Then the time came when we had the opportunity to make a huge change in our lives (long story short, it started with getting out of debt, then closing my business, then selling everything we owned, then traveling for a while). While we were traveling we had zero debt and about four small bills each month but now that we have settled down again (we decided we like to go on vacation, not live permanently on vacation) we have the usual bills that everyone else has (mortgage, utilities, food, etc) but fortunately no debts. This means that while we don't need the big incomes we had in the past, we still need some money to pay our minimal bills each month along with a few treats (like today, the hubby and I went and got massages--the first time in about three years--and it was heavenly. It cost $40 each and while that seems like a lot to us now--never mind that I was paying $65 for bi-weekly massages years ago--it was a wonderful treat!).
In a lifestyle that is hard for most people to understand--I've been trying to explain it to my brother and sister in law who are staying with us this week since they are of the "I must work 40 hours a week for as much money as possible for the rest of my life" mindset--we happily live and pay our bills on a range of small income sources. No two days are ever the same, we have a lot of free time, and, most importantly, we are easily able to pay our bills. Here's all of the things we have done to create multiple streams of income:
- Hubby's military pension (there's something to be said for retiring at age 40 with a monthly pension for the rest of your life).
- Hubby's social security (he decided to draw social security at age 62 instead of waiting until age 70 and it seems to work out well for our purposes).
- Seasonal jobs (I worked in retail for a month last Christmas, it was interesting work and a nice little additional sum of money in my bank account; I intend to do this again next Christmas and maybe deliver flowers around Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, two other popular seasonal jobs).
- Temporary jobs (I recently worked for six weeks at the World Series of Poker. Many people seem to work temporary jobs in Las Vegas for a range of short-term events).
- Adsense (I make about $50 a month from the ads on my blogs and websites. I'm sure I could increase this income with more effort and by adding affiliate ads).
- Royalties (I wrote a book last year, kind of on a whim, and now I make about $100 a month in royalties. Book two is in the works!).
- Website building and maintenance (I have made websites since the early days of the internet. They are pretty basic but each month I get paid from a few clients for updating their websites. In addition I get paid for building new websites for clients occasionally. Recently a group of people I used to work with asked me about a bulk rate for building and maintaining all of their agency's websites which will hopefully pan out).
- Freelance writing (last year I was making about $200 a month writing freelance articles for some online publications. My main article buyer switched focus and I didn't go looking for new buyers for my articles but that is always something I could do in the future).
- Freelance gigs (some of my old clients have asked me to do short-term freelance things for them such as grant writing, policy writing, and copy editing; while this isn't a stable source of income, the occasional $250-$500 projects are a nice additional source of income).
- Remote working (a friend of mine who used to work in the same field as I did would call me to do occasional freelance gigs for her; recently she added me to her payroll as a remote employee so she would not need to get Board approval for each project I did for her. Now I get a monthly deposit into my bank account, the amount depends on how much work I do).
- Sell things online (I used to sell quite a few things on eBay and CraigsList; I still do this when I have things to sell such as small electronics, etc, but haven't put much effort into it lately).
- Have garage sale (I've pointed out before that hubby is a pack rat and our garage is testament to this. I see another garage sale in our future).
- Personal services (in the past we have housesat, did a temporary babysitting gig for our room and board, mowed laws, shoveled snow, ran errands, picked people up from the airport, etc. While this isn't something we actively seek out, if someone asks or says "I wish I could have someone do..." we jump at the opportunity).
- Take in a boarder (I am fascinated with AirBnB but hubby said no way, however, for the past few months the brother-in-law has been working in Las Vegas on a construction job and paying us $400 a month for room and the occasional meal. It has worked out great since we have two spare guest rooms and we hardly even know he is here).
- Freebies, rebates, and coupons (although not an income stream, searching for and using every freebie, rebate, and coupon we can find cuts down on the monthly expenses we need to pay; last week, for example, we were able to get hubby a veteran's discount from the county on our annual car registration fee and it dropped the amount we needed to pay from $115 to $33!).