On your path to financial freedom, it's easy to get tired of following a budget. It can feel exhausting when you're:
Trying to watch or track every dollar.
Constantly coming up with ways to make cuts to your expenses and spending.
Dealing with the hassle of making sure you have cash and extra funding when you want to spend for fun.
Feeling constant guilt when spending - or feeling deprived for not spending.
Often, this can translate into feeling tired of life in general, or feeling as if it is a lot of “work” to live. One way to alleviate this is to find ways to bring in extra income instead of killing yourself to make budget cuts. Sometimes an extra source of income is enough to give us space to breathe in our budget.
Remember: a budget is a tool and should be a means towards self confidence, security, and financial peace, not something that causes even more stress than debt itself!
But, if you are committed to becoming debt free, you know that every dollar matters. While in debt, if you pick up an additional source of income (a side hustle), you can set that money aside for vacations, bigger purchases, or "fun" experienced. Even when you are debt free, side hustles can help you attain goals faster (like having extra money for investing)!
Here are some ideas:
Working Overtime: Can you pick up extra hours at work? Will your company allow it? Many times we assume they won’t, but asking often opens the door to that possibility. Perhaps just one week a month you could work overtime. Just an extra 10 hours a month will really make an impact.
Mowing: More and more, people are using lawn services. We all have that neighbor who could use a little help in that department; maybe even more than one! For a few hours of your time per week in the summer, you could add approximately $100-200 a month. That would take a chunk out of a credit card balance! (And in the winter, shoveling snow could be possible to continue the source of income.)
Downsizing: Go through your belongings – especially anything in storage or not being used – and look for things to sell. I promise that if you go looking, you will find more things to sell than you expect. Examples are things like old clothes that no longer fit, exercise equipment you may not use anymore, furniture items or old electronics. Use apps like Offer Up, or sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to advertise and sell items you find.
Car Detailing: Ask around and find a car or two a month to detail for extra income. It is worth it to be able to get your debt snowball moving in the right direction.
Babysitting: Parents are desperate for reliable child care. Ask around in your social circle or church and see if anyone is looking for babysitters. Also check out sites like Care.com. If you invest in safety training like CPR, this broadens your choices and increases potential income.
Dog Walking: Again, network and look online for opportunities to walk dogs. Many, many people with dogs are looking for individuals to go during the day or in mornings/evenings and give their pets some exercise. Some websites to consult are: Rover.com, WagWalking.com, and Petsitter.com.
Sitting: In addition to child or pet sitting, there is house sitting as well. This is especially helpful for singles, as it usually entails living at someone’s house while they are on vacation to prevent burglary and to take care of pets, plants, mail etc. There are even sites that allow you do this internationally, which could translate into a way to travel/vacation on your budget!
Skills/Hobbies: Do you have any skill sets, hobbies, or interests that you could charge for? Any experience with writing? Try offering proofreading services. Know how to write a killer resume? Offer to put together resumes and cover letters for job seekers. Do you knit, crochet, or refinish furniture? Try selling your wares online. And if you have education in certain areas, tutoring is always needed. A quick online search will locate many opportunities and ways to connect you to potential students.
These are just some ideas for side hustles and ways to take some pressure off of your budget or to propel the debt payoff forward faster. If you have any others, or success with any of the ones I’ve mentioned, feel free to comment below!
As always, the goal is to make a productive change in life so that we will be better – and not worse – off a year from now. Make a plan and incorporate both budget cuts and income additions so that you can be that much closer to living a debt free life and planning for retirement!