Side hustling for a cause

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.

Waiter is serving a coffee to a customer

Ain’t no shame in serving others. This guy is probably making it work as a barista while also freelancing on the side. Make dreams come true with #sidehustles.

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.

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Don’t underestimate the value of used

Simple savings can yield BIG benefits

For years I’ve donated or tossed out my old, used and no longer wanted clothing items. I would ask myself… “Would anyone really pay for this or should I just give it away?” Much of the time I would just give in to the convenience of donation centers and throw bits and pieces out at a time. Over the years I’ve gotten rid of gently worn dresses, skirts and other wardrobe pieces I no longer wore or wanted without thinking much about the costs that were lost. And what lends to an event worse feeling is that stores like PLATO’S CLOSET and Buffalo Exchange weren’t that much of a help either. I always felt scammed when I left those stores with little cash in hand and knowing how much money was likely left on the table. They’re out for profit after all.

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Pack, pack, pack it up (as in your lunch)

How brown bagging can put better food in your belly and leave more wiggle room in your wallet

You don’t have to be back to school or starting a new job to consider packing a lunch. Maybe you’re looking to tighten your belt in more ways than one and need cheaper, more nutritional options to get there. If that’s the case then toting along your lunch everyday can really benefit you.

Pack, pack, pack it up! Brown bagging - not so bad when you're saving some cash!

Pack, pack, pack it up! Brown bagging – not so bad when you’re saving some cash.

Let’s talk costs

Most everyone knows dining out can cost big bucks. Just think about the costs of doing that every day over the life or your career. A simple $7 lunch eaten out every week day, plus or minus a $2 tip depending on where you go, could mean as much as $45 a week spent on a mere five meals.

Now take that times 12 months and wow! That’s just over $2,300 spent in a year on lunches alone…and you still have to eat at other times of the day – breakfast, dinner, coffee breaks anyone?

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Ready, set, SAVE with secondhand

Secondhand savings can bring big smiles to hunters on the prowl for a good deal.

Spending money can be fun for some, but for me – SAVING money is really what brings on the excitement and personal glow. For me, saving dollars here and there offers an AMAZING sense of joy and accomplishment. Endorphin’s anyone?

In previous posts I’ve outlined some of the ways I enjoy saving the most, and a big one I discuss is realizing savings through the purchase of secondhand items. But, in this piece I want to focus on the potential savings that can be realized by shopping at thrift stores and using these venues as a main destination for meeting some of your basic clothing and household needs.

Here’s just a couple of ways you can save even more, when shopping secondhand

Think their item is overpriced? Ask for a discount. If you ever find yourself in a thrift store or consignment shop and aren’t quite sold on the store’s asking price for a certain item, feel free to go ahead and ask for a discount. Embarrassed at that thought? Don’t be. How else will they know they’re turning off potential buyers with off-base prices?

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Got bill frustration? Keep calm and pay on

Close-up of figurine couple on wedding cake

Happy figurine couple on wedding cake, oblivious of challenges they may face.

Oh’ the joys of matrimony

For those of us in relationships, money can be one of the BIGGEST polarizing topics that can easily slip into conversation every hour, on the hour… EVERY DAY. Just look at your own partnership and ask yourself — are you the saver or spender? There could be two savers or two spenders — but of the two, chances are one is more dominant in one area over the other. Looking at my husband’s habits compared to my own, it’s clearer than it’s ever been that I’m the saver out of the duo…

Jason is by far the one who enjoys nice things, looking at them… touching them, then buying them and bringing them into our home. I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with having expensive taste or admiring and wanting fine things, but there’s a time and a place for it. I know somewhere down the line I’ll look to water down my cheapness and open my wallet a bit more, but at present, our money fights and differences over how to save and spend have created strong divides with little to no room for compromise. And I don’t see myself budging to indulge his whims and wants. So, hubby… if you’re reading this… here it is in print: I simply don’t think now is a good time for us to be daydreaming about our wants, we’ve got time – years and years for that.

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Live simply and cut out what holds you back

Simple is fine by me. After all, my first home was a tiny house.

I have a habit of moving. So do a lot of people. Anyone who has gone off to school, taken their career to a different city or moved for the sake of love, knows what it’s like to pilfer through their belongings to determine what they would want and need the most to make their next chapter a seamless page turn.

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Need a lift? Try thrifting

Shake that piggy bank!

When money is tight and your budget is bursting but you still have things you need in order to get by – there’s no better place to find such things, than in a secondhand store.

Yep, that’s right, I’m telling you to turn to used stuff if there’s really a must have on your to-do list.

So maybe you’re new to thrift store shopping or yard sales — have no fear. Sure the stores aren’t always located in the most prime locations or up-to-date strip malls, but to each her own. These stores are jam-packed with tons of items to pilfer through. You just have to be willing to open yourself up to this kind of shopping experience if you’re not so adventuresome (also a little patience might help).

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