Can you believe 2019 is over!? This year has felt like 2 years in one after trying 3 jobs out (and finally sticking with one), leaving our old city, moving to a new one, starting at a brand new church, job hunting with Sam for 3 months, and starting Financial Peace University.
It’s been a hard year for sure, but it doesn’t feel “hard” in the traditional sense.
*cue the good riddance 2019 memes*
It was a year of growth. Of refining. It was painful, but as we’re at the end of it, I can tell it was good. And it paved the way for all that is to come next year and the years after. I’m ready for the change to come.
After planning for 2020, my new mission is to create a life with more peace and less distractions.
One of the main ways Sam and I are teaming up to do this together this year is to pay off our debt. This has been a huge source of stress in our lives and it “blocks” us from being able to spend more on things like my healthcare, going out with friends, or “fun” stuff that fills us up.
That’s why it feels SO good to be ending the year finishing Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 1 – saving $1,000 in an emergency fund.
Originally, we thought we wouldn’t be able to do this till January 2020, but God made a way for us to make this happen now…. and I’m so excited we’ll get to start the New Year by punching our debt payments in the face. I’m more of an action-taker, so this step was hard for me because I’d rather take that money and throw it at debt. But — I know if an emergency comes up, it’ll be a relief to know we won’t have to go into MORE debt over it.
Finishing this step also made me feel like we can accomplish any financial goal we put our minds to.
Maybe putting away $1,000 a month towards savings or debt feels unattainable or intimidating to you. I just want to encourage you, especially my readers that also have chronic illness, there’s no need to compete with anyone other than yourself. If hustling late hours or working overtime isn’t do-able for you (like it was NOT for me), don’t worry!
Progress is so much better than perfection. There’s a reason the tortoise beat the hare. It’s better to have longevity than be sleep deprived and burned out! You can find ways to work smarter, not harder.
I intentionally work a remote, part-time job because I know that’s what my body can handle right now. However, I was able to do a few extra things this month that REALLY helped us to be able to save that $1,000 without getting a whole other part-time job and even with Sam not getting a full month’s pay check (because he just started his job). Here are a few things we did to bring in some extra income and to save money where we could.
1. Dog Walking
There are apps now like Rover and Wag that allow you to do things like dog walking, boarding, drop-in visits, etc. for dogs without the hassle of posting flyers around your neighborhood. There is a $25 background check fee you’ll need to get started with Rover (which is what I use), but it is 100% worth it and easy to make back after 1-2 visits.
I love this as a side hustle because you can set your location availability wherever you’d like. If you only want to work with dogs in your neighborhood, you can. You don’t have to drive 10 miles away just to walk a dog. So, to me, it didn’t really feel like work. I just got to walk a dog for 30 minutes when I would’ve walked outside anyway. This has been my favorite way to make money (because who doesn’t love hanging out with dogs?) and I’m hoping when we move, we’ll be able to board small dogs for even more income. Oakley will love having a buddy to play with too.
2. Zero-Based Budgeting
I had created a budget in the past (and we’d even stuck to it pretty well). We didn’t have a spending problem – we just could’ve been managing our money better. Budgeting our monthly income down to the last dollar was key in us being able to put away $1,000 in 1 month.
It’s easy to spend $5 here and there and not account for all of your finances. When you make a plan for where every single dollar is going to go, you win with money. You’ll realize you can save more than you normally would when you are intentional about not spending unless it’s absolutely vital.
Also, there’s tons of different apps you can use to budget. We’re going through FPU, so we have a 1-year subscription to Every Dollar right now, but I’ve used the free version of it for years.
I’d highly recommend using Every Dollar to plan for a zero-based budget.
3. Uber Eats
Something we tried this month to bring in extra income was driving and delivering with Uber Eats. This brought in an extra $128.54 after doing probably around 12-16 hours worth of driving.
To us, the pay was NOT worth the work or the wear and tear on our car. I felt really ill trying to push myself to do this each night, even with Sam doing it with me, and we agreed that this is something we’re glad we tried, but we realized it wasn’t our thing.
It’s definitely an easy way to make fast money. If you think you can handle this sort of thing, then go for it! Just want to be 100% transparent about this probably being my least favorite way we made extra money this month.
4. YouTube and Affiliate Marketing
This is something I didn’t mention in the video (above), but I’ve been blogging since 2017 and I started YouTube in 2018. I do this, primarily, to document my health journey and because I really enjoy it and connected with lovely viewers and readers like you.
I am very blessed to be able to now make some extra income doing this. It’s nothing crazy, but every little bit helps and we were able to put away about $167 from my YouTube earnings this month. I also link to products that I’m absolutely in LOVE with and use frequently and I’m able to make a small commission off of that as well.
If there is something you’re passionate about, blogging or starting a YouTube channel about it could be a really fun way for you to bring in an extra income. This will be a long process though – I didn’t get paid to do any of this until a few months ago. If you don’t enjoy creating content or are just doing it for the money, you won’t enjoy it or make it far.
This month, I learned to say “no” to the things that didn’t work for me and YES to the things I could do. Oftentimes, when we have chronic illness, we limit ourselves because we can get frustrated with our physical limitations and say “no” before we even know if we can do something.
Dog walking with Rover has been such a fun way to earn extra income as well as being a fun way to spend more time outside and with dogs (which I’m sure is great for my healing journey).
And I love writing posts like this on the blog and creating content on YouTube. Even though it may not be as lucrative as another side hustle, life isn’t all about the money to me. I’m okay with it taking a little longer to pay off the debt if it means honoring my body and doing something I love to do.
I’m SO READY to start making those debt payments now that this step is done!
Would you let me know in the comments where you’re at in your debt free journey? Or are you debt free? How’d you get there? Can’t wait to hear it!