Log Cabin Ruth & Her Fantastic Side Hustles 💪💪


So the other day I randomly stumbled across this old email thread with a reader who was about to pay off her log cabin (that’s right – I said log cabin!!), and now years later I was curious to see if she ended up making it happen ;)

I shot her a note, and below are pieces from our original convo back then (April, 2016) along with those from today…

SPOILER ALERT: She did it!! And scooped up some excellent side hustles along the way…

Log Cabin Ruth, everyone!!

Hi J$!!

Love your blog and podcast with Paula! I’ve just discovered this whole “underground world” of Early Retirement/FI blogs and podcasts and I’m OBSESSED :)

I’ve been tracking every penny I spend since 2011 when I got divorced. I always thought I was really careful with money (which I’m probably better than 80% of the general population :) BUT I started implementing your “Challenge Everything” philosophy and got rid of cable entirely, slashed my cell phone bill, and now I’m working on my “food” category. If I’m about to buy a bag of gingersnaps, I’ll say to myself “Hey, I can MAKE those from scratch for 1/8th the price!”   I never thought to “challenge everything” with each food item I want to put in my cart!

I live in my DREAM home (a log cabin) and it will be paid off in 3 months!!  WOO HOOOOOOO!!  :O

– Ruth

*** 3 years later when I asked if she pulled the trigger ***

I did indeed!!!! Felt GREAT! I still live in it and rent out part as an apartment!!!

It’s pretty darn big so after paying off my mortgage in August of 2016 (WOO HOO!!),  I spent some money to convert part of it into a log cabin apartment. I first rented it out on Airbnb and had some success because well, it’s a LOG CABIN :) I then decided I could make more doing long term rentals and have had the BEST tenants!! I’m on #5 now.

I also had 34 solar panels installed (told you it was BIG!):

  •  Installed Cost — $42,840
  •  Cost after 30% Fed & State Tax credits — $28,988
  •  SREC checks (credit for having solar) — $2,675 (yearly for 10 years)
  • Projected profit accumulated after 10 years — $25,526

(AND…… I got a 10 year solar loan at 1.48% !!!!!!!! On my latest electric bill, I had a $1,400 CREDIT instead of a payment :) )

I’ve been SO excited about FI that I even got my oldest son Cody interested in it, and maaaaan did he jump in!!!  He’s 23 now and has his own successful blog (FlytoFI.com.com), podcast (The FI Show), and a handful of online courses.

He even did a 3 month book tour with Grant Sabatier!!!  He will be retiring before me *face palm* #ProudMom

Haha… that last part is the best because it just shows there’s no limit to how far you can take this stuff when you’re super excited about it! And at 23 no less (!!). Maybe y’all know of Cody and read his stuff?! (Been chatting with him a bit myself, and makes it all the much better knowing it was his mom who was the original instigator of all this, haha… What a tag team!! :))

And then here was a surprise part of our convo where she started getting into all the extra side hustles she’s been doing to turbocharge things even more…

There’s no stopping this woman!!

I also have 2 pretty cool side hustles going;

#1. CLINICAL STUDIES GUINEA PIG. I find studies that I fit the criteria for – so far I have done taste testing ($100 plus 6 bags chips), gave an opinion about surround sound car speakers ($150 plus a set of Bose earbuds), took on a women’s study (I wear an Apple watch they provided and do a daily 30 sec per day questionnaire (1 year study, $4,000), and participated in a Sleep Study (overnight stays of 10 days and nights – 3 times and 3 months apart – for $7,000).

I wrote a 3 page PDF on how to find studies that you qualify for if anyone’s interested (it’s $4.99):  https://flytofi.com/product/how-to-find-and-secure-clinical-trials-pdf/

2. LIQUOR TASTINGS – #1 question I get when I say that I do liquor tastings is… “You get PAID for tasting booze??” Ummm, no. I am the person at the liquor store handing out samples. $25 per hour (usually 3 hour shift). Perks: #1. you can sometimes keep opened bottles.  #2. I use MY credit card (and get points) to pay for the liquor and then get reimbursed by my company.

So yup – she’s definitely still on a mission and kicking a$$, haha… First with the mortgage pay off, and now onto income streams – both passive (solar panels) and not!

Gotta love it :)

And both hustles, interestingly enough, have also been featured in our Side Hustle Series over the years:

Always something you can do to power your goals!! When in doubt, just ask what LCR would do?! (“Log Cabin Ruth!” Haha….)

Thanks for showing us the way, LCR ;)

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  1. Laura Webb October 23, 2019 at 12:38 PM

    Really great story! Thanks for sharing Ruth! We are planning to turn our basement into an apartment to increase our revenue!

  2. Ruth Berman October 23, 2019 at 2:26 PM

    It’s so worth it! Just be really picky about tenants and go for the good credit score :-)

  3. Joe October 24, 2019 at 9:41 AM

    Nice hustles! Side gigs are great for after FIRE. They’re fun and you don’t need much money anyway.

    1. J. Money October 24, 2019 at 12:45 PM

      Yeah, much more fun to do when you don’t *have to* than when you do :)


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