I have always been a collector of household tips and wisdom. Remember Heloise? I have been reading her books since I was a child. (Weird, right?) I was a natural follower of 'frugal living' blogs, and I guess I figured that was enough - my husband was looking after the salary and I was looking after the house. I will write more on saving money in future posts, I'm sure.
But after the wake-up call, I began to focus on the big picture rather than just the little picture. I quickly came upon Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog. This blog is full of great advice and the thing I latched onto right away was the need to earn more.
We have various sources of income in our family.
- My husband has a regular salaried job that brings in the lion's share of our income, for which I am increasingly grateful. He also wrote a book several years ago which still generates some royalties, and occasionally can do a little consultancy on the side.
- We receive occasional monetary gifts from my husband's family.
- We have also had windfalls from time to time (the sale of a company my husband founded, selling a car which we didn't need to replace, etc.). We did not save or invest these at the time (unlike Mr Money Mustache), so they are unfortunately gone (which makes me feel a bit sick now).
And then there is my income.
One piece of advice that looms large in the blogosphere is the idea of a side hustle. I am already extremely pressed for time but I would consider this. I am the primary carer for our two school age children, but unfortunately this doesn't pay very well <cue bitter, bitter laughter>.
I also used to sing in a band, still do occasional complementary therapy treatments, have blogged a little and have aspirations to write a couple of books. These are all nice ideas, but even when I have had the time and opportunity to take them forward, I have not turned any of them into a going concern. One day, maybe I will, but I suspect they will not pay very well. Maybe I'm wrong.
On the other hand, I am also a freelance consultant in a specialist field, and have been for a number of years. My consultancy work is very well-paid but I only do it part-time in order to be able to look after the children.
I have always treated my work as a secondary employment - both in terms of second to my husband's (highly demanding) job and second to looking after the children and the house. When I have needed a project, I have made a call and something suitable has landed on my desk within a couple of weeks.
But after the wake-up call, I realised that professionalising my freelance work and increasing my billable hours was the quickest way to ensuring greater financial security.
So what I needed was not a side-hustle but more of my main hustle. More on this in the next post.