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Four ways to get out of debt you may not have thought of

07 September 2016, 11:31 Eugenie du Preez

Cape Town - Thousands of South African consumers are already struggling to get rid of debt and with the ever-spiralling cost of living and ongoing political shenanigans ready to wreak havoc with the rand, the situation is hardly likely to improve.

If you are one of the thousands of over-indebted consumers looking for a way out of a bleak situation, making a bit of extra money on the side could prove to be a lifesaver.

Wikus Olivier, debt management expert at registered debt counsellor DebtSafe, offers some suggestions to boost your income you may not have thought of. Debt, declares Olivier, may very well turn out to be the burning platform that changes your life for the better.

Here are a few ideas:

Your skills and talents could bring in extra cents

Use your free time in the evenings and on weekends to do what you’re good at and earn extra income. Here are a few ideas to consider:

 - Offer language classes to foreigners;
 - If you are great at maths or accounting, you can start tutoring;
 - Start a garden layout service;      
 - Become a boot camp instructor;
 - Take up freelance writing or editing;
 - Offer cooking or baking classes;
 - Offer classes in any craft you are skilled at (making stained glass, knitting toys, framing and so on).

The possibilities are endless, and those who are willing and able to take on creative opportunities can generate quite a few extra rands per month.

Sell and recycle those unwanted items

We all have too much clutter and a bit of spring cleaning around the house could deliver some surprising results. Get rid of those unwanted items and sell the things you don't need on OLX, Gumtree or Junk Mail. Be sure to take sensible precautions and watch out for fraudsters.

Another idea is to amp up your income by recycling. Take your recyclable items to local drop-off points and buy-back centres (treevolution) - it may not be much, but the little drops fill up the bucket in the end.

Consider a second job

If you desperately need extra income, a part-time job is not such a bad idea. You could consider becoming a waiter or waitress, doing evening or weekend deliveries or answering queries as a call centre agent from 18:00 until midnight.

Another option is to drive for cash. This part-time job is typically well suited to university students and retirees. Most companies that hire drivers require a Code B driver's licence (light and/or heavy motor vehicle), which requires a small investment of time and money on your part. But it could be well worth it. 

Don't discount Airbnb and Uber

Consider using your existing assets to build extra income. What about Airbnb? This initiative, where ordinary people rent out unused space in their houses to travellers, currently runs in over 190 countries. Hosting opens up new opportunities to earn money by simply using existing space you don’t use.

And what about registering as an Uber driver? Become an Uber cabbie and earn additional cash as an independent contractor. It’s a great way to supplement your income and if you’re good at it, it might even be a way to work independently for good.

Bottom line: if you have any hidden or unused talents, you may be sitting on a little gold mine that could boost your income and get you out of debt faster than you ever thought possible. Making creative plans and taking calculated risks to reduce your debt load might just open up a whole new world of opportunity.

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