Here’s How Close I Am to Earning Enough Income Outside of My Day Job to Cover 100% of My Monthly Expenses

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3 min read
 
It has always been a goal of mine to earn enough money outside of my day job to cover all of my monthly expenses. 

After all, if I could pay the bills without working for an employer, why should I be employed at all?

My strategy for making this goal a reality relies on two forms of income: passive income that requires no work and active income that I enjoy. Currently I have two such income streams outside of my 9-5 job:

Passive income: dividends from stocks and REITS

Active income: blogging income from ads, affiliate links, and financial apps

Occasionally I also earn money through stats tutoring, but this income fluctuates significantly from month to month so I’ll ignore that income stream for this post.

Recently I was looking back on my monthly dividends, blog income, and total living expenses over the past 12 months to visualize the progress I have made towards this goal.

The chart below shows my progress:

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This chart shows how much of my monthly expenses have been covered purely by dividend and blog income:

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A Recap

Over the past 12 months, my expenses have risen from an average of $1,200 per month to around $1,800. Part of this increase is due to some minor lifestyle inflation along with a new monthly car payment.

The good news is that I’m still able to live comfortably on less than $2,000 per month, which is pretty frugal by most standards. The other good news is that my blog and dividend income have both been steadily rising over the past 12 months.

This income even hit an all-time high a couple months ago in April, when I was able to cover nearly all of my monthly expenses purely through blogging and dividends.

Building the Income Streams

Looking forward, my dividend income should continue to increase each month as I funnel more money from each paycheck into dividend-paying assets like stock index funds and REITs.

I expect my blog income to continue to increase over time as well. Currently the bulk of this income comes from ads and affiliate links, but I’m also branching out towards creating financial apps to generate some more revenue. It’s my dream to be able to earn income from making apps that help people improve their finances.

Related: My new app that summarizes and visualizes your monthly spending

Over the next 12 months I’ll likely stick with my current employer, which means my monthly income from my day job won’t fluctuate much. I’m also looking to move into a new apartment with a monthly rent of $650, which means my total spending each month should continue to remain around $2,000 or lower. 

With low monthly expenses and steadily increasing income streams, I’m able to save and invest well over half of my income each month, which helps pad my net worth and also adds to my dividend income going forward.

Net Worth vs. Cash Flow

I used to be solely focused on building up a net worth of $1 million before quitting my day job. Over the past year, though, I have completely changed my mind on this goal. My primary focus now is on finding ways to increase my income outside of my day job. Part of this income will come from dividends, but a large percentage will come from doing work I actually enjoy.

Ever since I discovered that I could earn a non-trivial amount of money through blogging each month, I have shifted much of my energy towards increasing this income stream instead of just sitting back each month and watching my net worth and subsequent dividend income slowly rise.

I have plans to build more financial apps and to continue to look for ways to increase my monthly tutoring income. If I can increase these streams, I will have the financial means to contemplate quitting my day job by next summer. 

I’m excited to share my progress along the way 🙂


I keep my financial life as simple as possible by only using two tools:

I track my net worth for free using Personal Capital and I track my monthly spending using the Monthly Spending Summary app.

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6 Replies to “Here’s How Close I Am to Earning Enough Income Outside of My Day Job to Cover 100% of My Monthly Expenses”

  1. Awesome progress report Zach. It’s great to see that your blog generates that much income each month. This should really kickstart your dividend income faster. Are you deploying additional capital as well?

  2. Good job moving the needle. I agree that your expenses are pretty low in comparison. I get by on about $2,500/month for family + my own allowance of $1,100 – so you are much better than me!

    I too am working on getting my passive investments up to covering my expenses. Right now, the goal for 2018 is to get them to 33% of my FI expenses (planning on $6K/month to cover regular, $1K each for me and Mrs. 39 Months, plus medical since we won’t be age 65 yet). After that, moving it to 50% by the time we’re FI. Then I can work to further increase it, with the free time.

    Again, great metric, and good luck pushing the needle up!

    Mr. 39 Months

  3. It’s really cool to see your story come together, Zach! You’ve been relentless with your blogging effort and it’s paying off. Your blog income and dividend income continue to grow, and it’s such a fitting income stream to add financial apps that help, especially considering that your blog is known for amazing charts and analytics. Congrats on being able to reach your goal by next summer. I’m looking forward to following the journey.

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