While most millennials are hesitant about getting married, we still very much respect the idea of marriage. In fact, due to our admiration, it’s quite easy to begin believing that marriage makes our lives easier—at least in regards to getting rid of our financial debts.
With a couple of years of financial coaching and five years of marriage under my belt, I’ll let you in on a little secret that I’ve discovered. Marriage doesn’t make getting out of debt easier. It makes it harder.
Unless your spouse is as equally committed to getting out of debt as fast as you are, marriage limits your creativity when it comes to paying down debt. Luckily, if you’re single, the world is your oyster when it comes to getting out of debt. Time, money, and energy are all at your total disposal as a single, so here are a few ways to weave all three attributes together for maximum debt reduction.
Get an Interesting Side Hustle
Getting a side hustle is a great way to earn extra cash. If it’s an interesting side hustle, you’ll actually enjoy it and get the most out of it. For example, if you’re great with small kids, babysitting multiple nights of the week can be a viable option. Not only does it pay roughly $12-20 dollars per hour, but if you’re lucky, the kids will fall asleep early and allow for additional side hustles such as web-based freelance.
Obtain a Part-Time Job or Overtime
Working a part-time job or getting overtime at your regular job isn’t as sexy as getting a side hustle, but it will do the trick in a pinch. If you can earn an additional $1,000 to $1,500 per month delivering pizzas or bagging groceries, that will go a long way towards getting rid of student loans and car loans very quickly.
In addition, if you choose your part-time job wisely, it might be a great way to gain the coveted “managerial experience” that almost always seems to elude us.
Seek Outside-the-Box Living Quarters
Earning extra money isn’t always the best method to gain extra money for paying down debt. Sometimes the best method to gain extra money is to drastically cut expenses. One of the biggest expenses per month for millennials is housing. If housing is too big of a percentage of your total budget, it makes it very difficult to gain momentum on debt reduction. However, housing doesn’t always have to be expensive.
The best and most cost-effective method of paying for housing is making an arrangement with some empty nesters in your community. More often than not, they will not charge an exorbitant amount for rent. If you have a great relationship with the empty nesters and they understand your financial goals, they may even let you live in their spare room, basement, or attic for free.
Choose Bare-Bones Lifestyle Temporarily
This may come as a shocker to some, but one method to gain extra cash for debt reduction is to live a bare-bones lifestyle. This can seem like a lot to grasp at first, but remember, most of us just finished college only a few years or a few months ago. College life was no picnic, but it was tolerable for the short-term.
Now that you have an “adult” job, why raise your lifestyle from college chic to adult sophistication? Keep the beanbag chairs and ramen noodles temporarily in order to ferociously attack debt. While this may momentarily hinder your chances of finding a partner, one or two years of bare-bones living will not negatively affect your love life long-term. In fact, once you become debt-free, finding a partner may become significantly easier because of the increased financial margin and decreased stress in your life.
Ben Baxter is a husband, father, engineer, and financial coach hailing from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is a regular contributor of personal finance and career development topics for The Birmingham News / AL.com. He is also the owner/editor of the multi-authored blog, Baxter & Friends.