5 Great Side Hustle Ideas

 If you’re wanting to make more money but not sure how a side hustle is a great place to start. A side hustle is a way to earn money other than your main job. Side hustles are great because they are flexible, allowing you to work as much or little as you want. There is great earning potential and overtime you could even grow your side hustle into a full time business.

I have five great ideas that below that are relatively easy to start. Some require an initial investment to get started and some are virtually free to begin. Take a look and see what you think

  1. Reselling Cars On Craigslist. Sometimes you can find cars and trucks for sale at very cheap prices on craigslist. Often times people will take a couple low quality photos, write a quick description, and post their ad without giving it much thought. Most of the time they wont even wash the vehicle before listing it.They generally just want to sell their vehicle as quickly as possible and will accept very little for it. If you buy the vehicle, give it a good washing inside and out, and then take alot of clear and detailed photos you can easily resell it for more than you paid for it- sometimes making several hundred or even more than one thousand dollars more than you paid- just for taking the time to post a decent ad. Sometimes you can also find vehicles that aren’t running but only require a few simple repairs. If you’re a wiz at working on cars you could buy a vehicle in that condition, spend a little bit of money for parts, make the repairs, and sell it for a nice profit.
  2. Create an Online Course. A great way to earn passive income is by creating an online course. I really like this side hustle idea because after the initial work is complete there is very little work you have to do, yet the earnings continue to come in. You can make a course in any area you have expertise in so the potential course ideas are limitless. If you want to learn more about creating online courses check out this great article at The Penny Hoarder.
  3. Welding/Metal Working. This is my favorite side hustle on the list because I plan on starting a welding side business. Although the initial investment may be somewhat costly there are so many ways to make money if you posses basic welding and fabrication skills. You can do repairs for people, make and sell art, or make items such as tables and shelves. I went to welding school, however basic welding skills can be learned from the internet and that should allow you to handle most projects.
  4. Lawn Work. This is a classic side hustle that anyone can do. You can mow grass, rake leaves, pick up sticks, get weeds out of the garden, and so much more. There are plenty of people willing to pay you to work in their yard. Often homeowners will have tools that you can use so it might not cost you anything to get started. If you do a great job you will likely be referred to by your customers to their neighbors, friends, and family. You can also put ads in the paper or online for your services.
  5. Rent Out an Extra Room. A great way to make use of unused space in your home is by renting out a room. You could rent it out full time or use a service like Airbnb to rent for just the short term. The benefit of using something like Airbnb is that your not stuck with a room mate all the time. If you want a break every now and then you can do so or you could only rent out your room a few nights a month if that’s what you would like to do.

I hope you found these ideas helpful. If you have a side hustle please share it with us in the comments. Thanks for reading!!!

 

Use a Price Book To Save Money On Groceries

A price book is a record you keep of how much you pay for different items at the store. The purpose is to easily compare the price of a certain food or product from different stores and brands.

Any type of notebook or notepad will work for this. You may wish to use something small enough to fit in your purse or pocket so it is easy to bring with you to the supermaket.

Each page in your book will be dedicated to a different food or product. So you might have a page for canned tuna or toothpaste. Then you would list the price, size, brand, and store you bought that item at. You’ll also want to list the total price of the item and the price per unit. For example the total price of a 4 ounce can of tuna might be $1.00. That means unit price would be $.25 per ounce.

If you want to see an example of a page from a price book click here. You can do yours differently if you like, whatever works best for you.

Price books don’t need to be hard or complicated. They are a great and simple way to save money. Now you will now for sure if you’re getting a good deal when things go on sale at your grocery store.

 

 

Setting Up Your Emergency Fund

 An emergency fund is an account you use to cover things such as serious illness, the loss of a job, or any major unexpected expense. An emergency fund keeps you from living on the financial edge and can give you peace of mind. Everyone needs to have money set aside for emergencies.

Be sure not to neglect or postpone setting up an emergency fund. This is a crucial step on the road to early retirement. It’s tempting to do something more exciting with your money such as investing it. While investing your money is extremely important you want to make sure you are on a sturdy financial foundation before anything. Below you can find out just how much you need and where you should keep your emergency fund.

How Much Should I Keep In My Emergency Fund

If you’re young and don’t have a family you should keep at least 3-6 months of living expenses. If you have a family I would recommend at least 1 year of living expenses. If you are in or nearing retirement it would be good to have 2 or more years of living expenses. These numbers are just basic guidelines. You can certainly put away more money than this if you would like to. Make sure you have enough that you can feel comfortable.

Where Should I Keep My Emergency Fund 

Keep your emergency fund in a safe, liquid account. You can put the entire amount in a bank checking or savings account if you like. You could also put half in a bank account and half in something that will yield more interest than a bank account such as a short term bond fund. The short term bond fund is still very safe and you can withdraw your money within a few days but will probably return more than a savings account at a bank. Don’t put your emergency fund in anything more risky than short term bonds. Investments such as stocks are great for long term growth but are too volatile for this purpose. Below is a list of suitable funds for your emergency fund. Although these are all great options I think It’s still good to have a portion of your emergency fund in cash in a bank account.

The Corporate Bond Index owns bonds from U.S. companies with durations from 1-5 years. It may be more volatile than the other two choices but will most likely yield the highest. The short term treasury fund is the least risky of the three and it invests in treasury bills issued from the United States Government. The Short Term Bond index Fund invests in both corporate bonds and government treasury bills and is somewhat of a middle ground between the other two choices. Remember to keep this portion of your emergency fund in a taxable brokerage account rather than a tax advantaged retirement account.

I hope you found this article informative. If you have any questions or comments please leave me a comment and I will respond as soon as possible. Thanks!!!

 

Invest with Lazy Portfolios

If you want to start investing but you’re not sure how lazy portfolios are a great place to start. Lazy Portfolios are made up of a handful of low cost index funds. They are designed to require very little maintenance. While they are simple they are not simplistic. With one of these portfolios you will outperform the vast majority of financial advisers and stock pickers.

There are different portfolios to suit every investors needs and they can be adjusted accordingly. Just remember, once you choose one you should hold it for the long run. Don’t keep buying and selling funds but  stick to the portfolio you choose and rebalance occasionally.  No portfolio can prevent losses but these will help to soften the blow of a bear market.

Here are the links to several lazy portfolios:

https://www.marketwatch.com/lazyportfolio

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Lazy_portfolios

Be careful when comparing performance. Just because one portfolio outperformed another in the last 10 years doesn’t mean that it will in the next 10 years. Each portfolio contains a different mix of assets and if one of those assets performed poorly in the time period shown it can affect the overall performance of the portfolio. Often times assets classes will “revert to the mean” meaning that if it outperforms in one time-frame it may under perform in the next and vice versa. They also contain varying amounts of bonds so be sure to keep that in mind as well.

 

Family Fun on a Budget

When many people think of a fun day with the family they might think of going shopping at the mall followed by a movie and then ending the day with dinner at a nice restaurant. While a day like this may be fun it’s also very expensive and doing this on a regular basis can really blow your budget. Im not going to say you should never enjoy days like this but there are cheaper alternatives that can save money- allowing you to put that money towards retiring early.

One of my favorite things to do is have campfires. They are a great way to have fun in the outdoors and they are something everyone can do. Starting a fire is also dirt cheap. All you need are matches or some other way to start your fire, and wood. You could buy firewood but I prefer to gather my own.

Hot dogs and hamburgers are easy to cook over the fire. Get creative and cook whatever you like. I’ve even roasted bell peppers from my garden and they turned out great. For dessert its hard to beat smores. Hershey’s milk chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers are all you need to make them.

For a fun twist on the classic smore you can make smores cones instead. Just take sugar cones or waffle cones and fill them up with layers of mini marshmallows and milk chocolate chips. Then wrap them in foil and place them on the grill. Heat them just enough to slightly melt the chocolate and make the marshmallows gooey. These are great for the whole family and the kids will especially love them. You can experiment and use different flavor chips such as butterscotch or peanut butter chips, It’s all up to you.

Tips

  • Starting a fire is pretty simple if you’ve never done so. Bring plenty of newspaper, junk mail, toilet paper, or any other easily combustible material. Gather up a nice sized bunch of small sticks that are no bigger than the diameter of a pencil- the smaller and drier the better. Crumple up your combustible material and then pile your small sticks on top. Carefully light the material with matches or a lighter and once the sticks have started burning steadily add bigger and bigger pieces of wood.
  • A grill like this is fairly inexpensive to buy and makes cooking over the fire alot easier. I love mine and I think it will last a long long time.

One Fund for Global Diversification

The Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund is a great choice for anyone who wants a simple portfolio that is fully diversified across the world stock market. It owns stock in almost 8,000 companies from the United States, developed foreign markets, and emerging markets.

If I had not already bought the total US and total International stock index funds separately I would have definitely considered this fund. I think one big advantage of owning just a single stock fund is that you don’t have to worry about what proportion you should own each individual fund. You can just contribute money to this fund then forget about it. Also there is no rebalancing between funds.

This fund owns small, medium, and large cap stocks but is mostly made up of large caps. At the time of writing this article about 55% of the Total World Stock Index Fund is made up of stocks from the United States, 22% from Europe,  20% from greater Asia, and the rest from other regions such as the Americas and the Middle East. It is roughly 92% Developed Markets and 8% Emerging Markets.

This fund along with a total bond market index fund can be used to create a great portfolio that will guarantee your fair share of market returns.

 

The First Step: Tracking Your Expenses

I think one of the best things you can do regardless of what kind of financial situation your in is to start tracking your expenses. This means recording every purchase you make from something as small as a cup of coffee you buy before work in the morning all the way up to your insurance premiums and mortgage payments. I think it’s also helpful to track all of the money that you earn.

The way I like to do this is by taking a legal pad and dividing it into columns. I assign each column a category. The categories you choose are up to you, my categories are gas, food, toiletries, phone, utilities, Insurance, rent, investments, miscellaneous, and money earned. Iv changed the names of the categories several times and will probably end up changing them again. The important thing is that every expense gets written down.

In the left margin of the sheet I write the date, then I write the amount of money I spent in the corresponding category. Often I will write a small note beside the dollar amount detailing what the money was spent on. For example, under the insurance category I may use a note to differentiate between renters insurance and car insurance. Most of my purchases  end up going under the miscellaneous category. I always make sure to write a note beside items in this category because miscellaneous can contain anything from oil changes to haircuts. To see an example click here.

At the end of each month I like to make a separate sheet where I add everything up and I can find out exactly where my money went. I organize all the data into a table with the categories I listed above but also with more detailed sub categories. You can see an example of this here. In the example document all the amounts in the purple/blue color are the sub categories. They simply break down the main categories. To find the total amount spent for the month you would add the numbers in the Total Dollars column. When a category is underlined it means that it has sub categories under it. I find it helps to keep all of my receipts, that way I can see the exact details of what I spent. Recording my expenses in this way allows me to see where I need to cut back and lets me see if I’m spending too much in any area.

You don’t have to do things the same way I do, It’s all personal preference. The important thing is that you just get started and make sure EVERY dollar is recorded and accounted for. You might be suprised at how much money you actually spend on some things each month.

I think you will feel relieved when you start tracking your finances like this because it gives you peace of mind to know exactly where you spend your money. When that next bill comes you don’t have to worry about having enough money in your checking account because you’ll know how much you have spent and how much you have left.

I hope this was helpful to you and I hope you gain more confidence in your finances as a result of tracking your expenses. I would love to hear any questions or comments you have on this topic. Thanks for reading!