When I first started writing this blog, a little less than a year ago, I was really concerned about two things: finishing my debt payoff, and starting to save for retirement. At 35, I felt there was really no time to waste; I’d already missed out on all the big gains of the post-crash years, too, so I couldn’t expect the market to necessarily be much help. (Mind you, it’s helped some; at this exact moment, I’m showing a $750 gain above what I’ve invested.) Recently, however, I’ve realized I need to make a change to my financial plan.
Last spring, I decided to allocate all extra income — interest, side hustle payments, gifts, the works — to my Roth IRA. I seeded it with $2500 from my savings account, reducing that to pretty much nothing, and then have added about $3000 since then from those various sources, including the majority of my 2014 tax refund just now. I’m really glad I’ve done that.
However, I’m getting a point where several wants are turning into needs, or potentially will be. I’ve gone on about my wardrobe situation ad nauseum; I can put that off for a few months longer, but this summer I absolutely must do something about it. Meanwhile, my computer is getting really cranky. I’ve repaired the hard disk a couple of times recently and that’s helped, but it’s still slow, overheats quickly, and I get a spinning beach ball more often than I feel like I should. I really, really, really, really, really hope it doesn’t totally die until at least another year’s gone by, but I definitely need to start planning for its eventual replacement.
Plus, I would just kind of like to ease up a little with regards to spending. I’ve been rather guarded about “fun” money the last year or so; I’ve spent on traveling, but when I’ve been home, I’ve been reluctant to go out and do anything involving $$ and as spring and summer come on, I’d like that to be able to change a little.
And I feel like I’ve gotten the Roth off to a good start. I do want to keep adding to it, don’t get me wrong. But at least for now, I think I’m going to let it sit, and let myself use my side hustle income for handling life now, and not thirty years from now. I should have at least $55 coming in during the first week of March for work I’ve already done, so I’m starting by using that to beef the gremlins fund back up, after spending so much from that category in February in order to fund my car repair. I was able to redirect a little more money from other places during February itself, too, so my March gremlins budget now shows $265 — only $35 shy of where it would have been if I hadn’t had to draw on it for the car in February. It’s a priority of mine to grow that fund to the point where it can really act as a robust emergency fund by itself, so that I can leave my real e-fund alone as much as possible. I think that’s the kind of thing I’m going to do with any side income for the foreseeable future; I don’t plan to blow it on buying ice cream, but instead use it to enhance some of my sinking funds for things like gremlins, clothing, and computer savings.
What do you guys do with your side (non-paycheck) income?