Budget Tight? Change Your Life With A Side Hustle
Happy Monday, Clever Friends! My last post on CleverDude was over 16 months ago, but I’m happy to report I’m back! I could say the reason for my return is I simply missed writing here. While that is certainly true, something else provided significant motivation as well. That something can be described in two words – medical debt.
On Sept. 10, I ruptured the Achilles tendon in my right foot. Three days later I had surgery to repair it. Between the visit to urgent care, the surgery, and all the aftercare, I have racked up significant medical bills. The additional income from blogging will help pay those medical bills while minimizing the impact on my family’s existing budget.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t wish they had more income. When people incur unexpected bills or want more disposable income, they typically cut expenses. We should all examine our expenses from time to time, but that’s only one side of the equation. In addition to cutting expenses, you can also increase your income through a side hustle.
Reasons To Have A Side Hustle
A person might want the extra income from a side hustle for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few:
- Medical Debt: Medical bills can come out of nowhere. One minute you’re fine, the next minute you’ve been in a car accident, tore an Achilles tendon (my situation), or sitting in the ER for stitches because you got hit in the face with a softball (also happened to me). Even with good insurance, one incident can leave a person with thousands of dollars in medical debt. The income from a side hustle can help pay those medical bills without upending the rest of your life.
- Credit Card Debt: You made bad spending decisions and racked up credit card debt. It happens. Once it’s gone, you’ll be in good shape, but you just need some help to get there.
- Loan Debt: Tired of that car loan or mortgage? Side hustle income can help get that balance to zero faster.
- Holiday Gifts: People with tight budgets find it difficult to save for holiday gift-giving. A temporary side hustle doing seasonal work can put the happy back in your holidays.
- Vacation: Saving for your dream vacation to Hawaii or Europe may give you the motivation to pick up some extra work.
- Special Item: Pad your savings account to pay for new furniture, a television, appliances or even a new wardrobe.
- Increase Retirement Savings: Additional income can boost your IRA, 401K or investments to bring that retirement date closer. Work now, play later!
How To Find The Right Side Hustle
You can increase your income simply by getting another job. Any job will do, especially if you only need the additional income temporarily. But if you want to increase income long term, give some thought to what you really want in a side hustle.
- Pays Well: Before you start looking for your side hustle, write down a number (for example, a per hour pay rate) that would make having an extra job worth it to you.
- Flexible Hours: If you’re looking for a side hustle, that implies you already have a main hustle. They can’t conflict. Make sure the side hustle’s schedule doesn’t conflict with your bread and butter income.
- Enjoyable: If you don’t like what you’re doing, chances are high you’ll quit before you reach your goal.
- Use Your Skills: Find a side hustle using a skill you already have. Not only will it make it easier to be hired, but you may find having that skill commands a higher pay rate. For example, when contemplating what to do for my latest side hustle, I entertained applying at a new BBQ restaurant because making BBQ is something I love, and a skill I already have.
Is A Side Hustle Really Worth It?
To help answer that question, you need to look at what the increase in income would do to your budget.
The amount of income you can get from your side hustle really depends on how much you’re willing to work. For purely illustrative purposes, say you took up a side hustle working 8 hours a week that paid $10 an hour. That’s one full shift on a weekend, or two short shifts during the week.
That’s 32 hours a month * $10 an hour = $320 per month (before taxes).
Would your budget look different with that extra income? How fast could you pay off your car loan or save for that vacation?
There are any number of reasons why a person might pick up a side hustle, or a second job, temporarily or even permanently. With just a little time and effort you can find a side hustle that matches your interests and availability to earn the extra cash you need to meet a financial goal.
What do you think, Clever Friends, do you have a side hustle? Would you ever consider getting a second job to meet a financial goal?