The Ups and Downs of Side Hustling

I think I have become obsessed with side hustling and I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. This week alone, Angie and I completed 2 mystery shops and more Field Agent and Bestmark assignments than I can count. Not to mention the surveys! In all, I think we made $104 in our “spare” time. I also accepted a regular gig that offers 2-10 hours per week (starting next week) and I signed up for a few new job boards that allow you to pick work when you’re available. I’m certainly happy with the extra cash but for every dime earned, there’s a time trade-off, and that’s where I’m conflicted.

As minimalists, we’re taught to value our time over all else. When we own our time, we can invest it in the things that bring us happiness. If I were to list the many things that bring me happiness, that list might look like this:

  • Spending time with my family
  • Travel
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Cooking
  • Being outdoors (hiking, camping, or kayaking)
  • Working in the garden or yard
  • Making something with my hands (ie. sewing or building something)
  • Volunteering

Making money is not on that list. It never is. At the same time though, many of us became minimalists as a way save money. By redefining our relationship with stuff, we learned to differentiate our wants from our needs and stop wasteful spending. We minimized our expenses and our debt, not just to free up our time, but to be able to allocate our resources (money) to our favorite happiness-producing activities. Some have even taken minimalism to the extreme, using it as way to make an early exit from the world of work.

And that’s where my problem with side hustling come in.

Side hustling while still employed full-time will accelerate our financial goals exponentially. We can pay off my student loan earlier than the 3-years we planned for. We can sock away a full 30-40% of our income while still enjoying a bit of fun along the way, or even the full 50% if we don’t do anything but hustle.

But…is it really worth it?

This busy week of side hustling has not been without it’s costs. We’ve had to rearrange our schedule around the time-sensitive hustles and 3 nights this week, I’ve found myself entering reports on my computer at 10 PM! We’ve also had dinner after 8 PM several nights (and have been tempted to just “grab a bite” to save time). Worst of all though, we had our 13-month old great-niece for the day yesterday and felt we had to rush though taking her to visit my mom because we’d spent over an hour on a mystery shop!

So I find myself asking…am I really doing this to speed us along the path to early retirement? Or am I doing it because I’m bored with my real job and this is an exciting alternative? And if it’s the latter, would I be happier if I side hustled for a living and forgot the 9-5? Would I have more or less time for the things that bring me happiness? It’s hard to know.

The one thing that I do know for sure is that there’s no amount of money that can buy back missed opportunities.

Side hustling can have a place in a minimalist lifestyle. It’s a great way to get out of debt or avoid creating debt. It can also be fun. What it should never be though is stressful. The pursuit of anything…including money…should always fit with your overall life plan. As minimalists, our life plan is to live simply and intentionally, dedicating the majority of our time to building happiness, not necessarily wealth.

So while we will likely continue a few of the easier side hustles, I’m not taking on any larger projects until I figure out what I want to do about my full-time job and we will definitely not be doing any more mystery shops. There’s just no room in our day for a mystery shop that requires an hour of data entry for a 30 minute shop (and pays you only $5, plus reimbursement).

What are your thoughts on balancing minimalism with the pursuit of money?

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One thought on “The Ups and Downs of Side Hustling

  1. I’ve always hesitated when it comes to side-hustling. With my kids and other volunteer responsibilities, its hard to find the time. However, I am always amazed at the results it can bring in especially when repaying debt. Its definitely a balancing act.

    Liked by 1 person

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