My money motto: “what do you have to show for it?”

Have you ever had a job, stint or contract, which is long in the rear view mirror, which you are not only happy it is in the past, but was a bad experience? We have all had these jobs and experiences.

But not appreciating that job is different from gaining something out of it: if not the experience, then the money at least! It may be in the past, but have something to show for it, mainly some saved money.

From March 2017 through March 2020 – a stint ended by Covid – I drove part time for Uber. That is 3 years of working long weekend hours, night shifts away from my family and young son, and lots of mileage of wear and tear on my car. And while I did generally enjoy the job and learnt a lot from it, it is not something I would want to do again. It was a once and done type of thing. But here is the thing that made it worthwhile: in addition to using the income to pay for things, bills and vacations at the time, I also got to save more than half of that money. I wanted to be able to look at it when it was all said and done and be able to show something for this sacrifice I made. And yes, I considered the job as a sacrifice as it put me away from my family for long hours and nights. Not to mention, it was my second job besides my FT job. So it was tiring on the body.

Fast forward to March 2020, when the Covid virus started spreading and all the ensuing lockdowns, I quit my Uber driving job, and started working from home for my FT job. While working from home in the first two weeks, the stock market started to decline dramatically, to the point where a lot of stocks lost more than 50% of their value. I kept watching the market and by March 22/23, I made my move and bought several blue-chip, high yielding stocks, at amazing bargain prices. All, or at least most of it was from money I had saved from my Uber driving!

So I basically diverted this hard earned money to investment that has since gone up by over 35%, and I am getting regular and compounding dividends. As of last check, I am just over $1,500 in annual dividends.

Compare that to the alternative where I work Uber for 3 years, earned decent money, but never made that simple decision to save some of the money earned. I would basically have nothing to show for it. Thank god the reality is one where I get to enjoy the fruits of my decision to save a lot of the money earned, and be lucky to have had that money during a generational market downturn.

No matter what your revenue source is, be it a full time job, an online or driving gig, a side business etc.: always treat it like it won’t be there forever and need to save some money from it to make it a worthwhile investment of your time, effort and sacrifice.

It is a no brainer you need to save money. But it is even more important when it is a difficult side gig, one that puts you away from family and loved ones. The least you can do is to save some money from it so that you can look back at it and have something to show for it.