Reader Case Research: Rock Climber Seeks the Freelance Life

Sam loves her outdoorsy life in Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah and is an avid rock climber, hiker, path runner, final frisbee participant and skier. On the skilled aspect, she manages content material creation for a corporation that manufactures work-at-height gear for careers in vertical areas. She enjoys her job and the soundness it offers, however craves a extra unbiased way of life. She desires to discover the potential of turning into a contract video producer to be able to be her personal boss and management her hours. She’d like our recommendation on methods to make this dream a actuality!

What’s a Reader Case Research?

Case Research tackle monetary and life dilemmas that readers of Frugalwoods ship in requesting recommendation. Then, we (that’d be me and YOU, pricey reader) learn by way of their scenario and supply recommendation, encouragement, perception and suggestions within the feedback part.

For an instance, take a look at the final case examine. Case Research are up to date by individuals (on the finish of the publish) a number of months after the Case is featured. Go to this web page for hyperlinks to all up to date Case Research.

The Purpose Of Reader Case Research

Reader Case Research spotlight a various vary of economic conditions, ages, ethnicities, places, targets, careers, incomes, household compositions and extra!

The Case Research sequence started in 2016 and, thus far, there’ve been 82 Case Research. I’ve featured of us with annual incomes starting from $17k to $200k+ and internet worths starting from -$300k to $2.9M+.

I’ve featured single, married, partnered, divorced, child-filled and child-free households. I’ve featured homosexual, straight, queer, bisexual and polyamorous folks. I’ve featured ladies, non-binary of us and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender folks. I’ve had cat folks and canine folks. I’ve featured of us from the US, Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, Spain, Finland, Germany and France. I’ve featured folks with PhDs and other people with highschool diplomas. I’ve featured folks of their early 20’s and other people of their late 60’s. I’ve featured of us who reside on farms and folk who reside in New York Metropolis.

The purpose is variety and solely YOU can assist me obtain that by emailing me your story! If you happen to haven’t seen your circumstances mirrored in a Case Research, I encourage you to use to be a Case Research participant by emailing your transient story to me at

Reader Case Research Tips

I most likely don’t have to say the next since you of us are the kindest, most well mannered commenters on the web, however please word that Frugalwoods is a judgement-free zone the place we endeavor to assist each other, not condemn.

There’s no room for rudeness right here. The purpose is to create a supportive atmosphere the place all of us acknowledge we’re human, we’re flawed, however we select to be right here collectively, workshopping our cash and our lives with constructive, proactive ideas and concepts.

A disclaimer that I’m not a skilled monetary skilled and I encourage folks to not make severe monetary selections primarily based solely on what one individual on the web advises. 

I encourage everybody to do their very own analysis to find out the perfect plan of action for his or her funds. I’m not a monetary advisor and I’m not your monetary advisor.

With that I’ll let Sam, as we speak’s Case Research topic, take it from right here!

Sam’s Story

Sam rocking climbing

Howdy! I’m Sam and I’m past grateful for my life. I’m 30-years-old, single and solely have pupil mortgage debt. I’ve an workplace job that’s versatile and pays sufficient for me to do the issues I like and, dwelling in Salt Lake Metropolis, there are many out of doors actions I like! My favourite is mountain climbing and I dedicate a majority of my time, ideas and cash towards the foolish sport.

Through the summer time I path run, play final frisbee, backpack and climb. Within the winters I ski or journey south for heat. I spend most evenings with mates or alone baking, cooking and Netflixing. I work at an organization that manufactures work-at-height gear for careers in vertical areas (tree care, tower, window washing, rope entry) in addition to gear for ice and mountain climbing. I oversee content material creation for the skilled aspect, which implies I journey usually for picture and video shoots, averaging about one journey per thirty days.

What feels most urgent proper now? What brings you to submit a Case Research?

What feels most urgent proper now’s the immediacy and brevity of life… and the terrible reliance on cash. My job provides pretty beneficiant paid day without work (18 days), but it surely’s absurd to me that you just’re allotted this tiny period of time to reside. With that being stated, I’ve been contemplating the transition to a contract profession as a producer. Producers are the spine of any picture and video shoot. They’re the people who create the schedule, coordinate the logistics, guarantee everyone seems to be fed, safe vital insurance coverage, and many others. A single mother or father on steroids, primarily. What attracts me to this work is the liberty of working after I need, assembly new folks, touring and being an entrepreneur.

I’ve the liberty, time and dedication for this transition. Nonetheless, I’m nervous concerning the monetary side of it. Fortunately I don’t have to fret about dependents, pets or a mortgage. However, I do have college debt and am frightened about saving for retirement, paying for insurance coverage and faculty loans; all of the whereas saving to purchase a home. Though I like being single, it does make launching into a contract life all of the extra intimidating!

What’s the perfect a part of your present way of life/routine?

The most effective a part of my present way of life is that I don’t have to fret about revenue. Since I’m salaried, I get the identical quantity distributed into my accounts every month regardless of how a lot or how little I work. Plus, I don’t have to fret about paying an obscene quantity for insurance coverage. I additionally love the journey and social side of my routine.

What’s the worst a part of your present way of life/routine?

Sam’s baking interest

The worst a part of my present way of life will not be having autonomy over my life and having somebody (my employer) telling me the place to go and what to do. Additionally, it usually appears like my job is meaningless. I not too long ago didn’t get a promotion I used to be stunned to not get. I need to be in a management place and be my very own boss. The world wants extra ladies in management! Additionally, I might take pleasure in a life with a accomplice who helps my profession ambitions and who desires to boost wholesome, completely satisfied kiddos.

And! I don’t have sufficient time to do all of the issues I need to do – I’ve massive concepts and need to achieve this many issues. Usually, my day is scheduled from 6am – 8pm and I really feel like there’s nonetheless a lot to do. Don’t all of us although? I’m hoping {that a} extra versatile schedule will open up time to do issues like begin a decentralized backyard program and volunteer on the state jail.

The place Sam Desires to be in Ten Years:


  • In 10 years I need to have half one million in my 401k and 6 months of bills saved.
  • I might additionally prefer to have a various portfolio of investments.


  • I need to have a household ~ accomplice and children ~ and a home.
  • I’d additionally like to have the ability to journey internationally and be pleased about my life.
  • I need to spend time with family and friends who reside in Washington State.


  • I wish to have an effect on the world, in some way. Not totally positive what that appears like, however I do know I need to work with folks by way of visible media and storytelling, which is why I’m leaning towards producing.
  • I additionally need to construct a fame as a tough employee who’s trustworthy and decided.

Sam’s Funds


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Sam’s internet revenue $3,100 8% goes into 401k (2% into earlier than tax; 6% into Roth)
Dogsitting Common Earnings $185
Month-to-month subtotal: $3,285
Annual complete: $39,420

Money owed

Merchandise Excellent mortgage stability Curiosity Charge Mortgage Interval/Payoff Phrases/Your month-to-month required cost
Faculty Mortgage AB $18,997 6.80% All at the moment on maintain till October 2022
Faculty Mortgage AE $7,956 3.40%
Faculty Mortgage AA $1,623 4.50%
Complete: $28,576


Merchandise Quantity Notes Curiosity/kind of securities held/Inventory ticker Identify of financial institution/brokerage Expense Ratio
Funding Account $27,081 Dad gave me $20,000 for varsity loans, however I put it in an funding account and deposit $800/month Betterment 0.11%
401k $16,073 8% of revenue / work matches 4% RFTTX Empower Retirement 0.28%
Liquid Financial savings $10,002 Liquid HYS account Marcus Goldman Sachs
Financial savings $2,752 on a regular basis financial savings Columbia
401k $2,458 Random 401k account that I don’t do something with and have to switch Charles Schwab
2nd Checking $2,163 second checking account for lease, fuel, and many others America First Credit score Union
Random financial savings account $1,914 I don’t have a card for this account; initially was for my truck funds, however I put in $800 a month now only for further financial savings Utah Group Credit score Union
HSA $1,690 well being financial savings account America First Credit score Union
Checking $1,522 on a regular basis checking & principally to pay for bank card Columbia
Complete: $65,654


Automobile make, mannequin, yr Valued at Mileage Paid off?
Toyota Tacoma, 2016 $30,000 80,000 Sure


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Hire $550 Very grateful!
Groceries $250 I get CSA’s each summer time & eat principally complete meals & LOTS of meat
Private Care (Waxing & Therapeutic massage & Chiro) & random well being Objects $234 I stay up for these massages each month; can be arduous to surrender. I see a chiropractor for my scoliosis and waxing is properly… perhaps TMI
Consuming out $210
Gasoline/Rideshare $195 #trucklife
Sports activities/Outside Gear $166 Didn’t get a ski cross this yr, which can (hopefully) decrease this quantity. However, this contains gear and coaching applications
Garments & Sneakers & Equipment $138 Eeek! Didn’t understand it was this excessive
Dwelling items & Hobbies (candles, movie, artwork hobbies, cleansing provides, and many others) $128 I simply lumped collectively, however I since my place is so small, and reside alone, I don’t spend a lot on cleansing provides
Items (Holidays & Birthdays) $100 Reward giving is my love language!
Journeys & Trip $100 It will improve this summer time with three int’l journeys deliberate…
Live shows/Leisure $100 Love going to exhibits! This additionally contains books, on-line programs and films
Automotive & Hire Insurance coverage $93 State Farm
Web $65 Comcast
Cellphone Invoice $56 Limitless information on Verizon household plan
Climbing health club membership $52 May cancel this since I additionally get a free health club membership by way of work at a distinct health club
Automotive tabs & oil modifications $35
Google/iTunes charges for further storage $12 Perhaps not vital?
Nutritional vitamins $10
Haircuts $10
Month-to-month subtotal: $2,504
Annual complete: $30,048

Credit score Card Technique

Card Identify Rewards Sort? Financial institution/card firm
Journey Rewards American Specific Earn 3 factors per greenback spent on eligible internet airfare purchases.
Earn 2 factors per greenback spent on eligible internet lodge and restaurant purchases.
Earn 1 level per greenback on all different eligible internet purchases.No international transaction payment
$95 annual payment
Columbia Financial institution

Sam’s Questions for You:

  1. Any insights into freelance work?
    • Monetary suggestions for beginning a contract profession?
    • Is it too late, financially, to make this profession change?
  2. Any insights into medical health insurance for a single individual?
  3. Recommendation for somebody with a renaissance soul? How do I choose only one profession?

Liz Frugalwoods’ Suggestions

Sam + a canine good friend

I’m thrilled to have Sam as our Case Research as we speak and need to congratulate her for all of her sensible monetary selections! She’s achieved an important job on a not-super-high revenue and I need to commend her for her values-based, prioritized spending. Sam’s at an attention-grabbing juncture and I’m excited to discover her choices for subsequent steps. So let’s dive in!

Sam’s Query #1: Any insights into freelance work?

On the outset, I need to set up that freelancing isn’t going to be much less work. It’s going to be extra work–not less than firstly. Nonetheless, it’d offer you extra flexibility to decide on WHEN you’re employed. I like working for myself and like my freelancing way of life, however through the years, it’s been A LOT extra work than a conventional 9-5. That’s as a result of along with doing the precise work (in Sam’s case, video manufacturing), you additionally must run your personal small enterprise:

  • You need to pay quarterly taxes
  • You need to arrange your personal legal responsibility insurance coverage
  • You need to arrange (and contribute to) your personal retirement plan (I take advantage of a Solo 401k)
  • You need to analysis and sign-up on your personal medical health insurance (my household and I are on a plan by way of the ACA).
    • That is my fast reply to Sam’s query #2 on medical health insurance: you sign-up by way of your state’s ACA portal. Insurance coverage varies by state, so that you’ll simply must see what Utah provides.
  • You need to handle all your personal tech: web site, social media accounts, e-mail supplier, video calls, and many others
  • You’re your personal back and front workplace: you must bill shoppers, reconcile invoices, hold a database, and many others
  • You might be your personal advertising agency: you must construct a reputation for your self and solicit shoppers.

This isn’t to scare Sam off; quite, it’s a actuality verify. I’ve been working for myself since 2014 and a number of these items has gotten simpler through the years, however I nonetheless all the time really feel behind on the “again workplace” stuff. Sure, I might rent somebody, however then I’d have to seek out them, interview them, rent them, practice them, arrange payroll, handle them, do efficiency evaluations, and many others… It hasn’t been value that trouble to me (not less than, not but).

Additionally, I labored WAY more durable increase my enterprise than I ever did at a 9-5 workplace job as a result of my enterprise is my third baby and I like what I do and I need it to succeed! I joke that my preliminary hourly fee was most likely $0.05. It has elevated through the years, however my level is that it’s taken time to construct it thus far.

One Concept: Construct Your Freelance Enterprise Alongside Your 9-5

Sam on the Colorado River

That is what I did and, I’ve to say, it’s essentially the most financially accountable strategy. I used to rise up at 6am each day and work for two hours on Frugalwoods earlier than going to my workplace job. Within the evenings, I’d go to yoga, come residence and eat dinner after which work for an additional 2-3 hours on Frugalwoods. Each single day. That was the one approach I might construct it into an actual enterprise whereas working full-time.

This was earlier than I had children and my husband helped me each step of the way in which. The benefit to doing this–for me–is that I continued to obtain my steady workplace job revenue (and advantages) whereas increase my ardour undertaking. Since we didn’t have children but, I used to be in a position to dedicate all this further time to Frugalwoods and I’m so glad I did. I’ll always remember the euphoria I felt on my first “full-time” day engaged on Frugalwoods after I left my workplace job. I used to be euphoric as a result of:

  • I used to be already incomes an revenue from it
  • I had clear, exact targets and subsequent steps to execute
  • I knew precisely why I used to be engaged on it
  • I used to be grateful to have a lot time to dedicate to it

Consequently, as a result of I grew to become so accustomed to cramming Frugalwoods work into the odd hours of the day, I’m in a position to not work full-time on it to at the present time. My priorities have shifted to spending extra time with my children and out on the homestead. However, I’m in a position to get so much achieved in my part-time schedule as a result of I’m so used to working quick and livid after I’m “on the clock.”

Sam’s expertise will clearly be totally different from mine and he or she’s in a very totally different business, however, I strongly encourage her to start out increase her freelancing work whereas working at her steady 9-5. This’ll give her ample monetary buffer and can inform her alternative of whether or not or not that is truly what she desires to do.

Since flexibility and management over her schedule looks as if her high purpose, I might envision Sam doing one thing like 9 months of arduous work per yr after which taking 3 months off to go mountain climbing! Once more, it’s not going to be much less work, however you’ll be able to select when and the place you do the work.

Sam’s Query #2: Is it too late, financially, to make this profession change?

The reply is that it actually relies upon. If Sam desires to give up her job tomorrow and reside off her financial savings whereas increase her freelance enterprise, I’d say she’s going to place herself in a extra financially precarious place. However, if Sam desires to construct up her freelance enterprise whereas persevering with to work her common job, she’ll solely be spending her time to take action.

Let’s run by way of all of Sam’s numbers:

1) Money: $18,352

Sam on a ship

It is a phenomenal emergency fund! Sam spends simply $2,504 per thirty days, so this quantity would cowl seven months value of her spending–incredible! An emergency fund is easily-accessible money (held in a checking or financial savings account) that covers wherever from three to 6 months value of your spending. It’s your safeguard from debt and a #1 monetary precedence.

My suggestion: consolidate this to 1 account.

  • Sam has this cash unfold throughout 5 totally different checking/financial savings accounts, which looks as if so much to maintain monitor of.
  • If it have been me, I’d consolidate to 1 high-yield financial savings account, such because the American Specific Private Financial savings account, which–as of this writing–earns 1.50% in curiosity (affiliate hyperlink).
  • Sam would earn $275 on her cash in a yr, simply by having it on this high-interest account.

The Freelancing Problem:

If Sam have been to give up her job to concentrate on increase her freelancing profession, she might spend down this $18k on dwelling bills, which as famous, would final her about 7 months. I don’t advocate that strategy as a result of it places Sam in a harmful place of getting no buffer from debt and unsure revenue.

2) Retirement: $18,531

I agree with Sam that she ought to go forward and roll over her outdated 401k. It’s nice that she’s been contributing to her retirement and incredible that her employer provides a match! The most important purple flag I see is the expense ratio on this account: 0.28% is approach too excessive. Sam ought to contact her employer’s advantages coordinator to discover what different funds is likely to be accessible at decrease expense ratios (I’ll speak extra about this under).

The Freelancing Problem:

As soon as freelancing, she’ll now not have an employer match on this identical sense, though she will be able to match her personal contributions to a Solo 401k. She said that one in every of her targets is to have $500k in her 401k in ten years, so let’s see how she will be able to get there.

I used this on-line calculator to find out how a lot Sam might want to save each month to be able to attain her purpose of $500k in ten years:

What this exhibits is that beginning with Sam’s present retirement financial savings of $18,531, and her purpose of rising that to $500k in ten years, she’d want to avoid wasting $2,658.10 per thirty days. The caveat is that this calculator assumes a flat 7% annual return, which is the historic inventory market common. However, the inventory market doesn’t return that quantity each single yr and positively isn’t assured to take action yearly for the following ten years. That caveat apart, this does give Sam a common concept of how a lot she’ll want to avoid wasting each month to be able to hit that purpose.

3) Taxable Investments: $27,081

Sam + a good friend at a live performance

Taxable investments are investments within the inventory market that aren’t retirement accounts. Having a taxable funding account is fantastic, but it surely’s a better stage purpose. Earlier than opening an account like this, you typically need to do all the following first:

  1. Repay all money owed (excluding a low, fixed-rate mortgage)
  2. Save an emergency fund (of three to six months’ value of your bills)
  3. Have absolutely funded retirement accounts (and the power to proceed contributing to them)
  4. Not have a serious capital expense in your close to future (resembling shopping for a home or automotive)

Whereas I commend Sam for being forward-thinking in opening this account, my concern is that she nonetheless has $28,576 in pupil mortgage debt. Typically, you don’t need to tie your cash up in a taxable funding account when you could possibly as an alternative be utilizing it to repay debt. That is notably true in Sam’s case as a result of her largest mortgage has a 6.8% rate of interest and–as we famous above–the inventory market’s common annual return is barely 7%. Meaning she’s shedding cash on that rate of interest anytime the market doesn’t ship a return above 6.8%.

What to do?

All that being stated, the US is at the moment in a interval of federal pupil mortgage limbo. Funds on federal pupil loans have been paused throughout the pandemic and proceed to be in deferment till August 31, 2022. Sam famous that hers are deferred till October 2022, however the US Division of Training website on pupil assist states that every one mortgage re-payments will re-start on August 31, 2022. Sam ought to verify her paperwork to make sure she has the proper re-start date in thoughts.

This era of pupil mortgage deferment has been an exquisite reward to anybody with a federal mortgage as a result of it enabled them to cease making funds however not incur penalties. Moreover, there’s hypothesis that President Biden would possibly additional lengthen pupil mortgage deferment or doubtlessly even cancel some portion of pupil loans. In gentle of that, I feel it makes complete sense for anybody with federal pupil loans to not make funds whereas in deferment and to attend and see what the administration decides.

State of affairs #1: If pupil mortgage deferment (or cancelation) continues:

  • Sam ought to proceed not making funds.

State of affairs #2: If pupil mortgage funds re-start:

  • Sam must be on high of when these funds resume to keep away from incurring penalties.
  • On this state of affairs, the massive query is whether or not or not Sam ought to liquidate her taxable funding account to be able to repay her pupil loans.

Liquidating A Taxable Funding Account (AKA pulling cash out of the inventory market)

Sam climbing

I usually don’t advise doing this as a result of:

  1. The entire level of getting a taxable funding account is to maintain it open for a lot of many years to be able to profit from the inventory market’s longterm development.
  2. You need to pay capital positive factors taxes on the income (not the overall quantity)–in different phrases, any cash your shares have earned through the years.
  3. If you happen to liquidate throughout a market downturn, you’re locking in your losses and making certain that you just lose cash. See this Case Research for an in depth rationalization of this unlucky state of affairs.

Sam, nonetheless, presents an attention-grabbing case as a result of:

  • Her funding account nearly equals her pupil mortgage debt and the rate of interest on her debt is pretty excessive.
  • She’s younger and may open one other taxable funding account as soon as her loans are paid off.
  • Maybe most significantly, her wage is low. See under for why this issues:

Since Sam information her taxes singly and makes below $41,675, her long-term capital positive factors tax fee must be 0%, assuming she’s owned the shares in query for greater than a yr (that’s the brink for “long-term capital positive factors”). Brief-term capital positive factors taxes are larger than long-term, which is but one more reason to maintain taxable funding accounts open for the long-term.

Capital positive factors are decided by any income you’ve comprised of your shares in addition to your taxable revenue. Nonetheless, you solely pay larger tax charges on quantities above every tax bracket threshold. Given Sam’s revenue and the scale of her taxable funding account and, assuming she’s held the shares for a couple of yr, it appears like her tax fee can be nominal or non-existent. This reality makes liquidation-to-pay-off-student-loans extra engaging. Try this Motley Idiot article, which outlines the method and from which I drew a lot of this data. Since Sam’s account is with Betterment, right here’s their overview on methods to withdraw funds from an funding account.

Opening A Future Taxable Funding Account

If Sam decides to liquidate her Betterment account to be able to repay her pupil loans, I recommend she think about a distinct brokerage sooner or later. Betterment is good as a result of it provides help with investing, but it surely’s not so good as a result of it expenses fairly excessive charges for his or her providers. The expense ratio on Sam’s Betterment account is 0.11%. For comparability, I’ve an expense ratio of 0.015% on my FSKAX account (Constancy’s complete market index fund). These numbers would possibly sound comparable, and that’s what corporations like Betterment are hoping you’ll assume.

To calculate what Sam is shedding in charges, I used this calculator from

If Sam have been to stay invested on this fund for the following 20 years, and the inventory market delivered its annual common 7% return, her investments would stand at $102,513 and he or she may have misplaced a complete of $2,282 to Betterment, damaged down as follows:

$992 in alternative prices (in different phrases, what the cash she paid in charges might’ve earned her if as an alternative invested available in the market)

+ $1,290 in charges (in different phrases, funds to Betterment)

$2,282 misplaced

Dinner at Sam’s

Now, this isn’t a ridiculously massive sum of money, but it surely’s cash Sam doesn’t must pay. Let’s run the calculation once more, however this time with Constancy’s 0.015% expense ratio. On this state of affairs, we discover that Sam would lose solely $237 in charges and $181 in alternative prices, for a complete of $418 misplaced.

In different phrases, if Sam have been to change to a low-fee brokerage, she’d stand to avoid wasting $1,864 in charges.

For reference, the next three brokerages supply DIY low-fee funding choices:

  • Constancy’s Complete Market Index Fund (FSKAX) has an expense ratio of 0.015%
  • Charles Schwab’s Complete Market Index Fund (SWTSX) has an expense ratio of 0.03%
  • Vanguard’s Complete Market Index Fund (VTSAX) has an expense ratio of 0.04%

Questioning methods to discover a fund’s expense ratio? Try the tutorial in this Case Research.

Sam’s Bills

Sam’s bills are completely cheap for her present wage stage. She makes $3,285 a month (after 401k contributions) and spends $2,504. The problem can be if she desires to achieve her 401k purpose of $500k in ten years and if her freelance wage is decrease than her present revenue. However no worries, all of that is solvable!

As all the time, we have now two levers to tug right here:

If Sam have been to start out constructing her freelance enterprise whereas working her full-time job, she’d doubtlessly improve her revenue and have the ability to preserve her present spending stage, repay her debt, and improve her retirement contributions. However, if Sam quits her job to construct up her freelance enterprise full-time, she would possibly attain profitability sooner, however would want to make use of her emergency fund for her bills and may think about lowering her bills throughout this time interval.

Sam can have a look at lowering discretionary spending, as outlined under:

Merchandise Quantity Notes
Private Care (Waxing & Therapeutic massage & Chiro)
& random well being Objects
$234 I stay up for these massages each month; can be arduous to surrender. I see a chiropractor for my scoliosis and waxing is properly…perhaps TMI
Consuming out $210
Sports activities/Outside Gear $166 Didn’t get a ski cross this yr, which can (hopefully) decrease this quantity. However, this contains gear and coaching applications
Garments & Sneakers & Equipment $138 Eeek! Didn’t understand it was this excessive
Dwelling items & Hobbies (candles, movie, artwork hobbies, cleansing provides, and many others) $128 I simply lumped collectively, however I since my place is so small, and Iive alone, I don’t spend a lot on cleansing provides
Items (Holidays & Birthdays) $100 Reward giving is my love language!
Journeys & Trip $100 It will improve this summer time with three int’l journeys deliberate…
Live shows/Leisure $100 Love going to exhibits! This additionally contains books, on-line programs and films
Climbing health club membership $52 May cancel this since I additionally get a free health club membership by way of work at a distinct health club
Haircuts $10
TOTAL discretionary spending per thirty days: $1,238

There’s no urgent want for Sam to get rid of all of those bills. However, if she desires to pursue freelancing full-time, she may have to chop these out whereas she builds up her enterprise in order to not deplete her total emergency fund. If she have been to quickly pause all of those bills–and swap to an MVNO for her cellphone service–she’d rocket her month-to-month spending right down to a really low $1,225:

Merchandise Quantity Notes
Hire $550 Very grateful!
Groceries $250 I get CSA’s each summer time & eat principally complete meals & LOTS of meat
Gasoline/Rideshare $195 #trucklife
Automotive & Hire Insurance coverage $93 State Farm
Web $65 Comcast
Cellphone Invoice $15 Limitless information on Verizon household plan
Automotive tabs & oil modifications $35
Google/iTunes charges for further storage $12 Perhaps not vital?
Nutritional vitamins $10
TOTAL required month-to-month spending: $1,225

At this super-low fee, her fabulous emergency fund of $18,352 would final her 14 months, which must be loads of time to make her freelancing enterprise worthwhile! In fact the trade-off is that she wouldn’t be contributing to her retirement throughout this time interval. Sam has two choices right here on methods to proceed and she will be able to decide which she prefers–or maybe she’ll select a mix of each.

Low Hire Is Nice Whereas It Lasts!

Sam + a good friend mountain climbing

I additionally need to spotlight that her lease seems to be approach below market worth. $550 per thirty days is incredible, however I can’t think about it’s market fee. Sam ought to plan for the eventuality of this rising–presumably by quite a bit. To get a way of what market fee is in her space, she will be able to scan Craigslist, and many others for equally sized and positioned residences. This’ll give her a way of what she will be able to count on to pay sooner or later.

One other tremendous straightforward approach to economize is to change her cellphone supplier to a low-cost MVNO.

Listed here are a two MVNOs to contemplate:

For extra, I’ve a full chart of suppliers and their costs right here: Methods to Save Cash on Your Cell Cellphone Invoice with an MVNO: I Pay $12 a Month

Sam’s Query #3: Recommendation for somebody with a renaissance soul? How do I choose only one profession?

I do not know. If anybody is aware of the reply to this, please let me know :)! I’m on my second (third?) profession, however that doesn’t hassle me. I’m completely satisfied to alter my thoughts as I age and as my household circumstances evolve. My priorities change with every year and I’m comfy with this stage of fluidity in my life.

Just a few issues which have labored for me:

  1. Sam mountain climbing

    Scratch the itch for a distinct profession by way of volunteer work.

    • Sam talked about she has an curiosity in constructing out this side of her life and I encourage her to take action! I derive a number of success from my service on nonprofit boards and it lets me flex my nonprofit fundraising muscle groups (that was my pre-Fruglwoods profession and I take pleasure in protecting a toe in it).
  2. Preserve your thoughts and physique engaged by way of hobbies and mates.
    • Sam is already doing this completely along with her climbing and different out of doors pursuits.
    • I don’t really feel the necessity to flip each interest right into a revenue-generating factor, which is why I’m so delighted with my pursuits of snowboarding, paddle boarding, mountain climbing, yoga and horrible farming. I’m clear in my thoughts that these are hobbies and that I can simply take pleasure in studying for the sake of studying.
  3. Be very clear about the place your revenue comes from.
    • I do some work that I don’t 100% love as a result of it earns me cash. I strive to not do a TON of this work, however I do have income targets in thoughts and I’m very clear-eyed about how I become profitable versus what I do as a result of I like it, not as a result of it’ll ever make me any cash.
    • This additionally encourages freelancers to set clear targets and charges. Too many freelancers give away an excessive amount of free of charge as a result of they’re keen about their work. I’ve made this error 100,000 instances through the years and am making an attempt to be higher about precisely valuing my time and my value.

Primarily it’s about constructing a well-rounded life, which Sam is already doing! I feel giving your self permission to designate which issues will earn you cash and which issues gained’t is an effective way to allocate your power and perceive the way you need to use your two most treasured sources: money and time.


1. If pupil loans aren’t cancelled or deferred:

  • Verify on the date for pupil mortgage re-payment re-start and make sure you’re prepared to start out making funds at the moment.
  • Contemplate liquidating the Betterment account to be able to repay the scholar loans in a single fell swoop:
    • If you happen to go this route, pay the loans off in full.
    • Sooner or later, think about opening one other taxable funding account with a decrease expense ratio.

Sam belaying

2. Contact your HR division to discover what different funds can be found on your employer-sponsored 401k since 0.28% is a really excessive expense ratio.

3. Determine if you wish to begin constructing your freelancing work whereas sustaining the safety and revenue of your present job. Create a schedule and marketing strategy for making it worthwhile and establish a “give up date” for leaving your job.

4. If you wish to give up your job now to be able to construct a freelancing enterprise, be ready for leaner instances:

  • Eradicate all discretionary spending and create a a schedule and marketing strategy for reaching profitability.
  • Have a plan for re-entering the normal workforce if the freelancing enterprise isn’t worthwhile by that time.

5. Remember that you just’re paying below market fee for lease and that it’s prone to improve in some unspecified time in the future. Perform some research to find out what market fee is so you might have a way of what you would possibly have to pay sooner or later.

Okay Frugalwoods nation, what recommendation do you might have for Sam? We’ll each reply to feedback, so please be happy to ask questions!

Would you want your personal case examine to look right here on Frugalwoods? E mail me ( your transient story and we’ll speak.

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