Hi everyone! Can you all believe we are in the third week of January already? I sure can’t! This week, I wanted to share how we were able to create a bit of extra income to throw toward debt. The amount of money Corbin was making as a teacher was not going to make a dent in the amount of debt we had accrued. His district had done away with their “step” program which is how teachers previously qualified for scheduled raises every year. Although he was still getting a small raise each year, it was minimal and was not enough to continue to pay down debt with a growing family. After three years of teaching there, he had earned his tenure and although the job security was nice, not knowing if the district’s financial situation was ever going to turn around was a bit daunting. He got a little extra money to coach football in the fall, but it wasn’t enough to put a dent in the debt. There wasn’t enough money in the district to pay another coach so the majority of the time he was at practices and games, he was just volunteering his time. Prior to us working on debt, it didn’t bother us that much. Once we started our debt free journey, though, we started realizing how valuable his time was.
In the summer of 2015, the varsity girls soccer coaching position opened up at Corbin’s school. I had coached there as an assistant previously and I had wanted the head coaching job for years so I applied immediately. Five months went by before I heard anything. Finally, I got a call that they wanted to interview me. I was literally sweating through my shirt while I waited for my turn. I knew everyone on the interview committee, but I think that made me more nervous. I made it through the interview without vomiting which was basically a win in my book. I had only been home for about five minutes when my phone rang. I was offered the position and gladly accepted! And then Dawson vomited all over Corbin while I was accepting the job! Parenting loss.
For me, I was thrilled about this position. It wasn’t just that I had wanted it for years, it was the fact that I would be making some money to throw toward debt. I was also going to be able to get back to coaching soccer which was something I absolutely loved to do! Having a little time to invest in a passion of mine was just an added bonus. I knew I wouldn’t be getting paid until half way through the season, but I was really looking forward to putting a couple grand toward debt.
As I was climbing in bed that night, I checked my email and saw that I had gotten hired for another position working from home. My cousin was working for a company that represented Angie’s List. They fielded the emails from customers and processed refunds as well. My cousin’s boss was looking for agents and I interviewed for the position and got it. More extra income for us even though it was minimal. (I got paid per email and the amount per email was super low!) That night was a great night for me because I finally felt like I could contribute to our journey. Again, it wasn’t much, but it was something and that really motivated me.
Fast forward through soccer season. (We won the first district championship in the program’s history, by the way!) Summer was now upon us. At this point in our journey, we had already paid off around $15k in debt by budgeting, cashing out some mutual funds, using our tax refund and using all of my coaching money. Our debt snowball was rolling and picking up speed! It was a great feeling to see progress being made even though we had a long way to go.
For the two summers prior, Corbin had been working at the golf club right across from our development. He was on the grounds crew there and worked a lot of hours. Everything he made also went toward debt. I used to take walks with Dawson over to the course to bring lunch to Corbin. One day, Corbin asked if I would want to work in the clubhouse since all of the college kids would be going back to school in August. I absolutely said yes! Not only was it more extra income, it was also adult conversation for me! Win, win! In addition, we were both able to golf for free at the club and were able to bring a guest if we wanted. Win, win, win!! For anyone who has waitressed already knows, the hourly wage is very low, but the cash tips can be great. There were some days that I walked away with close to a hundred bucks, and others I would literally walk away with a buck or two. The nice thing was, we were putting it all toward our snowball and I was able to have some time for myself albeit while working.
Shortly before I began working at the golf course, Corbin had interviewed for two new teaching positions. He had been recruited by administrators in both districts which really said a lot about his skill set and his networking capabilities. Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned Corbin helping out one of his classmates in grad school? Well, that classmate was the principal at a really great district nearby and he is one of the administrators who wanted Corbin. Not only did he get recruited to apply for the positions, he was offered both of them. We had just found out a few days earlier that I was pregnant with our second child so we had a big decision to make. Corbin really felt an allegiance to his old district because he had spent five years there and that was his first job. Financially, though, it did not make sense for him to stay in a district that did not have a bright professional or financial future. I told him that I would support him no matter what, but I really felt that he had to take the emotions at of the decision-making process.
Based on the commute and the opportunity to coach, he chose the district with the principal whom he was in grad school with. It was so nice to finally be able to see the person I loved and cared about being rewarded for all of his hard work and dedication. He increased his salary quite a bit and was also able to hop right into coaching and would actually be compensated for it. He is now in his second year teaching there and has already received two raises and has gained so much experience! I have had many proud wife moments watching him excel in a career he loves so much! The knowledge he has gained through coworkers and professional development opportunities has really solidified for us that we made the right decision for our family. It was a huge blessing for the opportunity to switch schools to pop up when it did. We were in the middle of our debt snowball and had another baby on the way. All of the added income helped to save for the baby while also paying more debt off!
During the football season, one of Corbin’s old coworkers from his previous district also reached out to him about a friend’s daughter who needed some tutoring in Algebra. With just a tiny conversation, we decided it was a no-brainer to go for it. He would be meeting with this young lady two nights a week for an hour each night and would be making $30 an hour. That was another $60 per week we were able to throw at the snowball. It was extra income, but it was also validation that Corbin was doing a great job since this young lady’s grades started coming up! Her mom shared with him that her daughter had had multiple tutors previously, but none of them were able to get through to her. In fact, there was one tutor with whom she had a session with in which the girl said afterwards that she wouldn’t meet with that tutor again. He really is a very talented teacher with an incredible ability to connect with kids!
Another thing Corbin did for a little extra cash (I swear he never, ever stops working) was dig and fill in graves at the cemetery his dad runs. It is a job that not money people would want to do, including myself, but he just jumps in, six feet under to be exact, and gets the job done. I suppose since it is something he was raised doing, it does not phase him that he is literally standing on top of a dead person while filling in the grave. I have been there when he’s done it and have “helped” by hauling dirt away, but I certainly have zero desire to get down in that hole and square it off or fill it in. I will leave that side hustle to him entirely.
Lastly, and this is something literally anyone can do, is to roll coins. When Corbin and I started dating and knew we had a future together, we threw all of our change in a big glass water jug. We called it our honeymoon fund. Well, when it came time to go on our honeymoon, we paid cash, but didn’t actually use any of that change. When we moved into our home, we dumped it all in a shoebox and it sat in a drawer for years. I finally dug it out, rolled up all of the coins myself (because I wasn’t going to allow a CoinStar machine to take a percentage) and deposited the money. How much do you think all of that time was worth? $346 and some odd cents! It seemed so silly to me that we had just sat on that money for so long. When I met up with my college roommate over Christmas, she told me that some of her students literally throw change in the trash! Can you believe that?! They are legitimately throwing money into a landfill and do not care!! Since she is also on the Dave Ramsey plan and just bought her own house, she told them she would take it and they have obliged. She plans to buy herself something nice at the end of the year to help them grasp the concept that they could be saving it for their own purchases. Smart lady right there!!
I know this was a long post, and I apologize for that. I suppose when there are that many side jobs in your family, there’s a lot to write about. I would love to hear what some of your side hustles are to work toward a specific financial goal!