Tag Archives: freelance writing

Frugal Fridays: I’m a Hustler Baby!


I’m a hustler baby,

I just want you to know,

It ain’t where I been,

But where I’m bout to go, (top of the world!)

-Jay-Z, “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It to Me)

Okay, I’m not a hustler in the way you may be thinking. I’m definitely not a pimp or drug-dealer, so please don’t start those rumors!

The Dictionary defines a hustler as an aggressively enterprising person; a go getter. Or a prostitute. I’m definitely NOT a prostitute.

In the personal finance blogging world, we call ourselves side hustlers. I’m a proud side hustler. A side hustler is someone who makes money on the side by doing a variety of things, such as blogging, virtual assisting, mystery shopping, freelance writing, or anything else.

There are a slew of awesome personal finance bloggers out there in the interwebs that describe their side hustles. The beauty of side hustling is that you can do anything that you set your mind to, although I would hope that you would avoid illegal activities!

I first got serious about side hustling in January. This past fall I sat down and took a hard look at my financial landscape. I added up all my debt and all my assets and created my first real monthly budget. I spent some time figuring out a 5 and 10-year plan on where I wanted to be in life both personally, professionally, and financially. I just started a new job with a much higher salary than my previous job. But, my monthly student loan payments more than doubled since my graduate loans came out of there grace period.

Having a storm cloud of over $35,000 of student loan debt hanging over my head scared the crap out of me. I couldn’t find an umbrella big enough to keep me dry. I couldn’t ask for a raise. I already cut back on the extras in my budget to make extra loan payments. I had just started reading a lot of personal finance blogs and discovered side hustling. I was sold.

My Side Hustles

  1. Teach Spin Classes – Since January I have been teaching spin classes at both Zone 3 Fitness and The Bay Club. Since I’m both a personal trainer and certified triathlon and cycling coach, this was a perfect hustle for me. I love it because I get to kick people’s butt in class and also kick my own during class. The money I make teaching classes goes directly to making extra payments on my SallieMae student loans.
  2. Personal Training & Triathlon Coach – I wouldn’t necessarily call this a side hustle because in actuality it is my business. I train several clients in their homes and also coach several athletes in endurance sports. I’m putting this in here because side hustles can be created from things you are passionate about and are good at. I love fitness and triathlons and thus I became a coach and trainer to share my love of the sport and living a healthy life and hopefully changing lives while doing it. And, of course, if you’re looking for a trainer or coach checkout my website – Big Sky Multisport Coaching & Personal Training.
  3. Freelance Writing – I love writing. I’ve always loved writing from an early age and would write stories all day long if I could – especially if it was about horses. I have two blogs myself (I don’t currently make money on either of my blogs, but some people make money with their blogs) and I dabble in freelance writing. I am a staff writer at OneSmartDollar.com and hopefully will be publishing some travel posts on a couple of sites in the very near future. I don’t make a ton of money doing freelance writing at the moment, but I love it and will continue doing it to help develop my writing skills, share my story, and make a few extra bucks.
  4. Selling Stuff on Craigslist/eBay/Amazon/Etc. – This past fall I had to buy a new wardrobe for my new professional-attire job. When I buy new clothes I always try to make an enough to go through my closet and get rid of the clothing that I haven’t worn in a long time. I brought clothes to the consignment shop, sold some online, and then donated the rest. I went through my room and house and also sold things on Craigslist and eBay that I no longer used. I sold an old cycling trainer and old GPS running watch online. I am also planning on selling my triathlon bike at the end of the season in prep for returning to grad school in the near future. So heads up if anyone is looking for a sweet triathlon bike with a power-meter!
  5. Surveys – I fill out online surveys to earn airline miles. I’m not actually making real money doing these, but I count it as a side hustle because those miles count towards my mileage award balances that I can then use to earn free plane tickets. Thus, saving money!

Those are things I do to make an extra $200-$500 a month on top of my monthly salary from my full-time job. All the extra money I make I put towards paying off my student loan debt faster and also stuff into my travel savings account for upcoming trips I have planned.

My advice for people is to look for opportunities to make a few extra bucks doing something you love. You can always sell your junk too. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Making extra money has allowed me to reach my financial goals quicker than I would if I just stuck to my budget based on my monthly salary income. I’m working to reaching the top of the world, because I’m a hustler baby! 😉

April Budget Check and May Goals

April was an expensive month with many expected and a few unexpected expenses.  Let’s break it down into categories.

Car Registration

The first large expense that I knew was coming was the registration of my new car. I had estimated about $500, which I planned to take out of my “car fund” that I have saved thus far in 2014. I grossly miscalculated my registration (which includes excise tax, plates, and town fees) for my new car. It only cost me $386 to register the car. Yay!

Junior League Dues

I had calculated this into my budget. Technically I had until May 31st to pay dues since I’m a “new member,” but I just decided to pay then $165 by the April 15th deadline. Funny how the deadline was on tax day. 🙂

Vacation Purchases

This is where some purchases were expected and a few unexpected. I knew I wanted an underwater camera for my vacation, which I could also use for my business as well. I decided to buy a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 because it had good reviews. I’m excited to try it out on vacation! I’m only taking carry-on baggage for my vacation and thus had to buy travel-sized toiletries, bug spray, and sunscreen. Since I’m traveling to Central America in a couple of weeks and most likely Panama in November, I needed to update a few of my travel vaccinations. I originally thought I would be all set in that department and only need Malaria pills, but I was wrong. I never finished my Hep A shot series and my Typhoid shot was no longer effective. I received the Hep A booster, which will last me for about 20 years now and I decided to take the Typhoid pills instead of the vaccine since the pills give you 5 years instead of 2 years of effectiveness. The doctor visit turned out to be quite expensive, to the tune of about $300 including the medication. I was a bit annoyed that I had to see the travel doctor because I already knew everything that he told me. I really hope that I don’t have to repeat that visit for my Panama vacation in the Fall to obtain my Malaria meds. Health insurance normally doesn’t pay travel med costs and thus I will have to pay out-of-pocket for these. Martin’s Point did bill my insurance company first, so I haven’t received a bill yet, but I’m sure it will be waiting for me when I return from Belize later this month!

Breakfast of champions - Typhoid pills
Breakfast of champions – Typhoid pills
Business Expenses

My business expenses were very high in April. I did not expect this at all. I included my new underwater camera as a business expense because I can use it to film underwater swim strokes and for my freelance writing side-business as well. Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is offering a run coach clinic in Portsmouth, NH in June. I got the email in early April and jumped on it since registration sells out in 24 hours and it is a certification that I have wanted to get for a while. That $360+ expenses was not predicted at all, but I’m glad that I jumped on it because not only will it benefit my coaching athletes, but I also need CEUs for my other certifications this year. I attended the Maine State NSCA clinic last weekend at UNE to obtain CEUs for my personal training certification.

Student Loans

I paid an extra $150 on one of my SallieMae loans this month. I wrote a nice letter explicitly telling them to apply the check to the principal balance of loan number XX. What do they do? Apply the extra payment as a monthly payment! I was pissed and called customer service to fix it. Tony in India didn’t help. My friend Jen gave me the American customer service number, which I called the next day and my problem was fixed in 2 minutes. Urgh, what a pain in the butt. I will be applying an additional $150 each month to my SallieMae loans until the loans are completely paid off. I should have my two smaller loans paid off by November. I’m hoping I don’t have to call SallieMae each month to fix their mistakes!

Food Expenses

With my April Challenge I stayed way under my food budget, but I was quite hungry throughout the month. I will recap my final week next week along with some conclusions.

Gas Expenses

I LOVE my new car! I average about 35 miles per gallon just commuting to and from work. Way more than my old car. I’m looking forward to riding my bike to work at least once a week this summer to further save on gas and keep miles off my new car. Did you know May is  National Bike to Work month?


I spent way more than I should have in this category. I went up to LL Bean one Saturday to look at car racks for my new car. It’s going to cost me about $300 to put my bike rack on top on my new car! Yikes. While I was there, Vineyard Vines was having a huge sale and I got sucked in and spent about $150 on a few items that I can wear to both work and vacation. Of course, I can’t leave Freeport without stopping at J. Crew and succeed on spending another $140 on clothes. I only brought clothes that I could wear to both work and play to, at least, internally validate my purchases in my head.

Everything else was per the norm. I brought in about $256 in side income from my business. My business has been growing, which is exciting. I’m always looking to grow both my coaching and training business as well as my freelance writing business. May is looking to be another good month.

May Goals

  1. Enjoy vacation in Belize and Guatemala! Most of the big expenses have been prepaid, but I know this is going to be an expensive month due to this trip. I’m trying to not worry about it since I have budgeted for it.
  2. Continue to grow my freelance clients. I currently write for OneSmartDollar, which you should totally check out! I’m hoping to submit some travel articles to some travel blogs/website when I return from vacation.
  3. Begin to grow a small vegetable garden. I had a small garden about 4 years ago, and I’m hoping to have another one this summer. That is if spring and summer ever decide to happen in Maine!
  4. Strength train more. You can read more about my triathlon and fitness journey on Big Sky Multisport Coaching & Personal Training, but I want to focus most of May and June on strength training. I miss it and my hip needs a little TLC so I can hopefully have a Fall running season this year!

27 Goals for my 27th Year

Reagan has nothing to do with this post, but who doesn't like cute pictures of dogs?
Reagan has nothing to do with this post, but who doesn’t like cute pictures of dogs?

I have officially entered my late 20s as of this past Saturday. I will admit; I’m still in denial that I’m now 27 years old. Where has the time gone?

Looking back a decade ago, when I was just a wee 17 year old high school girl, I never predicted I’d be where I’m at now in my life. I pictured my life so much different than it is today. But is that a bad thing? I have a Masters in Public Health. I have completed my first Ironman. I have experienced losing a parent at a young age. I have had many ups and downs on the roller coaster of life.

My life may not be the so-called dream that I thought it would be when I was 17. But that’s life. I am content and happy where I am in my life. Could things be better? Sure. Could things be far worst? Of course!

Within the past year I finally feel like I found myself and what path I really want to pursue in life. Totally cliché I know! It amazes me that as the older I get, the more I grow as a human being. What I wanted at 17 is different than what I wanted at 21. What I wanted at 21 was different than what I wanted at 25 and so forth. I’m sure when I hit 30 than I will want other things in life as well. I believe that we evolve as we age and become wiser and better people. I finally feel that I have outgrown my immature ways and view the world differently. I don’t expect the world to cater to my needs; instead, I must work hard and consistently to meet my own needs.

I’ve decided that each year on my birthday I am going to set goals based on my age number to accomplish by my next birthday. I’m a very goal-oriented person so setting goals makes me happy; but I think it will also help me in my pursuit for my ultimate career and life goals.

So, without ado… here are my 27 goals for my 27th year:
  1. Travel to a new country
  2. Learn French (or begin the process)
  3. Take a class for fun on something new that interest me
  4. Help write a grant proposal at work
  5. Land my first paying freelance job
  6. Learn to take quality pictures with my new DSLR
  7. Volunteer more
  8. Learn to deal with stress better
  9. Pay off at least $5000 of my student loans
  10. Learn the basics of investing
  11. Stick to my budget
  12. Reconnect with some old friends
  13. Grow a small vegetable garden
  14. Experience a new city
  15. Try an adult rowing class
  16. Write more often
  17. Help write an article for publication at work
  18. Grow my personal training and endurance sport coaching business
  19. Enjoy our family camp at the lake more
  20. Start studying for the GREs
  21. Hike Mt. Washington
  22. Spend more time reading
  23. Find something good in everyday
  24. Learn to cook a new recipe each month
  25. Become better at meal prepping on the weekends
  26. To have a Fall running season
  27. To enjoy the year as I’ll be another year older next year