Today’s guest post is from Josh, a family man living with his wife and 3 children in a quiet town in New York, USA.
Josh started his personal blog Family Faith Finance to track his family’s journey and to help others juggle the balance between these three important life elements.
While living on the other side of the world, Josh’s experience and action plan for paying off debt are still relevant to readers all over the world. It takes hard work and dedication no matter where you are.
Take it away Josh…
When it came to tackling debt, I could not afford to take a backseat approach. I don’t suggest you do either. The reason behind this thinking is because debt will hold you back. It will hang over your head and stop you from living your best life. For this reason, it is important that you manage your debt, opening up opportunities for you and your family.
My debt story
I used to have a lot of debt. I had $31,000 in student loan debt and also managed to get myself into quite a bit of credit card trouble as well. I am lucky to be where I am now because I made an actionable plan and stuck to it. I changed the approach I was taking to debt, which led to a healthier financial situation.
I hope that my story will change your mindset and help you get out of debt.
Balance Transfer Card – It Saved Me
When you hear about a balance transfer credit card, you may cringe and for good reason too. When I first heard about this concept I couldn’t believe that another credit card was the solution. However, I did my research and was able to make it work for me. I saved a tonne of money in the long run and I wiped out my original credit card debt.
The trick here is to find a balance transfer card that offers a special introductory rate or APR. For example, the card I chose offered me a zero percent interest for the first year. If you can take advantage of a good offer you can save a lot of interest. You may still have to pay transfer fees, but if these are outweighed by the amount you save on interest payment then it could be a good move.
You should be careful though. You don’t want to start spending frivolously with a new card and get sucked back into the same mess. I viewed this as strictly a card for transferring debt and not as a spending tool.
A note from Miss Balance – As Josh says, you don’t want to rack up even more debt. I suggest you get the balance transferred to a new card and then cut that card up immediately so that you aren’t tempted to use it.
Side Hustles Were My Friends – BEST Friends
I have mentioned side hustles on my blog, so it is no secret. I believe they are a great tool for those who need extra money. I used side hustles to help me pay down my debt. Putting my pride on the line, I would set an income goal for myself each month then I worked as hard as possible on my side hustles to reach it.
One of my favourite side hustles is freelancing in IT. I already work in IT as my main job and I love the field – making it an easy side hustle to get into. I am able to freelance and provide services to others who cannot afford an in-house team. I was able to make a nice chunk of change which helped considerably while paying off my debt. I still continue this side hustle to this day even though I am now debt free.
My second side hustle that I still engage in from time to time is selling items on eBay. I will often go to garage sales, find items that people are selling for low prices, and flip them on eBay for a profit. It was hard to start at first and did require some initial capital, however I was able to make it work to my benefit.
You would be surprised at how many new and like-new items and antiques you can find at garage sales. It truly is impressive. Just be careful! If you go crazy with this sort of thing, then you could leave yourself in the negative. Remember that the whole point of a side hustle is to make money, not lose it.
Two of my other side hustles include baking goods and selling them at local community events. This is more of a seasonal endeavour and a big part of it is to have fun rather than make money; however I still make a little money this way. I have also mowed lawns before to earn additional cash, but I do not do this as often anymore.
If you make an actionable plan to tackle your debt, you can make serious gains in no time, just like I did. I restructured my debt by transferring to a zero percent interest credit card for 12 months to save money on payments and I increased my income to start paying down debt faster. What is your plan?