Author Topic: Seasonal work ideas?  (Read 3407 times)


  • Bristles
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Seasonal work ideas?
« on: May 12, 2013, 10:17:01 AM »
Ok, my wife and I have been building a frugal lifestyle for some time now, and since discovering MMM a year ago have been working extra hard at growing our stache, with a savings rate over the last 12 months of 70% We are something like 3 years away from our FI target, are aged 34 & 35 and are about to have our first child any day now. 

Ultimately our plan is to sail through the summers and do something else in the winters; this is likely to involve spending a fair bit of time allowing the kids to be near my family in the UK or hers in Washington state. With this being the case, it seems to me to make a lot of sense to seriously consider some form of seasonal work over the winter. This would allow us to protect our stache from any downturn, and possibly avoid having to draw from it at all for some time. This would allow it to compound for a while, and in turn may enable us to get out of full time work sooner. In the worst case if i am unable to find more of the work i currently do and we are unable to build the stache to our target, we could adopt this 6 on, 6 off alternative lifestyle instead until regular retirement age when our savings could take over.

Our planned expenses are $24-36k per year and I would love to be able to earn all of this in 6 months over the winter. This would equate to half of a $72k annualised salary for one of us, or $36k annualised each. These aren't unattainable numbers for the skill sets we have but I have little idea how realistic that is to get on a seasonal basis. One line that sounds interesting for me would be seasonal tax work as I am qualified as a chartered accountant (uk equivalent of a CPA) and could probably get a CPA with a bit of effort. Does anyone have any experience of this or any idea of what a CPA can make through the tax season? Most of what I can find about tax prep is about HR Block or equivalent, and whilst I realise earnings would be low for the first year or two I would have thought a CPA would be able to target higher than those guys pay?

I'd love to hear any other suggestions people have for seasonal work that may fit the bill?

Any thoughts and input are much appreciated.

Some more background on our situation if anyone is interested - I pulled it out to stop the question from getting too long:

The Mrs is planning a year off with the little one and obviously this, together with day care costs when she returns to work will reduce that savings rate, but here in the UK we get support for maternity leave which will help somewhat, and all of this is taken into account in the 3 year estimate.

The downside is that those 3 years are dependent on me keeping on getting work in the small, lucrative niche I am currently in. This is a reasonable assumption but is far from certain as I work as an independent contactor with no security of employment, and the industry has been hit hard of late. Another factor is that the work itself takes quite a toll on me, and whilst some days that 3 years sounds very doable, other days it feels like a prison sentence. The issue is not so much the work itself - it is uninspiring but tolerable, with a generally decent bunch of people, and is fairly well remunerated. Rather I think the problem for me is simply having to spend all day, every day in an office instead of doing what I want. I would love to get out as soon as possible and if I could bring my date forward without jeopardising our future security I would.

That said i am sure I will find ways of making extra money when I have more freedom; I have a fair few side business ideas but I know from previous experience that those are much more enjoyable when you aren't reliant on them for your basic income.

My skill set I mentioned already. Hers is specifically in HR and international employee benefits, but in terms of transferable skills much of her work is project management and general cat herding.

The dream for us has always been to sail through the summers and we are well along the road to this; we have a modest sailboat and a reasonably competent. We took a summer off to sail 2 years ago living off savings, and this confirmed that we want to be able to do it more consistently. The actual sailing lifestyle is pretty mustachian in itself, we know plenty of people who do it on a budget of $1-2k per month, however I'd want to allow more than that give a safety buffer and cover the additional costs of travelling home and housing ourselves over the winter.

I am using estimated future costs as our lifestyle will be so different from our current one it makes current costs almost irrelevant. The nature of my job means we need to live in London, one of the most expensive cities in the planet. We are pretty mustachian in many ways - live on a boat because we love it but also keeps costs down, no car so all trips are by foot/bike/public transport, only eat out occasionally now and most food is cooked from scratch.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Seasonal work ideas?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 11:20:19 AM »
As a CPA myself, I've heard you can make around 20k at very minimal hours part time. Your best bet is definitely something tax related.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Seasonal work ideas?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 05:24:23 PM »
None of the following are really highly skilled jobs, but they should be easy to find if not very lucrative.

If you live near mountains, lots of ski resorts have seasonal wintertime work.  Even if you can't ski, they hire kitchen or hotel staff seasonally.  I know a guy who runs the snow-making machines every winter, and another who does avalanche control.

Part time rent-a-cop.  Requires very little training, allows you to make overtime if you work overnight shifts where you can even catch some sleep, or read.

Crewing a boat, since you like sailing.  There are a ton of jobs in the sailing industry, from boat-sitting to harbor security to helping transport yachts from port to port for pickup by rich owners.  If you're mobile, winters are a great time to fly to the Caribbean high season and partake.  Most snowbirds flee the tropics in the summer, and sail in the winters.

If you can stand the crush, the holiday shopping season typically means a ballooning retail sector.  I know people who get by solely on holiday seasonal work.

I understand that UPS and Fedex also expand their staffs dramatically during the holiday season to handle the huge influx in package deliveries.  Can you drive?

But if you're looking to make $36k/year part time, it might be worthwhile to remember that you're asking to make almost the US median income for a full year's salary, only on many fewer hours.  That kind of paycheck usually means a skilled trade, which means doing what you're already trained to do, just doing it part time.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 10:48:08 PM by sol »


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Re: Seasonal work ideas?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 05:27:51 PM »
As Ernie Zalinski advocates: only work in months with an "r" in them.
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