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What To Do With Your Side Hustle Money

Recently I ran a Twitter and Instagram poll asking what people wanted to read about this month. There were really only two contenders in this race: music articles and side hustles. If you said "music," check out this interview with November Musician of the Month Lisa Mann!

And if you said "side hustles," keep reading....

There are a thousand blog articles about how to effortlessly create passive income and/or start a side hustle that will catapult you to wealth. But an astute IG follower wondered, "Once you have the side hustle money, what should you do with it?"

Excellent question!

Here are some possible allocations I suggest for side hustle money:

Absorb it into your regular budget. If you are in the red between income and expenses, this is the obvious route. You can also use your side hustle money for smaller, unexpected bills that come up.

Bulk up your emergency fund. If you don’t have three months worth of cash socked away somewhere, this is a priority — especially with coronavirus rates increasing and reopening measures being rolled back.

Use "extra" money to pay off high-interest debt. I wouldn’t sweat the mortgage or the student loans, as those won’t be going anywhere for a long time. But paying off credit cards or car payments early can make a difference in your monthly budget sooner rather than later.

Save it for a special purchase. This is one of my personal go-tos. Is your band going to the studio soon? Loved one has a birthday coming up? Some big holiday occurring next month where you are supposed to buy stuff for everyone you know? NBD when you’ve got a side hustle!

Invest in retirement funds or a brokerage account. Not gonna lie, I have never invested any side hustle money for retirement. It just seems too.... boring? But I have been purchasing shares of mutual funds and dividend-earning stocks in a Fidelity individual brokerage account. My vast portfolio now includes about seven total shares of $AAPL, $T, $KO, and $DTD — not so impressive, but it's helping me understand how the stock market works in practice, rather than just reading about it. You don't have to start off with a large sum, either; hold the money in your core account until you have enough to purchase the shares you want.

Roll it back into your hustle. Let’s face it, some hustles are more like hobbies that occasionally produce a couple bucks. All my Patreon and ad sponsor revenue, for instance, goes towards domains, hosting, and web security for two blogs (this one and the music site Alternative Control). I’d love to for these income streams to grow, but for now I’m just happy that I can blog about my ideals for free -- and grow my audience for hustles that make more dough, like freelance writing and book sales.

Roll it into education. Maybe you're done with your formal education or maybe you didn't go that route in the first place. But chances are, there is *something* you'd like to learn more about, whether it's for fun or to improve your marketable skills. Side hustle money is perfect for buying that book that has a mile-long hold list at the library, signing up for an ecourse, or even taking a community college class.

Roll it back into your Scene. In the underground music world, it's essential to be an active member of The Scene. Once your friends get tired of pretending to like your blackened death yowls, it's your fellow musicians who will help you get to more listeners -- and the kind who are actually into your stuff. So earmark some of that hustle dough for a livestream donation or bandcamp Friday! Not an underground musician? I'm sure you're part of some Scene, whether it's church, PF Twitter, the Elks Lodge... Throw a little something towards the communities that enrich your life!

Do I practice what I preach? Welp, here's where my side hustle/passive income went in October:

  • Vet bill

  • Savings

  • One share of Coca-Cola ($KO)

  • Christmas presents

  • Bandcamp Friday tunes and a patch

  • Bandcamp codes for Patreon subscribers

What do you do with your side hustle money? What did I miss on my list? Leave a comment!


To learn more about passive income creation, budgeting, and more, order Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials in paperback and ebook formats:

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