Putting our new NYC budget together for 2015 was a hard pill to swallow. With our rent more than doubling and with the rest of our expenses being a bit more expensive, we were left staring at a much smaller projected savings rate for 2015 than what we had in 2014. Despite that, we still have a goal of saving 50% of our net income. While slightly lofty and very intimidating, the beautiful thing with this goal (as well as all other financial goals) is that there are really only two ways to make it a reality: spending less or making more.
In the “spending less” department, we’re determined to make backwards budgeting a priority, which put simply, is creating a budget around your financial goals. We’re intent on giving every dollar a name, sacrificing some wants (bye, cable), and maximizing the (few) financial perks NYC has to offer. But despite all of that, Johnny and I could live off ramen this year, nix ALL our personal spending, switch to cloth diapers, and force Persie to scavenge for mice off the NYC streets, and we still wouldn’t be anywhere close to our goal of a 50% net savings. Which brings us to option numero dos: making more dough.
Whether it’s getting out of debt, paying off a mortgage, saving for retirement, building an emergency fund, or finally putting enough away for that European vacation, most of us usually ask ourselves, “How can we save more money?” It’s a lot easier to find a few extra bucks here and there by cutting back than it is to find ways to bring in more income. In fact, most of our posts focus on the spending less aspect — budgeting and saving. And while budgeting will probably continue to be the theme of this blog, we’d love to find more opportunities to balance the saving with the earning.
Over the years, we’ve fielded lots of emails from folks asking about how we go about making more money. So for the first time, we’re going to touch on those topics this year. We’re certainly not experts, high-rollers, or very knowledgable about this stuff, but maybe a few of you will find our experiences helpful. And at the very least, it will lend some insight into what’s going on behind the scenes of all the weirdness that’s us.
In case you didn’t know, Johnny and I have a blog. Oh, you knew that? Shoot. We’ve had this blog/site/Sally photobook for two years now, and it’s become a big part of what we do in our time not spent working full-time jobs or Sallying. The Internets are chock full of tips, posts, pins, and e-books on ways to make money blogging (ORDER TODAY!!!), and after two years of blood, sweat and time (LOTS of time, like thousands upon thousands of hours of time), we’re making money blogging. But it’s probably not in the way you’d imagine.
Our blog itself makes a small percentage of our side income, literally pennies on the hours we spend working on it. The majority of our side income has come from freelance opportunities that have sprung from having our blog — mostly in the form of writing gigs, design projects, consulting, etc. We can get into all of that jazz in a future post. In a lot of ways, our blog serves as a business card, resume, and cover letter, all rolled up into one. And in order to find new opportunities, we need to continue investing our time and energy into writing here.
Don’t think for a second that’s why we started this or continue to do this. We love it. We love sharing what we’ve learned through our own experiences, interacting with a community of like-minded people trying to make sense of all this money mumbo jumbo, and getting to hear the best, most awesome stories of debt freedom and other financial victories. Without that reward, it’d mean nothing to us. I’m gonna give this next part to you straight: if you’re planning to start a blog to make money, don’t do it. Do it because you love it. And if you ever do make any money, consider that a cherry on top. Blogging is not a path to making money. And there’s not one surefire blogging plan that a new blogger can follow to make money. Anyone who says differently is trying to make money off of you. Most bloggers will never see a dime. Others might see a few dimes after a long slog of really hard work. And even then, it probably won’t be the actual blog making money but the opportunities that spring from having it.
So in 2015, we plan to keep pursuing those opportunities, and we’ll see how far we get in our goal of saving 50% of our net income. We might be a bit coy about getting into all the specifics, but we’d certainly like to be more open about how we’re trying to tackle that goal.
We’d also like to do a post every month or so that focuses on ways people can make that extra money on the side by honing in on skills they already have. It will focus on skills you already have and ways you can market them so they make money for you. Anything specific you’d like to see covered? We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions!