Net Worth as at 31 December 2019: $1,074,776

Side hustles

Side Hustle #1 At the end of 2018 I set up an Etsy shop and initially listed a few items I’d designed. Had zero expectations (at least financially) about where it would go. I still remember putting up a bunch of listings feeling pretty silly and filled with self doubt (thinking – who would want to buy this? is this even going to show up in the listings?). Well it’s been a year exactly since my first sale to a guy called Hans in Germany. I still remember hearing a notification on my phone at 2am and leaping out of bed in excitement. A sale! They kept coming after that. My etsy side hustle is a low value, low margin business, even if volumes are high at times. I don’t see myself quitting my day job and replacing it with Full Time Etsy Selling, but it gives me great satisfaction to sell things that I’ve designed and made.

Side Hustle #2 hasn’t gone so well. I tried to import some goods and set up an online website to sell of a product that I thought would sell pretty well after some testing but alas, the boxes are piled up at home and not a sale has been made.

Side Hustle #3 is we started renting out a room on Airbnb, which I’ve written a separate post about. It is passive in the sense that people stay and you get paid via AirBnb. It’s not passive in the sense that we have to do cleaning and tidying between guests, and manage guests checking in. It has paid nicely, to date, we’ve made a total of $6,500 in Airbnb stays before costs.

Total Side Hustle Income: $4,000 + $0 + $6,500 = $10,500

Overall though I’d give this area an 8/10 because of Side Hustle 1 and 3, and will work on #2 in 2020.

Property

Valuations across our three Investment Properties have fallen relative to the start of the year, which has reduced our overall equity. Also, one property lost a tenant in October and owing to a number of high rise blocks that were newly developed, it was pretty hard to find a new tenant. Not only that, we ended up having to drop weekly rent by $75 in order to finally get a new tenant in.

We did do a refinance of our PPOR in October and got a much lower rate PLUS a cash bonus of $3,500 into the offset. It really does pay to shop around to look for a better deal.

I would rate this area 6/10

Real Estate Equity (Market Values less Mortgages Owed): $715,000

Cash

There’s less and less incentive to hold on to cash given how low interest rates have gone. But we do like to have a large emergency fund so we’ve left it as is. We would look to move more into Shares for 2020.

Cash holdings as at 31 December 2019: $141,000

Shares

We switched out of expensive managed funds and really started to move into ETF’s this year. Not all of this money was invested back into ETFs, but overall our share portfolio increased $35,000 during the year. This excludes dividends paid out and not reinvested.

Value of Shares held: $216,000

Expenses

Last week I spent about 4 hours reconciling expenses for the year. During the first half of 2019, I was very diligent in tracking expenses at the end of each month, and putting them into categories. When I opened the excel last week, it was on August and so I had to go through five months of bank statements to get the rest done. God that was torturous but it is FINALLY done. It was actually quite insightful to see all of our expenses laid out for the year. Here it is *drumroll*

NOTE that Housing is misleading because I counted only the interest repayment whereas going forward it will be the full mortgage repayment.

I was surprised by a few things and I can see areas we can improve on for 2020…

1/ Eating out – this includes morning coffees and I like to get a toast as well, so on a typical morning I’ve spent $10 before even starting work. We also tend to go out for brunch on weekends and living in Sydney, usually spending anywhere between $50-70 per meal.

2/ Having a cleaner once a fortnight does seem wasteful but it has kept us sane especially when we’ve been really busy at work and baby that makes a mess everywhere. I’m in two minds whether to keep this for 2020.

3/ Holidays – we didn’t go on an overseas trip this year. The prospect of an 8+ hour flight with a screaming baby was kind of daunting. Plus our little one has allergies which makes eating out (especially in a foreign country) really difficult.

4/ Insurance – on top of our private health insurance (hospital cover), we added extras in early 2019 in order to go to the dentist. We then FORGOT to cancel it and so paid an extra $100 a month for a few months. We’re paying $224 a month now for hospital only (2 people, 1 child). Neither of us need an optometrist or physio, so we’ve decided to self-insure for dental going forward.

5/ Groceries – We’ve been pretty good this year and shopping at Aldi most of the time unless there’s special items we need from Woolworths and Coles. I’ve also found that going to the local fruit and vege shop has done wonders for our grocery budget. There’s less plastic wrapping and waste generally too.

6/ Gym. We’re on good gym deal for two people, which charges us $44 a fortnight but with unlimited access to gyms and pools nearby. I hardly go to the gym ever since the gym near my work closed down, and I’m not a fan of using cardio equipment (it’s so boring). We do use pools in summer but $44 seems pretty expensive just for that. On top of that there’s team sport registration fees and some other fitness / yoga 10 class passes in this category.

Overall I’d give this area a 5/10. There’s HEAPS of excess in this spending that could be cut for the coming year.

Work Life (the grind)

I went from 3 days a week this year after a career break to 4 days. It was my first experience of being a part timer. Initially I was really looking forward to having a ‘long weekend’ every single weekend. But in reality, Thursday evenings are a bit crazy as I try to finish off things I’ve been procrastinating over the course of the week. And on Mondays I’m trying to catch up on Friday (day off) emails. So yeah…at times it felt like I was doing five days worth of work but only getting paid for 3 or 4. Plus I wasn’t exactly sitting on a beach on the Fridays either. I was mostly doing laundry, chores, running errands, chilld minding. Work life balance wasn’t great in the second half of 2019, work got really busy and the added stress meant I wasn’t exercising and also eating poorly. So overall, this area gets a 6/10.

SO I guess the things to ‘work on’ in 2020 would be

1/ Reducing our discretionary spending

2/ Continue growing our side hustles in profitability

3/ Build on our Share portfolios

4/ Improve our savings rate by reducing spending