To meet my financial goal of leaving my traditional day job without changing my current lifestyle the focus has been on increasing my income by working fewer hours. The idea is that I’ll be able to maintain my current standard of living but free up time to hang with my family, travel, and pursue other hobbies.
I’m not interested in cutting back the number of streaming services I subscribe to or reduce the number of visits to Starbucks. Truth be told, I’m just not interested in being frugal. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become comfortable with a certain lifestyle, and I’m not willing to give it up for a tiny house.
However, there is one BIG expense I want to reduce: my mortgage. I broke one of the biggest personal finance rules out there and spent (way) above 25% of my take-home income on my housing expense. You are likely cringing if you’re a Dave Ramsey fan.
And actually, I’m not looking to just reduce my mortgage expense, I’m looking to eliminate it! I want to be mortgage-free within the next three years.
How I Earned An Extra $618 in August
Every month, I look for ways I can get closer to being mortgage-free. I constantly ask myself how can I generate more income to apply to an extra payment on my principal. It doesn’t matter how small because every $10 adds up.
In August, my side gigs generated an extra $618 which I am applying towards my mortgage. The good news is you can copy what I’ve done – anyone can do it!
While the specifics of my actions may not directly apply to you, the concepts do.
1. Side Gig ($370)
Once a week, I sit down for a few hours and write about personal finance and sell those articles to various blogs. I generally do this after I put my kids down for bed, so it doesn’t interfere with my family time. This month, freelance writing earned me $359 after PayPal fees.
I will need to pay taxes on this income, however, I went ahead and paid the full amount towards my mortgage. I claim a higher withholding rate on my W2 wages, so I rely on that to be sufficient to cover my total annual withholding. Should this income increase, I’ll revisit this strategy.
Whether your aim is to be mortgage-free, or something totally different, I recommend finding a way to earn some additional cash in your spare time on something you enjoy doing. It can be as simple as selling on Etsy, or as complicated as selling your knowledge in the form of consulting services.
2. Decluttering My House ($44)
I cleaned out our guest bedroom which was so packed with stuff I couldn’t physically tell there was a bed located in the center of the room. After cleaning everything out, I placed a few items on Facebook Marketplace and dropped some clothes at the consignment shop.
The items I sold include a ton of Shopkins, a tent, and a kids toy bundle for $44. While at the consignment shop, I bought a pair of shoes, so I netted $37 total.
This is a super fast way to earn money over a weekend. You’ll also feel completely accomplished when you look at how much space you’ve created in your garage, spare room, or closet. Try selling on eBay, Facebook, or Craigslist. You can also look at websites such as Poshmark, Decluttr, and OfferUp.
3. Laser-focused on my goals ($215)
This is my favorite!
I received a refund check from my doctor in the mail. It was completely unexpected. The reason I list this here is because there is a big lesson in it that can be applied over and over to get you closer to your financial goals. If I wasn’t laser-focused on paying off my mortgage so that I can leave my day job, I would’ve deposited that check in my account and spent it without giving it another thought.
Instead, I deposited the check with my phone, then turned around immediately and made a principal payment on my mortgage for the same amount. No chance was given to spend it frivolously.
I try to do this with any unexpected money. For example, if I go to lunch with a friend and they pay for it. I take the money I would’ve spent on lunch and pay it towards my mortgage. Think about how many times you’ve received unexpected money, either directly, or through someone else paying for something. Put that money towards a goal instead of spending it.
Are you laser-focused on your financial goals? What are you doing right now to meet them? Let us know in the comments below.