If you’re planning to make a big purchase soon, you don’t need to reach for your credit card. John Schneider of the Debt Free Guys shows why a side hustle for a down payment is a smart financial decision.
“Do you want to make more money? Sure, we all do!” goes the famous Sally Struthers quote. Unlike in the past when a college education was all that was needed to make more money, furthering education today may not be as practical or even as profitable due to escalating college costs.
What’s the solution? Try a side hustle. Side hustles are an excellent way to supplement your income. With the advancement of technology and the Internet, side hustles today can even turn into full-time employment. Sometimes, a hobby can launch a new career.
Not everyone wants to go independent, though. Many simply want additional income to fund a personal goal, such as buying a car, purchasing a house, or getting married. Goals typically aren’t cheap, and down payments are often required. Below we share three ways to get your creative juices flowing for your ideal side hustle.
1. Learn the Value of 10 to 20 Percent
A large down payment can help negotiate a better deal and lower the overall cost of a major purchase. The traditional advice for down payments on a home or a car is to put at least 20 percent down. Because the cost of everything seems to increase faster than wages, down payments for 10 percent or less have become more common.
When David and I first bought our condo in 2007—just before the housing market was booming—we put zero percent down. Because of that, our monthly mortgage payment was higher than it would’ve been had we put down the advised minimum. We had to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which jacked up the price. PMI is insurance the homebuyer purchases that offsets the risk a bank undertakes to make an investment in a buyer with insufficient collateral. David and I had nothing to lose if our home value dropped, which it did shortly after our purchase, and our bank had everything to lose.
Because we were aggressive with making larger payments than what was required—and we applied our extra payments towards our principal balance—seven years later we were able to refinance our mortgage at a lower rate with a shorter term because we had 20 percent equity. What should have taken a net total of 30 years to pay off was reduced to 22 years with the same monthly mortgage payment.
This will save us $63,000 versus our original 30-year term. That’s the value of having an appropriate down payment, and that’s why we will never put less than 20 percent down on a purchase again. In fact, David has been saving for several years to buy a (new-to-us) car, which we plan to pay for with cash.
2. Find a Side Hustle for Your Down Payment
Flip Flea Markets for Homes
Spring is here. It’s time to clean and declutter. Yard sales will spring up across America and flea markets—the big daddy of yard sales—will be in full bloom.
Some people don’t like yard sales or flea markets, and some people don’t have time for them. Through Etsy or your own website, you can sell the wares you treasure hunt for a healthy markup.
We have friends who do this and make good money. It requires an investment of time, but with a good eye and some creativity, your return on investment may be worth it.
Become a Car Concierge
It’s inconvenient for some people to take their car for maintenance, repairs, or cleanings due to busy or inconvenient schedules. This is how your new car concierge service can help. Create a profile on Craigslist or Taskrabbit that tells a little bit about you. Describe how you will go anywhere (for a fee) to pick up a car, take it for cleanings, repairs, maintenance, or emissions tests and return it to the busy owner when the work is complete. Set your fee, without pricing yourself out of the market, and watch the dollars multiply for your new car.
Become a Wedding Officiant
While not everyone can be a wedding singer, anyone can be a wedding minister. Don’t believe us? Go online and become a minister today. A good friend of ours did this and between April and October more strangers want to see him for weddings than friends want to see him for drinks. He makes a nice side hustle because of it.
There’s no requirement to graduate from theology or seminary school in order to perform wedding ceremonies. You can become a minister online almost as quickly as you can order a pizza.
Many couples today prefer an open-minded, non-denominational, non-practicing-whatever wedding and your services are just what they need. Once you’ve got your script written and memorized, all you need to do is change the names and personal stories and you’ve got a lucrative side hustle in nuptials.
3. Withstand Temporary Pain for Long-Term Gain
Famous American entrepreneur Jim Rohn asks, “Are you willing to live two years like no one else will, to live the rest of your life like no one else can?”
I’m not suggesting that any of these savings recommendations are easy. All side hustles require your time, and often a financial investment as well. Side hustles are simply a means to supplement traditional income.
Jim Rohn’s question highlights the idea that temporary pain can lead to long-term gain. About three years ago, David and I started a personal finance blog during our free time from our day jobs. Since then, we’ve written four books and for several websites and magazines.
It took some time for us to start to make money from our side hustle. We’ve missed get-togethers with friends and family. We work early and late hours around our day jobs. We don’t know the definition of “downtime.”
Because of the sacrifices we’ve made, we’re now in the fortunate position to have one of us leave our day job and work solely on what used to be our side hustle. While it’s scary to lower our sense of security, it’s exciting that we’ve built a business and have the prospects of working for ourselves.
Whether your side hustle turns into your main source of income or not, a little extra money to fund a down payment can save tens of thousands of dollars in the long term. That extra savings can be put toward other life goals, such as having children or saving for retirement.
When it comes down to it, any added income is helpful.
Read more stories from John Schneider and David Auten at DebtFreeGuys.com.
While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.