Let’s face it: we don’t live in our parents’ world. Back in the day, people could live in a single-income household, pay all the bills, go on vacations and still have enough to set aside for retirement.

These days, many people live paycheck-to-paycheck––even in dual-income households. So how can you dig yourself out of debt if you can’t even pay the electric?

Simple: Get a side hustle. They’re a great pay to earn some extra cash, they’re generally pretty flexible, and they can even be fun!

What’s a side hustle?

A side hustle is an extra job (or two) that you work in addition to your main gig. For instance, if you work a regular 9-to-5, your side hustle would be worked in the evenings or on the weekend. Sometimes, you can even find something online and work from the comfort of your home.

Many people enjoy working a little something on the side––unlike your regular job, a side hustle is usually a little more “fun”. There are hundreds of different little tasks you can complete for money, and you’re never obligated to do something you don’t enjoy.

What qualifies as a side hustle?

Literally, anything you can do to make some extra cash. Typically, your side gig will supplement (but not replace) the income from your regular job.

Some common hustles include:

  • Driving for Uber or Lyft
  • Delivering food
  • Part-time jobs in retail
  • Various online tasks such as: freelance writing, web design, bill keeping, and social media management

What you need to know

Some people think of side hustle money as “free” cash, like a gift, that they spend in any way they please. This is not accurate, and especially if you’re trying to pay down debt, it’s important to take it seriously.

Remember:

  • Side hustle money is still subject to income taxes
  • It’s important to set some aside for an “emergency fund” before you start paying down debt
  • Experts suggest opening up a separate bank account just for your side hustle money, so you don’t inadvertently spend it on other things

Bottom line: if you’re smart with your money and put that side gig cash to good use, you can pay down debt fairly quickly (and maybe have some fun while you’re at it!).