Author Topic: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.  (Read 2196 times)

shinn497

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Hi! I am a 30 y/o (soon to be 31) follower of this blog?

I am actually not 100% sure of I am true to the mustachian doctrine but I think I would at least like to become FIRE (or have alot of FU money) around the age of 40/45.

So here is my situation. I got exposed to MMM like 2 years ago and have been following his blog. It was cool, but what REALLY has helped me was Dave Ramsey. I know the two have different philosophies (particularly with regards to retirement and behavioral economics), but I think they both are sort of in the same spirit. Take control of your finances and your life with persistance and pragmatism!

DR has really gotten me motivated to pay off debt. And MMMM has motivated me to live super simply. Right now I am throwing approx. 75% of my income at my debt. After that I could manage a 60% savings rate perhaps indefinately. However, because I am being more frugal and have my income tied up into digging myself out of my debt hole, I have more and more free time, and I am not sure what to do with it.

I am a software engineeer and data scientist (e.g. I train machine learning models and also write backend microservices to deploy them). And most of my freetime is geared toward my career. This means a lot of studying statistics, python, and how AWS works. My job sounds cool and is really fun, but I am still a junior engineer, and I my primary goal is to be "senior" asap. This is especially as, when I was hired, I didn't negotiate my salary so well so I am hoping for a raise to get me in line with what a lot of others in my field are making.

However, esp. as a single person, I don't know what else to do. I have interests and a social life but I really am considering some kind of entrepreneurship and/or way of making a second or complimentary income. I am curious if anyone has any ideas or could brainstorm. I love tech and coding and would like to esp. do as much of that as I can.

Some things I have been bouncing around are:

  • Sideproject and web apps, especially ones with decent frontends. Currently my main sideproject is actually a special kind of finance and budgeting app.
  • Getting involved into algorithmic trading. Not as a main way of investing but just seeing if this could go somewhere. I am interested in this the most and am thinking about trying quantopian in a year or two
  • Contributing to open source libraries. Especially ones that could help me network.
  • Starting a weblog! I was thinking about doing this to help me get better at data-visualization.
     Esp. as I would really like to learn d3.js

I also am curious if there are other ideas for entrepreneurship and passive income out there. I have been listening to valuetainement during my commute and he has awesome ideas. However, he stresses sales and I'm like. I'd rather build things than sell them. But I am also tossing this around to get myself out of my comfort zone a bit.

Anything other ideas of what to do with my time?

Mr FrugalNL

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Re: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 12:17:36 AM »
With regard to increasing your salary, finding a new job will probably be a quicker and easier fix than improving your skills. Companies tend to be more generous when they are trying to recruit a new employee than when dealing with current employees. The salary your employer offered you when you were hired doesn't bode well for your employer's generosity if/when you get promoted.

With regard to side projects, you sound like you're very energetic and motivated to learn new skills and make a side income, but be careful not to burn yourself out. There is only so much time any person can spend on work before it has an adverse effect on their health. There is a reason many countries have laws regulating the number of working hours and overtime.

It sounds like you're doing well and making progress towards your goals. Best of luck!

CrazyStudentDad

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Re: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 05:15:04 AM »
Hobbies is my favorite topic! Whenever someone asks about hobbies, this post comes to mind: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/01/25/the-ultimate-list-of-hobbies-for-men-75-ideas-for-your-free-time/

I have TONS of hobbies. Including: Music, Amateur Radio, Model Airplanes (the cheap electric+foamboard kind; google it), finance & spreadsheets, electronics, bicycling, MOTOR bicycling, working on my car, the list goes on.

I noticed at one point that some hobbies are especially cheap. For example, practicing that instrument you already have but never got around to is great, and won't cost you a dime. Reading is much the same. Learning to cook awesome meals within with your grocery budget. That's cool too.

I try to avoid the expensive hobbies. Some hobbies however, have a small to medium cost, but have AWESOME satisfaction, and feel like expensive hobbies. These are the types I want to do more of when I reach FI. For example:

Motorcycles are expensive and somewhat dangerous, but motorized bicycles can be dirt cheap (eBay and china stuff!!) and just about as much fun, more unique, and you don't go as fast, so less danger.

Model Airplanes used to be delicate, expensive, messy, gas-powered screaming machines in the air. BUT NOW, you can get EVERYTHING you need for like $200 bucks, and build your own plane in a couple days and learn to fly in a week, if you crash, pick up your electric motor and lithium battery, and BUILD ANOTHER IN A DAY. SO MUCH FUN.

Amateur radio can be expensive too, (towers, antennas, fancypants radios) OR I bought a kit made from discrete transistors on eBay from India for $80 bucks, made an antenna from wire scraps I found in a dumpster, and made contacts ACROSS THE US!

My point is, do the free hobbies, then after you have a little more to go around, do other hobbies in a very resourceful way. It's infinitely more fulfilling to do a hobby and be financially badass at the same time.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 06:12:21 AM »
Someone had a thread about wanting to start a business and lots of ideas were shared, check out the Entrepreneur section. One resource was this, which I've found interesting: https://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/how-to-start-your-own-business/?ref=sidebar

shinn497

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Re: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 02:08:24 PM »
Oh yeah I guess I should clarify.

I am less interested with hobbies (I have a ton of those). And moresoe with figuring out ways of increasing passive income! Like I see this lull period in my life as a chance to diversify my earning potential.

However, since I can code and do data science, I am curious if there is a unique way of doing this that incorporates those skills. Taking on extra coding projects has a multiplier effect of having a public facing resume of projects I can expose and retain the ip to. Since, even if I do amazing work through my employer. I can't use it or even show it to people.

I already have some ideas, but I am wondering if people could think of things that don't contain my bias to things I am passionate about. I am sort of inspired by this post about helping people with technology. . I am excellent at engineering solutions, but not the best at knowing what people need help with!

Noremak

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Re: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2017, 09:47:31 PM »
What bothers you in day to day life that could be solved with code?

CrazyStudentDad

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Re: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2017, 07:41:49 AM »
Oh yeah I guess I should clarify.

I am less interested with hobbies (I have a ton of those). And moresoe with figuring out ways of increasing passive income! Like I see this lull period in my life as a chance to diversify my earning potential.

However, since I can code and do data science, I am curious if there is a unique way of doing this that incorporates those skills. Taking on extra coding projects has a multiplier effect of having a public facing resume of projects I can expose and retain the ip to. Since, even if I do amazing work through my employer. I can't use it or even show it to people.

I already have some ideas, but I am wondering if people could think of things that don't contain my bias to things I am passionate about. I am sort of inspired by this post about helping people with technology. . I am excellent at engineering solutions, but not the best at knowing what people need help with!

I have a friend that's fidgeting with algorithmic trading. He's pushing 20%/yr. Interestingly, new ideas can be tried on historical stock data. The historical data testing proved good, and the algorithm has been successfully trading for a year now.

Beach_Stache

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Re: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2017, 08:05:20 AM »
If you want a side-income and you want to keep coding then I would try to get side jobs or start an app or any of the other things you mentioned for money.  I think coding is a great way to make money as generally there is little to no startup costs.  I do data analysis as well, mostly data mining in an Oracle environment, custom sql stuff which I really enjoy, and would love to do a side hussle with that, but that's a little trickier finding a part time job.  I don't do much code other than database code, and actually looked at side hussle for a while with this, but tricky to find.  My side job is a travel soccer coach, it's very different than my 9-5 and I enjoy that b/c of the change of pace and it gets me away from the computer for a while.  If I could get a 10-20 hour/week side job doing the same type of stuff I'm doing for my 9-5 though I would certainly do that.  The bonus of having a side hussle that you enjoy are really 2 fold, b/c if you are working more than you have less time to spend money.  That's what I found in my 20's when all of my peers were spending lots of money, I just didn't have the time b/c I was coaching 5-6 days/week so just didn't have the time.

If coding is your thing they try to do what you said, or even look for a job at a community college or high school teaching code, doing web page design, working on your algorithm's or whatever you enjoy that makes you some side scratch.

Goldielocks

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Re: What should I do with my free time while I am paying off debt.
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2017, 09:17:08 AM »
Set up your own wordpress site, to learn how to optimize, and create it, the do it for others.
Sell other people's collections on amazon / ebay for them, for a cut of the sales.
Write aps and sell them on iTunes and the ApStore.  Find something neat.  Write a lot, sell for $1 each, etc.   

Get a second job as a handyman helper / construction?

All of these are ideas that will build a skillset in you for other salaried work opportunities.

oh ---  and start looking for other jobs in your field, don't wait for a raise internally, if you have been there 2 years, it is not job hopping--
« Last Edit: August 06, 2017, 09:20:31 AM by Goldielocks »