Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Side hustles March 2020

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!  April Fools is cancelled this year.  How is everyone adjusting to the “new normal” way of life? This past month has been the scariest and strangest month that we have lived through.  This new coronavirus pandemic has hit the world hard and fast, effectively causing everything to shut down.  A couple weeks ago, California residents were asked to shelter at home.  There has been a complete closure of all non-essential businesses.  Citizens are asked to isolate at home to keep the number of new disease cases at manageable levels for medical doctors and staff without overwhelming hospitals all at the same time.  Doctors, nurses, medical assistants and hospital staff have been working nonstop to fight this novel new virus.  Grocery workers are also working nonstop to restock shelves and deal with panic buying of groceries and toiletries.    

With much of the U.S. in lockdown, businesses have ground to a halt.  All amusement parks, schools, libraries, movie theatres and malls are closed.  Sporting events and concerts are cancelled.  Children are now homeschooled.  While some companies can continue to move forward with employees working from home, others have had to lay off their workers.  A record 3.3 million Americans have filed for unemployment with estimates of 30% unemployment rates.  Many of our friends have filed for unemployment.  The stock market dropped ~35%, the fastest crash in the history. Many small businesses may not survive this ordeal.  People are dying.  And things could get much worse before they get better.     
This situation is unprecedented.  The U.S. has passed a $2 trillion (that’s $2,000,000,000,000) stimulus package, which includes loans to businesses and even checks to citizens.  World governments are throwing money at their economies to keep everything running while scientists around the world are working to develop treatments for this new coronavirus.   
Here at home, we have been trying our best to adjust to this new normal.  We’ve never had to avoid handshakes, high fives and hugs.  We’ve never had to wait in line before entering a grocery store due to social distancing.  My wife has been working from home for the last 2 weeks and she’s been extremely productive.  She says she’s getting more work done now at home because there are fewer distractions.  She does need to split up her work time between the early morning (before kids are awake), kids naptime, and after the kids go to sleep.  We are grateful that she is still bringing home a steady paycheck.  Everyday that I am off work during the week feels like the weekend.  We are trying our best to keep our kids mentally stimulated and physically fit.      
It’s amazing that just a few weeks ago, I was working on setting up a bonus structure in my clinic and ramping up my schedule.  My work has cut my hours significantly, where I’ve been only working 2 days a week for the last 2 weeks.  In the future, I may be down to working 1 day a week for the next month.  I am thankful that I am a partner of my practice and I have 7 weeks of PTO (paid time off) to burn through before I need to consider applying for unemployment benefits.
We are thankful that we get to spend more quality time with our family.  We may never again have the opportunity to be able to slow down from our busy lives and stay put at home.  This is a moment to reflect on what is truly most important in our lives.  We now have all this extra time to do the things we’ve always wanted to do: exercise more, read more, spend more time with family, be a better cook, catch up with friends, pick up a new hobby, etc.   
Our kids are so used to going out to fun and exciting places every weekend that it’s been a hard adjustment staying home.  It’s hard to explain to our 4 year old son why everything is currently closed when he asks us why he can’t go anywhere “fun” anymore.  We try to stick to a schedule of various activities, games, plenty of reading and daily outdoor walks around our neighborhood.  It’s been nice to see both of our children play together and use their imagination.  I’m glad that our kids have each other.  They’ve turned our neighborhood walks into “jungle exploration” trips.  On our walks we watch out for birds, lizards, squirrels, ants, caterpillars and other insects.
I made a fishing game for the kids so they can fish off the "couch ship".
During uncertain times like this, I am glad that we have 6 months worth of expenses set aside in our emergency fund.  There have been times in the past where I’ve been tempted to invest part or our entire emergency fund to try to chase some extra returns – I’m glad we didn’t do that.  An emergency fund is designed for one purpose – emergencies.  Due to the coronavirus, our rental property tenants have informed us that they will have difficulty paying rent during the next few months.  They have been great tenants for the last ~4 years and we will work with them to get past this difficult time. 
We have also been saving up plenty of Chase Ultimate Rewards points for an international family trip later in the year – looks like we aren’t going to travel outside the U.S. anytime soon.  Our 517,767 Ultimate Rewards points balance can serve as a cash amount of $5,177.67 if we need it.  We would rather use it for business class tickets on an international flight though! 
While the world economy and our personal lives have taken a huge hit, I remain positive that we will get through this difficult time.  Scientists are working hard to come up with treatment protocols for the coronavirus, while multiple companies are testing new vaccines.  This storm will pass.  Once people get back to working again, I expect companies will continue to be profitable.  The stock market will bounce back and continue to be the best way to earn money.
If you are hurting financially or mentally right now, you are not alone.  Almost every industry is affected right now, some much worse than others.  Stimulus checks are coming, and I am hopeful that there’s going to be more checks after that until the economy stabilizes.  The most important thing for all of us to do right now is to stay home and try to flatten the curve of new infections, preventing our hospital systems from getting slammed with too many cases all at once.  We should try to embrace this extra time while we have it.  We can boost our immune systems with daily exercise, stress reduction, healthy eating, and increased restful sleep.  While staying informed is important, it’s also important to give yourself a mental and emotional break by turning off the news once in a while.
Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of March.
Cash Back
On 3.3, I received a $0.37 statement credit from my Discover Cashback checking account. 
On 3.4, I received a $5 deposit in my Chase Savings account for completing a promotion from Chase for selecting automatic savings transfer of $30 a month into my Chase Savings account.  I got notified of this deal from Doctor of Credit here (expired now).  I get all of my random deals from the Doctor of Credit newsletter.

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

Side Job IncomeOn 3.14, I received a direct deposit of $187.50 for teaching at the local university.

Survey Income
On 3.9, I received a $20 check from E-Rewards Medical for completing a medical survey.
On 3.24, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from the Vision Council for completing a survey.
On 3.30, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from the Vision Council for completing a survey.

Miscellaneous IncomeOn 3.1, I sold a rarely worn Rolex watch of mine to a watch dealer for $8,200 cash.  At the time, I was sure we would be seeing an economic recession.  China is one of the world’s leading purchasers of Swiss watches and I could see that their economy was going to temporarily shut down.  It’s amazing that the watch has held its value (and increased in value slightly) since I purchased it in 2012 for $7400.  I probably could have sold the watch for an extra $1,000 in a private sale, but I did not want to risk any fraud or online scams.
Cash is king right now!
On 3.10, my wife received a $50 Amazon gift card for participating in the California Regional Exposure (CARE) Study.  Basically she provided a blood and urine sample to help measure levels of chemicals in people across California.  My chance to participate in the study got postponed due to the coronavirus shut down.

Monthly Totals:
We earned $5.37 from cash back
We earned $450 from rental income
I earned $187.50 from teaching at the local university
I earned $30 for completing online surveys
We earned $8,250 of miscellaneous income

All of this totals $8,922.87 from our side hustles for the month of March!  It’s important for us to continue to hold extra cash in our emergency fund during this time.  I’m glad we shifted our investment portfolio to a more conservative one earlier this month.  From an emotional standpoint, this helps me sleep better at night.  We are taking small bites out of the stock market, but I expect volatility to continue in the near term.  All our new 401K and IRA contributions continue to purchase US and International stock index funds.       

Stay healthy my friends - mentally, physically and financially.  We will get through this.  

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