by Vicky Monroe
One of the most popular personal finance recommendations for people in debt is to get a side job. Dave Ramsey, for example, says you should deliver pizza after work to attack your debt with «gazelle intensity.» But working 10-12 hours a day at two different jobs is a recipe for burnout, especially if you have a chronic illness, mental condition, or family commitments.
With rising inflation and the looming recession, I felt the pressure to take on additional freelance paperwork and sell more of my woodworking projects. But I’ve found over the years that side-hustling isn’t always a good solution. Here’s why.
Dealing with rising costs
Like everyone else, my partner and I are feeling the rising costs. Our monthly grocery and gas bills have increased by $500 a month, and we brace ourselves for high heating bills as we head into the fall and winter in the upper Midwest. As all homeowners know, everything in the house seems to break down at the same time. This month alone we’ve spent $3,000 on various repairs including fixing our broken oven.
When rising costs or unexpected expenses mess up your budget and push back your debt-paying time, entertaining yourself seems necessary to stay on track. The message we get from personal finance gurus like Dave Ramsey is to push harder and work harder when adverse circumstances interfere with our debt-paying plans. We are rarely encouraged to give ourselves grace and slow down our schedule to adjust to our changing financial reality.
But I’m trying to fight the pressure I’m feeling to get more work on my plate because I know from past experience that side hustles don’t always help.
Side jobs don’t always help
When I overexert myself, I feel stressed and spend more money to deal with the anxiety. This bad habit reduces the amount of money I can save from the overtime I’ve worked. Although I’ve tried to be more self-disciplined, it’s hard to stick to a budget when you’re overwhelmed and not thinking rationally.
Apparently this is a fairly common problem. More than half of Americans shop impulsively to help cope with stress, depression, and anxiety, sometimes as often as once a month. If a part-time job is stressing you out and making you more likely to overspend, it might not be worth it.
Because I have multiple chronic illnesses, the stress of overworking myself can make my symptoms worse and result in increased medical costs. A few months ago I signed additional writer deals to combat the impact of inflation on my budget.
Because I was overworked with work, I ended up in the hospital with an elevated heart rate that wouldn’t go down and palpitations, probably caused by my heart condition called POTS. While fear wasn’t the only factor, it definitely played a role and made the flare-up worse. The ER visit cost me several hundred dollars, so any additional income I could fuel and rush through myself had fizzled.
Accept my limitations
After that incident, I made a promise to myself to be more aware of my limitations and accept that traditional personal financial advice doesn’t always work for me. Just because I’m not part-time and working 60-hour weeks doesn’t mean I’m not motivated to get out of debt.
My debt payment date is several years away and has had to be pushed back a few times due to life’s twists and turns. I’ll never be able to write a high-quality article about how I paid off six-figure debt in one year. But even if I have to slow down, I will eventually get out of debt. After all, they say slow and steady wins the race!
Do you have a part-time job to pay off your debts? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Hope’s Debt Update – August 2022
Hello again from Georgia
A look into my personal debt
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite saving tricks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she enjoys travelling, gardening and cooking healthy vegetarian meals.