When I tell people I write about personal finance on a blog called “Wallet Squirrel“, they always reply. What is it? Mainly out of confusion because that doesn’t sound like finance term, so I always follow it up with “It’s all about saving your nuts”. That always produces a nice chuckle. 60% of the time, every time.
Everyone has a niche, but mine is double sided. Anyone can make extra money online, but it’s what you do with that extra income that’s important. So Wallet Squirrel experiments with different ways people claim to earn money online, and then shares how I invest that extra income to produce truly passive income.
How would I describe my current financial situation?
Want free money?
I call my current situation “Forced Desperation” because I rent a “studio” apartment in downtown Denver for $1,350. That’s F*ing ridiculous! The thing though is, I’ve always wanted to live downtown and now I can walk to work. It really makes my life better. I might as well try it while I’m young.
The downside is I don’t have a lot of money to do fun things because it’s mainly paying rent each month. So with my monthly spending budget of $100, I can’t do a lot and I’m FORCED to find other ways to earn extra income because I’m DESPERATE. I’ve sold things on Craigslist, tried survey apps and started cashback credits cards doing everything I can to earn a few more cents.
It’s actually really fun because it forces me to side hustle to identify what works and I share these stories on my blog.
What financial advice would I have wished to hear when I started working?
Track your spending.
TRACK YOUR SPENDING! Get an app like MINT or Personal Wealth now! I racked up over $6,000 in credit card debt through college because I had no idea what I was spending my money on. I just figured I’d get a good paying job and that’ll solve all issues. I NEVER looked at my bank account, big mistake. I have a decently paying job and my student loan debt is taking around $500 a month from me.
Also don’t buy a new car! I bought a new car 3 years ago before I started getting into personal finance. I LOVE my car, but I wouldn’t have bought it knowing what I know now. That car loan is around $340 per month!
So my rent ($1,340), student loans ($500) and car payment ($340) take nearly 99% of my income. I wish I tracked my spending so I could see how much debt I was adding when I was younger, it racks up fast.
What expenses could I cut down?
I’m pretty cheap already.
FOOD! My food budget had to be cut down dramatically when I moved downtown. I just can’t afford to eat out every night and it adds up so fast. Like I said, track your spending and you’ll notice how much of your monthly budget is food. It’s kind of well…nuts.
Also girlfriends are expensive. We don’t do too many fancy things, just adding a second person adds to your costs
Do you have any side hustles or ways to gain supplemental income?
Games that pay you to play. Yes, we're serious.
These 3 apps will pay you to play games on your mobile device:
- Mistplay (Android) - If you have an android device, you can download this app and start getting cash rewards for playing new games.
- Solitaire Cube (iOS) - Earning money by playing games on your phone sounds like a dream. But this app really pays you for playing solitaire with cash rewards.
- Lucktastic (Android) - This free app offers the same daily scratch-off cards that you find at your local convenience store — but here you can play for free and win real money.
OH HECK YES! As many as I can do. I have an affiliate website, but it’s seasonal. I recently completed a list of 50 Amazon Affiliate Website Examples for inspiration to create my next affiliate website. So I’m adding a second affiliate site soon. They’re a lot of work, but pay off.
Other side hustles include stock photography (post coming soon), as well as selling InDesign templates, Google Adsense for my blog Wallet Squirrel (it’s not too much), and many others!
What do you do with your side hustle money?
Invest it of course!
All my side hustle money goes immediately into my Interest Checking or Interest Savings Account. You should always be earning interest on your money. These are free accounts, everyone should be using.
Then I either add the side hustle income to my Lending Club Account where it earns interest or in my Stock Portfolio which earns dividends. I currently make about $25 per month off dividends. That has been the most passive income I’ve ever made in my life.
In summary, I make extra money side-hustling and then I invest it to earn passive income in my stock portfolio in the form of dividends. No matter if the stock market is high or low, companies continue to pay dividends for their stocks, many people have retired this way. In the end, I’ll basically be living off interest from the principal I made side-hustling!
How do I manage paying off student loans/car loans/rent? Any tips?
Build an Empire!
My goal is to create an empire. Wallet Squirrel is the home for all my side hustle endeavors, but there will be multiple income generators like stock photos, graphic templates, affiliate websites that will produce the income needed to pay off these loans. I don’t think one solution will be enough, I would like to build an empire to retire off of and pay these loans down.
If you take anything away from this, it’s this. Start tracking your spending, just looking at it every day will do WONDERS for motivation and inspiration on how to cut costs. This was the biggest thing for me and I can’t stress it enough. Most people will say save 50%-70% of your income, but that’s ridiculous. The main thing is just being aware of your finances and you can tweak from there!
I hope this helps if you have any questions just reach out to me over at Wallet Squirrel and I’ll be happy to share any of my experiences!
WANT TO SHARE YOUR STORY?
All of us have a story to tell about personal finance, and I created the Meet Millennials series so that anyone can share their story with money. Talking about money has been considered taboo in the past but we are here to change that.