How picking up extra hours can be your path to financial freedom
In 2012 I left the comforts of a steady paycheck and job some journalists would kill for to return home 900 plus miles away to be closer to family and my roots. What I hadn’t anticipated was that the risks I was taking at the time would be greater than the ones I took to take the job in the first place.
Back home I soon learned that life was much tougher without having a 40 hour work week to keep the cash flowing and worries at bay.
As you can likely guess, my optimism faded within a few weeks of being home. The grass really wasn’t any greener on the other side.
My bills and expenses didn’t go away just because I didn’t have a job. On top of that, the family dynamics had shifted while I was away. There really was no “returning home” for me because it wasn’t the same as it was before, I was treated differently. People didn’t get as excited to see me either… as I was “back.”
It was around this time that I set a different goal for my life—to live simply and debt free. I decided to start by paying off my student loans. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy considering I was jobless, but once I started toward that dream, I didn’t back down. I did anything and everything I could to get closer to accomplishing the goal—enter the side hustle—or hustles(sss) I should say.
Making work a weekend plan
As a single person I relied solely on myself to bring in as much income as I could to apply to the nearly $40,000 in student loan debt that I had acquired throughout my six years of higher education. From August 2012 to May 2013 I worked four part-time jobs and juggled shift after shift—filling in anywhere and everywhere I was needed in order to make the money that would eventually be applied to the debt that was keeping me from living easier.
The road was tough and humbling, I worked as a part-time journalist by day, then waitress and bartender by night. It was trying, but eventually I saw the finish line… and passing into financial freedom became the sweetest victory I had ever won. It had been less than two years since I graduated with a master’s degree yet I was already debt free. My own two hands had gotten me there and I had no one to thank except for myself and my discipline.
The journey toward becoming debt free can be hard and long. There can be numerous setbacks and upsets along the way. One of the tried and true methods of keeping on track entails practicing self-reflection and offering yourself reminders that you’re doing the right thing for your life. Desire is a must have.
If you’re looking to become debt free yourself, take inventory of your own life and ask yourself the following:
- Why do I want to be debt free?
- What can I do to help myself accomplish this goal?
- Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order to accomplish this?
Many of times we want something bad enough we can hardly stand it, but when push comes to shove we’re unwilling to lift a finger to work to make it happen.
With outstanding debts, be it student loans, credit cards or a mortgage… it can’t be that way. You’ve got to keep your eye on the prize so you don’t lose your footing. You’ve got to go after this thorn in your life and draw it out with all your might even if it means sacrificing your wants in the meantime. Patience is a Virtue.
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Peace and much love.