How I side hustled nearly $4000 to travel to Europe

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In my “about me and my journey” blog post, I mentioned I had a knack for side hustling, and I want to elaborate on that a bit. Well, a lot.

A little over a year ago, my boyfriend Mike and I decided we needed to take a trip to Europe. I’ve never traveled anywhere besides domestically in the US and to Mexico a handful of times. He’s been to Europe but mainly as a college student who didn’t necessarily enjoy all the culture that the area had to offer. He wanted to re-do Paris and we both wanted to explore London, catch some soccer, eat fish and chips, and drink a few pints. But as you know, I’M IN DEBT. How in the world was I going to afford flights to Europe, hotels, tours, and restaurants?! So we came up with the “Side Hustle Challenge”.

We decided to each hustle our way to $100 in extra side income per month, and after a year, we’d use that money towards a trip. That would have given us $2400. There were months where we would contribute well over the $100, but the baseline was always $100. We kept a piece of notebook paper in a glass jar where we’d write down when we put money in the jar and how we made that money. There were only a few rules.

Rules for the Side Hustle Challenge:

  • Make $100 every month
  • You cannot take the money from your paycheck
  • No selling drugs or your body

That’s it! Simple, right?

First and foremost if you’re completely unsure of how to take an assessment of your skills to base your hustle off of, or if you just want some inspiration, please check out my favorite podcast “Side Hustle School”. You can check it out on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. This is by no means sponsored or an affiliate post. I seriously love this podcast and I’ll recommend it until the end of time.

I started out selling extra clothes, household items, and anything I was willing to part with on Facebook Marketplace. Out of all the apps to sell stuff (Letgo, Mercari, etc) Facebook Marketplace was easily the most reliable. I had the highest success rate for buyers showing up and paying in full.

At the time I was also dabbling in painting wine glasses. I’ll definitely make a longer post about this because it turned into my main side hustle, Swigcasso. I’d take custom requests for really anything and everything and paint them. It started out with requests for Nicolas Cage, Cat in the Hat, various Disney characters, sports team logos, and anything you can think of, I painted it.

And it honestly made my side hustle challenge pretty smooth sailing month over month. The only downside was that it was very time consuming. I’d come home every night and paint. Then I’d go to the post office during my lunch breaks at work. It’s an excellent side hustle, but as a long term means to made extra money, it isn’t worth all the time spent. However, I have some ideas to parlay this Swigcasso business into something more…

Mike didn’t have it as easy as I did. He made money in so many different ways.

  • He sold some extra furniture he had from before he moved in with me
  • He crashed his car. (Not on purpose or anything…it was pretty bad) so he took $100 from his insurance payout and added it to the fund
  • He would buy concert and sporting event tickets and resell them at a higher value. The concert ticket hustle was actually his most profitable. And the amount of research he did on resale codes, market size potential, and crowd draw of each act was super impressive.

A year after we started the challenge, we had just over $2500 in the jar (it was all kept in an actual jar for a while…). Then we moved from Chicago to Arizona. I took a new job and had no vacation time. So we decided to keep saving, just for the hell of it. We could buy some extra wine, take a paid tour over a free tour, and splurge on booking a chateau for a night (which we totally did). A few months later, we moved again. This time to California and I took yet another job. Vacation time wiped out once again. I’m happy to say that it has been over 6 months, I love my new job and our new home and I have the vacation time to go on our trip.

In just a few months we’ll be headed to London, Paris and Bordeaux and it’ll be stress free knowing that we didn’t have to pull this money from our paychecks. It’s also comforting knowing that if we could side hustle our way to Europe, I can totally side hustle my way out of student loan debt! And you can too. You don’t need to make $100/month. You can start with $20 or aim for the stars and make $300+ a month. Whatever your path with this challenge, know that the money you make was because you found a creative way to make that money. And no two people are going to have the same path or the same outcome. But you’ll all be able to use that money towards something you’ve always wanted to do. Take a vacation. Pay off debt. Pay for extra lives in Candy Crush. Whatever. 🙂

4 comments on “How I side hustled nearly $4000 to travel to Europe”

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