By: Pira Kumarasamy
A new year often means new goals. For many Canadians, it’s very likely that these goals are tied to money, and particularly debt repayment. Household debt is showing no signs of slowing down, and a large debt load can be daunting. Fortunately, the solution to accelerating repayment is incredibly straight forward, but takes time and energy.
To pay off debt at a faster pace, you must be willing to spend less, make more, or both. This leads me to a simple fact – your ability to spend less is finite, but your earnings potential is unlimited. The most sure-fire way to combat debt this year is to earn extra income, and my favourite way to do this is through a ‘side gig’ or second job. There are so many different ways to do this, and many of them can be started right away. With a bit of extra effort, you can throw an extra $500 toward your debt every month – that’s $6,000 a year!
Now before you pick up that fast food apron, we know that your time is precious, and sacrificing it outside of your day job should be worthwhile from a monetary standpoint. As such, we’ve listed a few examples of side gigs you can pick up right away that can potentially earn you no less than $20 per hour – in many cases more.
If you’re a decent writer and there’s a niche you love writing about, opportunities abound. Check in with the owners of your favourite blogs, or even your favourite brands that have blogs and see if they need extra writing help. Chances are, a few of them do, and if you are able to pitch some fresh ideas, you’re on your way to some extra dollars. Blogs often pay up to $100 per article or more, and it’s a fun way to make extra cash in your spare time from the comfort of your own home.
If you have great customer service skills and your SmartServe certification (in Ontario), you’re well on your way to being a great server. Not only is serving fun, but also it can be incredibly lucrative as far as part time jobs go. Servers make a mandatory minimum wage (slightly lower than the general minimum wage) plus tips, which are taxable. Good servers make upwards of $20 per hour, and sometimes significantly more depending on the scale of restaurant and quality of service.
The caveat? It’s a profession that can be high-stress during busy hours.
Is there a subject you excelled at in school? If so, there are always students looking for help to improve their grades. Look for postings on job boards, and also ask around, as you never know who might know someone that needs some extra help. Tutoring gigs often pay $30 per hour or more, based on experience.
You’ve all seen those sprightly reps at trade shows and shopping centres enthusiastically marketing the latest yogurt, skin cream, or coffee maker. But did you know that those reps are often making about $20 per hour for their bubbly personalities and in-depth product knowledge? Brand ambassadors often work weekends, making it a fun, interactive way to supplement your income when you aren’t at your day job. If you’re looking for opportunities, a good place to start is by contacting experiential marketing agencies in your area – they’re always looking for strong talent.
Time Equals Interest Saved
These are just a few ways to get started, and the more time you’re able to commit, the more debt (and interest!) you’ll crush in the long run. As a final note, it’s important to keep in mind your existing employment contract, as there may be ‘conflict of interest’ clauses that forbid employees from working for competitors or using their full-time skills for personal paid projects. Make sure to review your contract and have a discussion with your manager if there is any confusion around what you can and cannot do.
I urge everyone to personally challenge themselves in 2016 to step outside of their comfort zone and find extra ways to make money. Commitment is the first step, and a little bit of effort can help you achieve and accelerate your long-term financial goals.
About the Author: Pira Kumarasamy
Pira is a freelance writer and communications consultant specializing in financial services. She has a strong interest in personal finance topics including areas like the financial markets, student loans and real estate. Pira holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wilfrid Laurier University and a postgraduate certificate in corporate communications from Seneca College.