Earning supplemental income: How to make money in your spare time?

Posted on 22. Jan, 2009 by in Expat Experiences, General, Rantings and Ramblings

Money. As much as I strive to enjoy life without focusing on it, I’m beginning to feel that it’s time to seek out more financial security. The global recession, New Year’s resolutions, and the very lucid realization that I’m now in my 30′s has been the cause of such thinking.

For the past seven years, I’ve lived in Jakarta on a decent salary, with sufficient housing provided, a car that’s paid off, maids that have cooked and cleaned, and have enjoyed much of the expat lifestyle defined by comfort and travel.

On the other hand, I’ve been a salaried employee this entire time, with not much potential to break out of the pre-determined pay scale beyond yearly (very modest) increases. I am friends with many expats making absurd amounts of money; generally they’re working in the oil industry, investments, or other more lucrative fields. It’s not easy seeing how much more they earn, not out of greed or jealousy, but from the knowlege that they’ve traveled the world, and don’t stress about finances in the same manner. Having said that, I’ve never measured a man by his wealth.

In living like an expat, I spend like an expat. Whereas an Indonesian meal may cost less than $1, a decent meal of sushi or seafood will generally be well over $20. I won’t continue with the disparities in lifestyle expenditures, but you get the point. There are areas where I can cut back.

I feel it’s time to start being more financially responsible. Focusing on the basics, saving more money, and finding cheaper ways of enjoying life. Knowing this is a trend around the globe makes it easier, but budgeting alone isn’t enough.

It’s time to seek out other opportunities for making supplemental income. There are two factors that play into this:

A) The very real fact that the life of an expat is transient. I never know when I’ll leave Indonesia, as my contracts are renewed annually. I’ll need another source of income to bridge the gap when I decide to leave and/or switch careers.

B) Budgeting and saving may be sufficient for developing good habits, but it’s simply not enough for things like buying property, a home, or investing carefully, at this time.

It will take lots of research, dedication, time, and money to get some things started, but I believe I have all of those aspects covered. Whereas many of my friends enjoy evenings of leisure, TV, reading, and socialization, after the gym, dinner, and some quality time with Novita, I’m back on the computer in the evenings doing photography, teaching myself new skills, etc. I have no problem dedicating at least an additional 2-4 hours per day to whatever venture I begin.

Now the question is… what should I do? I have a few ideas, and will dedicate another post to them. In the meantime, are there any ways you make additional income beyond your primary job? Do you find that the time you put into it is worthwhile in the end? Do you make sufficient income from it to rationalize giving up your free time?

More to come.

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  • http://www.novemberimages.com Charlene

    I moonlight as a wedding photographer on weekends mostly. At this point it isn't about income per se, just getting the word out there, building a client base and a portfolio, so that it can one day be a decent source of income. At the moment it just buys me new gear. Which i really can't complain about! :)

    “Do you find that the time you put into it is worthwhile in the end? Do you make sufficient income from it to rationalize giving up your free time?”

    Absolutely. Photography and associated bits and pieces, is a passion. The fact that i make any money at all out of it is definitely a bonus.

  • http://www.novemberimages.com Charlene

    I moonlight as a wedding photographer on weekends mostly. At this point it isn't about income per se, just getting the word out there, building a client base and a portfolio, so that it can one day be a decent source of income. At the moment it just buys me new gear. Which i really can't complain about! :)

    “Do you find that the time you put into it is worthwhile in the end? Do you make sufficient income from it to rationalize giving up your free time?”

    Absolutely. Photography and associated bits and pieces, is a passion. The fact that i make any money at all out of it is definitely a bonus.

    • javajive

      I'm doing the same thing, Charlene. My print sales, online sales, etc pay for my gear. I've worked all these years to build up some sort of name, but have yet to attempt this full time in any capacity.

      Photography is indeed my passion. I'd love to make more from it, but would still do it even without pay.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • http://deancirelli.com dean

    I agree with Charlene about the privilege of earning income doing something that you're passionate about. I actually don't really even know what it is you do for your primary source of income. I guess if I took the time to scroll through your archive I'd be able to find that out, but since it's nearly 4:30 a.m. here and I haven't been to bed yet, I think I'll save that search for later!

    In my case, I used to own my own paint contracting business, which put the bread on the table while I plied my vocation (and passion) as a youth minister in small churches that could not afford to pay a full time minister. I now work at a children's home as my primary occupation/ministry, and I pick up painting or drywall finishing jobs on the side from time to time. I love doing it, so that's where I can again identify with what Charlene said.

    Something else I do, which is really small potatoes, but a fun side job, is mystery shopping. I go to different businesses (often fast food joints) and evaluate the food, the service and the appearance of the establishment. The food is mostly paid for, and I get a fee as well. Since that stuff will kill you, especially if you eat is as often as I sometimes have to, I usually order a salad.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, I love photography, but don't have, and probably never will have, the means of affording decent gear. I suppose I could save the money I make on the side to buy something high end, but every time I entertain that thought, I get buyer's remorse before I've ever even bought anything. Truth be told, I'll most likely never possess the skill level to make that sort of expenditure justifiable. But that would be pure heaven to be able to earn money doing THAT! And the reason I bring that up at all, is that I thought that might be how you've earned a side living. You're certainly good enough at it to do so.

  • http://deancirelli.com dean

    I agree with Charlene about the privilege of earning income doing something that you're passionate about. I actually don't really even know what it is you do for your primary source of income. I guess if I took the time to scroll through your archive I'd be able to find that out, but since it's nearly 4:30 a.m. here and I haven't been to bed yet, I think I'll save that search for later!

    In my case, I used to own my own paint contracting business, which put the bread on the table while I plied my vocation (and passion) as a youth minister in small churches that could not afford to pay a full time minister. I now work at a children's home as my primary occupation/ministry, and I pick up painting or drywall finishing jobs on the side from time to time. I love doing it, so that's where I can again identify with what Charlene said.

    Something else I do, which is really small potatoes, but a fun side job, is mystery shopping. I go to different businesses (often fast food joints) and evaluate the food, the service and the appearance of the establishment. The food is mostly paid for, and I get a fee as well. Since that stuff will kill you, especially if you eat is as often as I sometimes have to, I usually order a salad.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, I love photography, but don't have, and probably never will have, the means of affording decent gear. I suppose I could save the money I make on the side to buy something high end, but every time I entertain that thought, I get buyer's remorse before I've ever even bought anything. Truth be told, I'll most likely never possess the skill level to make that sort of expenditure justifiable. But that would be pure heaven to be able to earn money doing THAT! And the reason I bring that up at all, is that I thought that might be how you've earned a side living. You're certainly good enough at it to do so.

    • javajive

      Hi Dean,

      Sounds like you've definitely found ways to make ends meet while following your interests/calling. Mystery shopping – never heard of that before. Similar to writing reviews in return for free hotel rooms, dinners, etc?

      My photography gear is very expensive – thousands of dollars, BUT that's only because I refrain from spending in other areas that many wouldn't sacrifice (vacations, better cars, expensive dinners, etc). And I make sure that I do enough print sales, etc to cover the costs of my equipment.

      However, I strongly feel that if you have even a glimmer of interest in photography, don't let the camera equipment stop you. You can do amazing things with a point and shoot these days – especially if you're not striving to selling your work. It gives you the freedom to play and the flexibility to not feel constantly stressed about theft, etc.

      My brother often uses a $10 Holga that he picked up at Goodwill. He also uses a Canon Rebel (film) from when he was in high school – it's got duct tape all over it and looks as if it's been through war photography. (he also just bought a Canon 5D mk II as well). The point being that it's truly not about the equipment for the majority of your work; it's about talent, passion, hard work, dedication, vision, and sometimes pure luck. Get out there and take some pics, don't worry about having a nice camera.

      What do I do for work? I'll let you either dig the archives or email me directly. ;)

      I often have people assume I'm a full time photographer; as much as I'd love that, it's not been the case thus far. My full time job has offered me plenty of time and money to pursue photography without the strain of turning passion into profit.

      I still may give it a go, but just not quite yet.

  • javajive

    I'm doing the same thing, Charlene. My print sales, online sales, etc pay for my gear. I've worked all these years to build up some sort of name, but have yet to attempt this full time in any capacity.

    Photography is indeed my passion. I'd love to make more from it, but would still do it even without pay.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • javajive

    Hi Dean,

    Sounds like you've definitely found ways to make ends meet while following your interests/calling. Mystery shopping – never heard of that before. Similar to writing reviews in return for free hotel rooms, dinners, etc?

    My photography gear is very expensive – thousands of dollars, BUT that's only because I refrain from spending in other areas that many wouldn't sacrifice (vacations, better cars, expensive dinners, etc). And I make sure that I do enough print sales, etc to cover the costs of my equipment.

    However, I strongly feel that if you have even a glimmer of interest in photography, don't let the camera equipment stop you. You can do amazing things with a point and shoot these days – especially if you're not striving to selling your work. It gives you the freedom to play and the flexibility to not feel constantly stressed about theft, etc.

    My brother often uses a $10 Holga that he picked up at Goodwill. He also uses a Canon Rebel (film) from when he was in high school – it's got duct tape all over it and looks as if it's been through war photography. (he also just bought a Canon 5D mk II as well). The point being that it's truly not about the equipment for the majority of your work; it's about talent, passion, hard work, dedication, vision, and sometimes pure luck. Get out there and take some pics, don't worry about having a nice camera.

    What do I do for work? I'll let you either dig the archives or email me directly. ;)

    I often have people assume I'm a full time photographer; as much as I'd love that, it's not been the case thus far. My full time job has offered me plenty of time and money to pursue photography without the strain of turning passion into profit.

    I still may give it a go, but just not quite yet.

  • http://mousharilla.livejournal.com mouse

    Not really answering your question, as I'm an unemployed student still trying hard to graduate.. But I just wanted to say that your photos are gorgeous :D

  • http://mousharilla.livejournal.com mouse

    Not really answering your question, as I'm an unemployed student still trying hard to graduate.. But I just wanted to say that your photos are gorgeous :D

    • javajive

      Mouse – I appreciate you saying that. Off topic comments are always fine!

  • http://www.shakykaiser.com/blog/ Shaky

    Can you code?

    I'm considering building iPhone apps and getting them in the store. Have a few ideas already.

    I know it's an outlier, but: http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2009/

  • http://www.shakykaiser.com/blog/ Shaky

    Can you code?

    I'm considering building iPhone apps and getting them in the store. Have a few ideas already.

    I know it's an outlier, but: http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2009/

    • javajive

      Shaky – I am willing to learn if it means $100,000 in a week! ;)

      Seriously though, is it out of the realm of possibility to find some people to outsource some coding with split profits? I'd definitely be keen to look into this further. Have already considered the app store idea, but without the coding skills thought I'd be hitting a dead-end.

      However, there are definitely talented coders in Jakarta. Perhaps it's time to investigate this more.

  • javajive

    Mouse – I appreciate you saying that. Off topic comments are always fine!

  • javajive

    Shaky – I am willing to learn if it means $100,000 in a week! ;)

    Seriously though, is it out of the realm of possibility to find some people to outsource some coding with split profits? I'd definitely be keen to look into this further. Have already considered the app store idea, but without the coding skills thought I'd be hitting a dead-end.

    However, there are definitely talented coders in Jakarta. Perhaps it's time to investigate this more.

  • http://www.shakykaiser.com/blog/ Shaky

    http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs193p/cgi-bin/in

    Stanford uni iPhone application course materials.

    I'm an old school C/C++ guy. Been a while though. So, I'm following some tutorials to learn Objective C….. gonna give it a try, as like you I have a few hours each evening spare.

  • http://www.shakykaiser.com/blog/ Shaky

    http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs193p/cgi-bin/in

    Stanford uni iPhone application course materials.

    I'm an old school C/C++ guy. Been a while though. So, I'm following some tutorials to learn Objective C….. gonna give it a try, as like you I have a few hours each evening spare.

    • javajive

      Whoa. That's way over my head. ;)

  • Unspun

    Consider publishing a book. It will help boost your reputation and pave the way to more high paying photography work. If you want I can introduce Jerry Aurum to you. He's done this and more and now he seems to command quite high rates.

  • Unspun

    Consider publishing a book. It will help boost your reputation and pave the way to more high paying photography work. If you want I can introduce Jerry Aurum to you. He's done this and more and now he seems to command quite high rates.

    • javajive

      I'd love to do a book and have had many people suggest similar projects. I suppose it could be easier and more cost effective to do in Indonesia vs the States?

      I know Jerry Aurum actually, but only on casual terms – haven't seen him in over a year. Maybe I'll ask about his experience w/ publishing here. His style is much different than mine. Thanks for the advice.

  • Phillip Vieselmeyer

    Hi Brandon,
    Regarding your post about money and financial security:
    I adopted a principal at a young age which states: ” It's not how much you earn but what you do with it.” When I lived in Indonesia my employment description was somewhat similar to yours however with less income. The best way I discovered to earn additional income throughout my years in Jkt was to educate myself in the local financial / stock market. In short, After five years of investing/playing, we were able to relocate to the States and buy our home in Colorado. Right now the Indonesian stock market is down dramatically from it's historic highs set just a year ago which sets the stage for market newcomers to reap optimum gains.

  • Phillip Vieselmeyer

    Hi Brandon,
    Regarding your post about money and financial security:
    I adopted a principal at a young age which states: ” It's not how much you earn but what you do with it.” When I lived in Indonesia my employment description was somewhat similar to yours however with less income. The best way I discovered to earn additional income throughout my years in Jkt was to educate myself in the local financial / stock market. In short, After five years of investing/playing, we were able to relocate to the States and buy our home in Colorado. Right now the Indonesian stock market is down dramatically from it's historic highs set just a year ago which sets the stage for market newcomers to reap optimum gains.

    • javajive

      Never tried playing in the Indonesian stock market – without a vast knowledge of the market here, was concerned about investing. Already made plenty of mistakes in the U.S. stock market. ;)

      I'll ask around and see what some of my friends think about this one. Any tips you have to gain more knowledge would be appreciated. If it helped you to buy a home, there must be something to it!

      • Phillip Vieselmeyer

        Part 1 of 3 (Indonesian Market History)

        Upon my arrival in Indonesia in 1998, the IHSG (Index Harga Saham Gabugan), which is basically the Jakarta Stock Exchange version of the Dow, was hovering around the 300 point level. Years 2000-2005 this market posted record gains making it the worlds top performer in terms of percentage gains and in February 2008, it peaked at it's all time high of 2900 points. The strong sectors during this period were mining, most notably Bumi Resouces (BUMI) and Aneka Tambang (ANTM), and also the Agri-business sector which was led by Astra Agro Lestari tbk (AALI)

        In part 2 of 3, I will elaborate on my personal experience and recommended strategies and reputable investment firms.

        *Saham means Stock*

      • Phillip Vieselmeyer

        Part 2 0f 3 (Investment strategy and reputable firms)

        Many Indonesians and foreigners alike believe the Indonesian financial markets are extremely high risk and laden with corruption. There very well may be elements of these negatives, but if we closely look at the facts, the trickery and underhanded investment schemes in Jakarta are more often then not foreigners preying on foreigners! I'm sure you've been contacted by someone trying to convince you to invest in tax island havens. I'm not saying these are all shady, but use extreme caution and conduct extensive research before jumping in.
        Getting back on track now. To get one's feet wet in the Indonesian market, I'd strongly advise adopting a moderate approach in the beginning and then slowly graduate into riskier issues that suit your comfort level. Manulife and Sunlife are two reputable Canadian based firms which offer a gamut of good solidly managed mutual funds. Manulife Dana Campuran (MDC), Dana Saham (MDS) and the newly launched Andalan (MDA) cover low, medium and high risk respectively. MDC is compiled with conservative stocks bonds and cash, MDS is strictly medium to higher risk stock and last but not least, the Andalan is a unique fund which only has the three sectors of mining, property and agri-business. All of these are no load no insurance tied funds however you may be required to hold for 6 months to a year to avoid commission.
        Sunlife is an insurance company which provide three fund vehicles, conservative, moderate and aggressive. The drawback: there is a monthly fee assessed to your portfolio, however to join or close out there are no fees assessed.

        Part 3 0f 3 we'll discuss individual stock, online trading, currency exchange and 'Getting Sarted'

        *Reksa Dana means mutual fund*

        • javajive

          Philip, you've been quite helpful thus far. Thanks for taking the time to explain things in such detail. I'll email you if I have more specific questions regarding how to implement some of these ideas. Really appreciate your help!

        • Phillip Vieselmeyer

          Part 3 of 3 ( Stock, Online trading, currency trading, getting started )

          Now that we have covered Indonesian based mutual funds and are aware of the hundreds of different fund vehicles available, we'll now move onto individual stock issues. Trading stock in Indonesia is more or less the same as trading in the United States however differs greatly in required purchase quantities. In the states you are able to buy a single share but in Indonesia you must purchase a minimum of 500 shares which is called a 'Lot'.
          Ex: I'd like to purchase telkom (tlkm) for Rp. 6,300 per share. Ok, I'll take 5 lots (5 lots x 500shrs per lot =2500 shrs.
          2500 shrs x Rp 6,300= Rp. 15,750,000 which is my total investment for 5 lots of telkom.

          In my opinion, the best way to trade is through an online acct. Having researched half a dozen companies, I concluded E-Trading to be most conducive in terms of ease, transparency and location. Although I'm now residing in Colorado, I still actively trade which allows me to keep abreast with Indonesian finance/business as E-Trading offers many useful complimentary features on the trading program. There is an E-Trade in Kelapa Gading just around the corner from Gading Batavia and Samsul would be happy to assist.
          Providing the financial climate be perfect, an individual could reap tremendous gain trading Indonesian stock. For example: I trade my USD for Rupiah at say 12,000 per dollar, then I invest into say, Telkom (tlkm) at Rp. 6,300. Over the next several months telkom climbs to Rp. 8,900 and the dollar vs. Rupiah drops to 9,600. Cash out your Telkom gains then trade back to USD and you've just gained not only in stock value but currency exchange also.
          Getting started is quick and easy however I'd recommend Novita to be on acct. paperwork to ease the process as it's a bit more bureaucratic for bule direct.

  • http://indahs.zenfolio.com/ indahs

    Interesting topic. This makes me thinking and wondering what I am going to do if I were in your position.

    1. Similar to Charlene, I am doing wedding p-graphy and p-graphy project based (for products, potraiture & reportage). However, I am not as active as Charlene due to time constraint. I enjoy doing it and the earning is okay. Well, if you have time why not considering wedding photography in the weekend, professionally – you are lucky to live in Indonesia where wedding is happening EVERY WEEK!

    2. I was thinking to offer photography course or Indonesian cuisine cooking course (many Dutch is crazy over Indonesian cooking & Indonesian restaurant is always considered luxurious). It didn't work out simply because I don't have time at this moment. My current work is just killing me. So, perhaps, if you like to teach people, then you can do something by teaching others on your skills.

    3. Here is just a suggestion, why not building some websites that may attract investor in the future. I have a friend whose brother owned a dating website, as it became very popular, he sold the website with quite a lot of money (in euros, details better not tell ;)).

    Good luck & have a great weekend!

  • http://indahs.zenfolio.com/ indahs

    Interesting topic. This makes me thinking and wondering what I am going to do if I were in your position.

    1. Similar to Charlene, I am doing wedding p-graphy and p-graphy project based (for products, potraiture & reportage). However, I am not as active as Charlene due to time constraint. I enjoy doing it and the earning is okay. Well, if you have time why not considering wedding photography in the weekend, professionally – you are lucky to live in Indonesia where wedding is happening EVERY WEEK!

    2. I was thinking to offer photography course or Indonesian cuisine cooking course (many Dutch is crazy over Indonesian cooking & Indonesian restaurant is always considered luxurious). It didn't work out simply because I don't have time at this moment. My current work is just killing me. So, perhaps, if you like to teach people, then you can do something by teaching others on your skills.

    3. Here is just a suggestion, why not building some websites that may attract investor in the future. I have a friend whose brother owned a dating website, as it became very popular, he sold the website with quite a lot of money (in euros, details better not tell ;)).

    Good luck & have a great weekend!

    • javajive

      HI Indah. You always post such thorough and interesting comments!

      1. I've done pre-wedding work; actually earned quite a lot for the initial time put into the work, however the post-production that I agreed to killed my profit margin. ;) I'd consider doing more of them, but with a more clear-cut definition of expectations and time allotted. You're right – always a wedding here! I enjoy the pre-wedding cause there's less stress and the couples have enjoyed it. Have never shot a wedding before!? It's definitely something to put on my list of investigations.

      2. I actually have lots of experience teaching. I've taught many courses on tech-related subjects and have taught digital photography as well – but not for profit on my own. I've also considered this as an option; was an idea I had when I was toying with the idea of moving to Bali. I'd definitely consider doing this one.

      3. The online side of things is yet another idea I'm playing with. More about this soon. ;)

      Thanks again for taking the time to convey your thoughts and suggestions.

  • http://johnorford.blogspot.com john

    as a business student (many years ago now). it was drilled into us: ideas are abundant, anyone can come up with ideas to make money. execution and sales are the hard slogging part.

    it doesn't really matter how good a photographer u are if you do not work hard at selling your work. in that respect i think unspun is on the right track.

    btw, don't worry too much about money. it seems you have quite an envious setup as it is : ))

  • http://johnorford.blogspot.com john

    as a business student (many years ago now). it was drilled into us: ideas are abundant, anyone can come up with ideas to make money. execution and sales are the hard slogging part.

    it doesn't really matter how good a photographer u are if you do not work hard at selling your work. in that respect i think unspun is on the right track.

    btw, don't worry too much about money. it seems you have quite an envious setup as it is : ))

    • javajive

      Yes, as you can see, I have tons of ideas and many great suggestions from you all. The problem is the business side of things. My background is engineering, not business. I'm also a perfectionist, and tend to do all or none. If I can't make something just the way I'd like it, I would almost rather not do it at all. Need to break out of that if I'm going to do some trial and error with starting projects/business.

      And I have to worry about money precisely because my setup is quite nice! ;)

  • Irene

    Hey B, beyond my primary job I obtain additional income by performing (Indonesian traditional dancing) or speaking at various engagements/seminars. The time I put into it and the income I gain from it are definitely worth it because I get to do what I love AND get paid doing it.

    Good luck with your endeavors.

  • Irene

    Hey B, beyond my primary job I obtain additional income by performing (Indonesian traditional dancing) or speaking at various engagements/seminars. The time I put into it and the income I gain from it are definitely worth it because I get to do what I love AND get paid doing it.

    Good luck with your endeavors.

    • javajive

      You think I'd make a good dancer?

      But you're right, ideally I should turn my interest into earnings. I think that's the only way I'll truly succeed in a venture – if I keep plugging away out of a love for it, not because I have to.

  • Morgan

    B,
    Having housing paid for and living in a 3rd world country is your ticket to saving as much money per year as the oil/investment guys do here in the US. More than half my take-home goes to my house in the US. The next biggest expense is food. To reduce the food thing, you need to eat at home more. If you have a maid that can't cook, replace her with one that can. Also have her do the shopping and have her buy produce from where the locals shop for the best prices. She will not get the Bule rate.

    It costs 5x as much to eat out as it does to eat at home. Prepare your menu ahead of time and stick to it each day.

    Drop or reduce rates on all monthly services. I went to basic cable, dropped the satellite radio, found a cheaper gym, trying to renegotiate internet, switched to a prepaid cell plan, and switch off the lights/ac.

    I also moved closer to work, or rather, work closer to home so I can take public transport or bike to work. I actually PREFER riding my bike to work, and saving $250/mth in gas/maintanence/parking – to driving.

    Keep in mind that the other expats you see are not just your average white collar folk. They are usually very experienced, exceptionally well performers, and highly educated. Companies don't just send anyone overseas, you need to be quite talented or at a higher management level to warrant it most times.

    The endgame is how much money do you save. Right now, I save as much (some years even LESS!) as I did when I was making $20K/yr even though I make more than 3x that much now, because I have adapted to my new income. This recent economic crisis has made me reconsider though, and I am finding ways to devolve my lifestyle while still keeping it rich in terms of having good experiences and friends.

    Pay for no liquor in Indonesia, stick to Bintang.

    Check out http://www.mint.com it is a site for tracking your expenses, very user friendly. It has tools to among other things, compare what you spend on groceries or utilities to what other people pay.

    Make sure you are maxing out a 401K or ROTH IRA, have it deducted from your paycheck if possible.

    This is more money saving/lifestyle advice, I wish I could find a way to make more too, but in effect I am by saving more which is what really matters. If you want to make more money I would say your photography is the way to go – simply amazing.

    -Morgan

  • Morgan

    B,
    Having housing paid for and living in a 3rd world country is your ticket to saving as much money per year as the oil/investment guys do here in the US. More than half my take-home goes to my house in the US. The next biggest expense is food. To reduce the food thing, you need to eat at home more. If you have a maid that can't cook, replace her with one that can. Also have her do the shopping and have her buy produce from where the locals shop for the best prices. She will not get the Bule rate.

    It costs 5x as much to eat out as it does to eat at home. Prepare your menu ahead of time and stick to it each day.

    Drop or reduce rates on all monthly services. I went to basic cable, dropped the satellite radio, found a cheaper gym, trying to renegotiate internet, switched to a prepaid cell plan, and switch off the lights/ac.

    I also moved closer to work, or rather, work closer to home so I can take public transport or bike to work. I actually PREFER riding my bike to work, and saving $250/mth in gas/maintanence/parking – to driving.

    Keep in mind that the other expats you see are not just your average white collar folk. They are usually very experienced, exceptionally well performers, and highly educated. Companies don't just send anyone overseas, you need to be quite talented or at a higher management level to warrant it most times.

    The endgame is how much money do you save. Right now, I save as much (some years even LESS!) as I did when I was making $20K/yr even though I make more than 3x that much now, because I have adapted to my new income. This recent economic crisis has made me reconsider though, and I am finding ways to devolve my lifestyle while still keeping it rich in terms of having good experiences and friends.

    Pay for no liquor in Indonesia, stick to Bintang.

    Check out http://www.mint.com it is a site for tracking your expenses, very user friendly. It has tools to among other things, compare what you spend on groceries or utilities to what other people pay.

    Make sure you are maxing out a 401K or ROTH IRA, have it deducted from your paycheck if possible.

    This is more money saving/lifestyle advice, I wish I could find a way to make more too, but in effect I am by saving more which is what really matters. If you want to make more money I would say your photography is the way to go – simply amazing.

    -Morgan

    • javajive

      Damn Morgan – you wrote more in your comment than I did in my post! ;)

      I do think it's possible to save a decent % of income while living here – IF I live within my means. Most of my friends have two incomes and are able to put away an entire half of that (their spouses entire salary). I don't have that option, so I have to maximize what I can.

      I bike to work as well – and let Novita use the car (unless it's down-pouring) but even so, my Honda gets 35mpg and I live only 2km from work. ;) Gas is almost a non-issue for me. (in the States I had a 5.7 liter that got 16mpg)

      Not following what you mean about 'keep in mind the other expats….”?

      Liquor is way too hard to find this year in Jakarta. Sticking to Heineken (Bintang if I have to). Really missing red wine, good vodka, and Bailey's. Actually, buying any booze / beer sucks in Indonesia. But I do understand considering the religious majority.

      I use mint.com but for whatever reason can't link my main checking account and it's a royal pain in the ass not to have your main account showing up in expenditures, etc. I'm using IexpenseIt app for iPhone. Great little app for keeping track of spending.

      I can't do a 401K from here from what I've been told – and can't contribute to ROTH IRA if you're not paying into U.S. taxes. If this is incorrect PLEASE let me know. These are two HUGE factors that hurt me.

      I do think saving is important, but really feel I need to supplement this with additional income while I can. This is also because I'd like a bit of a security blanket if I decide to leave my job in the (semi) near future.

      Thanks for all your advice Morgan. It's very helpful and appreciated.

      • Morgan

        “Not following what you mean about 'keep in mind the other expats….”?”

        I meant in response to this comment:
        “I am friends with many expats making absurd amounts of money; generally they’re working in the oil industry, investments, or other more lucrative fields. It’s not easy seeing how much more they earn,”

        And that you are surrounded by exceptionally skilled and successfull people. You seemed like you were perhaps comparing yourself to the top 1% of income earners (most oil company and investment expats). Instead of trying to “keep up with the Joneses” you would be trying to “keep up with the Rockefellers”.

        Not that you are trying to play the keep up game I can tell you are not a material person, but its normal to compare yourself to the people you are surrounded by.

        I'll look into the IRA thing and get back to you. I have another idea as well and will pass that along to you via email.

        • javajive

          Comparisons are natural when disparity is so extreme and prevalent. I try not to, but it becomes inevitable when I'm biking to work and get passed by Ferrari, Jags, etc, or hear of all my neighbors visiting the 7 wonders of the world within 7 weeks.

          Thanks for the info via email; will respond asap. Awesome stuff you've provided me with.

  • javajive

    Whoa. That's way over my head. ;)

  • javajive

    I'd love to do a book and have had many people suggest similar projects. I suppose it could be easier and more cost effective to do in Indonesia vs the States?

    I know Jerry Aurum actually, but only on casual terms – haven't seen him in over a year. Maybe I'll ask about his experience w/ publishing here. His style is much different than mine. Thanks for the advice.

  • javajive

    Never tried playing in the Indonesian stock market – without a vast knowledge of the market here, was concerned about investing. Already made plenty of mistakes in the U.S. stock market. ;)

    I'll ask around and see what some of my friends think about this one. Any tips you have to gain more knowledge would be appreciated. If it helped you to buy a home, there must be something to it!

  • javajive

    HI Indah. You always post such thorough and interesting comments!

    1. I've done pre-wedding work; actually earned quite a lot for the initial time put into the work, however the post-production that I agreed to killed my profit margin. ;) I'd consider doing more of them, but with a more clear-cut definition of expectations and time allotted. You're right – always a wedding here! I enjoy the pre-wedding cause there's less stress and the couples have enjoyed it. Have never shot a wedding before!? It's definitely something to put on my list of investigations.

    2. I actually have lots of experience teaching. I've taught many courses on tech-related subjects and have taught digital photography as well – but not for profit on my own. I've also considered this as an option; was an idea I had when I was toying with the idea of moving to Bali. I'd definitely consider doing this one.

    3. The online side of things is yet another idea I'm playing with. More about this soon. ;)

    Thanks again for taking the time to convey your thoughts and suggestions.

  • javajive

    Yes, as you can see, I have tons of ideas and many great suggestions from you all. The problem is the business side of things. My background is engineering, not business. I'm also a perfectionist, and tend to do all or none. If I can't make something just the way I'd like it, I would almost rather not do it at all. Need to break out of that if I'm going to do some trial and error with starting projects/business.

    And I have to worry about money precisely because my setup is quite nice! ;)

  • javajive

    You think I'd make a good dancer?

    But you're right, ideally I should turn my interest into earnings. I think that's the only way I'll truly succeed in a venture – if I keep plugging away out of a love for it, not because I have to.

  • javajive

    Damn Morgan – you wrote more in your comment than I did in my post! ;)

    I do think it's possible to save a decent % of income while living here – IF I live within my means. Most of my friends have two incomes and are able to put away an entire half of that (their spouses entire salary). I don't have that option, so I have to maximize what I can.

    I bike to work as well – and let Novita use the car (unless it's down-pouring) but even so, my Honda gets 35mpg and I live only 2km from work. ;) Gas is almost a non-issue for me. (in the States I had a 5.7 liter that got 16mpg)

    Not following what you mean about 'keep in mind the other expats….”?

    Liquor is way too hard to find this year in Jakarta. Sticking to Heineken (Bintang if I have to). Really missing red wine, good vodka, and Bailey's. Actually, buying any booze / beer sucks in Indonesia. But I do understand considering the religious majority.

    I use mint.com but for whatever reason can't link my main checking account and it's a royal pain in the ass not to have your main account showing up in expenditures, etc. I'm using IexpenseIt app for iPhone. Great little app for keeping track of spending.

    I can't do a 401K from here from what I've been told – and can't contribute to ROTH IRA if you're not paying into U.S. taxes. If this is incorrect PLEASE let me know. These are two HUGE factors that hurt me.

    I do think saving is important, but really feel I need to supplement this with additional income while I can. This is also because I'd like a bit of a security blanket if I decide to leave my job in the (semi) near future.

    Thanks for all your advice Morgan. It's very helpful and appreciated.

  • Phillip Vieselmeyer

    Part 1 of 3 (Indonesian Market History)

    Upon my arrival in Indonesia in 1998, the IHSG (Index Harga Saham Gabugan), which is basically the Jakarta Stock Exchange version of the Dow, was hovering around the 300 point level. Years 2000-2005 this market posted record gains making it the worlds top performer in terms of percentage gains and in February 2008, it peaked at it's all time high of 2900 points. The strong sectors during this period were mining, most notably Bumi Resouces (BUMI) and Aneka Tambang (ANTM), and also the Agri-business sector which was led by Astra Agro Lestari tbk (AALI)

    In part 2 of 3, I will elaborate on my personal experience and recommended strategies and reputable investment firms.

    *Saham means Stock*

  • Morgan

    “Not following what you mean about 'keep in mind the other expats….”?”

    I meant in response to this comment:
    “I am friends with many expats making absurd amounts of money; generally they’re working in the oil industry, investments, or other more lucrative fields. It’s not easy seeing how much more they earn,”

    And that you are surrounded by exceptionally skilled and successfull people. You seemed like you were perhaps comparing yourself to the top 1% of income earners (most oil company and investment expats). Instead of trying to “keep up with the Joneses” you would be trying to “keep up with the Rockefellers”.

    Not that you are trying to play the keep up game I can tell you are not a material person, but its normal to compare yourself to the people you are surrounded by.

    I'll look into the IRA thing and get back to you. I have another idea as well and will pass that along to you via email.

  • Phillip Vieselmeyer

    Part 2 0f 3 (Investment strategy and reputable firms)

    Many Indonesians and foreigners alike believe the Indonesian financial markets are extremely high risk and laden with corruption. There very well may be elements of these negatives, but if we closely look at the facts, the trickery and underhanded investment schemes in Jakarta are more often then not foreigners preying on foreigners! I'm sure you've been contacted by someone trying to convince you to invest in tax island havens. I'm not saying these are all shady, but use extreme caution and conduct extensive research before jumping in.
    Getting back on track now. To get one's feet wet in the Indonesian market, I'd strongly advise adopting a moderate approach in the beginning and then slowly graduate into riskier issues that suit your comfort level. Manulife and Sunlife are two reputable Canadian based firms which offer a gamut of good solidly managed mutual funds. Manulife Dana Campuran (MDC), Dana Saham (MDS) and the newly launched Andalan (MDA) cover low, medium and high risk respectively. MDC is compiled with conservative stocks bonds and cash, MDS is strictly medium to higher risk stock and last but not least, the Andalan is a unique fund which only has the three sectors of mining, property and agri-business. All of these are no load no insurance tied funds however you may be required to hold for 6 months to a year to avoid commission.
    Sunlife is an insurance company which provide three fund vehicles, conservative, moderate and aggressive. The drawback: there is a monthly fee assessed to your portfolio, however to join or close out there are no fees assessed.

    Part 3 0f 3 we'll discuss individual stock, online trading, currency exchange and 'Getting Sarted'

    *Reksa Dana means mutual fund*

  • javajive

    Comparisons are natural when disparity is so extreme and prevalent. I try not to, but it becomes inevitable when I'm biking to work and get passed by Ferrari, Jags, etc, or hear of all my neighbors visiting the 7 wonders of the world within 7 weeks.

    Thanks for the info via email; will respond asap. Awesome stuff you've provided me with.

  • javajive

    Philip, you've been quite helpful thus far. Thanks for taking the time to explain things in such detail. I'll email you if I have more specific questions regarding how to implement some of these ideas. Really appreciate your help!

  • http://vip-diet.blogspot.com weight loss diets

    Many now interests how correctly to eat. The number of the people dissatisfied with the figure or health recently has increased and, as consequence, trying to get rid of excess weight. You should pick up a diet approaching you, and also learn to make correctly balanced diet.

  • Phillip Vieselmeyer

    Part 3 of 3 ( Stock, Online trading, currency trading, getting started )

    Now that we have covered Indonesian based mutual funds and are aware of the hundreds of different fund vehicles available, we'll now move onto individual stock issues. Trading stock in Indonesia is more or less the same as trading in the United States however differs greatly in required purchase quantities. In the states you are able to buy a single share but in Indonesia you must purchase a minimum of 500 shares which is called a 'Lot'.
    Ex: I'd like to purchase telkom (tlkm) for Rp. 6,300 per share. Ok, I'll take 5 lots (5 lots x 500shrs per lot =2500 shrs.
    2500 shrs x Rp 6,300= Rp. 15,750,000 which is my total investment for 5 lots of telkom.

    In my opinion, the best way to trade is through an online acct. Having researched half a dozen companies, I concluded E-Trading to be most conducive in terms of ease, transparency and location. Although I'm now residing in Colorado, I still actively trade which allows me to keep abreast with Indonesian finance/business as E-Trading offers many useful complimentary features on the trading program. There is an E-Trade in Kelapa Gading just around the corner from Gading Batavia and Samsul would be happy to assist.
    Providing the financial climate be perfect, an individual could reap tremendous gain trading Indonesian stock. For example: I trade my USD for Rupiah at say 12,000 per dollar, then I invest into say, Telkom (tlkm) at Rp. 6,300. Over the next several months telkom climbs to Rp. 8,900 and the dollar vs. Rupiah drops to 9,600. Cash out your Telkom gains then trade back to USD and you've just gained not only in stock value but currency exchange also.
    Getting started is quick and easy however I'd recommend Novita to be on acct. paperwork to ease the process as it's a bit more bureaucratic for bule direct.

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