This is a guest post from Jason Butler. Jason is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia. You can find him on Instagram here.
May 10th, 2008 was one of the best days of my life. I graduated from college. I was excited to say the least. 5.5 long years and I was done. I figured that my 50K per year job was right around the corner. Boy, was I wrong. It took me over a year to find a full-time job. When I did start, I made nowhere near $50,000. I struggled with my finances for a few years. During that time, my debt exploded due to interest and late fees. My debt was over $72,000 when I said enough was enough and finally started to get things together. As of this writing, I have a little over $49,000 in student loan debt left. Once that is eliminated, I’ll be debt free.
Becoming debt free is one of the things that will help me get closer to being financially independent. There are several things that I must do to make this happen. I’m going to share with you a few things here, starting with the most obvious one.
Eliminate the Student Loans
These student loans have been a burden to me for over a decade. When I was in my 20’s I didn’t make the best decisions. One of them was to ignore the loans every few months before making very small payments. Interest has allowed the loan balance to nearly double from the amount that I started with. At one point, I thought that I wanted to go back and get another degree, so I registered for some classes and took out a student loan for $12,000. After two semesters, I realized that I had made a huge mistake.
In 2015, I was able to finally start making on time payments on the loans that were not deferred or in forbearance. By 2019, I had begun making payments on all of them. I’m currently paying $1000+ each month on the student loans. I expect that amount to grow.
Grow My Website Businesses
I currently run 2 websites. The first one is My Money Chronicles. It’s a site that that I rebranded in 2019. I discuss side hustles, debt, and travel over there. I also talk about my journey. I share my ups and downs as well as what’s working and what’s not. My 2nd website will be live in a few weeks. It’s not in the personal finance space at all. For the last 9 months, I’ve been researching SEO. I found a niche that I know will do excellent. I’ll share how things are going with it periodically.
Grow my Resell Business
I run an eBay store on the side as well. This side business has allowed me to save money and eliminate more of my smaller debts. The goal for this year is growth. I typically average 190-200 items in my store. I plan to double that. I’ll be doing more thrifting and buying items in bulk to help make that happen.
I’ll also be posting more items on multiple platforms. Believe it or not, I have items selling on eBay, Mercari, Poshmark, OfferUp, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor. I’m not playing around. I must get these loans out of here.
Grow My Design Business
I design items on Amazon, Teespring, and Redbubble. This is a side hustle with unlimited potential. Testing a combo of designs and keywords is the key to getting consistent sales. I have a couple of designs that make me money without me promoting them. I’ve been putting more time in this and I am seeing the results.
I have some small investments now. Soon, I plan on having more. I’ve been reading a lot about dividend stocks lately and it’s highly intriguing. In the past few months, I’ve purchased a few of them and have already received a couple of small dividends. I like what I‘m seeing so far.
I currently still have a full-time job. I have money each month going into a separate online account that I don’t see often. I want to have a nice safety net for when I’m working for myself.
Future Business Ideas
I have tons of other future business ideas including potential domain flipping and real estate. I’m not going to go into details about them today, but I know that once the student loan debt is eliminated, I’ll be able to focus on them more.
The name of the game is to become location dependent. I want to be able to make money from anywhere in the world. With 2 of my side hustles/business, I’m doing that now on a small level. With more trial and error, I’ll be able to get that income to large consistent amount. This is one of my huge goals.
I was fired from my old job in 2020. I didn’t work for over 8 months. I had the freedom to focus on my own stuff. To be honest, I loved that time and I slightly miss it. I’m working hard to get to that point again. To me financial independence equals freedom. I’m working smart and hard to make sure that I get there within the next 2 years. Make sure that you follow my journey so that we can celebrate together.