How do you write an article about finances when you don’t have regular, steady work that provides a steady income? How can someone who isn’t working create content that is directly impacted by work? Having the rug of income pulled out from under you drastically changes that plan because the largest contributing factor to reaching our goals is having money coming in the door.
These are but a few of the thoughts I’ve been processing over the last several weeks and months. Our site is dedicated to living a frugal lifestyle as we pursue Financial Independence – but it’s all based on having an income. Not having an income directly impacts a majority of the content we can produce, which is why I’ve been slow at creating new content.
Furthermore, I’m of the strong opinion that I don’t want to create a bunch of content that isn’t useful to YOU. I don’t like wasting my time reading articles that are full of fluff, and I value your time too.
It’s NOT just about money
The journey to Financial Independence is like any other lifestyle. It’s about making life changes (like a new diet, workout regime, etc). It isn’t just about the money, it’s also about the journey and the lessons we learn along the way. That’s what life is all about, right? The biggest lesson for us is that even though we may make plans, they need to be made in pencil.
Let’s get real for a bit. Our journey to FIRE basically got put on hold in October 2019, after I lost my job. Only a month prior, our family grew with Baby Pocketchange joining us! Talk about a *huge* amount of life change in a short amount of time. It’s absolutely scary when there’s another person in our lives that requires constant attention. Not having a reliable income adds to the stress, especially after significantly altering our budget to cut out just about every discretionary expense.
Despite all that change, we’re still keeping our chins up and moving forward. We know where our hope and trust lies – in God himself. We’ve been blessed by family and friends who have graciously helped us along the way and can only look to pay it forward. While it has been a stressful time, we know that the end result of this trial will be good.
Stats aren’t just for Math Geeks
Being about 3.5 months out, I’ve applied for just over 50 jobs and I’ve had close to 10 interviews (phone and in-person). Those are actually fairly good conversion rates considering I’m not applying for *any* job. Some of those interviews are the result of working with a recruiter friend, and others are from the normal job hunting process. All in all, I’m happy about the progress and the interview practice. I’ve heard it said many times, but finding a new job is really a numbers game. So is budgeting… imagine that!
We have yet to touch our savings accounts because of the generosity of family and friends, and we are *SO* thankful. These acts of love coupled with our desire to be good stewards with our finances this past year have given us a good financial foundation without financial stress.
Unemployment is scheduled to run through mid-April. Our plan is to start using our savings account to cashflow our expenses. If I’m not employed by that time, I also plan to open the floodgates and take any position to get cash in the door until I can find a position (or second job) to sufficiently meet our income needs.
Time Well Spent
Outside of several hours of job hunting each week, I’ve been able to spend chunks of time working on various projects as there’s only so much time I can look for a job. Some of those projects include:
- Teaching a class. I’ve had the opportunity this year to teach a class at our church on Wednesday nights. Not only has this given me the opportunity to study and prepare a lesson each week, but it also gives me the chance to work on my public speaking skills. The first week was scary, and I can see a big improvement from the first week. I enjoy teaching, training, and sharing information, even in front of people. That would have been a resounding no five years ago!
- Graphic design work. Graphic design is one of those things that I think if I had no monetary limitations, I would pursue for a hobby. It fits well with the website work I do here and elsewhere and allows me to be creative. I’ve been able to do some work for a local community center here in Des Moines which has been fun! I’m certainly not an expert, but it’s been fun to direct some creative energy to something different.
- Family time. Spending time at home with Mrs. Pocketchange and Baby Pocketchange has been awesome. I seriously wouldn’t change any of the past few months, including losing my job. I cherish the time that I’ve been able to spend with my family.
Other projects include:
- Thrift store runs, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist to flip goods
- Basic bookkeeping for Boundless Joy Studios
- Starting my own art shop (Redbubble, TeeSpring, etc.)
- Looked into starting a dropshipping company
Basically, we’re looking for ways we can bring in extra cash to our budget as we suggested in our Legit Ways to Earn Extra Cash post. This will help us spread the burden of not having a regular income out a bit more.
Friends, we want to thank you for your support, love and prayers, thoughts, and more. My hope is that I’ll find some regular work soon, so we can get back on track with our journey. We also hope to continue to provide valuable content to encourage you to think about your financial life.
Keep your chin up and keep moving forward!