January 2019 Side Hustle Income Report

Welcome to the first post on this new blog and what better way to start than to do a side hustle income report!

There are basically 3 ways to increase net worth – make more, spend less, save and invest the difference.

January was the first month of our family being expats in Singapore. The main reason I took this job is to boost our family income and speed up our journey to financial independence.

Do we still need our side hustles now that our primary income has nearly doubled? Yes, because the main reason we started our side hustles was to offset our living expenses. So then all of my salary can be saved and invested.

Since my salary has now doubled, it makes even more sense to keep hustling as we can double our savings and grow our investments even faster.

 

Side Hustle Income Report - January 2019 - Count 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 January 2019

Blogging: $3,197.65

Rental property after tax and expenses: $650

Credit Card cashback: $14.67

Interest on emergency fund: $19.21

Total: $3881

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 salary. 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.

If our side hustle can reliably and consistently cover our living expenses fully, I could quit my job after reaching FI. We could then let our investments grow without dipping into them at all. That would be the ideal scenario.

Blogging

The first side hustle we started was blogging. I created my first niche site in 2015 and then quickly created a few more niche sites. The first one is no longer just a niche site but more of an authority niche site. Due to the demands of a full-time job and 2 young kids, I have reduced my portfolio of sites to just 3.

Here’s how much money each website made

Niche Site 1: $2426.44

Niche Site 2: $99.52

Niche Site 3: $83.57

All my niche sites are monetized solely through the Amazon Associates affiliate programme. If you would like to start a side-hustle blog, here’s my proven step-by-step method of doing it right.

I have no ongoing monthly expenses for this side hustle because we pay for hosting and domains annually to benefit from bulk discounts. Singapore follows a territorial tax system which means all our blogging income is tax-free!

Niche Site 1 is now 4 years old and the income from it is pretty stable. The time required to maintain it is around 5 hours per month, and that’s what I have been spending on it the last 6 months. However, I think it has more potential and I will be putting in more work into it to make even more money from it.

Blogging is one of the more dependable side hustles – if you follow a few basic common sense principles and put the work in upfront. So why not start a blog – use my step-by-step guide to start today! Taking action is the most under-rated step in making money.

I have not touched Niche Site 2 or 3 in over a year, so they are well and truly passive income during that period.

Our total income from all the websites together stands at around $80,000 to date. That amount was earned over the last 4 years and half of it came from just last year!

Rental property

As we are expats now, the logical thing to do is rent out our primary residence back home. We have a property manager so that we can totally forget all about the house and simply collect the rent every month. Super passive 🙂

After subtracting mortgage interest and estimated taxes in that country, net income was $650. Technically, some of this $650 goes towards the principal repayment of mortgage but whether it goes towards mortgage principal or our bank account, it is income.

Credit Card Cashback & High Interest Savings account

Our Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card gives us an uncapped 1.5% on all spend and 3% on all foreign spend, 10% cashback on Amazon Prime, and 15% off on Grab rides! We make very good use of all these services, so the Unlimited Card is perfect for us.

Side Hustle Income Report - January 2019 - Count Every Dollar

 

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Expenses in January 2019

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

How did we spend smartly in January?

We did a bit of travel hacking when we booked our holiday flights. The long-haul flight to Singapore on Singapore Airlines earned us lots of Krisflyer air miles. We redeemed all of the miles to cut our flights cost by over 40%!

The big three expenses for most households are housing, food and transportation.

Housing

What about housing? If you are wondering whether I forgot about our rental expenses here in Singapore, no I haven’t! One of the benefits my employer provides is accommodation, so we are basically living rent-free. Yet another benefit of being flexible enough to move to where the high-paying jobs are.

But its not free money. My employer simply reduces my salary by the amount it costs them to provide me housing. There are tax benefits to be had for both of us, so I am better off if I don’t have to pay the rent out of my own pocket.

We optimise our spending very carefully. I am absolutely fine with us spending money on things we derive joy from. But on many other things, most people spend  way too much money.

Take broadband for example. I took the cheapest slowest package I could find: 500 Mbps symmetric up & down. Whereas most people pay twice as much for the hottest 1 Gbps package without batting an eye-lid! Most people don’t need anything more than 50 Mbps bandwidth, so anything more is an absolute waste of money.

Food

Most of our grocery and supermarket spend has been through Amazon Prime Now and Redmart. Amazon Prime’s 2 hour delivery is amazing but they don’t have all the stuff that we need. That’s where Redmart comes in. These guys are similar to Amazon on pricing but have a much wider product selection. Since we don’t have a car, home delivery is a great convenience.

Transportation

Talking about cars, we chose not to get one to keep our expenses low. So that’s the second biggest expense shot out of the water.

Instead of spending bucket loads on a car, we picked a place to live that has very good public transport links such as buses. The bus network in Singapore is very advanced, there are frequent buses and they are very affordable. I absolutely love them. The metro is another option but the buses are far more convenient for us.

So how do we get around on buses with a toddler and baby? Introducing our human-powered car-alternative:

Baby Jogger City Select Double Stroller - Counting Every Dollar

Brand new, this double stroller costs over half a grand. But as with most things we buy, we got ours used. Pre-loved. Second-hand. While our friends and colleagues spent anywhere from $500 to $2000 on brand new strollers, we snagged ours for $200. The money we saved was immediately invested and out to work!

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Savings Rate Target

Our savings rate for the month of January was 78.8%, 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 January? 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 and reached an 70% savings rate!

3 Comments
  1. You mention your step by step blogging guide. Can you tell me more?

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