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Have you ever thought about getting a second job?
It sounds really exciting right?! Or maybe it sounds horribly time consuming.
I met my wife Jenna in college as we both started the Teacher Education Program in Duluth. After graduating we both found a job at the same school and worked our way up to being full time teachers. We LOVE teaching middle school and impacting students at such a crucial age. It’s a passion we both share.
However, teaching middle school isn’t our only job. Even before we got married, we both sought out a second job to supplement our teaching income. It was a way for us to save more money and pay off our debt faster.
We get asked by our students all the time, and even their families, “why do you have a second job?” Well, here’s why.
Debt Sucks! Our Student Loans Were Consuming Our Lives!
I mentioned that we both share a passion for teaching. Another thing we both share in life unfortunately is student loan debt.
When we got married, our combined student loan debt totaled about $90,000. Yikes! If you have student loans, or any other form of debt, you might have a good idea of what we were facing. Debt truly limits your opportunities and what you can do with your life.
My wife and I have big goals and dreams, but with so much debt, it didn’t seem possible to achieve any of them in this lifetime. We saw a couple options for ourselves.
Behind door number one, we could pay the minimum balances on our student loans, and save away as much money as possible to buy a house, go on vacations, and eventually afford starting a family. The key word for reaching all of those goals was “eventually.” The very idea of this was depressing.
We would have to delay our dreams and goals for such a long time while we paid off our debt. Basically, this option SUCKED!
Another option could have been using credit cards to go on vacations and buy other necessities, like so many young couples do today. Although piling up more debt wouldn’t help us buy a house, we would be living the high life on vacations and buying all kinds of cute baby clothes.
The idea of adding more debt to our already overwhelming mountain was an absolute no!
Disappointed by both of these options, we had to find another way and all signs pointed to getting a second job.
God Prompted Us to Make Radical Changes
Our journey in faith has brought us a long way in trusting God to meet our needs and provide in exceptional ways. About 5 years ago, Jenna felt God telling her she would be debt free in five years.
So basically we had to pay off $90,000 of debt in five years….on two teacher salaries….okay, good one.
That’s when we knew we needed a second job. Now when I say we ‘needed’ to get a second job, it wasn’t entirely true. We could afford to pay all of our bills, including our debt, and have a few dollars left over.
But we didn’t want to struggle through life, with debt dictating our options. We wanted to crush our debt as soon as possible! I truly believe that we are meant to reach and achieve the deepest dreams in our hearts! For us, that was starting a family.
I didn’t want our greatest accomplishments to be paying off our loans. We wanted to travel, start a family, and give generously! How could we do that while drowning under a mountain of debt? The truth is, we couldn’t. For us, it was an easy choice. We each got a second job.
Working a Second Job Saved Our Finances
We bounced around a couple different jobs before settling on ones that truly made a difference in our budget and mission to crush our debt into oblivion.
Jenna became a server, and I became a bartender at a fancy Italian restaurant in our city. It was unintentional that we ended up at the same restaurant, but we love working together, and truthfully it’s helpful to see each other working so hard because it keeps our minds focused on why we’re doing it in the first place.
The fact is, working a second job in addition to teaching is not always a joyous experience. Sometimes it downright sucks. The job itself is pretty great, and we are so thankful to have it. Not to mention, our coworkers are pretty awesome. The part that sucks is working a 4-5 hour shift immediately after spending 9-10 hours working my butt off as a teacher.
It takes a ton of effort to put in such long days. It’s draining, especially when I think about all the grading and lesson planning that I also need to do that weekend.
On the flipside, the extra money does incredible things for our budget. We started paying off our debt in leaps and bounds. As teachers, we have summers off, which allows us to crank out more hours at the restaurant and really punch our debt in the face, haha.
Every extra dollar we made goes toward our student loans, drastically accelerating our debt repayment. Instead of paying off our loans in 25-30 years (yes, that really is how long it would take with minimum payments), we actually became debt free in May 2017, four years from when we started this plan, and one year ahead of schedule.
What Drives You?
Working a second job can really stink, but not nearly as much as having massive debt. I will gladly (well mostly gladly ;)) work a second job to become debt free over piling up debt. We are so thankful for the second jobs and the impact they’ve had on our lives.
Being debt free allowed us to start a family and without these extra jobs, we would’ve been drowning in debt for decades.
Let Me Know in the Comments
Have you thought about getting a second job? How could an extra $300-500 a month impact your life?