Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Over 450K invested


Our investment accounts have now hit another financial milestone, surpassing $450,000 in value!  This includes money in our 401Ks, Roth IRAs, taxable accounts, and 529.  This does not include money in our checking accounts, savings accounts, home equity or rental property equity.
As we continue on our journey towards financial freedom, we have been focusing more on being in the moment and enjoying the time we have available. Years ago, we did a lot of the heavy lifting with improving our finances by cutting our expenses dramatically, and slowly increasing our investment contributions, sometimes as little as 1% at a time.  This has created a snowball effect of our investments compounding aggressively over time.  Our investments are simple and our contributions are automatic.  Our money continues to make more money for us.
We just got back from a 4-day trip to visit San Diego, and it was a nice surprise to see our investment account balance after coming back from our vacation. 
It’s been amazing watching the growth of our investment accounts over the last few years.  Here are some of our other previous investment milestones:
June 2, 2014: 100K
March 12, 2016: 200K
June 5, 2017: 300K
July 15, 2018: 400K 
Our investments haven’t changed much since we first began saving.  We invest in index funds that track the US stock market (63%), international stock market (27%), and US bond market (10%).  Index fund investing allows us to diversify our portfolio and keep our costs very low.
While we have hit a new all time high in our investments, this could all change in an instant.   Regardless of stock market volatility, we stay the course with our investments by consistently contributing through stock market ups and downs.  We know that there is no way to accurately time the stock market; so we just hang on for the ride. 
How is your financial freedom progress going?

Monday, April 1, 2019

Side hustles March 2019


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 April!  Did you have a good March? The weather has been great in Southern California with plenty of sunshine well past 7:00pm.  Looking back, we spent much of the month outdoors on long walks and playing in the park around our neighborhood.  Sometimes I get annoyed at how much our property taxes cost each year ($7,588) and how much our HOA dues cost each year ($2,040), but then I experience the wonderful walking paths and playgrounds we have access to just outside our front door.  I am thankful to be a part of our neighborhood and community.
Abby waiting patiently at the playground while our kids play in the sand.

Our kids continue to grow so quickly.  Our son will be 4 years old soon and our daughter is already 15 months old!  They love spending time outside, reading, and playing with their toys.  We continue to try to make our time with family as joyful as possible.  It’s not easy when our kids fight with each other or when our son refuses to share and play nicely with others, but it’s all a part of growing up.  We continue to work hard as we push towards our financial freedom.
Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of March.
Cash Back
On 3.1, I received $10.23 deposit in my Discover Cashback Checking account.  This is 1% cashback from paying our rental property with my Discover debit card.
On 3.1, I received a $4.00 statement credit on my Freedom Unlimited credit card from Chase Offers.  Chase now offers special cash back promotions on purchases made from participating retailers, sort of like American Express Offers.  This was 5% off purchases made at Kriser’s, a local pet store we get dog food from.

Rental Income
On 3.5, we received a net profit of $450 from our rental property. 

Side job income
On 3.29, I received a direct deposit of $187.50 for teaching at the local university.  Teaching continues to be one of my favorite side hustles.

Survey Income
On 3.16, I received a $10 check from E-Rewards Medical for completing a medical survey.
On 3.23, I received a $10 check from E-Rewards Medical for completing a medical survey.
On 3.26, I received a $20 check from My Impact Network for completing a medical survey.
On 3.28, my wife received a $10 Amazon gift card for completing an Amazon survey.

Monthly Totals:
We earned $14.23 from cash back
We earned $450 from rental income
I earned $187.50 from my side job teaching
We earned $50 for completing online surveys

All of this totals $701.73 from our side hustles for the month of March!  Our side hustle income has been on a downward trend lately.  I’ve been choosing to do less work, as I want to focus on being with my family more. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Side hustles February 2019


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?  As with other months, February just seemed to fly by.  Since our daughter joined our family, time seems to progress at hyper speed.  Our kids are growing so fast.  We continue to work hard so that we can provide for them.
Our son loves going to the local park, which is a short walk from our home.  This past month, we’ve spent hours and hours at the park.  He just doesn’t want to go home!  He will go up and down the slide, swing on the swings, and build sand castles in the sand.  I love seeing the little guy use his imagination while entertaining himself.  Going to the park seems to be the highlight of our weekends now.  Best part is that it doesn’t cost any money!
Our daughter is growing so fast!


Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of February.
Cash Back
On 2.1, I received $10.23 deposit in my Discover Cashback Checking account.  This is 1% cashback from paying our rental property with my Discover debit card.  It's too bad we can't pay our personal mortgage or property taxes with the Discover debit card.

Rental Income
On 2.5, we received a net profit of $430 from our rental property.

Side job income
On 2.15, I received a direct deposit of $187.50 for teaching at the local university.  Teaching continues to be one of my favorite side hustles.

Monthly Totals:
We earned $10.23 from cash back
We earned $430 from rental income
I earned $187.50 from my side job teaching

All of this totals $627.73 from our side hustles for the month of February!  It’s been a slow month of side hustle income for us as we’ve been too busy just having fun!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Legoland and Legoland Hotel


My family just returned from a 3 day visit to Legoland Park and hotel.  We had such a great time!
Legoland during off-peak days is such a wonderful place to be.  The place was like a ghost town with almost no wait for every single ride.  The longest we had to wait was probably 10 to 15 minutes.
Legoland had something for everyone.  There are plenty of rides at Legoland for kids and adults of any age.  Our kids especially loved the slow moving boat rides, Fairy Tale Brook and Coast Cruise.  
We rode the Legoland Express train ride several times.  Our son loved the Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride.
Scattered throughout the park are Lego blocks for kids of all ages to play with.  There are regular sized Legos for the older kids and big foam Lego pieces for the little ones.  Our son loved playing with the build-your-own Lego boats.  Miniland is an awesome area full of Lego replicas of famous US landmarks and there’s even a Star Wars themed Lego section full of scenes from the Star Wars movies.  
It’s fun to look at the intricate details of all the Lego models.  The Duplo Playtown has little mazes and slides for the kids to run and play around.  Kids can let their imaginations run wild with the different activity play sets and Lego pieces here.
Located right next to Legoland is the Sea Life Aquarium.  Since our first time at Legoland a few years ago, the aquarium has been revamped and updated.  There are plenty of fish, corals, stingrays and sharks here for visitors to enjoy and see up close.   There’s also a new interactive shark experience where visitors can learn about sharks up close on a touch projector screen.
We love going to Legoland so much that we purchased season passes.  For our most recent trip to Legoland, we decided to spend 2 nights at the Legoland Hotel, giving us 3 full days to visit Legoland.  I get 20% off hotel stays at the Legoland hotel through my corporate account.  And my Chase Sapphire Reserve gave me a $300 statement credit towards our hotel stay.  The hotel is located within walking distance to the front entrance of Legoland
Legoland hotel is such an awesome place to stay.  Guests of the hotel can choose between 5 different themed rooms (Ninjago, Pirate, Friends, Kingdom, and Adventure).  We picked the Pirate themed room.  
Inside each room there are custom Lego creations designed to match the theme of the room.  Our room had skull and crossbones sheets, decorative wallpaper, and even a treasure box filled with a new surprise each night of our stay!  The hotel provided a bucket full of Legos to play with in our room. 
Legoland hotel guests have other great benefits such as early access (30 minutes to 1 hour) to the amusement park.  Breakfast buffet was free for every day of our stay.  Breakfast items included bacon, sausage, waffles, potatoes, muffins, chocolate chip pancakes, freshly made omelets, French toast, smoothies, coffee and more.  Everything was very tasty and we did not have to wait long to get seated.  Free coffee and water is provided in the hotel rooms.
The hotel offers plenty of fun little touches.  The main lobby has an indoor castle play area, pirate ship and pool of Legos to play with.  
By the main elevator, there is a big whoopee cushion on the ground that can be activated by stepping on it.  
When the elevator doors close, the room is instantly turned into a disco party, complete with dance music and a disco ball up above.  Every night, kids can enjoy a live dance party with Lego characters.
While 3 days at Legoland was pretty tiring, we all had a blast.  The Legoland hotel has definitely been the most fun hotels we've had the chance to stay at.  We are looking forward to heading back to Legoland in a few months!  
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