Why Making More Money is Crucial to Getting Out of Debt

making more money getting out of debt

Stack up the cash from your side hustles to get out of debt fast.

Today I’m happy to have my friend Carrie Smith of CarefulCents.com offering up a post on the important, but often neglected subject of getting out of debt. Here’s Carrie…

It took me just over a year to completely wipe out my debts, and while that might not seem like a long time to you, it seemed to take forever.

No matter how much debt you have or if you’re finally debt free like I am, you’ll discover that getting out of debt is tough. There’s no easy way out or shortcut to take, and you’ll want to quit more times than you can count.

However, there is one strategy you can use to make it easier or faster – making more money.

As a financial expert, you’re probably expecting me to tell you to cut your lifestyle back, live on rice and beans and be a hermit until your debts are paid.

But I won’t tell you to do that. Granted, I did many of those things and if you’re completely committed to the process, you can be a little radical too.

To be debt free there are only two real strategies that work: cut back on spending or earn more money. And let’s face it, there’s only so much you can cut back on spending until you can’t cut back anymore. Too many people focus on scrimping and saving money and lose sight of how much more progress they could make just by bringing in a little extra money.

Why Making More Money is Crucial

1. You’ll be Debt Free Faster

During the year it took me to pay off my debt, I saw firsthand how increasing my income was directly related to how fast I’d get out of debt and start building wealth. This is why making more money is crucial to getting out of debt, not just cutting your lifestyle.

I started my freelance writing business and dedicated all the income I made strictly towards paying off debt. If I took on more projects and made extra money, I’d make progress that much faster. But if I slacked off and didn’t bring in much cash flow that month, I’d be in debt longer. It’s completely up to you how quickly or slowly you want to pay off your debt.

2. You’ll Have a Higher Chance of Success

The truth is, the longer you work towards a goal, the higher your chance of quitting becomes. You’ll get tired, worn out and start finding excuses to give up. But if you can give you debt payment plan a boost by bringing in more money, your chance of success will greatly increase.

3. You Can Find a Creative Outlet

When you’re keeping a close eye on your budget and throwing every extra cent towards debt, your social life becomes almost non-existent. So you’ve got to turn your new part-time job or side hustle into your social, creative outlet.

One of the things I did was to implement my deal hunting skills at yard sales and thrift stores, then I flip them on eBay or Craigslist for a small profit. This is a great way to meet new people and make connections, while making a little extra money. It makes getting out of debt a little more fun and a little less boring.

4. You’ll Make New Friends

I’ve struggled with debt since I was 20 years old and I’ve tried multiple times to finally be debt free. The only thing that made it stick this time was because I made new friends and found a group of people just like me who were supportive.

When you go out to find a new side job or freelance gig, you’ll come across lots of other people who are doing the same thing. Instead of traveling this debt free journey alone, you’ll be making new friends, sharing stories and encouraging each other along the way. That kind of accountability is extremely important to your success.

Last year the New York Times featured an interesting article showcasing people juggling multiple jobs.

Fun Ways of Making More Money

Your Knowledge and Skills

You don’t have to go back to school or have an expensive degree to make some money on the side. You probably already possess the skills and knowledge!

For example:

  • Do you enjoy teaching and mentoring? Make money on the side as a substitute teacher or do some private tutoring
  • Are you creative and enjoy doing crafts and DIY projects? Make money hosting a scrap-booking class, a jewelry party or doing small DIY repairs
  • Are you passionate about fashion and clothes? Make extra money as a fashion consultant or flip thrift store finds for a profit

There’s an endless amount of ways to increase your income by leveraging what you already know how to do.

The Assets You Own

Each of us owns some sort of asset that we can use to make money on the side. Here’s what I mean – your home, your car and your yard, are all assets you can leverage.

If you have an extra room in your house, there’s an abundance of overnight travelers always looking for a comfortable bed and place to stay. On top of renting a space in your home, you could try renting your car for extra cash too. Some people even earn up to $600 per month doing this!

If you have a small garden with home-grown produce, consider selling at a local farmer’s markets or directly to friends, family and neighbors. This is a great way to make your yard work for you.

Small Tasks and Errands

If you don’t have a lot of time available for some of these other ideas, try doing some of these smaller tasks and errands to increase your monthly income. Remember, every little bit adds up, so you don’t always have to go after the biggest most time consuming projects.

With sites like Fiverr, Taskrabbit, Odesk or Elance you can start making money immediately. From running quick errands like picking up groceries, driving someone to the airport or doing a few writing gigs, there’s all kinds of ways to make an easy $5 0r $10 bucks.

The process of getting out of debt is often slow and tiresome. But by making more money every month, you’ll be able to have fun, make new friends and become debt free faster than you originally planned.

Are you in the process of getting out of debt? Are you making more money to boost your efforts? Are you consciously choosing not to?

Carrie Smith is the writer behind Careful Cents, where she helps people get out of debt and find a career they love. During the day she’s an Accountant and at night she spends her time working on multiple side projects. Connect with her on Twitter @applecsmith.

Image by doctorwonder

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Last Edited: March 28, 2013 @ 12:47 am
About Carrie Smith

Carrie Smith is an ex small business accountant who now helps freelancers and entrepreneurs get out of debt and organize their lives, so they can fund their dream business. Find her on Twitter @carefulcents.

Comments

  1. demi ter haar says:

    Well the best advise is Don’t get in Debt, Stop using that credit card and start using a Debit card. So you only spend what you have and not what you might have!

  2. Christian L says:

    Carrie,I’m fortunate enough to have no debt at all. But I still work one shift a week in the service industry to make extra cash that I save. I imagine if I was in debt, all of that money would go toward paying it down.-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

    • @Christian L Most people wouldn’t put in the extra work if they were in debt, so you’re already ahead of everyone else! You should have quite the nest egg by the time you want to retire. Great stuff!

  3. This is just how I did it.  The only time I have had debt was when I decided I want to propose to my wife.  I took on the debt to buy the ring even though it wasn’t the smartest thing for me to do.  Right after I got into online marketing and was able to wipe the $5k credit card slate clean within 12 months.  This was right before the 0% promotional period ended.

    • @OneSmartDollar While taking on some debt to propose might not have been the best thing, it still sounds like you were being smart with your money and didn’t pay any interest fees. Even that is a good thing!

  4. I am doing freelance work because otherwise, it’s going to take FOREVER to pay off my debts. Great article!

  5. I wonder how many people have made extra money as fashion consultants? This sounds like a dream part time income job! Carrie, thanks for being honest and stating it like it is = more money = pay off debt faster. I’m kind of in that situation myself now, with just over 7k student debt left I’m at a plateau where only more in come can accelerate the rate at which I pay it off sooner. I’ve been cutting back on so much that it’s like Christmas Eve before I set a foot in Starbucks now.

    • @Veronica @ Pelican on Money One of my really close girl friends does fashion consulting on the side. Especially for special occasions like weddings, graduations and etc. She’s a hair stylist so she helps them put together the outfit and the hair – it’s a pretty smart gig!I hit a plateau similar to yours and I learned the same thing, I had to bring in more money to make noticeable progress. It’s not easy but totally worth it!

  6. Great post Carrie and I think your approach of balancing out controlled spending with earning more is vital.  While spending is often the root of the problem, I encounter many folks who are not tapping into their full earning potential.  Kudos to you for your accomplishment and for sharing your story.

    • @rwohlner Thank you so much! Ironically, I noticed that once I started bringing in more money and working to my full potential, I started watching my spending more. The harder I worked the more I wanted my money to work for me, instead of mindlessly spending it.

  7. applecsmith says:

    @rwohlner Thanks for the RT :) cc @PTmoney

  8. MoneyMasterMom says:

    Great job Carrie.  I have a secret dream to hire a fashionista to come to some thrift stores with me and help me pick out some winning outfits.  Wish I knew someone who was doing that as a side hustle!

  9. Great post, Carrie!  Thanks for inspiring people to make more money and get out of debt faster!

  10. Insurance Hunter says:

    There is no doubt that making more money will help you erase your debt much quicker. But, the question for most people is how to generate more income. Most people are in salaried jobs where their income doesn’t change. Rather than looking for a higher paying job, taking on a part time job, freelancing, or even doing odd jobs are all great ways to generate more money to pay down your debt.

  11. The key to getting out of debt is don’t use credit, here is a little know secret the credit score was not introduced until the early 1980′s so up until that point you got judge by your character and ability to pay bills and not a score, the key stay healthy as much as you can, and do a self inventory of the skills we already possess and find out how you can to your hobbies into extra earnable income. Good information, living debt free is about choices we make regarding money and that is a lesson learned one day at a time. The advantage that the internet has is there are multiple income streams or portfolio’s you can create.