I love October; sweater weather begins, along with cosy feels, hot drinks and long walks, Netflix binges and Hallowe’en to round it all off. Since we became debt free in July, keeping on track with our financial goals has been tough, mainly because we’ve shifted our perspective from debt to saving. Now that we are debt free, I find myself having to continually remind myself that, to truly change our lives, we need to build better financial habits now and keep striving for our future goals of an investment property and some passive income. It’s taken me a few months, but I’m finally read to start saving, making plans and smashing our side hustles.
Firstly, here are my September goals and how I got on:
1.Save something, anything!
I didn’t put a figure on our savings goal because I’m just trying to get into a savings mindset which takes me some time, so I was just aiming for something in our savings account! It was my birthday last month so we blew our meagre savings that we had accrued since paying of debt, and started saving again mid-month. Our total for the month is £152, which is a combination of salary and side hustle funds. Infinitely more than expected!
2.Earn £350 in side hustles
Side hustles for the month totalled in and around £300 (I haven’t been able to finalise this yet as the last of the money is still coming in). I was really pleased with this figure; I put about 5 hours into matched betting, Mr M did a four hour shift at his side hustle, and the rest was a combination of app/survey/website earnings (I finally hit that £20 payout on Shoppix, too). Considering I fell off the side hustle wagon for the first ten days of September due to birthday fun and frolics and wasn’t hustling on these days, this is pretty good and just goes to show that if you want to make extra money, you can make it happen!
3.Make our budget work for us
This one was easy! I sat down at the end of August and re-jigged some money around, which paid for some new things for our house, some new additions to my Autumn wardrobe, and flights to Fuerteventura in November. Honestly, it did put us back with our savings goals, but I’d rather start on our next goal having had a break than try to do something while feeling deprived. Our budget was really tight during our debt payoff and it really wasn’t sustainable for us to do this long term, so now we are less stretched financially and ready to enjoy life again.
So what am I planning for October?
1. Save £250 towards BS3
Mr M starts back to full time hours this month so we will have a little bit more money floating around in the budget, so this is easily doable. But we are going to save the excess towards our wedding/holiday/Christmas so BS3 savings will be coming from side hustles alone!
2. Make £300 in side hustles
Matched betting is going to be lit in October for me!
However, in September, I had a realisation; everyone wants to side hustle but the biggest blocker? Time! I get countless DMs asking about matched betting; people are really interested in it because the money is excellent, but the truth is that to start, you have to make time to watch the Profit Accumulator tutorials as part of the free trial in order to understand how it works and what you are doing. The same can be said for survey apps, money making websites etc.; you have to designate time for them.
The problem is, for many of us, our expectations of how much we can actually get done in a day is usually a little on the unrealistic side. Many of my readers work full time as it is and committing two hours on the weekend to doing more work is a tough ask.
My advice is to be realistic about what you can actually achieve, be as organised as possible and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t get done. My own personal journey includes a pretty tough battle with anxiety and depression, which I am very vocal about on my Instagram page. The simple fact is that if I work all day and then expect myself to do matched betting for three hours in the evening, or sit on my phone doing surveys, I can only do this as a one off before it starts to affect my sleep, my productivity and my sanity. It’s because of this that I hate the whole grind and hustle culture that is rife today; we shouldn’t be encouraged to work every hour we can. We should work to live, not live to work.
A few things that have helped me find balance, and may help you, are:
- Use Google Calendar to schedule everything you do during your free time. I add the gym, social commitments, household chores and anything else that needs to be prioritised. It really helps me to see how much time I can realistically dedicate to side hustles, so that I don’t expect myself to put in two hours of work when I really didn’t have two hours available, which means I don’t beat myself up about it later!
- Turn off your phone and leaving it out of reach in the evenings- unbelievably beneficial for a good night’s sleep and wind down without the temptation to work/scroll mindlessly.
- Picking a niche side hustle and sticking with it. There are so many options out there when it comes to making money on the side, but instead of downloading 20 survey apps and trying to do matched betting, reselling and freelancing on top of a full time job, stick to one thing that you can really master. It’s better to make £100 per month on one thing that nothing by spreading yourself so thinly that you’re too overwhelmed to start.
- Alternating between mental and physical tasks- this is my secret to success! When my brain is exhausted and starting to become unproductive, this is when I hit the gym and my brain is fired up again after my workout. I do some more work, then walk the dog, and I’m ready to work again. These short bursts of mental and physical work help my productivity to soar. My disclaimer: I can only switch about six times before I get mental and physical burn out and need to chill. So if you try this, remember to schedule in some time to relax, too.
I’m writing this to highlight to anyone out there who is beating themselves up for not being able to get their side hustle on as yet, as encouragement to only do what you can do this month. It’s enough that you are reading this blog and trying to get focused on sorting out your finances. Financial freedom is great, but remember that paying for it with your health is too expensive!
So with that in mind, I’m reducing my side hustle figure in line with what I’ve earned in previous months 🙂
3. Save £400 towards sinking funds (Wedding/Holiday/Christmas)
We are jetting off at the end of November for a few days in the sun and need to cash flow our break, as well as saving for our wedding day and Christmas. To be fair, as sinking funds go, mine are pretty fun!
I’d love to know more about your own goals so don’t forget to post yours below or tag me on Instagram. And as always, here’s to another successful month!