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What exactly is your side hustle financing?

wad of cash with "extra income" note

Ariya J | Shutterstock

Cecilia Pigg - published on 08/08/23

Are your financial goals worth the time and energy it takes to create and maintain an extra income stream?

I was looking at our budget recently after some job switches and income changes. We were trying to figure out where we were with our finances, and what we needed to do (or not do) to pay the bills and plan for the future. Our main question: Does one of us need to take on more side work to supplement our main income?

man delivering pizza on scooter

There are a lot of resources out there to give you tips on creating and maintaining a side hustle — and about earning income in general. But as Christians, what should be spending that side hustle money on? Are our financial goals worth the time and energy it takes to create and maintain an extra income stream?

As always happens when I reassess what we are spending money on, I thought back to our first years of marriage when we first encountered Father Thomas Dubay’s book Happy Are You Poor. Reading that book together reshaped our finances and financial goals more than anything else has in our relationship to date. Fr. Dubay emphasizes that Jesus spends a lot of time talking about money.

warehouse man running with cart stacked with boxes

In that vein, here are some questions I’ve asked myself as I ponder financial prudence, generosity, and saving for the future. These questions and my subsequent reflections are based heavily on Father Dubay’s practical synthesis of what Jesus asks us to do: be generous, don’t worry excessively about the future, support the needy, and don’t fixate or become attached to what you do have such that you can’t give it to others who need it more. 

1GIVING

How much am I giving away to the church and to those in need? It is one of the precepts of the church to support the church as much as our abilities allow. Ten percent of your income is a traditional amount that people tithe. If that is overwhelming, pick a smaller percentage, but stick with it every month. Staying consistent with a percentage is challenging, and helps grow that generosity muscle.

2BUDGETING

Do I have a budget/know where my money is going every month? If you don’t know how much you spend on what every month, it is vital to take stock. Realizing how much you are spending on particular things is an easy way to see where you can grow in generosity. We’ve found it is so easy to get into spending habits and never look back, so we reevaluate regularly.

3PRIORITIZING

What do the categories in my budget look like? Am I spending more on a particular category than is necessary?

4CUTTING OUT DISTRACTIONS

Are there services or treats that I spend on every month that are distracting me from what’s important in my life? Canceling streaming services is hard for us, but very helpful.

5SACRIFICING

Are there regular services or treats in my life that I could cut out so that I could give more to those in need? Ahem, fancy chocolates and used books … I’m looking at you.

6VALUING TIME

My time is important and valuable. Am I spending time working on a side hustle that isn’t particularly vital to my or my family’s well-being — especially when I should be spending that time more attentive to my responsibilities and duties at home?

lifeguard running

After whittling down your budget, then you can take a better look at your need or desire to side hustle. If your side hustle has, or potentially will in the near future, help you pay the bills, be more generous, and get out of debt—without jeopardizing the important relationships in your life, those seem like healthy reasons to continue.

If, however, that extra money coming in is making you feel less able to share with those in need, more attached to material things, or making you more anxious about the future at the cost of your present relationships, then maybe it is time to reevaluate

Each financial situation and decision is unique, especially in a relationship that requires two people being on the same page. But Jesus is pretty clear that we must be generous with the gifts we are given, and that taking care of those in need is necessary for our salvation (Matthew 25).

By taking your budget and side hustle to prayer, you can ask Jesus how you can best serve Him in those around you. He’ll make it clear if you ask.

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