Our zero dollar side hustle

newfieSide hustles, or micro-businesses in addition to your regular 9-5, are a pretty common theme throughout the financial blogging community. If we’re trying to find our way to financial independence as fast as possible, why not try to come up with some easy and fun ways to make some extra cash? Side Hustle Nation has a blog and podcast dedicated to the subject. J. Money has a growing list of more than 60 ways his readers use to make money on the side. Here’s 68 ideas from Money Peach, and 37 ideas from The Art of Manliness (p.s. even if you are a female you should check out this website, if nothing else there is an ad in the sidebar with Raphael Nadal playing tennis in a three-piece suit).

I think the appeal of a side hustle is that it’s usually a low commitment way to earn extra cash doing something that you enjoy. Just the fact that you don’t have to do it might be enough to make it fun. We do a little bit of side hustling around here, namely writing educational content in our chosen fields for board preparation websites, which is awesome because it is like getting paid to study.

This month we’ve decided to try something a little bit different. Even though it is still early March, spring is definitely knocking on the door in our little part of the Midwest, with temperatures even approaching 70 degrees (that’s about 21 for you Canadians). Due to this unseasonably nice weather, we’ve come to notice that the vast majority of the members of our small subdivision have dogs. A few of these dogs like to roam through our backyard, seriously upsetting our cat whom in half a second turns from blissfully sleeping into a fluffy ball of psycho. While experiencing one of these episodes and trying to calm down Apollo, we wondered, “is there a business opportunity here?”

A little backstory: we both love animals and used to volunteer at our local humane society which was only about five minutes away from our apartment when we lived on the other side of the city. Unfortunately now it is about a 35-45 minute drive from our house depending on traffic, so we’re mainly only making it out there for vet visits. If you have the opportunity and like being around animals, I highly recommend you check out the humane society in your own city. What could be better than spending a couple of hours snuggling cats and/or walking dogs, and in turn helping them get adopted faster?

Sooooo…we aren’t volunteering anymore, which gives us extra hours in the evening and on weekends, and there are a shocking number of dogs in our tiny neighborhood that need daily walking…which leads us to…drum roll here…our zero dollar side hustle!


Of course on the actual flyer I didn’t claim to be “Mrs. Paradise”, which would be quite weird. We’ve just submitted this to our subdivision board of directors for approval to go out to the members of our community. We live in one of the smallest subdivisions in this area with only 33 houses, which will limit the amount of travel time needed for pet sitting and dog walking. We have high hopes that this project will pan out and that there will be lots of interest in the neighborhood (although hopefully not more than we can handle!). The advertisement states March – September but if things are going well we will definitely consider continuing the fundraiser through the winter. And who knows, we might actually get more business in the cold winter months! We’ll post some updates on the blog, potentially in our monthly spending reviews, or depending on if we have awesome stories to tell they might get own separate posts.

I’m not sure if this actually qualifies as a “side hustle”. Maybe we’ll call it a “fundraiser hustle”, or “volunteer hustle”. In any case, it benefits us just as much as the humane society, since we’ll get to meet our neighbors, hang out with their pets, get exercise, and Mr. Paradise can temporarily satisfy his burning desire to adopt a Newfie. Personally I’m more of a Great Dane kind of girl, but who knows, Greyhounds are awfully cute too!


  1. This is a cool idea! I love the idea of a volunteer hustle. In fact, one of the main reasons we don’t side hustle much is that we spend that time volunteering. Sometimes we donate money we make from selling stuff to charities. After all, most of the extra stuff we have that is worth selling was a gift or hand-me-down, not stuff we purchased.

  2. Thanks Kalie! I like your idea about donating money from selling stuff, it would be a great way to give back and pare down our stuff at the same time.

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