You’re buying groceries and get an “insuff funds” notice on the debit machine. Embarrassed, you ditch your groceries and leave empty-handed. Perhaps you come back later with some borrowed cash. Many of us have been here, struggling to make ends meet. If nothing else, it may be time to get a side hustle or pick up the odd job here and there.
The simplest way to get out of debt and save for the future is to make more money. But this is easier said than done. Many of us already work 9-5 jobs, probably won’t get a raise anytime soon, our lives outside of work are busy, and our wallets are full of bills, receipts, and interest.
If you can make it work, getting a side hustle going may give you the push you need toward a financially-stable future. Here are seven tell-tale signs that it’s time to look for work.
7 tell-tale signs that it’s time to get a side hustle
1.You worry about insufficient funds with your debit card
Do you find yourself checking your bank accounts to make sure that you have the funds to pay for essentials like groceries? Having inadequate funds to pay for bills and essentials can be costly to your health and to your accounts. Many banks have overdraft policies and penalties that can make your financial matters worse.
2. You can’t afford to pay your bills and minimum payments
Credit cards and loans most often have a monthly minimum payment. When you meet the minimum payment in full and on time, there’s no penalty or interest accrued. But if you miss a minimum monthly payment, you can fall into the payment and interest cycle trap—which may affect your credit score and ability to get loans.
As a rule of thumb: at the bare minimum, meet your monthly minimums.
3.You’ve cut out frivolous spending
If the cost of your lifestyle exceeds your income, you will most likely find yourself in debt. You have two ways out: cut your frivolous and unnecessary spending or increase your income by getting a job (or sustainable, financial help). Best case scenario is to combine the two options by making your lifestyle more sustainable and balancing it with increased income from a side hustle, odd job, or help.
4.Your monthly income doesn’t exceed your monthly spending
Just like a scale with two sides that must be balanced, your income should at least equal, if not exceed your spending. Here is a blog post we wrote on simple debt management for dummies (and smarties) that will help you balance your financial scale.
5.Your credit card is maxed out
One tell-tale sign that it’s time to get a side hustle is if you need to use your credit card to pay for something, but it’s maxed out. Here’s what not to do when you’re trying to get out of debt, including maxing out cards and opening new ones to pay off the other.
6. Your credit score went from bad to worse
Checking your credit score often—as well as avoiding your waning credit score altogether—may be a sign that you’re struggling with funds, bills, loans, and credit. How do you build your credit score? Start by paying your minimum payments and working off your debt through either increased income, smart budgeting, or a healthy and sustainable loan.
7.Your health, happiness, and wellbeing are being affected
Sometimes it’s hard to see just how much money and debt affect our mental, physical, and emotional health and happiness. But one sure-fire way to find out is to start paying off your debts or increasing your income and then check in with yourself. See how you feel. Emotional? More balanced? Motivated to keep going?
Working your way into a healthy and sustainable financial situation is rewarding in more ways than you think. You might not even realize how much debt, bills, and lack of income weighs you down or stresses you out until you see progress—and the light at the end of the tunnel.
The author Sam Milbrath
Sam Milbrath is a freelance copywriter and brand marketer. When she isn’t writing for brands or doing her own creative writing, she’s exploring, taking photographs, gardening and doing pottery. Check out her work at www.sammilbrath.com