In a previous post, I wrote about judging decisions in retrospect. I gave the story of me going to the Euro 2020 final as an example. Now it’s time for the full version of that story. I want to tell you the story of how I made a joint financial decision by myself, something I shouldn’t have done. I also want to tell you about my side hustle and how I plan to use it to make things right (at least financially).
Two of my younger brothers came from Israel to stay with us and watch the Euro 2020 semi-final, I had tickets for Spain vs Italy. One brother flew home the day after the match and one stayed. The one that stayed wanted to go see the final with me.
First problem: I didn’t have tickets.
Second problem: I wasn’t willing to pay the price people were asking for tickets.
Solution: My brother said if I find tickets under £x, he’ll pay for both. Lazy FI Mum heard that and was fine with that as it had nothing to do with our finances, or so she thought.
So, the day before the match, I found good tickets within the budget, bought them and the rest is history.
My crazy brother flew back the morning after the final haha.
Trouble- this should have been a joint financial decision
The trouble started a few days after the match when guilt hit me. I know he offered and I know he set a budget but still- he’s my younger brother. The fact that I let him pay bugged me and I wanted to pay him back.
I hate it when people pay for things for me, that’s my problem- not Lazy FI Mum’s problem. Maybe it is her problem since she married me(?).
I told Lazy FI Mum about this and she (rightfully) got upset. I’m basically telling her I want to spend a huge amount and it’s too late to say “no”. I usually don’t even buy anything for more than £20-£30 without letting her know in advance. Of course, groceries or a meal in a restaurant doesn’t count here but I rarely spend more than £30 in a restaurant anyway. The point is that we usually discuss expenses that are A LOT smaller than this one.
As I was saying, she got upset and asked me to think about it for a few days to see if I still felt the same. Fair enough, it’s a method I believe in for other situations too. I thought about it and still wanted to pay him back. She wasn’t happy about it but she knew who she married so reluctantly agreed with one condition: it can’t come out of our current account. If I wanted to pay my brother back, I’d have to do it from my side hustle’s future income. Although she knows that this side hustle money would have gone to our current account eventually, that was her condition and I was fine with it.
A fire has been lit under me- My side hustle
I hate debt. Our mortgage is the exception as it has set payments and it was to buy an asset but, in general, I hate debt. I especially hate owing money to friends or family. I don’t like turning relationships to be about money, I think that’s one reason I wanted to pay my brother back.
Besides hating debt, I love my side hustle! I am a tutor (mainly Excel but sometimes accounting, economics, and finance) and I love teaching. It’s what I want to do once I reach FI.
My tutoring “career” started in university and I fell in love with it. I love the instant reward, you can see a student leaving the lesson understanding the material better. The fact that you get paid immediately is also a plus. Another thing I love about tutoring is the text messages from students, they usually go like this:
“Hi Lazy FI Dad, we just got our results and I got a 95! (insert various emojis), thank you so much!” and then they go on to recommend me to friends.
The best part about tutoring is also the part that fits so perfectly with FI Life. Tutors have COMPLETE control of their time. I can decide which hours are off-the-limits. I can decide which months (!!!) are off the limits etc.
Anyway, back to our story. I now have a debt to my brother and I’m hoping to clear it within a year. My brother is not only completely unstressed but he also feels uncomfortable that I want to pay him back. Regardless, the decision has been made and I’m super motivated to pay it back, the fire under me has been lit. All I needed were some clients to pay me.
My new side hustle clients
By complete coincidence, I got 4 new clients.
The first one was a student studying for an Excel exam before an interview, we did 2 sessions (1.5 hours each) and he learned so much, I was really proud of him.
The second one is a businessman that needed help modelling his business plan (and putting it into Excel). We just submitted one business plan to the government (to apply for a grant) and we’re working on the next one.
The third one is a big tech company that needed Excel training for their employees. This one was really fun, I never did such big groups (15-20) online and really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed teaching people from different continents. We are looking to make this a quarterly thing.
The fourth and final one is a new business that just approached me. They needed me to clear their data so it will be easier to read and understand (done). In addition, they want 2 training sessions on Excel so next time they could do it themselves (love that approach!), we are looking at dates.
They all pay into our Israeli bank account and I will transfer the money to my brother until I pay him back. Don’t worry, I provide receipts and invoices for all of these and pay HMRC their fair share for that.
The biggest advantage of my side hustle- Time flexibilty
Oh, remember how I told you the best thing about tutoring is the flexibility? listen to this.
I never teach during work hours, that would be unfair to my employer. I only teach in the evenings or during my lunch break. Not only that, evenings are only after our daughter is asleep (a brilliant condition set be Lazy FI Mum) and no weekends as weekends are for family. The weekend rule can be broken if a client has a real emergency or tight deadline.
Essentially, I mainly teach during my lunch break or when my daughter is asleep and Lazy FI Mum is watching TV or reading a book.
As these rules are set from the beginning, the clients have to take it or leave it. Surprisingly, they’re fine with that. I think this is because I am confident in conveying the message that these are my terms. The fact that I’m good at what I do doesn’t hurt either.
Paying my brother back- timeline
Initially, I was hoping to pay my brother back within a year (so July 2022). However, if things keep going as they’re going, I might even be able to pay him back by the end of 2021!
How does this story affect our monthly results
Last week I posted our July 2021 results.
You may have noticed I did not include a big expense for the Euro 2020 final ticket. That’s because I didn’t pay for it. I also said “I already know next month will have many one-offs, especially on the income side (hurray!). My side hustles have really picked up this month and I should see payments coming in during August.” Lazy FI Mum said to me “but this will not be an income, it will go straight to your brother”. She was right, I completely forgot about that part.
Until I pay my brother back, my tracking will ignore these payments. Once I’m done paying him back and assuming my tutoring will still be going strong, I should see an increase in the income line. This, of course, will increase our savings rate.
I also have one more project that may come in soon. If it will, that alone will be enough to pay my brother back but I’ll wait for it to finalise.
As you can probably feel by reading this, my hatred towards debt and my love of tutoring created one very motivated Lazy FI Dad.
Joint financial decisions should be JOINT decisions
Despite the positive thing that came out of this (a nice side hustle and one motivated Lazy FI Dad), I would still do things differently if I had the chance.
What I did was unfair and if it was the other way round I would probably be angrier than Lazy FI Mum was (and probably still is a bit). The thing is that we ALWAYS talk about expenses higher than £20-£30 so this was very uncommon. Dropping a big expense on your spouse is not the way to go and not the way we normally do things. I will definitely learn to either say “no” to gifts or insist on paying from the start (after agreeing on it with Lazy FI Mum of course).
The moral of the story is once you marry someone, you make decisions together, especially if you join finances (like we did). You can’t just drop a huge expense on your spouse and say “deal with it”. That approach is saved for clients when discussing available times. However, if it already happened and you’ve agreed to it, even if retrospectively, move on (this is not easy to do!).
Another moral is that I apparently found a recipe for motivation:
3 spoons of guilt: one from letting my brother pay and two for not discussing this with Lazy FI Mum in advance.
2 cups of hatred towards debt
1 tablespoon of a really enjoyable side hustle
Stir well, let it sit for a while (to let the guilt work its magic) and put it in the oven. This recipe is sugar-free, gluten-free, and if I do it right- it might make me financially free.
Final note if you’re thinking of starting a side hustle
I know some of you are considering a side hustle too. I want to ensure you are aware of the fact that you have a £1,000 tax-free trading allowance. This means that if your income from your side hustle is less than £1,000 a year, you will not have to pay tax on it. You can read more about it on the HMRC website. Here is a direct link to the relevant section.