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How to Juggle Debt, Work and Family: Tips from a Mompreneur

Are you struggling with debt? Are you trying to balance your work, family and being a mompreneur?

To help you find those answers I’m sharing my story, along with the tips and tricks I’ve learned to juggle debt, work and family.

After college, I got my first G.O.O.D. (Get Out Of Debt) job with a small insurance company. While I generally enjoyed the work, things like office politics and company policies made me feel like I wasn’t really putting my full talents — as well as my education — to good use.

And after a while, I felt like I wasn’t learning anything new or challenging.

Starting a Side Hustle

On a whim, I decided to answer a Craigslist ad for a site that was looking for writers and was willing to give them 100% of the AdSense revenue generated by their articles.

That’s when Pandora’s Box was opened!

I made a nice side hustle writing for that website, and others I found along the way. Fairly soon, I was a bonafide freelance writer with credits to my name. I worked days, wrote during the nights and eventually hoped my “little hobby” would be more lucrative.

When Push Comes to Shove

After a couple of years of writing and learning the ins-and-outs of freelancing, I reached a point where I found myself pressed for time to do both.

Part of me wanted to stick with my employer because I had a baby on the way, but another part of me realized I could make more money on my own, if I could free up more time. Then, the day came when the owner of the company I had been working for announced that they were going out of business.

Faced with the prospect of being underemployed in a dismal job market, and becoming a mother for the first time, my husband and I had many long discussions about what we should do.

Since we both agreed it would be best for me to be home with our daughter, for at least the first few years, we decided it was also time to start pursuing freelance work more aggressively so that I could be a stay-at-home mom and still pursue my goals.

Making the Leap

Unfortunately, in the early years of our marriage, my husband and I weren’t exactly frugal. We had run up a fair amount of debt and with my upcoming decrease in income, at least initially, we had to figure out how to live on less money.

After reading some good advice on about how to cut back our monthly expenses, we realized things like eating out and our ever-growing cell phone bills were luxuries we could do without.

We started doing more couponing and stopped going out to eat, switched to no-contract phone plans, and made it a firm rule not to use our credit cards — unless it was an absolute emergency and we didn’t have enough money in the bank.

While it did mean making some changes in how we spent money, we didn’t give up anything that we ever missed and enjoyed coming with ideas on how we could treat ourselves without going beyond our budget.

The Turning Point

While I was juggling feeding our infant daughter in one hand and typing an article with the other, my husband came running into my home office, whooping and hollering, with a credit card statement in his hand.

I asked what all the fuss was about, and he directed my eyes to the line that said 0.00 due. We made cutbacks to deal with our reduced income, but we also did well enough that we managed to take some “extra” money and pay off some of our debt. That was when I knew our plan was working.

Even though it wasn’t exactly the light at the end of the tunnel, our first modest success turned into another success, and then snowballed.

It didn’t take long before we were paying off debts left and right and we could actually free up some money in our budget so we could have an occasional date night, or a family outing, without dreading the bill.

Our Baby Boom

While paying off our debts was a huge goal for us, it was equally important that we were able to save some money. Simply put, we were planning on having more children and without the benefit of employer healthcare, we had to make sure we could cover our medical expenses without digging our way back into debt.

It wasn’t easy, but our daughter was cooperative enough that Mom found time to bring in new clients during nap times so when our second child was born, we were still watching expenses, but we had a little wriggle room for some fun stuff.

By the time our third child was born, I was making more money freelancing than I ever had in the insurance business, and as an added benefit, I was home with my kids.

Sure, it meant working odd hours — sometimes early morning, sometimes late in the evening, and sometimes sneaking in a hundred words or so while the kids were playing — but after it become ingrained into our daily routine, the kids didn’t mind taking “quiet time” when mom needed to work.

Balancing Work, Life and Family

Looking back, I don’t think that any other solution would have worked for our family. My own unhappiness in the insurance business aside, I would have never had the flexibility to spend so much time with my children if I didn’t start my own business. Working from home gives me a chance to earn money full-time and be a full-time mom.

The days can be long sometimes, but it also gives me time to be there for all those little moments of kid hilarity that some others moms don’t always get to see.

Being a business woman, raising a family and dealing with bills isn’t always fun, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. Every time my kids smile, I know I did the right thing.

Are you a mom who runs a freelance business at home? How has your journey been? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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