This weekend is my last teaching session (hooray!), so very soon things should start to get back to normal around here. I did decide something this week: I need to take a break from clinical trials. I've been signing up for every one I can find, but this week, I decided I am done. It happened after several failed IV attempts by a nurse. The trial took three hours total, it was a big pain (and painful!), and I only get $40 out of it. I'm in one long-term study right now, but otherwise, I am done for a while. I've been in "earn as much as I can" mode for a while now (well, my whole life, to be honest). The shaky economy has me nervous, and the home improvements we've been talking about aren't going to pay for themselves.
Still, I think I've finally come to understand that my time is valuable. I've always known that my time is scarce, but I'm starting to assign a monetary value to it. I'm trying to work on getting the most out of my time--for instance, when teaching averages out to less than minimum wage, it's not worth my time. When I factor in pain, a clinical trial either has to be short, sweet, and painless (like the time I made $270 for a total of 45 minutes of rinsing with mouthwash) or pay pretty well (the long term one I am in now isn't great, but it's not terrible either). These several hour, get poked a bunch, make 20-30 dollar ones aren't doing it anymore. The hassle factor is high. And while I hate the idea of turning down "free" money, I have to think about whether I'd rather be spending those few hours at home with Sophie (and not being poked constantly with sharp needles).
I've decided to stop looking like a junkie with my bruised arms from constant needle pokes. After this long term one finishes in June, I'm out. More money is always better, but I need a break.
So, teaching is over soon, and clinical trials will be soon as well. That means less money coming in. I am working on shuffling and trimming some of our monthly expenses--I just filed about 20 pages of paperwork to challenge our property tax assessment--so hopefully we'll stay at equilibrium without the extra income. We aren't in over our heads, thank goodness, but we aren't moving as far ahead in saving as we'd like.
We'll decide how much we like satellite TV and cell phones, and we'll see where we end up. But I'm already excited about having more of my valuable time free in the near future.