You’re not going to like the answer. As a person who has been pursuing passive income and side jobs for the last couple of years, I’ve found a lot of unrealistic information out there. There are plenty of tutorials on how to make a 6 figure salary through blogging or how to get rich with a YouTube channel, but the truth is these are all the exception and never the rule. That hasn’t stopped me from paying off a significant amount of debt in just two months though. I’m about halfway through my debt pay off goal and this is how I did it.
I made good financial decisions in my youth. I went to school, took out as few student loans as possible, got a degree in a job I liked that would also provide job security, and bought a house. I worked overseas to pay off my student loan debt and save up money, and when I came home, I invested in a piece of property that I knew I could return value on. I’m not saying all of this just to humbly brag but to stress the importance of making good investments. It’s not too late to set aside money and save. Even if you don’t have the highest paying job, anything you can put back, can be used to invest in either property or an education, something with a good return value. Nowadays, I encourage all of my friends to look into getting a trade and skip the regular BA or MA in college. Look at current trends and the best places to put your money. Think long term. How has this paid off for me? Well, I rent out the spare room in my house for an additional $300 a month. It’s not a lot, but it pretty much covers my mortgage. And by the time I’m done remodeling my home, I’m considering making it into an AirBnB to see how quickly I can pay it off. Start making those investments now. Some of them may be years in the making, but it’s worth it.
Despite keeping my bills as low as possible, I noticed I was still racking up quite a bit of credit card debt every month which means I wasn’t making much progress in paying it off. I decided to sit down and tally my expenses and what I found horrified me. The amount of money I spent eating out was more than all of my other expenses combined – nearly $900 a month! That is absolutely ridiculous, but alas, it’s my guilty pleasure. I don’t blow my money on tangible items, shopping sprees, or other frivolous activities. I like eating out, but after seeing how much it was costing me, I decided to cut back – way back. Instead of eating out my average of twice a day, I cut all the way back to twice a week and boy what an impact it had. Bottom line, if you’re not willing to make sacrifices, you’re not going to get ahead. Tally up your expenses and see what’s costing you the most. Could you have a roommate or share a cheaper place for a period of time? Are you buying things you don’t need? Do you have subscription services you don’t use often? Look at where you can cut back and see the difference it makes.
I’m no stranger to hard work. I’ve worked more than one job for most of my adult life. Sometimes I regret the amount of time I spent working in my youth when I could’ve been having fun, but it feels good being in my 30s and having not only disposable income but also free time to enjoy it. I have a full time teaching job, but I still have spare time, so I decided to get a little side gig cleaning offices in the evening. That jobs gets me an additional $600 a month which goes directly to my credit card debt and it only takes up about an hour and a half of my evenings. I also tutor 3 days a week for $40 an hour which gets me an additional $480 a month. I also occasionally do online scoring through a company called Pearson, but this is a feast or famine job and the hours fluctuate wildly. In my free time, I do tests on UserTesting which earns about $10 per test. There is no shortage of jobs out there and if you have the free time, taking on a little extra work can make a big difference. Am I busy? Of course, but I’m also going to shed the debt faster than anticipated. I started with about $10,000 in debt, and I’m already about halfway through thanks to the multiple jobs.
Other Income Sources
In addition to the multiple jobs, I frequently look into other ways to make a little extra money. For instance, I went through my basement and rounded up any building materials and supplies from previous projects to return to the store. I had extra boxes of flooring, unopened containers of sealant and caulk and extra insulation. I returned all of this to Lowes and it came out to $750! That went back on the credit card which meant I only had a little over $200 left to pay off. I’ve had yardsales and managed to make a couple hundred dollars and what I couldn’t sell there, I sold online. I’ve done the occasional odd job cleaning or helping develop resumes for friends, and I’ve worked hard to watch my other expenses, avoid unnecessary purchases, cancel unused subscriptions, and started buying cheaper grocery items (until I get the debt paid off). I also transferred my credit card debt to a zero percent APR card to avoid the interest fees. There is no limit to the amount of money you can make and save if you look at all of the options available to you.
I told you that you probably wouldn’t like the answer because it’s really simple. You have to work hard and make sacrifices, but there’s more to it than that. I also enjoy a number of privileges that help me get ahead including having no children and a clean bill of health. I feel for busy parents and people struggling with long-term health problems. I can’t imagine the struggle. I wish we lived in a society that made life easier for people with dependents, disabilities, or other needs. Until then, we have to play the hand we’re dealt with, and that means a lot of hard work and careful financial planning. Has anything help you get ahead? Please share your experience with paying off debt and best ways to make money!