Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
Debt compounds the stress in your life. When you’re in debt, it often feels crushing and insurmountable.
But the truth is, in many cases, debt is entirely within your control to minimize. It means working a little harder and finding ways to bring in extra income like using a side hustle to pay off debt.
Debt not only robs you of your peace of mind today but filters forward to the future. Travel and big purchases get put off because you’re only adding to your debt. But fortunately, debt doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture in your life.
Table of Contents
- Finding Additional Money in Your Budget
- Why It’s a Great Time to Take on a Side Hustle
- How To Choose A Side Hustle That’s Right For You
- Here Are 4 Popular Side Hustles You Can Put to The Test
- Ready to Make Money on The Side?
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Here’s why you should consider using a side hustle to pay off your debt and get control of your finances!
Finding Additional Money in Your Budget
Wondering where you could free up additional money in your existing budget? If you think most of your monthly expenses are accounted for, I suggest you take a hard look at your checking account.
If it’s been a while, more than likely you’ve got several automatic deductions coming out of your account each month. Are they all paying for important items that you’re using regularly? Think of gym memberships, subscriptions, membership sites, and other automatic charges you forget about.
You may also want to look at your charges over the last six months or year (if it’s been a while). Have your charges gone up for services like your phone, cable, or insurance? It’s time to get any “creep” in check.
I’m sure there’s at least one automatic deduction that came to mind—one you’ve been planning to take care of but haven’t quite yet. I use time-blocks in my daily schedule and I’ve found that all it takes is a block or two to tackle these little financial inconveniences. Schedule 30 minutes within the next few days, or in next week’s calendar at the most, and get those unnecessary, automatic deductions stopped.
In order to identify other areas where you can find additional money in your budget, you need to actually have a budget in place. If you need help, I highly recommend using the Monthly Budget Workbook, to figure out exactly where your money is going.
“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” — Oscar Wilde
Once you’ve ticked off the “low hanging fruit” in your budget by tightening up your automatic deductions and getting your monthly budget organized, it’s time to assess your debt. Look at your income and compare it to your minimum monthly payments. Are you able to make progress on your debt while still enjoying your current lifestyle (and do you have a fund set aside for emergencies)?
If the answer is no, then it’s time to consider using a side hustle to pay off debt.
Why It’s a Great Time to Take on a Side Hustle
With the increasing number of people conducting business online, it’s easier than ever to start your very own side hustle.
Assuming you work a full-time job, a side hustle is a great way to supplement your income while reducing your debt. It can also be used as another vehicle to either create or build up your existing savings for your plans. Many side hustles require a few hours per week (and you often set the hours yourself—making it easy to work into your schedule).
What I find so intriguing about side hustles is that, for many people, their hustle is so successful that it becomes a full-time business! I’ve seen this happen with many bloggers, virtual assistants, coaches, and consultants. If your day job doesn’t keep you fulfilled, a side hustle may be the perfect answer.
According to Forbes, 40.8 million Americans are now self-employed, many of them beginning with just a simple side hustle. If you crave more freedom and flexibility in your daily schedule, don’t like answering to anyone, and dread the 9-5, you may find a way in turning that side hustle into a new career path.
“Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you the kind of misery you prefer.” — Author Unknown
How To Choose A Side Hustle That’s Right For You
Using a side hustle to pay off debt is a great solution, assuming you find a job you enjoy. When choosing the appropriate path, here are a few things to consider before beginning on your journey:
- Will you work on your side hustle in the evenings after work? On weekends?
- Are you willing to give up some of your “me” time?
- How much time are you willing to set aside each day to establish and build your side hustle?
- Are you willing to give up some of your leisure time to get started?
So many people have intentions of starting something on the side, but never quite get there because they let life, work, and other obligations get in the way.
To be successful with whatever side hustle you start, you must first determine:
- How much time will you need each week to develop your side hustle successfully?
- Where will that time come from? Evenings, weekends?
If you have a detailed plan, a timeline (to monitor your benchmarks and stay on track), and a completion-date, this will serve as a blueprint, ensuring your progress towards a second income. Using a side hustle to pay off debt and build savings requires some careful planning on the front end. Once you get the logistics ironed out, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can build income in a few hours per week.
If you’re considering a side hustle, look at what you already know how to do. What unique skills do you have? Are you great at writing, designing, organizing, driving, teaching, or [you fill in the blank here]?
If you’re drawing a blank, think of that one thing everyone asks you, “How do you [blank]?” What you might find incredibly simple or second nature is a huge deal to someone else and they are more than willing to pay for it.
Do your skills require a little refining before you jump in? Maybe you’re a great writer, but your organizational skills leave a lot to be desired. Take the time to assess where you may need to improve.
Once you figure out your areas of weakness, you can begin to take the steps toward building the skills necessary and turn those weaknesses into additional strengths.
By harnessing your marketable skills, you will be that much closer to having a successful, income-producing side hustle that you can turn into a business if that’s the path you choose.
How much are you willing to risk in starting your side hustle?
Some new ventures require more upfront capital than others, thus incur a higher risk. If you plan to use a side hustle to pay off debt, avoid adding to it. You may want to consider a startup where your costs are minimal.
On the other hand, if you’re comfortable with taking on a little more risk, many side hustles are incredibly profitable, but require an initial investment before the money starts rolling in.
One of the most important questions when considering a side hustle is: What interests you?
The last thing you want is to be trapped pursuing a side hustle, which entails spending your free time doing something you hate.
Because you and I both know it will be nothing but an internal, uphill battle with yourself that you’ll stop long before getting started. Be sure to choose something that brings you joy while allowing you to earn enough income to pay down your debt and build up savings.
Here Are 4 Popular Side Hustles You Can Put to The Test
1. Become an Uber Driver
If you love to drive and know your city’s streets like the back of your hand, Uber driving could be for you. A couple of hours of driving each night can translate into some serious cash.
Depending on the time you drive—during high-traffic hours, like late evening, early morning or Friday and Saturday nights—you can potentially earn even more than non-peak times. That said, if Driving Miss Daisy isn’t your thing, let’s move on.
2. Rent Out Your Spare Room on Airbnb
If you have a room in your house you don’t use, why not make some money from it? With Airbnb, you can rent out your available space to travelers and make a nice profit in the process.
What I like about this option is that you have flexibility in what you charge (you want to stay competitive). You can increase your rate during peak season or holidays. If you prefer consistency with how long each lodger stays in your home (less transient), you can impose a minimum stay requirement. You can block out times when your space isn’t available to rent, and the best thing of all, you aren’t tethered to your house.
If you live in the city, travel often, or have extra space in your home, Airbnb offers a great opportunity to earn passive income. While this option isn’t for everyone, it’s become a very popular side hustle option over the past few years.
3. Create an Online Course
Has your job or personal interests made you an expert in a specific area? Remember that unique skill of yours we covered previously? Creating a course may be the perfect side hustle fit for you!
Whether you create the best PowerPoint presentation or make the best chocolate chip cookie ever, whatever your expertise is, consider packaging that skill and insight into a comprehensive course that others can benefit from in exchange for a fee.
Most course platforms are quite user-friendly and don’t require a lot of fancy equipment. You simply create materials and record yourself teaching. Follow the instructions and promote your course. You’ll be well on your way to earning great side hustle income.
4. Build A Blog
When you share your story, whether that story is good or bad, you are sharing your thoughts, ideas, passion, and interests while helping people across the globe. One of the best ways to share your story with others is by setting up a blog.
I love this side hustle the most because everyone has a story that I believe needs to be shared. You have a unique voice that is only yours, and no one can tell it better than you.
When your story helps someone, all because what you had to say genuinely resonated with them, it doesn’t get any better! Because let’s be honest, as individuals, all we want is to feel heard and understood.
You also have the option of monetizing your blog as well (which is where you can use your side hustle to pay off your debt). Monetization entails many different revenue streams. These streams may include writing a sponsored post, having affiliate links for products you use and stand behind, running paid advertisements on your blog, and even creating your product(s), which you control 100%!
Realize early on, if your intent is to monetize your blog, it will take time. A blog takes a lot of sweat equity to build without a lot of return in the beginning. So, my warning to you: if you come across someone who promises that you’ll be making money immediately with what they’re offering to “sell” you, just walk away.
Creating a successful blog takes time, but it’s a great side hustle option that is really satisfying (trust me)!
Ready to Make Money on The Side?
When you start to make money from your chosen side hustle, remember that your primary goal is to either eliminate your debt or to increase your savings for a more significant purchase in the future. Break your financial goals into bite-sized steps and tackle them one-by-one.
It’s tempting to spend your extra cash, especially when you see it start to come in the door but be wise about your goals. It’s essential to create a system that ensures at least a portion of your profits goes towards paying down this debt. Once it becomes a system, it will be easier to maintain and you won’t think twice about using that money for something else.
Once you’ve eliminated your debt and increased your savings to where you’re satisfied, spend those earnings without giving it a second thought; that is unless you decide to turn that side hustle into your full-time business.
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