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Smart Cookies

Cut debt with a second, part-time job Add to ...

Back when I was working to pay off a ballooning line of credit, my debt repayment plan included a second part-time job. I sold furniture three days a week. As a result, I was able to pay off my debts six months sooner.

Part-time jobs provide a surprising amount of extra money. Jeff Kosola, a married father of two who blogs about his financial progress, delivers pizza after work and on weekends. He pulls in up to $1,800 a month to put toward his debts.

The average consumer debt, mortgages excluded, is just over $25,000; approximately $3,500 of this total is credit card debt, according to a TransUnion Canada study released this month. Even making an extra $100 a week will significantly bump up your debt-free date. Let's say you're making the minimum payments on a credit card with a balance of $3,500 and an interest rate of 18 per cent. It will take almost 20 years and cost you more than $4,600 in interest to reach a zero balance. Apply an additional $400 a month to your payments and you'll pay $230 in interest and be debt-free in just eight months.

Look at your schedule and skills to figure out what you could do to earn more on the side. If you go to yoga on your free nights, then maybe for the next few months instead of being a Wednesday-night yogi, you can be a Wednesday-night waitress. There are only so many costs to cut and coupons to clip. The real progress comes from making dough to apply to your debts.

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group.

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