Learning how to hustle to earn extra money before you need it is a great way to save extra money, retire early, or let you quit your job and work at home!

Hustling to be Home

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I’m a hustler baby, and I want you to know…ha, sitting down to write about hustling inevitably reminds me of an 18(?!?!) year old Jay-Z song. I guess he knew where the economy was headed: towards the hustle.

I have mixed feelings about the hustling economy, but eventually I’d love to be my own boss and work at home. And before I get into what I do like about hustling, I want to touch on the dark side of hustling.

The Bad Side of Hustling

Hustling by shopping through shiptIt frustrates me to see people needing to take on second jobs to afford to live a super modest lifestyle or pay off debt they took on when they were barely old enough to vote and not old enough to legally drink.

I see multi-level-marketing schemes all over the place disguising themselves as hustling/small business opportunities. If you don’t know about MLMs and why they don’t work/aren’t worth your time, watch this John Oliver piece on them (uh, and BTW, this is NSFW).

Money is addicting, and the pursuit for more money isn’t something I idolize. Yes, I need a reasonable amount of money to live the good frugal life. And yeah, I want to quit my job and retire early. But I don’t want to race to the finish line if it means not enjoying today. As someone with a rather complicated emotional relationship with money, hustling could lead me down a less than healthy path.

The Good Side of Hustling and Why I Hustle

Hustling isn’t all roses and rainbows, but there are lots of great reasons to get out there and hustle.

Alphabet Letters
A crafty hustle?

Bureaucratic and inefficient rules aren’t my jam. Hustling let’s me set my hours, and because my day job easily pays all my bills, I’m not forced into hustling in ways that I don’t enjoy.

Earning income from multiple streams helps build up a safety net, if one of us were to lose our job. It’s kind of like a bonus emergency fund.

Hustling helps me spend less time consuming and more time producing. I don’t even remember what I did with my evenings/mornings before I started working on this blog. Oh yeah, I watched a hell of a lot more TV and spent a lot of time on social media. In fact I’ve found since starting the blog, I’m carving out my time more intentionally, and I still find plenty of time for my values.

My Recent Hustle Struggles

I feel like I’m getting pulled in a million different directions! And I’m constantly flip flopping on pursuing a different hustle. So, I’m trying to gain a little bit of focus in my life.

Does anyone else want to try out every hustle?

Since my hubby has opted for a new job with a major pay cut, bringing in some extra side money seems like a good idea. But, we have the luxury of getting to pursue opportunities that are interesting to us.

To help get some more focus I plan on implementing a few strategies:

Work At Home Summit

I plan on attending the free Work at Home Summit next week (well, watching the videos in the evening, since I still have a day job). I plan on picking and choosing what content I consume, but I’m going to focus on the DIY, personal finance, and reselling contributors. I plan on taking notes, and if you sign up for the free summit through my affiliate link, I’ll gladly share those notes with you. Just shoot me an email, DM me on twitter, or comment below and let me know. (And hey, hopefully one of you does that, so I’m extra motivated to spend my evenings doing something productive, instead of watching more HGTV! 🙂 )

To sign up and learn more about it, click my affiliate link here.

Minimizing and Decluttering our House

So, there’s one big thing that I am super excited about in 2018! Our home renovation plans! I think this is the year that we’ll finally be updating our kitchen, master bathroom, and master bedroom. (Woah, that’s going to be a big project 4+ years in the making.)

The not dream kitchen destined to be improved in 2018

There’s so much planning and thinking that goes into preparing for a renovation. But one key thing is getting rid of all the stuff that is just cluttering those spaces, and our home in general.

We’ve renovated the front half of our home, and have the back half of our ranch home to go. So, we’ve lived through some renovation already. And even though we were only tearing apart one room at a time, the renovation clutter spreads throughout many/most of the rooms in the home.

Thus, I want to declutter and live a little more minimally before I give myself the green light to start the renovation. This means lots of selling of our usable, but not wanted stuff. I’ve started this already, and off loaded a space heater just this week.

I plan on using craigslist and ebay to do most of the selling. But I’m open to other ideas from you readers! I also plan on giving some stuff away for free.

The Three Month Commitment

I’m going to focus on one hustle (plus the decluttering) for three months at a time. In that time frame, I’m going to commit to it and filter out all the other hustling noise.

Get to know the frugal pack
He doesn’t always like other dogs

I love to craft, build things, write, design, cook, shop, and do so many things. So, I figure three months is a good amount of time to give to a hustle and figure out the basics. Obviously if I hate doing the thing, I’ll stop.

An example of stopping, was my brief dog sitting hustle on Rover. After we watched our first dog I realized it wasn’t as easy for me as it is for some other people. It of course didn’t help that we watched a high anxiety dog. But the thing is, we have two large dogs already, who don’t always get along with other dogs. So the stress of their interacting, and the fact that it is winter, has made it not a good fit for now. Maybe in the future I’ll go off vacation mode and start taking on dogs again. But for now, we’ll stick to our two dog home.

Why Hustle Now?

Even with Mr. Kiwi taking a 60% pay cut, we should be able to live on his current salary. Well, with the caveat that it would not cover our planned $10,000 home renovation. So, without the big reno plans we could fully save my income, why would we need more money than that?*

Barista-FI Flexibility

Well in 2017 we reached our Barista-FI number! That means that we are financially independent (FI) if we jointly earn an income that could be made from being a barista, babysitting or having a similar income. I’m interested in exploring that a little bit more.

If I can find a hustle I love, we’d, in theory, be at our FI number. Then, I’d argue that any more years earning my $70k salary would be icing on the cake, and I’d even say that I’d have a case of one more year syndrome, which isn’t all that bad.

Future Plans are a Big Question Mark walking to work to save money by walking

Also, Mr. Kiwi is going back to school for his PhD, which will likely be followed by a Post Doc or two. This means we may have a few big moves in front of us.** If I have a hustle that isn’t tied to one location, I’d be able to bring it with me. (My current job is solidly based on us living in my current state.)

The end goal of the hustle is to be able to work at home, so I’m hustling my way home!

Finally, it’s pretty awesome I get to develop a hustle when I don’t desperately need to hustle. And if you are interested in learning from someone who makes a solid income hosting their spare room using Airbnb, check out their great story here.

What about all you hustlers? Do you have a favorite hustle? Any funny failed hustle stories?


*Anyone else cringe when they see people driving themselves mad chasing money they don’t need? I shouldn’t get so up in arms about it, people get to make their own life choices. But only if the wealth could be spread a little more evenly.

**We really don’t know what life will look like after the PhD, maybe we’ll move, maybe we won’t. But, I’m a planner, so I’m prepared for him to love it and want to keep progressing his career down this path. Anyone live in an awesome area with a University with a good engineering program? We’ll add it to the list of places to check out!

9 comments on “Hustling to be Home”

  1. Woo hoo, I didn’t realize you guys had already reached barista FI! Sure gives you some breathing room and allows your husband to fully commit to his PhD program without worrying about the financial side of things – I bet he’s in the serious minority there.

    1. Reply

      It makes going back to grad school a totally different experience. And yeah being at barista FI is a pretty great place to be.

  2. A great topic, indeed!

    I don’t think side hustles are ALWAYS worth it; I at least think they shouldn’t be our go-to to earn more money. I’ve had a lot more efficient increases in income from optimizing my 9-to-5 income first.

    That said, I do have a freelance side hustle freelance writing. I sort of fell into it to fund my blogging adventures, but it’s grown into something I really want to explore. I think it’s great to explore freelance options, but don’t feel the pressure to pursue something if you don’t feel passionate about it. You still should enjoy your side hustle since it’s eating up free time. 🙂

    1. Reply

      I am definitely on the hunt for a hustle I enjoy/love. I’m very impressed by your freelance writing hustle!

  3. Reply

    I have a graphic design side hustle that I love. I don’t really need the money, but I do it anyway because I learn from it. And I get the joy of waking up in the morning and seeing that some dude from Greece bought one of my items overnight, which is just plain cool.

    I only create new stuff when I’m in the mood, but that’s quite often. Like you stated, I honestly can’t remember what I did with that time before I started it. Either way, it doesn’t matter, I’m following my current joy.

    • Amy
    • 2018-01-29

    I don’t really hustle at the moment. I used to score standardized tests from home as my side hustle for 7 years. It was never a big income but it was enough to pay for our first family vacation when I was a single Mom of 1. I got to take him to see where I had lived out west as a kid. Then after I got married it was enough to pay for the supplies we needed for homeschooling. After kid #3 came along I didn’t feel I could still hustle while nursing a newborn and 2 years old while homeschooling an 11-year-old. Now that the oldest is a homeschool graduate and the littles are elementary aged I’ve decided to get back into and look for other side hustles that will fit with our homeschooling life.

    BTW the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has excellent Engineering programs. My husband left his Ph.D. program at another university ABD and if he were to ever go back that’s one of the schools he would apply to.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for the University recommendation. That wouldn’t be too far of a move for us, which would be nice! And I can’t blame you for avoiding the hustles for a few years. Three young kids and homeschooling is more than enough to tackle at one time!

  4. I’ve slowed down hustling these past three years since our first child was born. I keep my hand in the smaller stuff that doesn’t require a real commitment but this is my compromise: continue working full time, spend time with my family, and make a few extra bucks on the side without committing to a full job replacement just yet. Mainly that’s because a full commitment is going to take more time and energy than I have and I don’t want to spend these early years being too busy to enjoy our family.

    There’s part of me that wonders if that’s a bit of a mistake, if I should start building now so that we can having a sustainable income replacement ready for when JB goes off to school and perhaps I can go to part time work at that point, but that’s yet another big decision 😉

    1. Reply

      So many big decisions! And it sounds like you have found a great compromise while JB is so young! Our two dog, two adult household allows for lots of free time 🙂

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