When I got married, my husband and I put our debt together, and I’ll be honest: It was a little disheartening, to say the least.
Before our marriage, I spent a good 18 months aggressively paying off debt. It felt great to see my account balance drop drastically. First, I paid off my $9,000 high-interest car loan in one year and saved a ton in interest. Then I started chipping away at my student loans.
But it didn’t take long before I realized that this was the wrong attitude to have. Why? Because by working as a team, we could be more successful. I no longer had to work solo on debt repayment and consistently act as my own motivator. My partner was now on this journey with me 100 percent. Plus, we've found a great way for our side hustles to pay off debt.
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Using Our Side Hustles to Pay Off Debt
Side hustling has helped me to accelerate my debt payoff. My freelance writing allowed me to boost my annual income by five figures in the first year.
Naturally, I quit my day job to become a full-time freelance writer, using my blog as my side hustle. I wanted my husband to have a side hustle, too, so we could put even more money toward our joint debt.
I gave my husband a few ideas, but none of them seemed to work. He didn’t like to write as much as I did, so freelance writing was out of the picture. I suggested that he shovel snow and mow lawns throughout the year, but our winters in the Midwest have been warmer lately, so there wasn’t really any snow. He also tried testing websites, but found that he didn’t earn as much as he wanted to.
Then I proposed driving for Uber. It allows drivers to earn a part-time — or even full-time — income by driving on their own schedule. My husband liked the idea and signed up.
How Uber Helps Us Drive Away Debt
Driving for Uber is a great side hustle for my husband. He has a very demanding day job that typically occupies his time from 9 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m.
That doesn’t leave much time to work a second job. But with Uber, my husband drives on his own schedule.
He drives at night on a couple of weekdays, as well as on his two off days.
Another benefit he likes is that Uber pays drivers weekly. So between his job and his side hustle, he always has money coming in. In addition to these perks, Uber drivers can take advantage of bonuses if they complete a certain number of trips throughout the week or on the weekend. This is basically like free money, and it encourages my husband to get out and drive.
Each week, he sets aside some of his earnings for taxes, then puts the rest toward his car loan or into savings. Instead of just making one car loan payment per month, he can make two or three, thanks to his Uber income.
I find car loans to be a huge liability, since each car’s value depreciates over time. When my husband started driving for Uber, he had a $5,000 balance for his car loan. Now it’s just under $2,000, and we hope to pay it off by the summer.
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The Benefits of a Variable Income
Some people might shy away from side hustles that provide a variable income because they never know how much they’re going to make. But in our situation, we love it.
We live in a suburb well away from the big city, and my husband can still make anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per month driving for Uber, depending on what the promotions are like and how many days he goes out. He usually averages $800. If he took a part-time job that paid him $400 per month, he’d be stuck at that fixed rate and schedule without the opportunity to earn more.
The Side Effects of Using Side Hustles to Pay Off Debt
I’d be lying if I said that side hustling was all rainbows and unicorns. It’s hard work, and you really have to be committed to your goal. My husband and I work an insane number of hours each week, and our side hustles cut into quality time that we could be spending together.
However, we know that all of this is temporary. We'll pay off his car loans and my student debt soon. By the end of this year, we’ll have eliminated another $10,000-plus in debt, which will bring us one step closer to financial freedom.
For now, we’ll balance everything as best as we can, squeeze out time for what’s important, and embrace the hustle.