this one seems like a no-brainer.
    • Ibotta: Ibotta is a coupon and cash-back app that allows you to scan your shopping receipts and get cash back on items you’ve already bought. Check out this great guide by The Balance for a full picture of what the app can do.
  • Side Hustling: My full-time job includes writing about side hustling, and I love incorporating it into my own life. Two things I’m spending more time on in October:
    • Etsy Sales: My MetroCozy email list doubled in September thanks to a cross stitch freebie pattern I posted (get yours, it’s adorable!), which has driven a ton of traffic to the Etsy store. I have a few new projects lined up for October to grow the blog even more.
    • Affiliate Sales: I’ve joined dozens of affiliate marketplaces in the last year and never used them (because, toddler). That’s about to change. My goal for October is to make full use of the potential of Commission Junction, ShareASale and FlexOffers.

hope YOU had a beautiful September and that you took stock of your accomplishments, too. 


Got any questions? Comments? Tips? I’d love to hear them! Let’s chat in the comments below.

Author: Sarah Szczypinski

Author: Sarah Szczypinski

Sarah Szczypinski teaches parents and entrepreneurs how to save and earn more money without sacrificing their lifestyles. She is currently building a $250,000 college fund for her son (Mister’s) education. She is a full-time financial journalist and a staff writer for The Balance, where she writes about freelancing and the gig economy. She also regularly contributes to the Seattle Times and the Washington Post.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.