February 2019 Side Hustle Income Report

Three months into our Singaporean adventure, we are having a blast. Its becoming clearer to us that the move halfway across the world to this little island was a great decision.

In February, we continued to increase our net worth through the same simple formula – earn more, spend less, and save/invest the difference.

Side Hustle Income Report - February 2019 - Counting Every Dollar


Note: All figures are in USD unless noted otherwise. I do not include unrealised or realised returns from invested assets such as dividends in this report. Passive investing is not a side hustle! None of the content on this website is financial advice, and I am not a financial advisor. Please see the disclaimer for more information.Some of the external links in this blog post may be affiliate links, I do try to keep them to a minimum though. The links help keep the site ad-free for you and hopefully one day will figure in my side hustle income reports! Please see our earnings disclosure for more information.

Side Hustle Income in February 2019

Blogging: $2,232

Rental property after tax and expenses: $650

Credit Card cashback & sign-up bonus: $193

Air miles redemption: $377

Interest on emergency fund: $28

Total: $3480

Our main financial goal for 2019 is to build up our side hustle income to a level that covers our monthly expenses. In other words, we want to live on our side hustle income and save my entire paycheck. This is a significant boost to our savings rate.

Also we don’t intend to stop working altogether when we eventually reach FI. So our current lifestyle is a bit of a dry run for our planned lifestyle after FI.

Why do we side-hustle if we have a great income anyway? Two reasons:

  1. Shortens our time to FIRE
  2. Mitigates sequence of returns risk after RE

If our side hustles can reliably and consistently fully cover our living expenses, I could quit my job after reaching FI. I wouldn’t need a buffer between FI and RE, so no ‘one more year’ syndrome to worry about! We could then let our investments grow without dipping into them at all, with the side hustle income covering our expenses. That would be the ideal scenario.

Blogging

My first side hustle and the most successful one so far has been blogging. My blogging experiment is now more than 4 years old but boy has it paid off!

Blogging is something that many many people start, but very few people stick with. And therein lies the secret to blogging success. You just got to stick with it.

And yet most people don’t. 95% of bloggers give up in just 6 months. What they probably don’t know is that search engines like Google rewards consistency.

Just think about it. Anybody can start a blog for less than $10 these days and start writing content.

Why should Google put your content in front of readers instead of somebody else’s? If you have been consistently and regularly writing good value-adding content for a reasonable amount of time (>6 months), you earn Google’s trust. That’s the key to ranking on the first page of Google.

Of course there are shortcuts, both illegal (black hat), legal (white hat) and shady (grey hat). But the success that I have had is through consistently writing high quality stuff that people are searching for (keyword research).

So that brings us to February. $2232 coming from the 3 websites is not bad but it is below the $2500 mark:

Niche Site 1: $1983.41

Niche Site 2: $34.81

Niche Site 3: $108.23

International traffic income for all 3 sites: $150.36

February is always a quiet month for me so I am not too surprised. Consumers and their wallets exhausted from the holiday shopping is one plausible theory.

Since I was going to travel for work pretty much all of March, I wrote and published 5 posts in one weekend in February. That’s why I call my affiliate website side hustle semi-passive. I do the work whenever I want, publish it and then forget about it.

In time, Google picks up the new posts, assesses it and if it’s great stuff puts it on the first page for the targeted keyword. Simple.

If you need to do virtually no work to gain income, that’s passive. If there is no direct link between hours worked and income gained, I call it semi-passive income.

Rental

Another quiet month where we have not heard from our property manager. The 10% I pay them is well worth the peace of mind!

Credit Card cashback & sign-up bonus

The Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback credit card I got came with some awesome sign-up bonuses. The first of which landed in our mailbox recently – $150 of Amazon Prime Now vouchers. Yay!

Cashback for the month was $42.97 which includes the 1.5% cashback on local spend, 3% on foreign spend, 15% on the Grab rideshare app, and 15% on Amazon spend.

Air miles redemption

As I travel quite a bit for work, I have been racking up the air miles. For our upcoming holiday, I cashed in some of our miles and knocked off $377 off our airfare. I am knocking on the doors of Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer Gold tier which I am looking forward to!

Interest on E-Fund

My 12-month emergency fund continues to generate a decent return, even though that’s not its main job.

Side Hustle Income Report - February 2019 - Pinterest - Counting Every Dollar

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Expenses in February 2019

So did our side hustle income cover our expenses in February? Yes, our expenses were fully covered by our side hustle income!

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Savings Rate Target

Our savings rate for the month of February was 84.4%, considering all income and expenses incurred during this period. This is above our target of 75% for the year!

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Why not start a side-hustle?

Starting side hustles has not just boosted income and sped up our FI journey, but has made our life more resilient and anti-fragile. This is especially important because my wife is a full-time mom and I am the sole earner in the family.

Relying on a single income is risky. If that single income disappears, imagine the financial upheaval it can cause. This is why everyone needs an emergency fund. But what after that?

Our side hustles streams are substantial enough at this point in time to tide us over should I lose my job or become unable to work.

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Conclusion

Starting in 2017, we have been seeking financial independence by counting every dollar:

  • Increasing income:
    • Picking a career in high-paying industries
    • Getting above inflation wage increases and promotions
    • Creating multiple passive income streams through side hustles
    • Drastically increasing income by becoming expats
  • Reducing spending
    • Never buy new unless its clothes
    • Bought used cars, mostly used baby clothes, used furniture, used toys…
    • Avoid buying depreciating assets as much as possible
    • Avoided all debt except mortgage
  • Saving hard
    • Saving at least 50% of my salary
    • Created an emergency fund of 6 months expenses
    • Learning the tax code to reduce taxable income
  • Investing smartly
    • Making our savings work for us by investing regularly
    • Creating a long-term investment plan and sticking to it

So how did you do in February? Were you able to side hustle, or save as you wanted to? Tell me in the comments below – I am eager to hear what worked for you!

Peter writes about achieving financial independence through career-hacking, online side-hustles and super-saving. Using these techniques in the last 2 years, the Counting Every Dollar family has doubled their income, increased net worth by over $200,000 and reached an 85% savings rate!

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