And Another Side Hustle

Never say never, I guess. I’ve somehow managed to have a side hustle practically fall into my lap. This side hustle is based on my professional area of expertise and I just couldn’t say no.

My main fears about dedicating myself to a side hustle is that I won’t be able to consistently perform due to health reasons. So any side hustle that requires some sort of schedule is always out. Also I don’t have the energy to establish myself amongst new clients or within a new field. Admittedly, I never thought about writing in my current field because that requires things like grants and that’s very time consuming. In this case I was approached by a friend from grad school, to join them on their grant project. They knew I was familiar with a particular area and I said I’d be interested in helping.

This side hustle isn’t anything earth shattering, it’s essentially a freelance reference written report. My understanding is that income generated from such reports is roughly $200-$500 per page.

Goals: 2017 Quarter 2

I forgot to outline/project my second quarterly allocation goals for 2017! So here it is albeit 5 weeks late.

Although I have a monthly budget and yearly end goals, I also like to plan my incoming paycheck allocations towards three broad categories: my Roth IRA, 401K and savings goals.  I do this to make sure that I’m meeting my goals on a quarterly basis despite slight deviations. These deviations may include changes in investment strategies; going over budget some months and not others; and changes in income.

The Details

Some differences between my first-quarter goal post include:

  • Decreased allocations to my Roth IRA. This is due to contributing $300+ ahead of schedule.
  • No savings in April and part of June. Because of my vacation and an upcoming trip.

Here are some past and upcoming distributions:

Date Roth IRA 401K Savings
9-Apr $195 $738 $0
23-Apr $195 $738 $0
7-May $195 $738 $125
21-May $180 $738 $125
4-Jun $180 $738 $0
28-Jun $180 $738 $125

Based on all of this, my goal is to have $6,500-$6,750 in illiquid/liquid assets outside of my retirement accounts by the end of June. According to my April net worth post, I had a little over $6,300 in these asset categories two weeks ago.

I’m still well ahead of where I need to be at this point in the year. My April net worth post certainly showed me that. At a third of the way through the year, I already met 80% of my Emergency Fund goal; contributed over 40% to my Roth IRA; and also started a new vacation fund which is also 40% complete. I am a little behind on my 401K contributions but that doesn’t bother me.


Net Worth Update – April 2017

My vacation came and went smoother than expected. I had been padding my “Short Term Savings” account in the months prior in anticipation.  When I started saving for the trip, I failed to consider that I would not be buying the usual groceries and daily necessities whilst away from home. This resulted in saving too much, which is not a bad thing.

If I don’t count the extra day, the cost of the vacation over and above what I usually spend in a month was $0. So I still have $500 in my short-term account remaining.

The rest of the month involved some extra spending. However I did this knowing it was either reimbursable or within my adjusted budget. I adjusted my monthly budget because, following my vacation, I had a business trip. My employer provides a meal per diem when I have a business trip, so I increase my food budget accordingly.

Here is where my accounts stand:

Liquid Assets Mar-17 Apr-17 $ Change
Cash & Checking $600 $522 ($78)
Emergency Fund  $3,026  $3,043  +$17
Short Term Savings $500 $605  +$105
Long Term Savings $154 $165 +$11
Illiquid Assets Mar-17 Apr-17 $ Change
Brokerage $287  $287 +$0
Savings Bonds $1,445 $1,700  +$255
Incoming $76 ($76)
Retirement Accts Mar-17 Apr-17 $ Change
Roth IRA $14,492 $14,870  +$378
Traditional 401K $17,157  $19,163 +$2,006
Net Worth $37,737 $40,355 +$2,618
% Change +6.9%

I do have a bit of a cash flow issue.  My Cash & Checking balances are much lower than I’d like. If I can stay close to my budget this month I should be fine. I’m slowing down my contributions to my Emergency Fund and Short Term Savings accounts.

What would really help me is getting my vacation expenses reimbursed. Since my vacation reimbursements are somewhat uncertain, I’m not entering it into the “Incoming” asset category.  But I did all the necessary paperwork, and anticipate a reimbursment of about $200 at some point. It would be great if everything gets processed before June.

Oh, and I surpassed a $40,000 net worth!

Goal Progress:

Fund/Goal Contrib. Total  Goal Progress
401K $1,476 $5,468 $18,000 30.4%
Roth IRA $195 $2,225 $5,500  40.5%
Emergency Fund $271 $4,742 $5,500  81.3%
Vanguard Fund $10 $160 $3,000 5.1%
Vacation Goal* $100 $600 $1,500 40%

* – This is a new goal

I’m still on track for meeting all of my goals! And I even have a new goal. I’ll go into more detail on the new one later. But first I’m going to break down my spending. Using my usual categories, this is how my budget went


Category Budgeted Actual Remaining
Rent $1,650 $1,650 $0 left
Fixed Expenses $100 $88 $12 left
Medical $- $240
Food $633 $482 $151 left
Everything Else $546 $696 $150 over
Total  $2,929  $2,916 $13 left

I paid the usual: a lot. I choose to live close to work.

Food: Usually I budget $200 food, but this was increased due to my business trip and my travel insurance reimbursment.  I think I did relatively well, My understanding is that most spend a bit more than I do on food and eat $300-$500 worth of food during a typical month. This month was atypical for me, and a third of the food costs come from my 5 day business trip.

Fixed Expenses: No surprises here.

Everything Else: I usually budget $250 here. But I increased it mostly due to my vacation (i.e. hotel). I went over budget because I did some excess spending before and after my trips.

Medical Expenses: I don’t include medical expenses in my total monthly budget (I am reimbursed with my FSA). But I had sizable bills this month which I was anticipating.

My Next Trip:

I’m already saving for my next trip, and I have $600 to start me off. I am looking to vacation in South America. This time I’d like to do a 2-week Spanish immersion course. I hope to take this trip in January 2018!