It’s that time again! I like to use monthly income and net worth updates for motivation. Posting them 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 after 6 years. My original plan was to stay there for 30 years and retire.
That plan went to crap for two main reasons. First, I wanted to truly connect with people. Second, the company was in a slump and 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 experience. I had been a blog reader and commenter for a few months and followed my urge to jump in. 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 $100,000 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 $70,000-$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, but I signed up for the 36 month package with their “Plus” plan since I have multiple domains.
I also just republished a free three part series to help:
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, being a cow mascot in my early 30’s, selling my hair for $100+, and starting my own professional pet sitting business in 2014. Email me any time for ideas as well since side hustles and entrepreneurship have become my whole life!
Onto this month’s update!!!
September 2016 Self-Employment Income
- Crystal for Hire (Freelancing like Writing, App Review Replies, and Blog Ad Management) – $2100
- Budgetinginthefunstuff.com – $1250
- Marriedwithdebt.com (and occasionally some of my personal sites) – $780
- Bluehost and VistaPrint – $150
- Whistle Pet GPS (brand new affiliate) – $0
- eBook – $0
- Professional pet sitting (also Mr. BFS and me) – $1830
- Renting out our first house – $1250
- Sports officiating (hubby’s hobby job – between seasons) – $675
- Total = $8035
September 2016 Main Self-Employment Expenses
- Normal Expenses (Paypal fees, Staff Writer for Marriedwithdebt.com, Etc.) – $250
- Domain Renewals and/or hosting renewal – $0
- Total = $250
Overall, we brought in about $7785 this past month.
Expenses like the $986 spent on attending #FinCon16 are kept track of and deducted as expenses, but it isn’t usually paid right off the top. One-offs like that are covered as we go and recorded. They do count, but they effect us more in our overall spending, not in the amount of income we have that gets deposited into our checking account.
To put things into perspective, we need about $6000 a month just for our monthly nut. $4000 covers our monthly bills like the remaining mortgage ($1000), Liberty Healthshare ($300), my car payment ($275), car insurance ($125), property taxes and insurance on both homes ($1300 a month), and income taxes ($1000 a month). The other $2000 a month usually goes to food, utilities, car maintenance and gasoline, life insurance, and splurgy extras. You can check out our our budget anytime.
The extra after that $6000 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 $1750 extra and that went back into our emergency savings since we borrowed from it for my husband’s Lasik last month. I’m concentrating on growing affiliate income on BFS now, so hopefully that number will increase each month too…
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 this income comes from 30+ hour work weeks online divided between me and Mr. BFS. We put in another 20-40 hours a week split up into pet sitting. When it’s a sports season he’s involved in, Mr. BFS puts in about 20-30 hours a week into reffing. My personal minimum work week has become about 50-60 hours.
We also end up paying about 20-25% in income taxes since we do have to cover the employer’s part as well. I was working 100+ hours a week personally for over a year before I was able to leave my old day job. 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. It just can be done.
Net Worth Update – End of September 2016
Cash (in all checking and savings accounts) – $97,700 (+$3700)
Stocks – $19,050 (+$100)
Retirement – $168,180 (-$1245)
Home – $306,000 (same)
Rental House – $122,000 (same)
Cars – $14,500 ($0)
Home – $192,350 ($650)
Car – $9400 ($250)
Total Net Worth = $525,680
Last Month: $522,225
Total Monthly Change: +$3455
My grandpa died on September 6, but the month did improve. I have started a “Connections” journal to keep up with the positive connections I make with people daily. On bad days, it reminds me that I make a difference. I also made it to FinCon16 in San Diego. I gathered some blogging tips and made lasting friendships. Overall, there was about $1000-$1250 spent altogether on FinCon, but it was totally worth it.
Our home values are based on official evaluations we had done in April. 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 with the extra being applied towards the principal. Our mortgage is at 4% interest, so that made more sense to me.
Our cash reserves do have a significant amount in them, but that is by design.
Overall, we want $60,000 broken up in the following ways – $5000 in checking, $20,000 in our emergency fund (will need to finish re-padding this since we used the $4500 for hubby’s Lasik in July), $20,000 in our blog income account for paychecks, $10,000 in our rental home account, $5000 in a car account for our next down payment.
And we have two accounts that build $2000 per month (hopefully) throughout the year (so should be at $36,000 right now but we are a month behind). One of those accounts is the one we use to save for and pay our income and property taxes as well as our home insurance and HOA dues. The other is to save up for this year’s SEP IRA contributions as well as the following year’s Roth IRA contributions.
Overall, I’m optimistic for 2016. We hit my $500,000 goal earlier this year. 🙂 Now we have been working on the BIG goal set at $550,000 (a 10-15% increase over last year). I’m not sure it’s possible anymore, but we’ll give it a shot!
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 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. 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). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!