So what’s been going on in the world of an early retiree without travel?
July was a homebody month for us. June managed to be busy and July was the opposite. A heat wave set in along with rising Covid cases and the restrictions the governmental restrictions that come along with them. The only one that really affects us is the local beach town using the pandemic to make a public beach less accessible to nearby residents (while still allowing short term rentals). The lack of access means it’s tougher to get to my beginner surf spot. We did make the most of the month with some time at a more challenging surf spot and staying busy with the grocery hustle until things get back to normal.
July Income Report:
Instacart: $4,040. We had a great month on Instacart, one that is unlikely to be repeated. I realized early in the month we could see what the earnings potential are if we treated this like a part time job. Well, good things happened: We put in 20-25 hrs per week and grossed over four thousand dollars!
How did we do that? Earning this much came down to picking the right jobs and working during the peak opportunities. For us that was working the morning orders at our local full price grocery store in the morning, 10am Costco batches, and 2-4pm weekend orders stocking vacation beach homes. We’ve also gotten better at shopping speed and can quickly pick a good batch when it becomes available.
August will certainly be lower, Instacart instituted a “rating priority” system, which means “the highest quality orders go to the best shoppers”. This should be good for us long term, but most of the people shopping use the platform part time and the rating is based on the last 100 orders. With our amount of shopping we’ve inevitably been saddled with a couple of people disgruntled the store was out of their item and took it out on our reviews.
My guess is it’ll take a few weeks for everyone’s ratings to average out and allow us to see the better orders again. In the meantime, this is an important lesson to anyone self employed and/or in business: Do not take concentration risk! If we actually needed the money, this one change in the app would be devastating to our earnings. It’s important for everyone to have multiple income sources!
Dividends: $681. Dividend income from the taxable portfolio likely hit a low point in July with only $681. Overall our dividend income will be cut by around 25% for the full year thanks to a number of Covid related suspensions and deferrals. This year has been a perfect case study on why someone should not rely solely on dividends or dividend investing: Dividends can be cut and it often takes an investor out of the highest growth segments of the economy. Fortunately dividends are a byproduct of our investments and not the primary investment strategy, the portfolio itself continues to recover from the pain of 2020.
Bank Bonuses / Credit Card Bonuses: $300. We had a nice run on bank bonuses with another $300 hitting in March and now I’m slowing it down.. I started one account this month and haven’t seen another exciting enough to take me out of a break. August frees me up to get back in the credit card rewards game and I’m already rolling.
Blog: $0.00. The returns are nothing if not consistent from the blog. This still doesn’t stop me from seeing at least one tweet a month saying “all of these early retirement bloggers aren’t really retired, they make money from the blog!”. Well, I challenge that statement…
What’s in store for the next month and the future?
Even though there are positive signs related to COVID, the overall cases are still high and continue to limit travel. I expect August to be pretty slow outside of one trip home and continuing to enjoy time at the beach. Fishing should start picking up in September (both how well they’re biting and temperatures falling) and I’m prepared to enjoy a nice streak next to the water with a fishing pole in hand. Cooler mornings and cooler evenings are coming soon and that brings more comfortable outdoor recreation.
I also picked up and completed my first freelance gig recently, preparing a deal book for a small business exploring a sale. That was interesting and I enjoyed putting some of my old skills to use. Will I do more of that? Maybe – it had its benefits but my desire to do the business development stuff to get more jobs is minimal. Time will tell if there’s demand out there or if I want to put in the effort to generate that demand. I have noticed a difference in financial independence vs. the feeling of financial abundance that comes with additional income on top of being financially independent. Maybe this will spur along my next blog post…
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