Church of FI – Guest Post from Dollar Diligence

I am pretty unfamiliar with student debt and side hustles, so I was delighted when Jacob of Dollar Diligence offered to write a guest post of his experiences paying down his student loan debt.

Jacob is a high school teacher, who destroyed $33,000 of debt in 18 months after having a money epiphany.  After a change in attitude and lifestyle, he become debt free and is working his way through various financial goals.

The clock to financial independence starts when net worth equals zero! It is easier to get to zero when you eliminate or significantly decrease your debt! A side hustle might be just the ticket.

Side Hustles I Used After Graduation to Pay Down My Student Loan Debt

Ah, side hustles.

Two normal every day words, put together to form two of my favorite words. “Side hustles.”

Love it.

They helped me get through my student loan debt and I know they can help you get through your financial woes, too, if you have any, that is.

Hey, many of us have some type of debt – whether it is in the form of a credit card, student loan, or money you borrowed from your mother’s purse. It is important to plan for the debt that you will incur when you graduate from college, but most, if not almost all, students never even think this far into the future, and if you were anything like me, heck, it was free money.

I learned when I graduated just how much debt I had and I was appalled. It was enough to make me just turn and walk away from the computer – no words spoken. Once I saw this amount, I knew I needed to make a change. I turned to side hustles to ensure that I could pay down my student loan debt so that I would not carry it with me forever.

Let’s take a look at some of the side hustles I used.


Freelance Writing

I love to write. I really do. While I am a math teacher, I love every word in the English language and I could study grammar for years at a time.

I took up freelance writing once I graduated college. The first reason I took up freelance writing was out of necessity, but then it became a passion. I was able to enjoy doing it and the best part was that I could choose the hours I worked and the days I worked.

Since I was a teacher at the time, I worked full time in the summer and only on weekends throughout the school year. I used all of the money I saved up to pay off some of my student loan debt.



Taking pictures has always been something I’ve enjoyed and over time I have captured a good amount of pictures that I like to think people would frame. I never made photography a way of making money, though, because I had usually only taken pictures for fun.

Well, I knew I had some skills. I also knew I definitely had some extra bills. So it seemed like a match made in heaven.

I offered my services to anyone who would give me a shot. I offered my services to people who needed a photographer for cheap. I charged less than some of the other businesses, so locals started to turn to me. I used all of the money I made to help pay off my student loans.

If this sounds like something you might want to dabble in, check out this page with many great resources.


Other Side Hustle Ideas

While I did solely rely mainly on photography and freelance writing as my side hustles, there are many more out there and I can say I tried, but they were not as rewarding for me as the two mentioned above. I did mow lawns, but the heat was a killer. I also tried to sell some delicious baked goods, but none were as profitable as I wanted or needed.

When you start to look for a side hustle for yourself, think about your skills and what you are good at. Has anybody ever told you that you are an expert? Or you should charge for your services? Or what about that you could sell something and become rich? If they have, then you may be on to something.

As you learned, I have photography skills and I have experience writing all types of web content, which allows me to freelance in my spare time and make money at the same time. Once you know what skills you have, market yourself and show others why they need your service and how you can do it better than they can – after all, you are the expert.


Get Started Now and Don’t Delay

While you may want to place side hustles on the back burner for now, do not. You need to start paying off your debt as quickly as possible or that accrued interest will start to skyrocket. The last thing you need is interest collecting on that high balance that you are only paying the minimum on. Sheesh. It happened to me, so do not let it happen to you.

As you start your search for a side hustle, think about what you want to do or what you can do for others that will earn you some money. As a math teacher in high school, I am always crunching numbers and I know just what a high interest rate means, especially for young grads. Start today and you will soon be in the same position I am in with $25,000 in student loan debt paid off.


Jacob is a self-proclaimed personal finance enthusiast and blogger. Catch up with him @DollarDiligence!


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