Got Debt? Choose A Side Hustle

Most people in America have some form of debt in their life. There are arguments about what ‘good’ debt is vs ‘bad’ debt. The Bible says the borrower is servant to the lender. There are several studies that report that money issues is the leading cause of divorce. As a married man I can attest that money fights with my spouse have been among some of our most intense disagreements. We have debt. It brings stress to our marriage but we don’t allow it to consume us. I recently got a summer job (side hustle) to knock out some of our debt. It is medical debt from a couple hospital visits. I decided to UP my resolve to knock this debt out. A side hustle can be anything you can do to put extra money in your pocket. Delivering pizzas, sorting boxes, selling on Ebay, garage sale are just a few examples. Dedicating time to a side hustle can help you throw bigger payments toward the debt in your life. I just read a great book titled Hustle Away Debt by David Carlson. He shares some great thoughts on differing types of side hustles. He used side hustles to attack his student loan debt. What amount of debt do you have in your life right now? Is it a nuisance? Is it affecting your relationships? Is it affecting your sleep at night. Don’t remain paralyzed by debt’s grip on your life. Seek out a side hustle. Imagine what an extra $200, $300, or $500 a month could do to help you knock debt more quickly out of your life. Ask yourself what skills you have that somebody could pay you money for. Are you tech savvy? Mechanically inclined? Handy man? Think about your hobbies and interests? Could you turn these talents into part time income? Get a side hustle into your life and send debt running.

Below are some examples of side hustles.

  • Working Retail
  • Food Delivery
  • Waiting Tables
  • Child Care
  • Concessions at Sports Stadium
  • Mystery Shopping
  • Caregiving & Senior Services
  • Blogging
  • Selling on Etsy
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Flipping Things on Ebay or Craigslist
  • Graphic Design
  • Podcasting
  • Creating YouTube Videos
  • Creating An Online Product To Sell
  • Photography
  • Music Lessons
  • Freelance Writing
  • Web Development

Discipline & Killing Debt

What do dieting and attacking debt have in common? Discipline. It’s not a popular word but definitely necessary when attacking debt. You need to get focused with your money. Every dollar has to have a destination. Attacking your debt often means saying no to the ‘extras’ in life like eating out and vacations. Saying no to excess is a discipline. Deciding to live on less requires discipline. Deciding to live on a budget takes discipline. There will be days you don’t want to exercise. There will be days when you don’t want to cook a meal at home. You MUST be focused on the bottom line. You must be willing to sacrifice now to have more later. You must see the more confident future self that discipline produces in you. How motivated are you to put debt away? It’s much easier to get in debt than it is to get out. Be disciplined and you will be on your way to financial success.

How do you begin to show discipline with your money? Below are some tips to get you started.

  1. Live on a budget. You must have every dollar accounted for before you spend your first dollar. For a free budget resource, visit
  2. Save something. Begin small but save something. Just $25 a pay period is a start. You need to make Savings a line item in your budget. I recommend putting your savings in an online savings account like Ally or Capitalone360. A couple tips for beginning to save are: 1) When you pay off a debt, begin to set that money for savings; 2) Save your pay raise.
  3. Spend on Needs not Wants. You need to begin examining each purchase and ask yourself, “Is this a need or a want?” There will always be a better version (upgrade) of what you own. Just because a newer version exits doesn’t mean you have to buy it.
  4. Create your Debt Snowball. Simply put, this is a listing of all your debts from smallest to largest. Having this list in front of you can heighten your awareness for more discipline in your financial life.                                                                                    While discipline can be painful it is no doubt a necessary skill when it comes to winning with money. With any new skill you must start small and begin incremental growth. What money tip would you add when it comes to discipline and money?

Is Your Money Working Hard?

Are you paying interest or earning interest? This could very well draw the line between the rich and the poor. The poor pay interest to others. The rich earn interest on investments. Which camp are you in? The Bible says the borrower is servant to the lender. How much of your monthly income goes to debt payments? What interest rates are you paying? There are real consequences to paying interest. Money spent on paying interest is money that could be used to earn interest. If you find yourself paying more interest than you are earning, below are some tips to help you get on a better financial path.

  1. Have an Emergency Fund. Many people go into debt because they have no plan for life’s emergencies. Cars and appliances break down. Medical expenses can burst onto your financial radar. The unexpected will occur in your financial life. A $1000 emergency fund is a good start as a defense against going further in debt. Put it in a separate savings account that can be linked to your checking account. Not having an emergency fund will result in you borrowing money through credit cards or other loans. Take action today to start saving toward your emergency fund. Sell something. Take a second job. Just saving $50 a month is sufficient enough to get you moving toward the $1000 goal. It’s okay to start small. Use your income tax refund. This is step Number 1 in the war against acquiring new debt.
  2. Eradicate Debt. Your debt payments are consuming your opportunities to earn interest. List all of your debts, their balances and interest rates on a spreadsheet. List the debts smallest to largest. After this exercise you are to throw all your money paying off the smallest debt. This is a practice called snowballing that is encouraged by finance guru Dave Ramsey. Once you pay off the smallest debt you throw the payments you put toward that toward your second smallest debt. You continue this practice until all your debts are paid (except your house).
  3. Get On A Budget. To some people the word ‘budget’ sounds constraining. However, if you don’t tell your money where to go you will wonder where it went. There is a great free budgeting program available at EveryDollar. This program is very user friendly. You can set up your own budget in 15 minutes. All you need to register is an email address and a password.
  4. Start investing on a small scale. You can invest with as little as $50 a month. A good place to start for beginners is Betterment. You can choose how much to invest in stocks or bonds with just the click of a mouse. You can link the site to your checking account and choose what day of the month you want the money drafted out. Once you get to $3000 balance I would recommend selecting a mutual fund with Vanguard. I would recommend you get serious about educating yourself about investments because nobody should care more about your money than you. For more information on other options for beginning investors click here. Follow the above steps and see how well you can begin earning more interest and paying less! Good Luck!

Life Insurance

If you are married and/or have children you need to make sure you have adequate life insurance. The best type is term life insurance. It is very cheap and will cover the unexpected events in life. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. You don’t want to leave your surviving family with the stress of worrying how the bills will be paid after you die. A good rule of thumb is to get insured for 10 times your annual income. Example: If you make $50,000 annually you will need to seek out a $500,000 policy. If you are in good health and in your twenties or early 30’s this may only cost you $25-$30 a month. This is not much to pay and it gives you peace of mind knowing your family is prepared for the unexpected. A couple of reliable sites to get competitive rates are:

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Zander Insurance

When applying for life insurance you will be asked LOTS of questions about your physical health, age, etc. This is just a necessary part of the process.

Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents shares 10 top insurance companies.