Monday, March 1, 2021

Side hustles February 2021

 The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation. 

Once a month (usually on the 1st), I like to post a short summary of our personal and financial situation for the previous month.  While I don’t often post articles, I am committed to documenting all of my side hustle income.  Here I’ll share some of what’s been going on with our lives and our side hustles.  


Welcome to March!  Did you have a good February?  

This has been a big month for us as our home renovation project has officially begun.  We’ve been wanting to do some home remodeling for the last 10 years.  There have always been reasons to delay such as not having enough money saved up and waiting for our kids to get just a little bit older.  For the last 3 weeks, we’ve had remodeling crew in our home (wearing masks) working 6-8 hour days, 6 days a week.  Our 40 year old kitchen has been demolished.  All the carpeting (with multiple stains) has been torn out, soon to be replaced with luxury vinyl flooring that is 100% waterproof, scratch, stain, and dent resistant.  We wanted to upgrade the flooring to make it low maintenance and easy to care for - great for 2 young kids and a dog.  Electricians have installed over 70 LED recessed lights throughout the home.  


During this time, we purchased a Ninja Foodi to help us with cooking food.  This little kitchen appliance does so much, it can: pressure cook, slow cook, steam, make yogurt, sear/sauté, air fry crisp, bake/roast, broil, dehydrate, and keep foods warm inside the pot!  We’ve used our Ninja Foodi to make rice, cook chicken, make French fries and even make fall-off-the-bone ribs.  The Ninja Foodi has been a game changer for us, since we won’t have use of our kitchen for up to 8 weeks.  The Foodi pretty much helps us prepare all of our meals during this renovation.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

As coronavirus case numbers continue to decline, and covid vaccinations continue to rise, I am increasingly hopeful that we are getting closer to beating the virus.  Many venues are cautiously re-opening with new safety protocols.  Our kids have enjoyed going back out to fun places such as the zoo, playgrounds and the aquarium.  These places all have outdoor spaces with social distancing and mask requirements. 


We did a new fun activity this month, which was a drive thru dinosaur exhibition called Jurassic Quest.  Our family drove through a huge parking lot to get up close and personal to mechanized robot dinosaurs.  Our drive was synced with an audio tour that had music and facts about all the prehistoric creatures we drove by.  Masks were required to be worn as long as windows were down, which helped keep the adventure safe for all.  

Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of February.

Cash Back 

On 2.1, my wife received a $10 statement credit on her AMEX Gold credit card.  This card offers a $10 dining credit every month on select restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory or Shake Shack.

On 2.4, I received $50 in statement credits ($25 x 2) on my AMEX SimplyCash Business card.  The card currently has a promotion for $25 cash back on purchases over $500, up to 10 times.  These credits were for two separate charges at Wayfair for home supplies. 

On 2.8, I received a $31.58 statement credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. This was credit towards a purchase made at a gas station, which qualifies towards the $300 annual Chase travel credit. 

On 2.9, I received a $15 Target gift card as cash back from spending on my Target Red credit card. 

On 2.10, I received a $59.27 statement credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card for credit towards gas station purchase, from the Chase travel credit program. 

On 2.10, I received a $1.80 statement credit on my Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card from Chase Offers. This was for 10% cash back on purchases made at Starbucks. 

On 2.14, I received $50 in statement credits ($25 x 2) on my AMEX SimplyCash Business card.  The card currently has a promotion for $25 cash back on purchases over $500, up to 10 times.  These credits were for purchases made for our kids’ tuition. 

On 2.24, I received a $25 statement credit on my AMEX SimplyCash Business card.  

On 2.27, I received a $49.39 statement credit on my AMEX SimplyCash Business card. This was for 10% cash back on the purchase of 3 toilets from Lowe’s. 

On 2.27, I received a $40.81 statement credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. This was for getting gas, which qualifies as a Chase Travel credit eligible purchase.  This card is essentially providing us with $300 worth of free gas each year. 


Rental Income

On 2.5, we received a net profit of $740 from our rental property.  

Survey Income

On 2.1, I received a $20 check from E-Rewards Medical for completing a survey.

On 2.6, I received a $40 check from M3 Global Research for completing a survey. 

On 2.22, I received a $45 check from M3 Global Research for completing a survey. 

On 2.23, I received a $35 Amazon gift card from M-panels for completing a survey.


Sales Income
On 2.5, I received $45 cash for selling an old Blu-ray player and a set of speakers on Facebook Marketplace.  These have been sitting around unused for at least 8 years.  With streaming services available, there really is no need to watch DVDs.  Also, the speaker set was too loud for our kids.

On 2.7, my wife received $20 cash for selling an old lamp. 

On 2.7, my wife received $45 cash for selling an old children’s playpen. 

On 2.10, my wife received $10 cash for selling an old slow cooker. 

On 2.16, my wife received $100 cash for selling some gently used women’s flats.


Monthly Totals:

We earned $332.85 from cash back income
We earned $740 from rental income

We earned $140 for completing online surveys

We earned $220 from selling used items online 


All of this totals $1,432.85 from our side hustles for the month of February!  Every little bit we earn helps us reach our financial goals (such as our home remodel) and our financial freedom.  Keep hustling for that income.  

Monday, February 1, 2021

Side hustles January 2021

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation. 

Once a month (usually on the 1st), I like to post a short summary of our personal and financial situation for the previous month.  While I don’t often post articles, I am committed to documenting all of my side hustle income.  Here I’ll share some of what’s been going on with our lives and our side hustles.  

Welcome to February!  How was your first month of the New Year?  Here in the RFI household, we have been focused on keeping our kids entertained and healthy.  We continue to visit all the different playgrounds in and around our neighborhood (with masks on of course!).  

At home, our kids enjoy reading library books, painting and drawing.  

I’m happy to report that I received my second COVID19 vaccine shot earlier this month.  My mom received her first vaccine shot last week.  COVID19 cases and deaths seem to be finally coming down in California (and the rest of the US).  I truly hope that the worst is behind us and that we can slowly move past this pandemic.  We are itching to take a family vacation!  

Recently, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach opened up their outdoor exhibits.  Our kids were excited to visit the aquarium again.  They got up close with jellyfish, sharks, stingrays, penguins, seals and more.  It was such a treat for them to be able to get out of the house again.  Our kids got a chance to touch jellyfish, stingrays and even small sharks. We made an appointment (guest capacity limits) to visit the aquarium as soon as they opened first thing in the morning.  It wasn’t crowded at all and guests wore masks the entire time. 

Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of January.

Cash Back 
On 1.1, my wife received a $16.98 statement credit on her AMEX Platinum credit card.  This was an AMEX offer for up to $20 back on streaming services per month.  We enjoyed a free month of HBO Max and Hulu.
On 1.4, I received a $60 statement credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.  This was for the annual $60 Door Dash credit.  
On 1.9, my wife received a $22.98 statement credit on her AMEX Platinum card.  American Express has a $50 statement credit offered for purchases up to $50 at Saks Fifth Avenue.  This credit is offered twice a year, $50 every 6 months.  My wife bought some clothing online and got it reimbursed.
On 1.13 my wife received a $30 statement credit on her AMEX Platinum card.  American Express has a $30 statement credit on purchases made with PayPal checkout for the next 6 months.
On 1.21, my wife received a $7 statement credit on her AMEX Gold Card.  This was an AMEX offer for $7 back per month on $14.99 or greater purchases made with HBO Max. 
On 1.22, I received a $36.16 statement credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.  From now through June 30, 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases will count towards earning free travel credit up to the first $300 in travel purchases.
On 1.28, I received a $51.83 statement credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.  This was for the Chase Travel credit used towards gas station purchases.   

Rental Income
On 1.5, we received a net profit of $740 from our rental property.  

Miscellaneous Income
On 1.1, we received a direct deposit of $2,233.90 from the IRS as our second stimulus check.  I list this as a side hustle, just like our last stimulus check, because our income qualifies only after taking into account the tax deductions on our gross income.  These deductions include two maxed out 401Ks ($19,500 each), a maxed out Dependent Care FSA ($5,000), a maxed out HSA ($7,000) and a partial Medical FSA deduction ($1,000).  We have been rewarded for saving more. 

Survey Income
On 1.20, I received a $55 check from My Impact Network for completing a medical survey.
On 1.25, I received a $20 check from E Rewards Medical for completing a survey. 
On 1.25, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from The Vision Council for completing a survey.

Monthly Totals:
We earned $224.95 from cash back income
We earned $740 from rental income
We earned $2,233.90 from miscellaneous income
I earned $80 for completing online surveys

All of this totals $3,278.85 from our side hustles for the month of January!  I hope you are all doing well with the start of 2021.  I hope the start of the new year ignites your motivation and passion for pursuing financial freedom!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Over 650K invested

Today, our investment accounts have now hit the biggest financial milestone to date: surpassing $650,000 in value!  

Our investment accounts include money in our 401Ks, Roth IRAs, taxable accounts, HSA and 529.  Index fund investing allows us to diversify our portfolio and keep our costs very low.  This does not include money in our checking accounts, savings accounts, home equity or rental property equity.

It’s hard to believe how fast the stock market has recovered since the crash in March and then exploded towards new highs.  There is a lot of bad news out there.  The U.S. COVID-19 death toll continues to rise to record highs.  Swamped hospitals are having to ration care for the surge of sick patients they are managing.  Racial tensions and inequalities have become more and more glaringly obvious.  Small businesses are suffering.  Unemployed people are suffering.  Just last week, domestic terrorists rioted and breached the U.S. Capital.  Yet none of this bad news seems to be putting a dent into stock market returns.  

The roaring stock market is due to a combination of historically low interest rates, government intervention to protect big corporations and record stimulus spending.  Despite all of the doom and gloom this year, stock market investors are forward looking.  

With the certainty of a new president and a Democratic control of the Senate, it’s likely that more will be spent on economic stimulus.  The COVID-19 vaccine roll out, while slow, promises to finally bring the coronavirus death toll down.  More industries can start to reopen, especially travel.  This will lead to increased consumer confidence - and spending.  The Federal Reserve has indicated that interest rates will stay low for the time being.  This helps businesses and individuals keep borrowing costs down.  Homeowners can refinance to record low interest rates to save more money.  The stock market looks attractive in this kind of environment. 

The harsh reality of this recovery is that the growing divide between the rich and poor continues to widen.  Those that are invested in the stock market have become more wealthy than ever before.  People in the hardest hit industries of this recession aren’t doing well at all.  Small business owners, travel, hospitality, performance and art industries are all suffering as lockdowns continue to punish them.  Those suffering are dependent on unemployment income and government assistance, which has been severely lacking.  Millennial-Revolution wrote a great post explaining what a K shaped recovery is here.  It really is unfair to be on the wrong side of this economic recovery.  I hope this new administration can better support those with the most needs.

We continue to ride this wild stock market.  As our investment accounts have grown, we have become more conservative with our stock to bond ratio.  Our portfolio is currently sitting at about 65% stocks and 35% bonds and slowly moving towards a 70/30 asset allocation.  While we are missing out on potentially greater returns, we are comfortable with the safety our bond funds provide. 

Here is a look back at the timeline of our previous investment milestones:

June 2, 2014: 100K

March 12, 2016: 200K

June 5, 2017: 300K 

July 15, 2018: 400K 

April 16, 2019: 450K

November 5, 2019: 500K 

January 18, 2020: 550K

November 7, 2020: 600K

January 12, 2021: 650K

Volatility in the stock market goes both down and up.  While we are enjoying our net worth gains right now, we will not be overly greedy.  We will continue to steadily invest towards our financial freedom.


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