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Season 2 Episode 9: "I Volunteer in My Free Time. Should I Focus on Making Money Instead?"

Season 2, Episode 9: “I Use My Free Time to Volunteer. Should I Focus on Making Money Instead?”

You’re employed. You’re making enough money to live on and putting a little away for the future. And you’re filling your free time with stuff you find enjoyable and fulfilling.

… but is it enough?

This week we handle the nagging feeling that you should be doing more with your time. It’s hard to fight against the advice that you need a second income stream, the coveted “side hustle”, even when in reality you’re doing just fine. It’s all tied into that most frightening of the coronavirus pandemic’s side effects: productivity porn.

And if that wasn’t enough terror, we slip in a real palm-sweaty story about that one time

KITTY READ PIGGY’S DIARY

and

WAS TOTALLY CAUGHT RED-HANDED, THAT FUCKING SNAKE!!

This week’s question

Today’s letter comes to us from Tumblr follower DefineValidCharacters. They ask:

Hello Bitches. I currently have a full-time job that doesn’t pay the best but it’s enough to support my lifestyle. I also volunteer around twenty hours a week, sometimes more. The volunteering is really rewarding and I enjoy every second, but I’m wondering if that time would be better spent getting a second job or learning a new skill to improve my finances?

For more on side gigs, second jobs, and volunteering, read these finely curated articles:

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Here's how you, too, can be a Craigslist Samurai.

I Am a Craigslist Samurai and so Can You: How to Sell Used Stuff Online

A few months ago I found my neighbor’s purse in the alley behind our houses near the dumpster. It was a nice purse, real leather, and inside was a Coach brand wallet. I assumed she’d been robbed, and went to her door to return the nearly empty bag. Imagine my surprise when she told me that no, it hadn’t been stolen, she’d just thrown it out.

Rather than side-eyeing her into oblivion, I kept the designer items… and sold them for cold, hard cash. Because that, dear friends, is how I do.

For I am a Craigslist Samurai! A Paladin of online, stranger-to-stranger transactions! Bequeath unto me your used snowboards and semi-broken furniture! I shall dust them off, fix them up, and turn them for a tidy profit, all in the name of my eventual financial independence!

Besides the thoughtlessly discarded purse and wallet, over the last few years I’ve sold a dresser ($20), a table ($25), a microwave ($10), a VCR ($10), bar stools ($20 each), a flat-screen TV I literally found on the side of the road ($100), another flat-screen from a friend ($100), two tables ($50 and $20 respectively), my old desk ($50), an AC ($20), a hardwood bed frame ($280), and a bike a friend left in my garage because he didn’t want to bother selling it before moving away ($150).

Selling stuff online can be a great way to bring in a little extra money. Most of the items above are things I got for free. The tables, for example, were left in the alley behind my house (before you call me out on it, yes, I aspire in all ways to be Dumpster Doggy). I rescued them, gave them a new coat of paint and stain, and sold them.

And if you’re patient, the payoff can be huge: the bed frame, bike, and TV were all from friends who moved away and didn’t have the time to sell their stuff before they left. But I had a garage to store them in and plenty of time to sell them right, for maximum profit.

It’s an art and a challenge. Here’s how you, too, can be a Craigslist Samurai.

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