Monday, December 11, 2017

Blog Thoughts, Year Three


Invincible Summer
is almost three years old! I'll be briefer than I was in year two (and here's year one), but gosh, as always, I'm just so thankful to everyone who reads here. I'm still completely surprised and thrilled that there are people - real people(!) - who want to read along and chime in as I write about whatever strikes my fancy. I never stop being excited about that, and I'm super grateful. I really enjoy having this little, informal space to share my writing, and I'm still having lots of fun with it. 

Offline, this year was tough. That pay-cut I took for the clerkship was hard, as that average of ~6.8% interest on my federal student loans (I couldn't refinance because I needed income-based repayment protections while I was clerking, and could have wanted to clerk again before I completed repayment) undid almost all of the repayment progress I made while I was in biglaw for less than a year. I dipped into my emergency fund twice, including for some urgent dental work after an accident. Because I went back into the private sector around that time, I was at least able to replenish my emergency fund quickly.

Politics and current events have been... so incredibly dispiriting and awful that it's difficult to put into words exactly how many levels on which I'm enraged, and also terrified. I do my best to counteract it a bit with my pro bono work, at least a hundred hours in just the last few months, and with some of my charitable contributions, which I directed to Puerto Rico hurricane relief. I've been donating to Chef Jose Andres's World Central Kitchen, which does some incredible work and mobilized incredibly quickly, as well as to the PRxPR fund

Thank you again to everyone for your support and for reading along this year! Please follow the link below if you're interested in reading this year's updated income report.

First, a quick and important note about taxes, which I also discussed a few weeks ago. I reported the income that I'd cashed out (the $106 from Shopstyle last year) on a Schedule C-EZ, as Shopstyle does not issues 1099s for users who made less than $600. It was the last step on my taxes, and it reduced my tax refund by around $45-$50 dollars, from which I can reasonably infer that my tax rate for blog income is approximately 45%. Please note that this is not legal advice about the requirements for reporting blog income on U.S. taxes. 

Shopstyle Collective: I've been using Shopstyle affiliate links for a little more than two years now. They pay a few cents per click, and my earnings rate has fluctuated a few times this past year. I think they recalculate once per quarter. My rate has gone as high as $0.082 cents per click, but has generally been closer to $0.071. Shopstyle automatically sends payment late the next month after one's balance reaches $100. ($106.03 cashed out in 2016, $214.38 cashed out in 2017, ~$38 pending.) 

Amazon Affiliate: I'll be honest, I still don't fully understand how Amazon's affiliate program works. There's no rhyme or reason to my earnings rate, and they don't give much data.  I believe they give a percentage commission on purchases made through affiliate links. They require a $10 balance before they'll allow users to cash out, and also send payments automatically after the payout threshold is reached, at a set time sometime in the next month or two. (~$3 pending in 2016, $24.49 cashed out in 2017, ~$6 pending.) 

Google Adsense: This was always a bit of an experiment. I continue to find their dynamic algorithms and calculation methods entirely impossible to decipher, and I've continued to see income levels vary dramatically from day to day and week to week. The minimum cash-out threshold here is $100, and at the rate I'm going, it'll take another several months to get there, possibly more because of the unpredictable fluctuations. (~$20 balance as of 2016, now ~$76 pending.) 

Referral Credit, Free Product, etc: I'm a longtime participant in Grana's referral link program, which gives first-time customers 10% off their first order and $20 credit to the referrer if someone makes their first order after using the referral link. I earned $140 referral credit by the end of 2016, and another $160 this year, $20 of which is still unused. Thank you so much to everyone who tried out Grana using my link! I've stopped sharing it in new posts, as Grana has become so popular that I don't think anyone will need it anymore, though you can still find it on my older posts. Grana also sent me a few free items back in 2016, which I reviewed here and here

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