Get Out of Debt By Increasing Your Income

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The last couple weeks I’ve shared bits and pieces of what FishPapa and I did to get out of debt. If you missed the first few parts, you can start at the beginning.

But, basically, it went something like this:
1. Lose the credit cards. (As in, stop using them.)
2. Listen to the Dave Ramsey show and read The Total Money Makeover.
3. Come to terms with debt by writing it all down and staring it in the face.
4. Write a new budget each month.
5. Drastically reduce expenses.
6. Increase income as much as possible.

What We Did to Increase Our Income
FishPapa has been in construction almost his entire life, part-time as a young boy, full-time since about age 16 or 17. But, he’s what I like to call “a life-long learner.” He’s always working to improve his skill set. So, in addition to regular carpentry and remodeling work, he learned basic computer design and got a job as an independent design consultant for a local remodeling company. He also learned as much as he could about mold remediation. A $100 investment in safety equipment assured me that it would be okay for him to take on high paying “mold jobs” to increase our income.

On my end, I continued to write magazine articles. While it took some time away from the fam, I just worked it into my Saturday Mornings Off. I knew that any income it generated would benefit our family far more than any clothes and shoe shopping I could do.

We didn’t switch jobs or take on second jobs, but we expanded our entrepreneurial activities to maximize their returns.

But That’s Not All We Did. We Sold Stuff!
Coming to terms with debt opened our eyes to the excess stuff we had in our house. Time to downsize! We sold superfluous music equipment and lots of books on ebay. Tools, furniture, and other big ticket items we chose to sell via Craigslist. And we purged mercilessly and sold a ton of stuff at a garage sale. Thankfully, my friend Crystal navigated the yard sale waters for me as I was totally clueless how to do it. It goes without saying that it was the best garage sale we ever had, making over $300 for our family’s junk.

What Else You Can Do
There are lots of other things you can do to increase your income. Maybe you or your spouse balk at the idea of another job. Well, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do. If you can’t reduce your expenses enough to stay within your means, then something else has got to give.

    • Friends of ours sold their house and moved into an apartment on her parents’ property. They have their own unit, pay minimal rent, and foster relationships amongst the three generations, kids included.
    • Get a second job. It doesn’t have to be forever. But, if it gets you over the hump, then it may be worth considering.
    • While you know I am fully supportive of SAHMs, I think something that can generate a small part-time income from home is worth considering. For me, writing is a natural option and one that I can do practically anywhere at anytime. The same can be said for a lot of work-from-home positions. For a year or two I ran a tutoring business from home. Students came to my house during naptime. I taught French and writing, using the skills that I already had.
    • Change jobs. The one you have may not be the best suited to you or use your skills to the fullest. I don’t recommend quitting the current position until you have a new one secured, but if a job change will boost your income, it’s worth a shot. This past year, FishPapa left the private sector for state employment. While it has its own challenges, it is a boost in other ways, especially concerning retirement and health benefits which we were previously paying for out of our own pockets.
    • You tell me, what else can you (legally) do to increase your income? Share it in the comments.



Part 7: Have an Emergency Fund

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1. Amy @ Finer Things (Save on Groceries Without Coupons)
2. Centsable Momma (3 Easy Ways to Cut Cable TV Costs)
3. Lynns Kit Adv (mexican rice)
4. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog (Simple Tip to Reuse Workbooks)
5. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog (DIY Bamboo Knitting Needles)
6. Saving and Giving (Cash – Without the Clunker – for a Vehicle)
7. Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers (Easy Sloppy Joes!)
8. The Diaper Diaries (Aldi)
9. The Prudent Pantry – Dirt Cheap Gardening
10. Will Travel by Foot (10 ways to recycle paper bags)
11. TrentTribe (Retreat from the Recession)
12. Sunnymama (secondhand toys)
13. Saving Cents with Sense (Being Frugal Doesn’t Mean Being Cheap)
14. Cents to Get Debt Free (Making Butter)
15. HoosierHomemade(Aldis & Free Toilet Paper)
16. Christian Frugal Mama (No Bean Bean Dip w/ Beans)
17. ElizabethG (More ideas for leftovers)
18. Diann @ The Thrifty Groove (Saving on Groceries)
19. Melanie @ Mom’s Memories
20. Screaming Pennies (Making Homemade Baby Food w/ Pictures!)
21. alison @ under the big oak tree (enchiladas / using leftovers)
22. Kate @ Stolen Moments (substitute expensive ingredients)
23. Eating Simply – The Frugal Cook’s Ribollita
24. Cheryl @ Moms in Need of Mercy (At-home Date Nights)
25. Keeping the Kingdom First (Frugal Slumber Party)
26. Moms Frugal ($25 worth of organic coupons)
27. Frugal wahm (jobs for the stay at home mom)
28. Tara @ Feels like home (singing – free entertainment)
29. Beautiful Calling (Oh, Pickles!!)
30. Sandra @ A Lot of Savings (Saving on Haircuts)
31. Prudent and Practical (Homemade Frozen Yogurt)
32. Molly Green @ Econousters (Freebies)
33. Simple Bliss (Frugal & Natural Kitchen Cleaning)
34. Stephanie (Saving On Beverages)
35. One Blessed Mama (Juice)
36. Lisa@Extraordinary Life (using Catalina Offers)
37. Cozy Kitchen by the Sea-BBQ BRISKET FEES A LARGE FAMILY for $13.99
38. Liz @ Frugally Blonde (Our First Yard Sale!)
39. Emily @ Live Renewed
40. Emily @ Live Renewed (Homemade Dishwasher Detergent)
41. Sara @ Learning the Frugal Life(Dehydrating Food)
42. Frugal Creativity (2 new coupon sources)
43. Shannon (frugal, easy & healthy – sprouting)
44. Can your own tomatoes!
45. Adele@ Simple Life Musings (No Spend Month Week Two)
46. Lenetta @ Nettacow (Freezing Tomatoes and Green Peppers)
47. Cheapo McFrugalpants
48. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker (mommy wardrobe minimums)
49. Kitchen Stewardship (Nat’l Homemade Kitchen Cleaners)
50. Jennifer (eating in season)
51. Kendra (my goals)
52. Sonshine(bagels)
53. An Oregon Cottage (saving at drugstores)
54. Amy-Cutting Coupons in KC (Homemade TV Dinners)
55. Mary Ann(leftovers make muffins!)
56. Swappin Spoons: 1,000 ways to Save Money – Part 8
57. Twinsmom (Timers)
58. Not the Jet Set… Fast Cash
59. ~Jes~Homemade Yogurt
60. Debra at Footprints in the Butter (try something new)
61. Being Frugal Is Fabulous (A Friend’s First Coupon Trip)
62. Niki (Celery and Onions)
63. Michele (Don’t Wait for New Year’s To Start On Your Financial Goals)
64. pennypinchinmomma(yard sale)
65. UnfinishedMom (Free Night at the Theater)
66. Living Rich With Coupons(New Laws on Garage Sales Nationwide)
67. Amanda -(It’s All in a Days Work)
68. SimpleJill- Lunchbox Recycle & save
69. Rachel (my frugal tips)
70. Kara @ Home With Purpose (freezer cookie dough)

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  1. My husband has a few side jobs and I fit in some catering/baking whenever I can. Every little bit helps!
    Thanks for hosting!

  2. I do a ton of little things here and there to earn money for our house. I pick up secret shops that I can take my little princess with me to do. I do surveys that pay out a little bit now and again. I will do a continuing education class once in awhile. I sell on Ebay regularly. i see on Craiglist occasionally. I agree, there are a lot of small opportunities to make a little extra money if you really want to do it.

  3. Great tips. Those credit cards are KILLER. We're in the process of getting on top of our expenses and cleaning up some debt. I'm grateful to have been able to start babysitting for a friend of mine two days a week to help make ends meet!

  4. I have done various things to earn extra money, but most recently we have decided that I would pick up a shift a week at a local nursing home to get us through a serious budget crunch. The extra money has been so helpful, I am putting my skills to use, and I am still able to focus on my home and family as my main priorities. It has been great for us at this season in our lives! We are able to begin getting back on track with our baby steps after months of just survival!

  5. It's funny that you're talking about earning extra income this week, because my Frugal Friday post is about our first yard sale! In the past, I've done a number of little things to make extra cash, such as online surveys and selling on ebay. I've never made a ton of money, but I've made enough for a few extras.

  6. I've actually dedicated a big portion of my blog, "" to how I earn extra income in my spare time. Mystery shopping, eBay, selling books online are some of my ways which are pretty common, however, you may want to visit my blog to see how creative I've gotten with my money-earning ways–like how I make money at Barnes & Noble–and no, I don't work there!

  7. Great post, and I appreciate you getting me thinking. I do need to come up with something to bring in a bit more cash, just to get by. I'd love to figure out a way to up that to enough to start getting "less behind" too. The wheels are turning, thank you. 🙂

  8. Having a degree in art and being a homeschooling mom, I was able last year to start teaching at a homeschool arts program one morning a week. My pay each month covers the tuition for both of my kids and there's a little surplus beyond that. It's just enough for a grocery trip or two and we're only there for about 5 hrs/week.

  9. I'm a new mom and I just started a blog about staying fashionable for less for mom and baby. I am trying to learn (and have had to very quickly) that my old lifestyle was not going to work and having a family at the same time. I enjoy checking out money saving blogs to see what else I can add to my list of things to do to save $$.

  10. i'm a different story, i call it un-cinderella, coming to terms with change of life, divorce, returning to work, as a single mom of three. after some very plush and fat years in london.

    and, after 4 years of depression/adjustment/denial. i write, i tutor college essay editing, i dog sit, which was my 10 year old's business. my teens work. we have tag sales, ebay, we save, and don't get new cars. it sucks, honestly. i'm not great at it, i grow my own veggies, paint, and even youtubed how to install my own bathroom lighting fixture, and i did it myself. it's a lot of learning, but i have to make this life better.

  11. The truth is that we are finding it very difficult to get our financial house in order. Living paycheck to paycheck sucks. Then when an emergency happens, like a car repair, we don’t have the means to cover it and it just puts us further and further behind. I’m tired and stressed and tired, lol. boy oh boy could I sure use the advice of Mr. Ramsey!

  12. I have spent hours reading through your blog, and it was very useful. I am trying to live frugally and smartly, so it is heartwarming to read your success story. Congratulations to you and to your husband. Yours is clearly a partnership in everything you try. Well done! You deserve all the goodness and happiness that I hope is filled in your life.