It’s that time again! I like to use monthly income and net worth updates for motivation. It pushes me to try harder, I am forced to look at our numbers, and I started blogging so I could share with all of you and get feedback. I would also like to inspire more people to create income streams out of something they truly enjoy.
My Backstory for New Readers
I worked in a dead end cubicle job from after college in 2005 through July 2011. It wasn’t possible for me to grow in the department I enjoyed, and the rest of the company would have sucked my soul out through my ears. My highest salary there was $35,500. My original plan was to stay there for 30 years and retire.
Thankfully, that plan went to crap. The company was in a slump in late 2009, so they told me to “look busy”…
That led me to creating Budgeting in the Fun Stuff in February 2010 even though I had zero professional writing or blogging experience. It grew faster than I expected (thank you!), and I have been fully self-employed since July 2011. My husband joined me very willingly in 2012 (he was in his second year as an elementary school librarian following 4 years of teaching 8th grade science). BFS itself has made more than $105,000 since I started.
My husband and I live on the income we earn through our online business, professional pet sitting, his seasonal sports officiating, and our first house which is now our rental property. We currently bring in $80,000-$100,000 each year – 100% self-employed.
If you’d like to start your own site, I worked out a special for my readers with Bluehost – lower rates on all 12+ month packages (for example, $2.95 per month for 36 months for their “basic” plan). I use Bluehost too for my smaller sites – I signed up for the 36 month package with their “Plus” plan since I have multiple smaller domains. BFS got too big for cheap hosting and is on Pagely for $20 a month…I miss the cheap prices on that one…
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Or if blogging isn’t your schtick, check out my recommended tools and services to help you save money! I’ve also personally done all sorts of side hustles including being a jewelry reseller from online bidding sites to pawn shops in my late teens, reselling on Ebay, being a cow mascot in my early 30’s, and starting my own professional pet sitting business in 2014 that made more than $33,000 in 2016. Email me any time for ideas as well since side hustles and entrepreneurship have become my whole life!
Onto the update!!!
January 2017 Self-Employment Income
- Crystal for Hire (Freelancing like Writing, App Review Replies, and Blog Ad Management) – $2766
- Budgetinginthefunstuff.com – $250
- Marriedwithdebt.com (and occasionally some of my personal sites) – $200
- Bluehost and VistaPrint and MyFinance- $12
- eBook – $27
- Professional pet sitting (also Mr. BFS and me) – $2890
- Renting out our first house – $1250
- Sports officiating (hubby’s hobby job – between seasons) – $375
- Total = $7770
January 2017 Main Self-Employment Expenses
- Normal Expenses (Paypal fees, Staff Writer for Marriedwithdebt.com, Etc.) – $195
- Pinterest Maintenance (I use Kathleen and Anne at www.forprofitblogging.com) – $200
- Tech / Back End Blogging Stuff (I use Doug Triplett) – $75
- Domain Renewals and/or hosting renewal – $0
- Total = $470
Overall, we brought in about $7300 this past month.
Pet sitting brought in way more than our normal thanks to the holidays. Online income was extremely low because many of our ad contacts take long vacations in the summer and at the end of the year.
To put things into perspective, we need about $5500 a month just for our monthly nut. $4200 covers our monthly bills: the remaining mortgage ($1250 – we overpay $260 towards principal), Liberty Healthshare ($300), my car payment ($275), car insurance ($125), property taxes and insurance on both homes ($1250 a month), and income taxes ($1000 a month). The other $1300 a month usually goes to food, utilities, car maintenance and gasoline, life insurance, and splurgy extras. You can check out our our budget anytime.
Any extra after that $5500 is divided between savings, investments, and even a little for fun. It also helps make up for not-so-good months that pop up.
So, this month we made about $1800 extra. That’ll come in handy for the upcoming taxes.
Our main financial goal is to continue making enough overall to work from home as long as possible since we both prefer self-employment over “normal” day jobs. Our secondary goal is to use the majority of any extra money that we ever have to reach financial independence as soon as possible (we are aiming for age 50 or before). We may still choose to work even if we ever have enough saved not to, but we would like to make that choice ourselves.
Please keep in mind that our personal work week has become about 50-80 hours per person depending on the season.
I was working 100+ hours a week in the early years just to get everything started and running well. I just want to be clear that this isn’t easy money in any respect. I want to inspire everyone to accomplish their dreams, no matter what it takes. I am not saying it will be simple or fast, but it can be done.
Net Worth Update – January 2017
Cash (in all checking and savings accounts) – $97,800 (+$6025)
Stocks – $19,050 (-$260)
Retirement – $178,620 (+$1700)
Home – $306,000 (same)
Rental House – $130,000 (+$8000)
Cars – $12,500 (-$150)
Home – $189,900 ($650)
Car – $7750 ($250)
Total Net Worth = $546,320
Last Month: $530,105
Total Monthly Change: +$16,215
Wowza, yay cash!!! I’d say “yay house value increase” too, but we aren’t planning on selling any time soon, so it just means higher property taxes are on the way. Ugh.
Our home values are based on official evaluations we had done in April plus a little info from HAR.com. Our car values are based off of Kelley Blue Book combined with what I see selling on Craigslist.
In case you are ever wondering, the car loan is at 0.9% interest, so we are not planning on paying it off early. I had been starting to hear that siren call of debt freedom though, so I set up our mortgage payment to take out $1250 instead of $990. Our mortgage is at 4% interest, so that made more sense for us.
Our cash reserves do have a significant amount in them, but that is by design. Self-employment is unstable, and the padding keeps us sane. We have about $40,000 saved just as padding (a bit more than 6 months of expenses). We also have several accounts that save up cash for big (usually annual) expenses like income taxes, property taxes since we don’t escrow, car maintenance/purchase, home maintenance for each house, etc.
I am aiming for 10% increase over 2016, so $585,000 total. So far, so good!
How have you been doing lately? What are your short-term and long-term financial goals?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!