A Straight Talk on Debt

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Can't Cut Anymore!

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Vonnie and I have been in a continuous state of cutting expenses for over three years.

Ever since we enrolled in the debt management plan, we constantly review our monthly expenses, looking for things that we can reduce or eliminate to give ourselves more breathing room in our budget, or to offset the ever-rising cost of living.   

This year marked the first year in my 16-year career when I was not given a pay raise. I know that I am extremely fortunate to not only have a job, but to have been given a pay raise every year up until this one; however, no pay raise alongside rising gas and food costs really forced us to make a move financially. There are certainly non-essential things that we could eliminate if we absolutely had to, but before doing so we wanted to look at other possibilities. 

Instead of cutting more from our budget, we decided to look for ways to grow our income to make us more financially stable.

A few months ago, Vonnie changed jobs. While her new job is much less stressful and more enjoyable, it was a lateral move in pay; however, since it is part-time, we discussed her looking for either a full-time job, or taking on an additional part-time job to generate more income.

Towards the end of summer, an opportunity doing part-time clerical work presented itself. Coincidentally, the hours were exactly opposite her current job, and the pay was quite good.  

She was hired and started immediately. She was filled with excitement, yet apprehension as her new position required her to learn new skills, and work in an unfamiliar environment. It wasn't a surprise to me that she picked up the new skills easily, and has adjusted nicely to an office environment. In fact, she enjoys the contrast of environments-loud, rambunctious school kids in the morning, and quiet, professional adults in the afternoon.

Wanting to pull my weight as well, I looked around for additional freelance writing jobs that would bring in additional income. I was fortunate to find some opportunities that were a good match with my skills and available time.

Keeping a family financially afloat is hard in today's economy.

Doing so while trying to pay off a mountain of debt is even harder. I'm all for cutting frivolous things out of my lifestyle, but there comes a point where you just feel that if you cut any more you start to cut out things that add real and tangible value to your life.

It's at that point where looking for additional income may make more sense. It made sense for us, and luckily it's worked out. 

Maybe once we've completed our debt management plan we'll contemplate scaling back these extra efforts, but for now the extra jobs provide additional income that makes life just a little more comfortable.

Related Links:

Changing Jobs While Enrolled in the Debt Management Plan

Sacrificing to Become Debt Free

I am Obsessed With Mystery Shopping!

Travis Pizel, CareOne Services, Inc. Customer and Blogger  

Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Hi Travis!  You are learning what my husband and I learned when we retired.  There are other ways to stretch your income besides cutting things.  All you need is some creative thinking.  Just because we are retired doesn't mean that we can't add to our income - retirement doesn't mean never working or making money again.  The same for you and Vonnie.  Just because you have job doesn't mean that you can't supplement your income in other ways.  Good for you and I wish you luck!

  • Travis, I'm really glad things worked out for Vonnie with the new part time job. Not getting a raise is tough but you are taking the right approach in looking at what can be done instead of focusing on something you can't change.  Hang in there! You're doing great.

  • Thanks tiquie, we do have to be mindful of not overextending ourselves as well.  I need to pay particular attention  -  my freelance writing work has to be done mainly during the evening which is also family time.  If I take on too much I take away from very important family togetherness and bonding time. I have to ensure that I find and keep the right balance between earning a little extra and not spending enough time with the wife and kids!

  • Vonnie is really liking her new part-time job, Jean!  I enjoy hearing about her day and what new things she's learned when our work days are over.  Focusing on something you can't change - like not getting a pay increase this year - would just be wasted energy.  I'd rather spend my energy on finding a solution - and in this case it's either cutting more out of the budget, or finding additional income.  I appreciate the well wishes, and your comment!

  • Way to go to both of you!!  It is very hard to balance family, life and work.  I know that both of you will continue to communicate and figure out what is best for your family!!  Oh how I understand not getting a raise.  I haven't had one for years now and having our pay cut last year made it even worse.  The rise in the cost of living is killing most everybody!  I love the fact that both of you found a way to help supplement the change in your household.  I am looking forward to our pay cut being stopped next July!!  I love your blogs.  :-)

  • Pay cut?  That's even worse, mdavis1964!  I just keep telling myself that I have a fabulous job (which I do), and I'm lucky to have it.  I'm also lucky to have a part-time career (writing) that I also love, and that I can grow if need be.  Thanks for reading, Monica!

  • What a great blog, and such an encouraging message.   You and Vonnie put such sincere effort into your road to financial success, I'm not surprised it is paying off.  I'm a firm believer in good efforts and good motives being rewarded.  I'm happy for you!

  • Hi Julie!  When you finally make up your mind to build and shape your life into what you know it can be, you'll do anything to achieve it - including cutting things out of our budget, having some difficult discussions about spending, and even getting second jobs.  We're more determined than ever to live responsibly and enjoy life being free from debt.

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