In the last five months since we eliminated all of our debt, we’ve been working hard to overcome that scarcity mindset in an effort to focus on what’s next: financial independence.
To commit to being financially independent by May 18, 2019, we have to fully embrace an abundance mindset.
At the time I had written about our scarcity mindset, I had no idea just how much it held us back. It’s been several months and I feel we’re only beginning to see the light.
Having worked so hard to get out of debt, the thought of even applying for a loan to go the real estate investment route doesn’t sit well with us. Scarcity mindset, perhaps?
In writing and then rewriting this post, I had a whole list of reasons why now isn’t the time to look for real estate investments…
1. Crazy high prices
2. 25% increase in property taxes in our county
3. No time to find deals
The list goes on.
Because of these internal struggles we’re experiencing, we decided to look at investing differently. We know we need to invest in order to achieve financial independence, so what if we focused on our return on investment instead?
Buy-and-hold real estate investors we’ve come to know focus on finding deals that cashflow $100 to $300 per unit per month. Is that really the best ROI we can achieve? $300 per unit for all the blood, sweat, and tears that come with REI?!
That’s when we went back to the drawing board and looked at cashflow differently…
Our definition of financial independence is when our passive income exceeds our annual budget, so we’ve set our eye on $30,000 annually.
$30,000 annually / $100 per month = 25 units
$30,000 annually / $300 per month = 8.3 units
OK. We’re finally getting somewhere…
So with our desire to stay out of debt (for now), we decided to use our digital marketing and SEO experience and build or acquire “digital units.”
Blogs/niche sites require little in the way of startup capital (no debt!) and have tremendous potential in terms of cash-on-cash return, but they take a lot of time to ramp up.
Our second blog to go live? Save Me From Sugar!
Save Me From Sugar is where our new side hustle began. I came up with the idea last year to start a new accountability blog, something like this blog (but with advice from actual experts). In a lot of ways, my struggle with food has been as difficult as our struggle with debt had been…
I used to live off of sugar. Candy, cookies, cakes, and pies were things I ate so often that I used to say things like, “I never met a cookie I didn’t like” and “Candy is my middle name.” I used to drink soda, too. I think I might have been addicted to sweet stuff.
After graduating from college and landed a full-time job with health insurance, I went to the doctor for a physical and found out I had high cholesterol, the bad kind.
High cholesterol at 21 years old?! Could have been those 3x a week trips to Burger King. (Shoutout to the original chicken fries.)
I’m joking now, but the situation upset me. Not only was my bad cholesterol really high, but my good cholesterol was way low. And my vitamin D was really, really low. This doctor’s appointment was my first real wake-up call that I needed to start taking care of myself.
The treatment? Exercising and changing my diet. My doctor told me I needed to cook more often at home, especially fish. He even told me what to do to prepare it since I never made non-fish stick fish for myself before.
Fast forward to today…I struggle with consistently eating healthy food. I’m always ready with a litany of reasons for eating junk…
When I’m tired, I want the easy out.
When I’m some place new, I want to eat all the regional treats.
When I visit my family of origin, I try to make excuses to visit my favorite chocolate store ever.
Just last month, we were in NYC for a conference, so we went a little early to explore. This was our first foray into the city together, so we’d never been to Times Square or Broadway.
Or Big Gay Ice Cream.
Two cheesecake slices, two ice cream treats from BGIC (shoutout to Bea Arthur) in two days…yeah.
You might think it doesn’t sound that bad, but when I start down this path, it’s hard to turn back. After I eat sweets, I turn into a bottomless pit that will consume any and all food around me.
Just last weekend, we went to an arts festival at a nearby city and found a candy store with bulk candy. One-third pound of gummy treats later (I shared!) and I became a moody, hungry animal. When we finally ate lunch at the test kitchen, it was about survival (seemingly). I didn’t feel well and all I thought about was food and sleep.
I just can’t eat sweets anymore. It’s not worth it.
With greater self-awareness, I’d like to cut back on the added sugar I’m consuming.
Sugar has been making headlines because of research that correlate sugar consumption with diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. In theory, cutting back on sugar could also have a positive impact on my health, which would have a positive impact on our spending.
I have completely cut added sugar from my life before and it was great, but it wasn’t sustainable. I went back to old habits. What I need is is a plan I can sustain until I develop better habits.
So I thought to myself last year, why not start a new blog? Accountability worked for us before. Making myself write about our debt made us accountable and now we’re debt free! I think it could work for food, too.
After leaving my idea on the shelf for years, I dusted it off and took massive action…
Save Me From Sugar is going to provide helpful tips and advice to people like me who struggle with sugar.
Along the roadmap I have for this journey, I’m going to replace sugary foods with sugar-free equivalents until I’m down to one day a week of something sweet. I’m not getting younger; it’s time to get my act together and stop making excuses. I don’t want to end up with a disease I could have avoided if I had been more responsible.
Save Me From Sugar is monetized largely with Amazon links. Sugar-free food that doesn’t suck is nearly impossible to find all in one convenient place and lots of niche food companies have popped up that strive to make sugar-free living easier, so Amazon is my go-to place for stuff that fits in my new plan.
Over time, I want to eat a whole foods diet most of the time, at least 90% of the time so the processed stuff won’t be something I use as a crutch for years and years…I’m thinking months and months.
I’ve got some big plans for this site, but for now, I’m happy it’s live. Launching three new sites is a lot of work! Ha!
Check out part 4 of our side hustle series…