7 things I’m doing to get out of debt

Welcome to DIY Thrills! I originally started a blog called Side Hustle Flow – a personal finance blog focusing on earning more money by side hustling and saving more money by being frugal to help me become debt free. I am not quite consumer debt-free, however, I am well on my way. I wanted a space that would allow me to grow with the things I’m doing in life and Side Hustle Flow felt a bit limiting. Seeing as I’m such a tinkerer, DIY Thrills opens up many more interesting avenues for me to explore and have fun with.

A bit about me

I’m Josh, 33 year old UX Designer from the sunny Central Coast of NSW Australia. I started this blog to not only share my journey of becoming debt free but also to keep myself accountable. At the time of starting my journey in January 2019, I am on a mission to pay off just over 21K in debt.

I live with my fiancé Karina and am super focused in becoming debt free so we can get married, buy our first home together, start our own family and live happily ever after.

My money mistakes started back in 2008 I thought it would be ‘cool’ to get a personal loan so I could build a show car. That started the cycle of fortnightly loan repayments, which to this day (after refinancing twice), I am still paying! It has prevented me from being able to live life to the fullest and I’m totally over it! Having debt linger over you is a real drain and can take your head to some really dark places.

Between 2008 and 2018 is where I wish I made better decisions regarding money. What’s done is done and I have learned a hell of a lot over the years. You can read more about my money mistakes here. In January 2019 I decided enough was enough and started on my journey to becoming totally debt free.

I don’t want to rely on one source of income forever, so to achieve this, i’ll be side hustling my way out of debt.

These 7 things are helping me get out of debt:

1. Creating a budget – only spend what’s left after saving

Prior to 2018, I was living week to week and had no idea of where my money was going. I started doing some research and decided I needed to create a budget. I simply started by listing all of my weekly expenses. I now know my exact weekly expenses along with how much I can be putting towards paying off my debt.

Doing this has really allowed me to see just how much I am spending on useless shit that I really don’t need. Funny enough most of the unnecessary spending was random food and drink purchases!

I get paid weekly and the best thing I did was set up automatic debits to come out each week that get distributed for rent, debt payments and savings. It’s my version of organising my money into separate jars or envelopes each week.

2. Meal Prepping on a weekend

What a game changer! Another key area I worked on was my weekly grocery spend. Prior to getting serious about eliminating my debt, we would buy whatever food we wanted when doing our weekly shop.

Taking an hour each weekend to create a shopping list with a list of ingredients that can be used in multiple meals for the week is helping us save over $100 a week. Something so simple yet so effective!

Instead of going out for lunch at work each day, we found ways to make batches of food on Sunday afternoons that can be frozen or we would choose meals that we could make of a night that would make enough to have leftovers for both of us.

3. Selling unwanted items on Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace

At the end of 2017 we moved back to the Central Coast into a smaller 1 bedroom apartment. Most of my stuff that I didn’t need is now stored at my parents place. Every now and then I go over and find things I don’t want or no longer need and list them for sale on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. Happy days if I can sell a few items each month!

4. Return & Earn

My soft drink intake has significantly reduced so we don’t buy any bottled drinks in our weekly grocery shop. Fortunately, I work in IT and software developers looooove the soft drinks and energy drinks. Happy days because they are all happy to give their empty cans to me!

The Return & Earn collection centre is on my way home from work so it’s easy for me to drop in and collect around $10-$20 each week.

5. Survey apps/websites

I was a bit hesitant to look into doing surveys as they generally don’t pay much for the time required. I decided to check it out though and found that Pure Profile is actually pretty good. The user experience of the app is quite good and it’s easy to do a quick survey and see your account grow. Surveys range from 10c up to a few dollars with some longer surveys paying $35. I’m pretty sure you get 10c if you start a survey but don’t qualify to finish. I guess its good if you’ve got a bit of free time throughout the day or even on your daily commute. It all adds up and you can cash out via PayPal.

Another online survey site I found is MyOpinions, this is a slightly different model and you earn points which you can then cash out when you reach a certain amount. Not the best user experience but I’ve done a few surveys now so my points are starting to build up.

I’m still new to this, so i’ll keep you updated on how it goes.

6. Selling art on Redbubble

When I’m not working on website projects, I’m creating art that I upload to Redbubble and sell on a range of products including as stickers, coffee mugs, t-shirts, tote bags and heaps more.

Redbubble is a print on demand company that allows you to reach a massive community of people who are looking for art that you may not necessarily be able to reach otherwise. Print on demand means that once I add a piece of art to my shop, I don’t have to worry about fulfilling orders, Redbubble does it all for me and I take a royalty of the sale.

The platform has a great user experience and seeing as all you need to do is upload your art, add a title and some keywords, it’s easy to earn passive income.

It’s free to join and super easy to get started. If you have good ideas and can create interesting artwork, you just upload your artwork and let Redbubble do all the work – and within a short space of time you should begin to see some sales and royalties coming in.

I love being able to create a piece of artwork and then add it to a range of products and then receive the ‘You’ve made a sale’ email letting me know someone on the other side of the world just purchased one of my designs.

You can either join as an artist and get royalties on your artwork you upload to your shop or they also have an affiliate program that allows you to promote other artists artwork.

7. Freelance Website Design & Development

I‘ve been taking on new freelance website projects to help pay off my debt.

My current day job is a UX Designer for a local software company and my background is in web design. Since winning first in the Hunter Region for Web design in 2005 I have been creating websites for local businesses.

Never stop learning!

This is just the beginning for me in my journey to eliminate my bad debts. I’m constantly learning new things and finding new ways to make additional income.

Over time i’ll be going into more detail of each of these methods to share what’s working and what’s not among other topics that will hopefully help others in their journey.

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Thanks for stopping by! Hit me up on Instagram with any questions, always happy to help where I can.

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