The following is a post from Melissa at Mom’s Plans
Making a grand per month can do many wonderful things for you and your family—you can save for retirement, save for your child’s college education, or use the money to become debt free. However, sometimes extra money is needed just to make your budget work.
The adage is to spend less than you earn, but what if your earnings are too small to meet your expenses? What if you are frugal, but you are in a low paying position such as a paid internship or a graduate assistantship and you just can’t make ends meet? What if you have unexpected expenses such as medical bills or an expensive car repair, and you don’t have enough money saved to pay cash?
In many cases, the option is to use credit cards, which can start the downward cycle of credit card debt that becomes very difficult to escape, especially when you are living on a low income.
A grand a month can mean the difference between future prosperity and falling into debt, sometimes deeply into debt.
Although it may not seem like it at the time, it may be easier to begin a side gig to make extra money (eventually a grand per month) than it will be to incur debt now and work to pay it off years from now.
My husband and I struggled financially when we had two kids 17 months apart and I quit my job because I would be bringing home very little after daycare. My husband was finishing his Ph.D. and working as a graduate student. We took out student loans and used our credit cards to make ends meet.
Thankfully, I began to work as a virtual assistant and freelance writer and started bringing in extra income to supplement my husband’s small salary. At first, my little bit of income was so small all it did was reduce the amount of debt we had to take on. However, within a few months, I was making enough that we could scrape by on our income together, so we no longer had to accrue debt.
Now, a year later, my husband has graduated and moved to a better position and I am making more than a grand per month on my side gigs. This extra money has allowed us to begin aggressively paying down our debt, but it will take a few years.
I wish I would have started looking for a side gig earlier instead of feeling paralyzed by our financial situation.
If you are in a tight place financially, don’t feel victimized. There is much you can do to improve your situation. Perhaps you can tutor or become a freelance writer or a virtual assistant or open a lawn mowing business. There is something you can do, and every little bit of extra money you make can help improve your budget. A side gig can improve your financial situation, and if it helps you stay out of debt, you have the potential to grow your wealth instead of paying down debt when your financial situation improves.