Everyday I’m (Not) Hustlin’

It’s been a while since my last post. Summer has flown by as they all tend to do. I’ve settled into my Midwestern lifestyle quite well. The bike I purchased when I moved out here has been getting put to work at least five times per week. I’ve been trying to make it to the gym four times per week. I’ve been traveling all over the place for weddings, holidays, and family events. During travel I’ve been plowing through interesting podcasts. I’ve made a conscious effort to read a lot more. I just finished “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” by Harry Browne and I’m now onto the 700 plus page behemoth “Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.” by Ron Chernow (I’ll report back on this one when I finish it in 2018).

My personal finances have pretty much been on auto pilot for some time now. Moving to the Midwest provided some excitement for a while as I didn’t know exactly where my expenses would fall out. But now that I’ve been here for a few months everything is kind of boring on the financial front again.

Researching personal finance, financial independence, investing, etc., has taken up a lot of my spare time in the past few years. Now I’m at a point where I am at a very comfortable spot with my financial plan. My systems are in place and everything is running like a well oiled machine. My 401k contribution is set to max early in the year, my HSA contribution is set to max, every two weeks I invest my surplus cash into Vanguard like clockwork, my debt is gone*, and I’m happy with my run-rate expenses (haven’t cut cable yet but that may be coming soon).

Even though everything looks great from 30,000 feet, I get a little stir crazy at times. I feel like I should be doing MORE. For the past couple years I have been optimizing everything related to my personal finances. Increasing income, trimming expenses, funding emergency fund, investing, paying down debt, etc., all of which took a lot of work, time, and planning. Now I read other personal finance blogs and everyone is talking about that side hustle life. Making extra money outside their normal day jobs to help them reach their financial goals faster. Honestly reading about all this hustling makes me feel a little guilty that I’m not doing more.

After months of figuring out what else I could be doing, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that it is OKAY to not pursue a side hustle. By no means do I think it is a bad idea to have a side hustle, I actually think it’s a great idea. But for me right now, it just doesn’t make sense. My day job income has been increasing fairly rapidly as of late allowing me to reach my financial goals much faster than originally projected. Therefore the gap between my income and expenses continues to grow. I no longer have debt looming over my head. The more my day job income increases, the more significant the side hustle would have to be to make a dent in my financial goals. I’ve accepted that it’s okay to use my time outside of work to do things that don’t earn money and bring me joy instead.

Part of this FIRE journey is charting your own path without concern for what others are doing. I know I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy task. The journey itself needs to be enjoyable. I do not need to feel guilty when I’m going for a bike ride or watching Netflix with my girlfriend instead of starting a business on the side. Some may say it’s risky to have all of one’s income completely concentrated in one source. I would agree to a point, but the further your income moves away from your expenses, the less of a risk it actually is. At the end of the day hustlin’ for me would most likely have a slight positive impact on my financial picture, and a larger negative impact on my personal life. And for that reason – everyday I’m not hustlin’.

Do you ever feel guilty when you’re not leveraging your spare time to earn more income? How have you gone about dealing with it?

* – I paid off my last student loan a week ago. I am now DEBT FREE!

54 thoughts on “Everyday I’m (Not) Hustlin’

  1. Financial Samurai

    Welcome back! How would you rate living in the Midwest from a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best? A lot of us who live on the coastal cities wonder whether all we have to do is just leave or expensive cities and just moved to the Midwest to save a lot of money. I’m wondering if we can all just do the same.

    Maybe an update after the winter is more appropriate so you can see all four seasons.

    Sam
    Financial Samurai recently posted…Investment Ideas At The Top Of The MarketMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Sam! In the summer it’s easily an 8. We’ll see about the winter. But I guess I get to drive places in the cold instead of walking like I did in Manhattan.

      Reply
  2. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies

    Congrats on the debt payoff! I LOLed for real with the Rockefeller book. That’s how I feel about Crime & Punishment. I know I should read it (former English major), but I just.cant.make.it. I do feel guilty about free time initially, but then I remember how easy it is to burn out in life. It’s important to recharge. Now I schedule it…because I’m that Type A. I also really try to balance my future goals with the fact that that the future is promised to no one. So while I’m working hard for tomorrow, I want to live today.

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Great points Penny! I definitely need that time to recharge to make sure I’m able to give work and my personal life 100%. If I did a side hustle I think that 100% would definitely decrease.

      Reply
  3. Gwen @ Fiery Millennials

    Congratulations on paying off the loans! That’s awesome!

    As for the side hustle thing, I’m kinda doing that now and it sucks. I get home from work and immediately head to the studio. It’s more of a hobby that nets me some cash now and then, but I’m having fun 🙂 If you calculate my time at $25/hr, I’m losing money but since I wouldn’t be using the time wisely anyways I’d say I actually come out ahead. New skills and all that. Enjoy the time in the Midwest with your gf! No coast is best coast haha
    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…Rant N Rave: Conforming and Credit CardsMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Gwen! It’s awesome if you thoroughly enjoy your side hustle. Nothing wrong with making a few bucks doing it. But my main hobbies are relaxing, reading, my bike, the gym, and the occasional adult beverage. Hard to make money off those 🙂

      Reply
  4. Lila

    Thank you! I don’t get the people who get all huffy when people aren’t doing side hustles.

    So if a hospital lays off a doctor, does it make sense for her to have several side hustles, or to get another job at a more stable hospital where she can make a high income again and then spend the time she has leftover with her loved ones.

    I think it’s better to concentrate on being a master in your career than a jack of all trades! Thanks for being a voice of reason. I’m also a huge fan of Harry B’s book, I read it years ago =)
    Lila recently posted…Why my first blogs failedMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I really enjoyed the book as well. I agree with you about concentrating on your career. If I gave all this effort to my career and didn’t get nice raises and bonuses, I’d probably reel in the effort and concentrate on a side hustle. But fortunately that hasn’t been the case.

      Reply
  5. TheMoneyMine

    Side hustling is great, but it depends on your priorities. Family life is important too. Your career may still be very young and lots of potential. Some people are also wired to side hustle without thinking about it, for others (like me) it’s more of an effort for which I can’t find the energy.
    Everyone his/her own way to reach financial independence. Side hustle or not, you’re already doing better than 98% of the population. Now enjoy the ride.
    TheMoneyMine recently posted…5 great articles, Podcasts and Videos that made me smarter this monthMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      We’re on the same page MM. It would definitely be an effort for me. My effort in my day job is still paying dividends, so I’m going to keep concentrating on that.

      Reply
  6. ambertree

    Nice to hear your are settling well.
    You are spot on. I also feel guilt when I read what others do: monetise the blog, side hustle, cut cable and other expenses, work harder to earn more…
    I come to realise more and more that I need to design our family journey!
    ambertree recently posted…Why I lost 1000 USD in tradingMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks AT. I think taking the time to make a solid plan is important for this journey. We just have to realize that everyone’s will be different, and that’s perfectly okay.

      Reply
  7. Ed Mills

    Ferv, don’t worry. you’re not alone. I’d love to say I’m a hustlin’ fool, but the fact is that I use my free time to jog, read, cook, and drink a little vino. There are only so many hours in the day, and hustlin’ after a full day’s work is exhausting, especially the older you get. Now that I’m free from work, I’ll try to perfect my side hustle, but I don’t want it to become an eight hour a day job.

    Congrats on slaying the debt; it looks like your kicking financial derriere. Hammer on, Ed

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Ed! And congrats on your recent achievement as well. Once I ditch the day job that will be 40+ hours a week freed up that I can use 10+ to concentrate on a side hustle 😉

      Reply
  8. Mr. SSC

    I second the “everyday I’m not hustlin'” mode. I’ve hustled enough to get to this fairly nice paying job and lifestyle, and it’s working well. The recent job change from Mrs. SSC to Prof SSC has opened up our schedule and led to more quality time for everyone. No need to wreck all that with a side hustle. 🙂

    In the future, yeah maybe I’ll look at a side hustle, or put some ads on our site and see if it can make beer money each month, but not now while time is such a precious commodity.

    For those with more time and want to pursue their side hustle – go for it, I’ll enjoy reading about it, but I don’t feel guilty that I’m not pursuing it. 🙂

    I deal with the guilt or lack thereof by reminding myself, “There will always be other people doing better than you and people doing worse, and not trying to keep up with either is fine with me.”

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I like reading about others’ side hustles as well. Just doesn’t mean that I’ll take part. For some people putting in that extra effort into their day job pays dividends and for others it doesn’t. I consider myself lucky that my day job is still paying dividends. I just won’t tell my employer that 😉

      Reply
  9. SavvyFinancialLatina

    I don’t side hustle. I work a lot. I’m in the office by 7:10, leave at 6, and a couple days of the week, I’m at the office past 6 PM. So, it just doesn’t leave much time. Maybe if I had an actual 9-5 job, but I haven’t found that corporate environment yet.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted…Corporate FogMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Yeah my 9-5 isn’t a 9-5 either. I’m traveling at least once a month as well, which I enjoy, but is at least a few days a month that I’m not home as well. Once I quit the day job, then maybe I’ll start hustlin’!

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Brian! I think it’s great that you’ve been spending some of your spare time teaching financial literacy!

      Reply
  10. Claudia @ Two Cup House

    Yes! When I considered how much I was hustling, I decided to make some changes. For the last couple of months, I thought a lot about how I was spending my time and what I really wanted to be doing. We took a 13-mile bike ride last week for the first time in 6 years and it was amazing! I want more of this.

    Congratulations on paying off those loans! Woot!

    Reply
  11. Norm

    My view on side hustles is that you have to balance the effort you want to put into it versus the money you get out of it. I have basically zero interest in taking on a second job or really even trying to monetize a hobby. We’ve done that a little bit and concentrating on making income is a sure fire way to turn a hobby into something not fun.

    I’ve found having a rental property is a nice balance. It’s more of a monetary investment than a time investment since the property was turnkey. I spare a few hours a month to mow the lawn and deal with the odd issue that comes up once every month or two. In return we get a cash flow that seems outsized compared to the effort.
    Norm recently posted…Cheapskate Analysis: Should I Replace All My Light Bulbs With LEDs?My Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      A side hustle that only takes a few hours a month definitely sounds very manageable. Issue is I know myself and wouldn’t be happy being a landlord, but glad you found what works for you!

      Reply
  12. Steve @ ThinkSaveRetire

    First, congrats on becoming 100% debt free! It’s an amazing feeling, and no debt looming over your shoulder opens up a whole world of possibilities. Honestly, I believe that being debt free *IS* my side hustle. 🙂

    Like you, I don’t have a “real” side hustle. I don’t want one, nor do I need one. I suppose you could consider my blogs and YouTube channel a type of side hustle because we do make money from them, but we aren’t engaged in any true business-type endeavors to bring in serious money. I choose to use my time pursuing other things.

    And I don’t feel the least bit guilty, and neither should you. What works for other people may not be in your best interest. Do what you believe in your heart to be right. The fact is side hustles don’t come without their fair share of stresses too, just like jobs. They take a great deal of work and attention, and sometimes they don’t work out. It’s a lot of effort. More power to those who have started (or wish to start) a successful side hustle. Like you said, nothing wrong with that. But, side hustles aren’t for everyone.

    In the end, you gotta do what makes you happy.
    Steve @ ThinkSaveRetire recently posted…The Friday Feast ~ the 9th of SeptemberMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Steve! We’re debt free compadres now! I think it’s great that you can squeeze some dollars out of your hobbies. I think that’s a great way to create a little side hustle. Instead of creating the side hustle to make money, you’re making money from your hobby.

      Reply
  13. Dividend Diplomats

    Very jealous everything is on autopilot for you! Seems like you are settling into your groove here and are running on all cylinders. To answer your question, yes, there are times where I look back and ask myself “why wasn’t I doing more to earn a few extra dollars.” But, sometimes it is necessary to unwind, relax, and take a night to yourself for entertainment and to reset.

    Also, glad you are enjoying life in the Midwest. Being born and raised in Ohio, I have become a big fan of the lifestyle! The cost of living sets the table for success if you want it. Thanks for the great read!

    Bert

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Unwinding and relaxing is key to my productivity Bert! Maybe others are different. I’ve enjoyed the Midwest greatly so far. Let’s see how I fee come January. Can’t be THAT much worse than NYC.

      Reply
  14. Designing A Frugal Life

    Yes, I do sometimes feel guilty for not doing more: more side hustling, more exercise, more this, more that. Recently, I’ve gotten a lot better at not feeling guilty by working on my perspective. Taking time to acknowledge my accomplishments while also questioning why I feel the need to do more and more has been helpful.

    For me, writing down questions (why do you feel this way? what would happen if you stopped x, y, and z or started doing a, b, c?) and then writing out my answers really helps me focus and explore the problem. Speaking the answers/questions out loud by myself also helps. Yes, this exercise feels weird at first. Yes, it’s very helpful and worth the awkwardness.

    Reply
  15. Mr. PIE

    From looking back at our family experience over the last 16 years in corporate America, i would whole-heartedly advise anyone on the path to financial freedom to find the right balance. Experiences when you are younger are priceless and if that means devoting a bit of time and/or money to do that, you will benefit greatlly from it. Reading about folks who excessively side hustle or avoid leaving the home because of fear of spending is not good. The Mad Fientist had a great post on this and how he wished he lived more intend of being on the frugal treadmill. Can be as bad as the hedonic treadmill….
    Mr. PIE recently posted…Slicing the Family PIE Investment PortfolioMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      The Midwest is great! I’ve had to get used to quite a few things but I’m really enjoying it. As for expenses, they have gone done quite a bit but there are a few things that aren’t really cheaper I’ve noticed. I grocery shopped in Manhattan almost exclusively at a farmer’s market on my street and Trader Joe’s, and I’ve noticed the prices here aren’t are definitely not lower than those two places. I have a post in the works about the differences – thanks for the reminder.

      Reply
  16. Stockbeard

    I totally have a side hustle and I sometimes hate the idea that I rely so much on it for my ER plans. It will be a key component of me living the corporate life, meaning I’ll then have to rely significantly on it during the first years of my ER (until, hopefully, I get to full FI). I’m looking forward to the day where the side hustle is actually just additional income, rather than “required”, to completely remove the pressure from it. So I completely get where you’re coming from.
    Stockbeard recently posted…The human beings behind your coworkersMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Understandable Stockbeard. Just make sure that once you pull the plug from corporate life, that relying solely on the side hustle won’t have an impact on your happiness.

      Reply
  17. Finance Solver

    Congratulations on being debt free!! It’s a great feeling, I’m sure 🙂 I’m a proponent on spending time that gives the highest utility and if not hustling gives someone utility, that’s a great choice!

    I’m the weird person out of my family who likes working and told my parents that one of my regrets was not working more jobs during high school. They looked at me like I was crazy but working provided me joy, which is why I’m taking on extra projects (like my blog) outside of my job to work a little more and hopefully get FIRE faster.
    Finance Solver recently posted…Spending Money can Be ExpensiveMy Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      That’s a great way to look at it FS! I definitely enjoyed my job in high school, and worked it as much as possible. You’re not weird 🙂

      Reply
  18. Team CF

    Hey FF,
    Good for you having your ducks in a row and were able to enjoy a nice summer this year! As for the side hustles, if they are not really required and you enjoy your timing doing other things that you like, why bother? Yes, if could help you become FI faster, but you may not be living the good life now, which is critical to happiness in life.
    Think you are doing great!
    Team CF recently posted…August 2016 Cheesy Index (and Box 3 Tax considerations)My Profile

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  19. Cindy @ Smart Family Money

    Congratulations on paying off your student loans! That’s wonderful.

    Welcome to the Midwest. I think there are some amazing Midwestern cities that are the country’s best kept secrets. Don’t tell everyone how awesome it is or it’ll get more crowded and expensive here. 🙂

    Reply
  20. Kalen Bruce

    I can definitely agree with the feeling that you’re not doing enough since your finances are on autopilot. I spent several months making sure all of my finances were automated, and then I sat back and realized that I didn’t need to do anything. It felt weird.

    I think it’s important to spend time reading like you’ve been doing. I’ve had to make a conscious decision to stop doing so many different things so I can focus on more personal things like reading and writing, and since I’ve started doing that, I’ve been much happier in general.

    If you really want to keep reading more like you’ve been doing, I highly suggest getting on Goodreads. It’s really motivating to see your friends and what they’re reading, and to post your progress on books and set a reading challenge. I’ve had an account for a long time, but only recently been active. I’ve been a nerd about all of that lately! 🙂
    Kalen Bruce recently posted…The 2 Main Ideas From “The Little Book That Beats the Market”My Profile

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    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      It was awesome. Well worth the $20 I spent on Amazon for a used copy. You can get the pdf for free online though.

      Reply

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