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How I will increase my income by 500 EUR

I’ve been struggling with getting extra income for years. Initially, I expected my investments to cover my expenses, but this turned out to be a lot more difficult than expected, at least in the short term. So what did I do? A Flexi-job!

I already alluded to this in my 2020 look-ahead and I’ll now elaborate on this craaa~zy plan of mine. Given my income, some might ask, why? My main reason is safety. We live off of one salary at the moment and since it’s not clear how my GF’s job hunt will go I’d rather earn some extra cash now while there is still some flexibility.
At my main job, I  can’t do overtime in the strict sense of the word. Only with the approval of my lead is this possible and it’s a last resort. Getting a pay raise isn’t for right away either, especially since I got a large one recently. Changing jobs is tricky because of the requirements for family reunification we want to apply for this year.

Some history

I played with the idea of an extra job for a while now. I vigorously tried to make Forex trading a long-term income stream that could offer enough per month. It’s a part of my past I haven’t talked about much yet but I will do so soon. Just remember: it cost me too much.

As explained earlier, earning more in my day job isn’t as straightforward either, at least in the short term, so I looked at alternatives. These alternatives never interested me till now.

The catalyst that drove me and triggered me to take the leap were the huge changes happening this year.

Life happened

First, I will earn about 300 EUR net less than December 2019. The main reason for this reduction is the salary car that I will receive on Tuesday (21/01/2020). Of course, I get a lease car in return so I can’t complain at all since it will improve our lives (family and friends live further away, groceries, road trips, etc.).

Second is a changed personal situation: I went from living with my parents to living on my own with my GF who is still studying. We are living on one salary and the money my GF saved to study abroad. With that combined, we can purchase the food that we want or go out from time to time, but we are more restricted.

The third is the apartment I bought. The mortgage payment (or at least the interest) will start in March. As I also carry a larger part of the living expenses, there will be even less wiggle room.

This reduction in salary together with the higher expenses caused me to stop using excuses and apply for a second job.

To be clear, we can still save a bit of money. It’s the fact that it’s only a bit I dislike personally. I know full well that I’m in a luxury position. I did not take a pay cut, nor are we struggling. This sense of urgency is a personal feeling. The changes that happened will impact my FIRE goals so to counter that I looked at alternative income streams.

What the job!?

There are actually quite a few jobs changes possible to get extra money:

  1. Salary raise
  2. Tax free additional income: occasional odd jobs for others, Working for a non-profit, and side hustle on a recognised share platform (up to 6180 EUR)
  3. Working as a part-time independent
  4. Flexi-job

I’m not mentioning stuff like selling on eBay, starting a blog, etc. I’m suggesting these 4 options as they are realstic short term options that actually provide decent short-term return.

The first suggestion is fairly straightforward. While it’s not an option for me, it might be for you: getting a higher salary for your regular day job.

Option two is something specific for Flanders, because of the high progressive tax brackets, the Flemish government introduced a method to earn up to 6180 EUR per year tax free (a limit that gets indexed every year). This is restricted to a certain job market.

The third part is more difficult and will depend on your personal capabilities. I see myself still lacking certain skills to consider this as an alternative course. It also brings an uncertain income which I do not need at the moment.

Finally, you have the Flexi-job. It combines stability (able to keep my main job), flexibility, and decent pay (tax-free). It’s the main reason I opted for this for my alternative income.

The flexible job

A Flexi-job has restrictions like the aforementioned point 2. These are:

  • Work at least 4/5 for one or more other employers than the flexi-job employer. They must have worked at least 4/5 for this employer in the third quarter that precedes work in the flexi-job.
  • Retirees
  • Only for jobs in the hospitality industry or the retail trade (including bakers, butchers, department stores, chains, neighbourhood supermarkets, hairdressers, etc.)

There us one additional big difference: there is no limitation on the amount that you can earn. This was the major motivator to look for a job that fits the flexi-job requirements.

After looking around on job sites that offer these types of jobs I could find an interesting temp agency specialised in HoReCa.

I signed the contract right before the year-end and after training in February I will take my first jobs which hopefully will return about 350 to 500 EUR net extra per month.

I already took the necessary steps to start with my first job.

  1. Go to the info session
  2. Have a small interview with a manager
  3. Sign a contract

The next steps that are left are:

  1. Get the required work clothes
  2. Receive training
  3. Start my first job
Mr. FightToFIRE
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This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Another great blog! I see more and more people doing Flexi jobs these days so interesting to see that people who are going into FIRE also consider this as I would suspect their main goal would be to work less 😉
    I guess you work more now to work less later? 🙂
    What about your blog? Does it give you any income?

    1. Hey Marc,
      Thanks for your kind words.
      Haha, it does seem counter-intuitive. You are right that I want to work more now and earn more so I can keep investing.
      It’s not necessary to work less, but not to be hindered by the amount of money I will make when doing something. Having the required amount to RE is so that I can put my time and focus into something I love doing without having to worry about producing enough income at the end of the month.

      The blog now is making peanuts. I have “earned” about 40 EUR since the start over a year ago. It’s why I’m not putting in that as an alternative for people looking into other income streams. It’s like dropshipping. Sure, there are people that make money from it, but it’s not because they can make money from it, that everyone can, otherwise everyone would do it. Like with anything it requires certain skills. Building and fine-tuning these skills takes time, a lot of time.

  2. Very nice post and I very much appreciate that you are sharing your thought process. My only recommendation is to not forget about your GF because time is scarce 😉 being separated can be very expensive as well :-p

    PS I also just recently touch a bit on this topic.

    1. Hello European Dgi,
      Thanks for your kind words. I already talked about my plans through with my GF. We will see how the first jobs go. If I can keep it up for longer or if sacrificing Saturdays is too much when already having a full-time job. My decisions are for our future but if this extra job jeopardizes our future I will of course choose her.
      Greetings

  3. Hi,

    Interesting post! I’m a young Belgian investor myself (turning 24 next week). I started working full-time last year as a consultant and I’m also still working the same Saturday evening restaurant job I started when I was 15 years old (but now as a flexi-job instead of student job). If you have the time and motivation to do it, I can only recommend it!

    I have another question but I can’t seem to find the post explaining or talking about it. I can see last year, your total net worth dropped negative. Can you explain why this happened, or am I missing something?

    Keep up investing,
    Kind regards,

    Michiel

    1. Hey Michiel,
      Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get any extra income due to COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a bit unlucky that just as I want to do a flexi-jobs, a pandemic happens that basically makes it almost impossible to get one. Hopefully I get the opportunity next year.
      To answer your question about the huge drop, it’s because I started taking my apartment and mortgage into account. You can find me explaining it in my Q1 2020 report. Although reading it again makes me think it’s not quite as clear as I originally thought. I’ll update my post to make it clearer.

      Thanks for your question!

      Greetings,

      Mr.FightToFIRE

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