5 Ways I Made Extra Money to Pay Off Debt Faster


When you’re working to pay off debt, you’ll cut out most superfluous expenses in order to reach your goals. But the problem with cutting out spending is that there is only so much you can cut.

What if you want to reach your financial goals faster? If you’re already working a full time job, and have cut all excess spending from your budget, then you’re probably thinking that it’s still going to take you a long time to reach your money goals. But the reality is that you can still earn extra money on the side to reach those goals faster.

Back when I was working to pay off $45,000 of debt—a combination of student loans, credit card debt, and a car loan—I was willing to pretty much anything to reach my financial goals at a faster pace.

I was tired of being poor and I was tired of paying off debt—I wanted it gone, and I wanted it gone fast.

We had already taken lots of steps to lower our spending, including downsizing from a one-bedroom apartment to a studio, sticking to a strict monthly food budget of $350, reducing our dining out budget to $50 a month, and only allowing ourselves $20 of fun money to spend, which was enough for about two drinks at happy hour with friends, or a weekly cup of coffee at Starbucks. We had no budget for clothing or any other extra items.

So the only way we could figure out to reach our financial goals faster was to make more money. Here are five ways I’ve made extra money to pay off my debt faster.

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I started out by finding a job that I could do in my spare time that wouldn’t conflict with my full-time hours. Babysitting was great because it paid in cash, and the hours were mostly weekends and evenings.

At $15 an hour, it paid pretty well and I was able to put the money straight toward debt. It was so satisfying watching our debt go down after every babysitting job, and seeing actual progress on our debt.

Selling Items

When we downsized from our one-bedroom apartment to a studio, we had to let go of a lot of our extra stuff. We had a garage sale where we earned about $300, and we also realized that we had been buying way too many things that were useless.

Not only did the garage sale help us put money toward debt, we started trying to live a much more minimalist lifestyle when we watched how much we spent on things we didn’t really need. We kept selling more and more on Craigslist and Ebay to minimize the amount of stuff we owned, and would also put this money toward our debt.

Mystery Shopping

I picked up mystery shopping as a side job because I could choose when to perform “shops,” which essentially means you go to a store and act as a customer, while later grading the store on service and submitting a report to the company. I earned between $8-$20 a shop, but I also got a lot of great perks, such as free coffee, $20 in free groceries, meal reimbursements, etc.

Because we were on such a tight budget to begin with, having a three-course meal paid for by someone else was a great perk.

Blogging/ Freelancing

I had started blogging about my debt payoff journey and it was around this time that I started to learn I could advertise on my blog and make some decent money. I wasn’t earning much at the beginning but anything I earned I put straight toward my debt. I was also able to gain freelancing clients thanks to my connections as a blogger.

After several years of blogging, I was making $20,000 a year in blogging and freelancing income in addition to my full-time job.

Focus Groups

Signing up for focus group companies was probably one of my favorite and easiest side jobs. Essentially, you’re paid to give a company your opinion for two hours and you easily earn about $100 per focus group (or $50 an hour). Not bad at all for just speaking your mind! Search for focus groups in your area through Google or look on Craigslist.

Thanks to taking on all these extra jobs, we were able to pay off the $45,000 in debt in 45 months. We would have never been able to pull it off as fast as we did if it hadn’t been for working these extra side jobs. If you’re looking for ways to pay down debt faster and you’ve already cut out extra expenses, consider looking for more income opportunities.

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