My purpose for getting out of debt was to buy a house, therefore Bankruptcy was not a viable option for me. I knew I would have to accomplish my goal through hard work and dedication. While I made a respectable salary and could do a better job of allocating more towards paying down credit card debt, it wouldn’t get me where I wanted in the time frame I wanted. Let’s face it, I’m an American and when I want something, I want it now. Ironically, that philosophy partly contributed to my mess, and would also help get me out of it. If I wanted to accomplish my goal in the span of 12-18 months, then l I needed a way to make some extra cash to put towards my debt.
While scanning Facebook I saw a posting from a site called the PennyHoarder.com This is where I got most of my ideas I explain below. These ideas went into a plan I like to call the “Heather Hustle”. I actually did all of the things listed below to help pay off over half of my debt. Twenty thousand dollars of it to be exact. All of this money can trickling in, not rushing in, but I put every penny towards my debt over a period of 9 months. These are things I will continue to do until all of my debt is paid off, and I have enough money for a down payment on a house.
- Donating Plasma-There are lots of companies that collect Plasma which is a protein that comes from your blood. Most companies will pay new donors $250 over a period of 5 donations. The first visit takes the longest as there are numerous screenings required, so if you decide to do this, plan on 3-4 hours. After that, I was usually in and out of the office within an hour. You are allowed to donate twice a week, so within two and a half weeks you have your new donor money. You can continue to donate, but typically they pay less, so my strategy was to collect the new donor money and move to the next facility. So far, I have been 3 different companies to donate so I have literally paid off $750 of my debt with my own blood. On top of that my plasma donations have helped others so it is a win-win for everyone.
- Mystery Shopping-I used the company BestMark to do all of my mystery shopping. Most of the mystery shops I completed were posing as a buyer for a new car. From May-July I feel like I visited every car dealership in Central Florida. Some people may cringe at the idea of visiting car dealership, I was on a mission. I put on my Heather hustle hat, and used my brain to make sure I did want was needed in the shortest amount of time possible, and collected my money. I would often do this after work or spend all day on weekends completing these shops. I made around $17-23 for each shop. BestMark would offer an incentive to take shops outside of a big city which increased the amount earned. I completed around 150 shops and made around $2500 so that was a nice dent in my debt.
- Using a Bank-Every bank is in the business of attracting new customers. One of the ways they do this is by offering cash incentives which are fairly substantial, usually around $200-400. Some of these offers come with requirements which usually involve having a direct deposit and/or making a certain amount out purchases with a new debit card. Using this method I made $800 just by switching my bank.
- Freelance Work-I used a company called Upwork which allows people to post small jobs they need done ranging from website work, to writing papers, to reworking files. I made around $500 writing papers and even a set of lesson plans. For me however, this proved to be too much work and time for the payoff.
- Driving for Uber-This too was short lived. I did enjoyed doing it because I got to meet some pretty cool people and walked away with some good stories, but it did put a lot of miles on my car and part of my profits were eaten up by paying for gas. When I decided to do this, I set one major ground rule (1) no driving past 9 pm because that is when people are drunk and will more than likely puke in my car. Additionally, this job had the potential to be a bit dangerous. With Uber I averaged around $10-12 per hour. Ultimately, not worth the time, effort, and costs associated.
- Selling Stuff on Craigslist & Amazon-This option only works if you actually have valuable stuff to sell. During this journey financial freedom journey I moved from Tampa to Orlando and needed to get rid of some furniture. I also had some teaching books that I decided to sell since they were still relevant and in good condition. I made around $400-$500 this way. My recommendation for selling items on Craigslist…don’t do it alone. Always have someone there with you during the sale, again for safety reasons.
- VIPKid-This has by far been the best of all of my hustles and one I still do. It pays between $18-$24 an hour, allows me to work from home during the hours I don’t work my normal job. I can set my schedule and have to do very little prep. I teach English to Chinese students. The students live in China which means the peak teaching hours for the Eastern Time Zone is between 5:00-8:00 AM Monday-Friday as well as 8:00 PM-10:00 PM. This job does require at least a bachelor’s degree, a head set with a mic, a deck of alphabet cards, a few props and a willingness to be very animated. If you are interested in applying, please use this referral link (I get a kick-back on recommendations). https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=2944116
A word of warning….do your homework! Each of the items I listed I really researched and they all come with fine print. I didn’t want to get caught up in a scam or do something that would sink me further into debt. I am happy to answer any questions based on my experiences.