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Passive Income and Side Hustle Report, December 2020

For the final month of the year -- and the penultimate month of pregnancy -- I kept my goals tight. Let's take a look back...

So how'd I do?

First, I was happy to see that the blog cracked a November goal that we hadn't quite reached: getting over 500 post views in a month! The popular interview with Ripple Music CEO Todd Severin was a big part of that.

10 Book Sales = Overdone! With the support of enthusiastic readers @dewarpr, @flatulentfuzz, @ghostcultmag, @heatherelaine61, @doorgrave, and @ofnrstudios, I almost doubled my sales goal! 18 books moved in December -- 16 on Amazon and my last two signed author copies.

I was also very excited to see that Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials made #4 on Ghost Cult's Top Ten Books of 2020, alongside memoirs by Rob Halford and Michael Alago. Good company!

My weekly IG lives on Monday night are also picking up some steam. Last week we had a great conversation where a friend reached out about getting his retirement planning back on track. THAT'S THE IDEA! I wrote this book to help people help themselves -- so if I only ever sell a hundred copies, but the readers create more secure, comfortable lives for themselves, the effort was "worth it" in spades.

This Monday, January 4th, fellow money blogger Chad Methner (@chadmethnerMBA) is scheduled to be my first personal finance guest on these chats. Tune in at 7pm ET via @altctrlct on Instagram and "FIRE" your questions at us!

Moving on....

4 Blog Posts = Overdone! I ended up with five posts by the end of the month. Thank you Alpha Boötis and Overt Enemy for your contributions to the Music and Money column!

20 Watt Tombstone and Wax Mechanix are on deck for Music and Money in January 2021, so keep an eye out for those. Plus, I still need to write that column about side hustling through digital downloads! It's on the way, I promise...

Finish setting up Baby Heavy Metal's Room = Kinda Done. The crib/changer combo is assembled and his clothes and supplies are more organized, but there are still a few things left to move around. Considering he won't even be sleeping up there for three months, though, I'm not worried about it. His bassinet downstairs is ready, which is where he'll be hanging out at first. It flips over to be a changing table; I have a feeling that it will be #fakenews in practice and my desk will become the downstairs changer, but so it goes. His car seat is installed, the hospital bags are packed... For new parents, I suppose we're as ready as we'll ever be! The real fun will begin once our little guy makes his big appearance. <3

Pumpkin is "helping"...

So the goals went well overall, but how about the hustling? Here's the report on dollars and cents...

  • $1.80 -- Chase Amazon rewards

  • $4.91 -- eBay, less shipping and estimated fee

  • $6 -- Amazon gift cards from Fetch

  • $6.68 -- Teachers Pay Teachers payout

  • $7.16 -- Dividends

  • $14.21 -- Interest

  • $19.72 -- Sale of author copies, less shipping

  • $20 -- Freelance Writing

  • $20.20 -- Credit card cash back

  • $40.20 -- Amazon book royalty payout

  • $76.50 -- Capital gains

Total: $217.38

Thanks to capital gains, it turned out to be a pretty respectable month. I did have to Google why this money was suddenly appearing on my brokerage account statement, so I learned something too! Read about capital gains distribution here.

For fun (because this is what I think of as "fun," or maybe a great way to procrastinate going to BJ's), I made a pie chart with different categories of all these little income streams. Some thoughts:

  • Things That Qualify As Work means anything that involved creating something or driving to the post office. I got paid in November for most of the writing I did in December, so there was actually more "work" going on than it would appear.

  • Investment income was a big slice of the pie this month because of capital gains, but it's usually much smaller -- like, less than my credit card rewards. Also, anything gained in the Investment category just goes back into its respective account.

  • FYI, I don't keep track of any retirement accounts for this monthly tally, since those gains or losses won't factor in into my monthly cash flow.

How about January goals? I don't think I have any.... Except to welcome Baby Heavy Metal! He is due closer to the end of the month, so we'll see if he "cooperates" lol.

Seriously though, I do need to fill out some forms to adjust my HSA and 403(b) contributions. I want to max out the HSA this year; I have a feeling that between our health insurance's out of pocket max, cleft lip and palate repair, and whatever I spend on supplies related to breast pumping (all that stuff is HSA-eligible! Click here for a list), we'll burn through the $7,200 max without blinking. My employer contributes $2,000 of that number, so if I just put a little less in the 403(b) and a little more in the HSA, it will all even out in the ol' take-home pay.

Here are a couple things I've put in place recently to make life easier in 2021:

  • Autopay on heating and electric bills

  • Automatic deposits from Patreon to my bank so I don't have to transfer from PayPal

  • Monthly transfers into a sinking fund for personal subscriptions -- so when the Amazon Prime or BJ's membership renews in whatever month, I'll just pay for it from there instead of being like, "Oh crap, look at this bill...."

What do you have on deck for 2021? What passive income streams do you find most lucrative, and which ones are you interested in learning more about? Leave a comment!


To learn more about passive income creation, budgeting, and more -- and find some stoner metal Easter eggs! -- order Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials in paperback and ebook formats:

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