How to make more money and pay off debt

When you’re looking to pay off debt — or working toward another financial goal, like saving for retirement — here are two things you could do: make more money or reduce expenses. From there, you can implement a debt repayment strategy, such as the debt snowball or debt avalanche, or seek professional help from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee or credit counsellor. But if you choose to pay off debt on your own, you’ll need to either earn more or spend less to help reach your goal.

Earn extra income toward your financial goals

Sometimes, it can be hard to cut spending, especially with hydro bills, mortgage rates and housing costs on the rise in many parts of the country. In this environment, you may find yourself directing more money toward these items on your monthly budget, rather than reducing them. The solution, then, would be to find ways to earn extra income. In the ever-expanding gig economy, it’s not unusual to be working a second job on the side — in fact, nearly one-million Canadians worked at least two jobs in 2015.

Whether you’re an analyst by day, valet by night; a cop who teaches boot camp on weekends; or a musician who drives for Uber between gigs, there are often enough hours in the week to make more money. Would you be willing to give up some of your free time in order to pay off debt? This decision might not be difficult if you can find a second gig that you enjoy.

Use your side gig to pursue your passion

Taking on a second job shouldn’t just be about the money, even though it can go a long way in helping you achieve financial goals. That side gig can also give you an opportunity to pursue something that you’re passionate about; that extra income might even be seen as a bonus. So, how do you turn your hobby into a way to make more money? Here are some suggestions:

Turn a collection into cash. If you’ve got a box of baseball cards, comic books or Barbie dolls in the basement, there is likely a market for collectors. Your basement finds might turn into a few extra bucks at a yard sale or neighbourhood swap meet, but serious collectors could stand to earn even more — last year, a rare baseball card sold at auction for $1.3 million (U.S.).

Sell your photographs online. Now that everyone has a camera on their phone, you can find a lot of quality photography online. With sites like Flickr and Shutterstock, you can upload and license your photos, making them searchable to the public. If someone chooses to use one of your pictures for commercial purposes, you can set a fee for that image and make some money.

Become a freelancer. The online economy offers ample opportunities for people to do freelance work, whether it’s writing, editing, graphic design or creating videos. Not only is there a digital marketplace for these skills, but you could also promote your services the old-fashioned way with classified ads or on bulletin boards in your local community.

And don’t discount traditional “odd jobs.” Whether tutoring children, mowing lawns, changing oil or being a handyman, there is still a need for many traditional side gigs in the new economy. Ask around the neighbourhood to see how you can help — with winter now just a few days away, this might be a good time to start a snow-blowing or shoveling service.

Have you started a side gig to help pay off debt and reach your financial goals? Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #BDOdebtrelief #LetsTalkDebt