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Have you ever thought about getting a second job to help pay off debt?
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. 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.
But teaching middle school didn’t help our $100,000 of combined debt, so we had to get a second job to pay off debt faster.
Even before we got married, we both sought out a second job to increase our overall income. Adding a second job was a way for us to save more money for our financial goals and pay off our debt faster. You can also use simple tools like a budget and debt snowball spreadsheet to accelerate your debt repayment.
Our goal was to be debt free in 5 years. And spoiler alert, we used our second job and budgeting tools to pay off $105,000 of debt in just 4 years.
We would get asked by our students all the time, and even their families, “why do you have a second job?” Well, here’s why.
Is It Worth Getting a Second Job to Pay Off Debt?
I mentioned that we both share a passion for teaching. Another thing we both shared in life unfortunately was student loan debt.
When we got married, our combined student loan debt totaled about $90,000. Yikes! With credit card debt, our total debt was $105,000.
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 like we could afford to pay all of our bills, save money, and get out of debt.
We saw a couple options for ourselves.
- Make minimum payments on our debt for 25 years
- Say screw it and keep using credit cards
- Find a way to save money and pay off debt
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 so we could save money while paying off debt.
Strategies for Paying Off Debt Faster with a Second Job
My partner and I were able to pay off our debt faster through the help of our side hustles and simple financial tools.
If you’re getting a second job to get out of debt, I highly recommend:
- Find a second job that pays well
- Use a budget to help maximize your income
- Create a debt snowball spreadsheet to accelerate debt repayment
- Create goals that matter and keep you motivated
As a new budgeter, I knew we could decrease our expenses to send more money to debt AND find ways to increase our income. More on these tools in a minute.
First, you have to find a second job that’s right for you. Ideally, that second job can help you make lots of money to pay off your debt.
Take a Second Job that Pays Well
We could’ve easily gotten a job at Target or Walmart. The hours would’ve been flexible and the job would’ve been easy. But we wanted to find the right second job that would work best for our family.
So we started working at a restaurant.
If you’ve never worked at a restaurant, let me tell you, it’s a great way to make some extra cash!
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, getting a second job may not always a joyous experience.
Who wants to work extra hours at a second job in addition to your career?
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 needed to do that weekend.
On the flipside, the extra money from a second job can be put toward your debt, especially when you start using a debt snowball spreadsheet to manage and organize your debt.
We started paying off our debt in leaps and bounds with the debt snowball method. 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. I think we made $10,000 in ONE summer working a few nights a week each.
Every extra dollar we made went 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.
Use a Budget and Cash Envelopes to Maximize Your Income for Debt
Our budget helped us find ways to save money each month to maximize our debt payments. When you know exactly how much money you make and how much you spend every month, it’s easier to put extra money toward debt.
And if you’re not struggling just to make ends meet, when you take on a second job, all of your additional income can be used to pay off debt.
We also used the cash envelope method to save money and stick to our budget. I love cash envelopes and how they helped us develop healthy money habits. You can also try digital cash envelopes if you’re more tech savvy and hate carrying cash.
By cutting back on unnecessary expenses and earning extra income, we were able to allocate more money towards our debt payments.
Using a Debt Snowball Spreadsheet to Pay Off Debt
The basic principle is to list out all of your debts in excel or google sheets and pay off your smallest debt as fast as possible. Once it’s paid off, instead of spending the payment money someplace else in your budget, you apply it to the next lowest debt.
For example, if you pay off a student loan with a minimum balance of $50 and your next smallest loan payment is $100 you combine those payments together.
Now instead of your minimum payment being $100, you pay $150 which helps you pay off your debt faster. Then once that loan is paid off, you take the $150 and apply it to the next smallest loan. You repeat the process until you’re debt free.
Listing all of our debts helped us prioritize which debts to pay off first. Then we looked for opportunities to earn more income through side hustles like serving and bartending, and coaching our middle school athletes.
Focus on Your Financial Goals to Stay Motivated
One of the best ways to stay motivated when it comes to your finances is to focus on your financial goals.
You might be:
- saving for a downpayment on a house
- paying off credit card debt or student loans
- building up your emergency fund
- planning a dream vacation
Keeping your financial goals front and center help you through the long hours of your side jobs and remind you why you’re working two jobs when most people you know just stick to their day job.
I love using a sinking fund tracker to keep our goals organized and so I know how much we have saved for each goal.
It’s important to break your goal down into smaller, achievable steps so you can celebrate your progress along the way. Rewarding yourself for reaching milestones can also boost your motivation.
Additionally, regularly reviewing your progress and making adjustments to your plan can help you stay committed to your money goals.
Best Second Jobs to Pay Off Debt
The best second jobs to pay off debt are those that provide a steady, reliable income and are flexible enough to fit into your schedule.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but is a great place to start looking for a second job.
- Freelance work in your area of expertise – writing, tutoring, consulting, design
- Bartending or Serving
- Retail stores
- Flip furniture
- Buy and resell used stuff on FB marketplace
- Dog sitting
- House sitting
Whatever you choose, finding the right second job can help you get out of debt faster so you can use your hard earned money for things that really matter instead of just repaying debt.
Working a part-time job can really stink, but not nearly as much as having massive debt.
If you’re getting a second job to get out of debt, it’s important to find a second job that pays well. You should also use simple tools like a 50/30/20 budget and debt snowball spreadsheet to maximize your debt payments and stay focused on your big money goals.
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?