MML Jasmin: The value of hustle

I’m not a lot of things, but I do have serious hustle. I don’t mess around. If I have a goal or project in mind, it’s getting done. Though when I began my own financial life after college I learned pretty quickly, income only goes so far. I also started to understand the concept of “there’s always something.” Not even unexpected somethings, the somethings I’ve known about for a long time that just add up. Like needing transportation, housing, food, emergency savings, retirement savings, clothes for work, etc. When you’re just starting out and you need all of these things at once, it’s overwhelming. The first year after school is rough because you are trying so hard to get everything in place, and then just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the next round hits. Buying a house, upgrading my car, moving across the country, etc. I realized if I wanted to accomplish my financial goals sooner, I’d have to do something beyond my income to get there faster. I had to think outside of the box.

Cut to me at 26 with three jobs, renting out a room in my house, selling things on craigslist like crazy, and writing a blog in the hopes of gaining advertisers. It was a lot at once. I may have gone a little too far outside of the box. I’ve slowed down considerably. I’m happily only employed at one company, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t always looking for another opportunity to help me move my financial life forward faster. Basically, it all comes down to the fact that I am extremely impatient. Like I said, I do. not. mess. around.

Maybe you are also feeling the itch to move your financial life forward faster than your own income can take you. If so, here are few of the things I have done in the past to bring in money so I can go to Europe/buy a car/paint my house/pay off debt:

– Get a second job. I actually didn’t mind having a second (and occasionally third) job. It sounds terrible at first, but once I got into a routine, it wasn’t that bad. One of the jobs I had on the side was clerical work I could do at home on my own time, and another was a job I only had to do on nights and weekends. I have plenty of friends who also hustle and waitress on Sundays or do overtime work when possible. It is definitely not ideal but for me I always considered it temporary. I will work this job until I save X amount of dollars. Or I will work this job for one year and then I’ll leave. Setting an internal time frame really helped me get through.

– Take advantage of an extra bedroom. I live in a tiny two bedroom house, but even though it’s under 1,000 square feet it’s still way too big for me. The second bedroom was completely empty the first year I lived there. I considered a roommate, but having roommated for the 7 previous years I wasn’t all that keen on committing myself to a stranger for a year. Then one of my friends introduced me to the concept of hosting international college students. There is a school in Indianapolis that teaches English to international students and also encourages them to stay with host families to immerse themselves in the language and culture. So I became one of the host “parents.” I’ve done it off and on for the last three years. I’ve had students from China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and France live with me for time periods ranging from one week to five months. It’s weird and awkward at times, but it was a major factor in helping me accomplish different financial goals over the years.

– Sell stuff. I don’t know about you, but I have way too much stuff so I started selling it. Ebay, craigslist, and yard sales are just a few of the places I’ve sold stuff over the years. To me, every dollar has always counted. Plus, I find it kind of fun. I made it a game for myself. If I sell X I can buy Y. It incentivized me to make money for something I really wanted.

This isn’t a get rich quick scheme, at least it wasn’t for me. I simply wanted to get my financial life in order. Once my debt was paid off and I saved for the few major things I wanted I scaled back. Now I tend to focus more on cutting expenses to fund the goals I have. I wouldn’t trade my crazy years of hustling for anything though, I learned a lot about what I was willing to do to have a healthy financial life.

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