August was a fairly quiet month around the Shirts household. The beaches were open and the heat was on. We got a few morning surfing sessions out along with a trip to the mountains to get some hiking in and see family. We also got to spend a lot of time with our pup who was fighting two separate terminal issues related to his advanced age. Fortunately he was able to live his best life almost every day in August!
September should be bringing us better weather (at least in the second half of the month) and result in a lot more time on the beach and outdoors. Fishing will pick up towards the end of the month too. I’m continually grateful for choosing to pay the paradise tax in early retirement. Where I live isn’t the cheapest in the world but I’m surrounded by low cost outdoor activity. This is great while we’re waiting to travel again while the pandemic finishes running its course.
Interestingly I read a recent thread on a mustachian forum talking about “FIRE blogs fizzling”. So many people who actively wrote (including myself) up until they retired or left their primary career now write a lot less. For me, I’m no longer trying to plan/escape a corporate life or dreaming about what the post-work world looks like, I’m just living it. After the first six to twelve months of settling in, this is just my daily life.
How did income work out for the month of August?
Disclaimer: After the internet retirement police paid me a visit last month, I must remind my dozens of readers that this is a hobby financial independence blog. F.I.R.E for me was leaving a controlling job and being able to wake up every day and do what I want to do, not a commitment to never make more money in my lifetime. Control of my time is my why of financial independence! Part of my income reports is to show what’s possible with a little effort once leaving a career, even if I run the risk of triggering the early retirement police. People shouldn’t overlook active income as part of their plan to leave their full time job.
Dividend/Interest: $347. This is our dividend and interest tally from our taxable account only – it was a new low thanks to another dividend cut on top of the second month of the quarter traditionally being the lowest dividend month in the portfolio. I expect this will improve from here as we have not been spending much out of this account and one of my monthly paying REITs should resume their dividend in the next couple months.
Instacart: $2,154. This was significantly lower than the more than $4,000 earned in July. Why? Primarily because we worked less. Instacart also has some on-going issues that are frustrating both customers and shoppers. One of our two accounts got trapped inside the new review system making it more difficult to get the type of work we were picking up. It is a useful option to have if you’re in to gig work, but this is not the reliable money printing machine that it was from April through July. I expect September to be even lower than August.
Freelance: $2,000. I collected on a freelance job I’ve been working on, helping prepare a deal book for a company looking to sell. This isn’t something I’ve actively pursued, but a former boss recommended me and it was mentally stimulating work. I would do more of this work if it finds its way to me, but will not put that much effort into marketing myself. The same goes for any client side representation on business debt, which was my side gig for a former client going into 2020 before the mandated shutdowns from the pandemic demolished the company.
Bank Bonuses / Credit Card Bonuses: $0. After a nice streak, I did not get any bank bonuses this month. I currently have one more bank bonus and one credit card bonus in the works, so I hope to get back reporting some earnings next month. I may also churn a savings account bonus or two in order to boost the yield I’m making on cash since interest rates have fallen off a cliff.
Blog Income: $0 The blog performed consistently at $0 for the month, equaling it’s total for almost all other months in existence. I love the survivorship bias people use when they say “all early retirement bloggers aren’t retired because their blog makes money”. Clearly they haven’t found my blog, the page views and revenue confirm it!
Now I’m off to dodge the retirement police for the rest of this month, hopefully spending more time on a surfboard, bicycle, and fishing will appease their detectives. Wish me luck!
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