10 Side Jobs to Make money & Help Pay Off Debt

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There are times when we have to realize that our paychecks will only go so far. After penny pinching to make you budget work, you still might be living paycheck-to-paycheck. This type of lifestyle is bearable for a time but not ideal long-term. In order to accelerate your financial goals, additional income may be the resolution you need. But who has extra time? My response to those who approach me with such an inquiry is to ask them about their daily activities. If you missed one episode of your favorite show or had lunch at your desk twice a week instead of out with friends, could you commit 1-2hours/ week to get financial free? Let’s do it!

Seasonal Retail Jobs – Pet Sitter/Dog Walker

These two are self explanatory! My suggestion, sell where you shop and watch the animals you like best (cats vs dogs). You can even search for positions online!~

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Home Health Aide

This position can also be called a Patient Care Technician an often require no training or experience. What is the ideal person great for this job? If you are looking for a flexible schedule and are patient enough to assist the elderly and/or disabled with everyday tasks, you can make this position work for you! There are a variety of companies that often post for these jobs and rightfully so! Many people who get these jobs, because they do not require training or experience, are not necessarily interested in working in this field long term…and their attitude on the job shows it! Get your attitude and patience in order, make sure you can lift a small person, and keep your personal vehicle serviced in order to pull off this type of employment.

Referral Programs

Companies such as Ebate, Liberty Tax, and ADT Security Systems offer programs you can join for no/low cost in order to make some extra money. They actually pay you promote their services with fairly easy to use tools and instructions. That means, you’d take the time to sign up and discuss what they have to offer to a potential customer – a neighbor who just suffered from a break in, has collectibles in their home to sell, or recently divorced without a clue on how to file their income taxes. There are other services that although you may use them for discount shopping, travel, or managing your health, if you were to refer 5 other customers you’d get your own service for free each month. This could provide you with automatic savings monthly which can add up very quickly.


You do not have to me a Math whiz or finance major to make some extra money as a tutor. We have to thinking of entrepreneurship as a way to help others do what you know how to do naturally. Tutoring is a good example of that. Are you bilingual? Are you aware of the many organizations looking for YOU? At times companies exclude other required skills like a degree and experience in order to hire someone with the language skills their industry requires. Offer tutoring first through your contacts in your industry or even businesses you frequent in order to build a great resume for tutoring. Not sure of how to get started? I obtained an English degree because I thought I’d be teaching high school English in the Chicago Public School system. Obviously my plans changed but I continue to offer my proofreading, editing, blogging, and content management services as a consultant.

Home-Based Business

There are many options for home-based businesses to choose from. My advice would be to look into possible opportunities that come natural to you. Are you into making other women feel beautiful? Research Direct Sales companies such as Avon and Mary Kay. You can often get started for under $50 without requiring you to purchase equipment or stock. Are you a coffee lover who’s health conscious? Do you have a network of business owners and entrepreneurs? Are you looking to lose weight? Want to offer an innovative way for your church to keep in touch with contacts? Do you enjoy traveling and saving money while you shop your favorite stores? Believe it or not, you can promote all of the above products and services under one company! Join my team for my consistent support, training, and the possibility of residual income.

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Virtual Assistance

Although I’ve dabbled in virtual assistance, I did not know there was an actual term for it! These skills are for those who have a knack for customer service, email management, document management, organization, and the typical office duties of almost any company. I would suggest offer to ‘help’ and organization with an upcoming project and set an hourly rate that you would expect to work on the project with a projected end date for the client’s needs. This could be arranged based on your financial needs or the requirements of the project in question. You can then ask the client to be a reference and continue to build on your resume. This make cost you extra time on the phone, the need for a home office, or additional an additional data plan for your smart phone.

Virtual Garage Sales

Ebay has an interesting option for those seeking to get rid of the clutter in their home. Of course, their system is proven and shipping is attached to the entire process which makes it easier than ever to sale items online. There is no need to necessarily ‘market’ your product. Instead, just posting a picture detailed description can be enough for a customer. Another avenue is to join local Mommy groups on facebook where Moms trade, sell, and purchase items all the time. Some groups are sponsored by a local hospital, medical center, social service agency, church, or nonprofit. There have been times when a co-worker of mine was selling an item I was interested in for my daughter and the only way I knew was from her post online! We do not always have time to discuss everything we need or everything we have with everyone around us – this is where these groups are extremely helpful.

Image from kidspot.com

Etsy & Flea Market/Community Farmer’s Market

If you have a skill for making things that other people could or just find completely enjoyable, this option is one for you! Although many crafty people I know attend Flea Markets, they lack an online presence. Etsy is another option for posting and sharing your products and many customers are already waiting to buy crafts and unique gifts. This is also good for people who are not so social media savvy to get a full website together. It is also a great way to involve family and friends who are not local but still want to support your business – just send out the link to your Etsy page!

Well there you have it! My top 10 side jobs to make money & help pay off debt. Let me know if you pursue any of the above. I’d like to get your feedback at ladiSims55[at]gmail.com to celebrate with you as you pursue your financial goals!

~be blessed

Let me know how I can improve your world~


Wants vs. Needs: Prioritizing Your Budget for Balance

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Often times we can get caught up in our spending by confusing our wants and needs. What we’d like to do with our money and what we need to do with our money can sometimes be put into the same category. Sure, it would be great to shop whenever there is a sale, or go out to eat with friends after a stressful week at work, but what does it really cost? Our bills continue to pile up but when we look at our income, it seems as though everything should be taken care of.

Image from tqn.com

Our budget is not just a tool to keep an eye on what we earn but also what we spend. This is where a Spending Diary can help you understand where, when, and how much you tend to spend. Having a few drinks vs. not being able to pay your mortgage seems like an obvious issue, but is it really? Since much of our shopping can be impulsive and driven by emotion, we might not pay close attention. My initial response to emotional spending or retail therapy was to simply stop doing it! I would feel like I deserved a treat with all of my hard work to earn the money. It can’t all go to bills; I have to be able to enjoy my income right? No! This must end, I thought. I have to get a hold of this spending now or else I will be in a lot of debt! I know! I’ll just stop spending out of my emotions all together – if I do not need clothes, I won’t buy any just because there is a sale. If I am hungry, I will prepare meals to take with me – no need for bars or restaurants when it is much cheaper to eat and drink at home…right?

Image from cloudfront.net

After about a month of not spending outside of my essentials, I became angry and felt like I was missing out on something. People were shopping sales and bragging about the nice meals they had at lunch while I stuck to my brown bag all month. Sure I was saving money but at what cost? This is why I determined that my budget was essential to my balance in finances. My budget included the essentials to my household but nothing was attributed to my ‘wants’. Although this is extremely fiscally responsible, this is not a long term solution. If you are working a full time job and only spending on basic essentials and nothing else, you miss the joy of your labor. Just like everything else in life, a balance is necessary to make sure you are being responsible but enjoying your income as well.

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Since I was in a lot of debt (student loans, car payments, credit cards, etc.) a one point, going on such an extreme change with my spending for a month was actually a good thing! I would recommend it as an exercise from time to time in order to get your finances under control. I was able to catch up on some bills and really hone in on what was becoming an addiction for me. According to my Spending Diary, I ate fast food almost every day but spent the most on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. I also saw from my notes that I would often eat out after shopping for a long period of time, even after buying groceries! With this information I was able to note my behaviors and adjust. Instead of eating out so often during the week, I would pick 1 day a week (this later became 3 times a month) to go out and invite friends and/or co-workers. That way I’d have something to look forward to and could indulge with company – making it seem longer.  As far as sales, I would maintain a list of items I needed for a couple weeks in anticipation of a sale (there’s always a sale) and then go shopping for everything on the list.

Image from funtobefrugal.com

You can do similar activities in order to get yourself in financial shape! I urge Moms to be on the look out for their household behaviors and adjust as needed, a little tweaking could go a long way! You may be able to set an allowance for weekly or monthly spending. You may see an area where you’d like to invest into a way bring more money into the home just for retail therapy so you don’t touch household expenses. Maybe you have a business and are spending too much out of your own pocket to keep it running – have you sought out business financing? How did your Spending Diary help you adjust your budget for the better? I’d love your comments and feedback!

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ladiSims is a Workforce Consultant with 6+ years of extensive experience in social services, workforce development, small business development, recruiting and case management. She serves a variety of job seekers, including veterans and disabled adults, with finding employment and adjusting to career changes. Many of her clients seek to transition into new careers with financial and educational barriers hindering their success. ladiSims also shares resources, teaches Employment Readiness, and provides solutions for small businesses in her community. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, ladiSims has a passion for helping people progress towards their career, family, and entrepreneurial goals – she is also an advocate for education. Her BA degree is in English with a minor in African America Studies from SIUC where she also studied creative writing, journalism, and education. She also has a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) with a concentration in Community Development from UIC. Her ‘why’ includes her daughter Charlotte, 2 moms, 2 dads, numerous siblings, faith in Christ, and the youth of ChiCity. Among her peers, she is known for simplifying complex issues, offering conflict resolution, and being able to connect with individuals of various socioeconomic statuses, cultures, skill sets, & educational backgrounds. ladiSims uses her ability to create and maintain strategic partnerships to influence both rural and urban communities. Find ladiSims on Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope for more of her shenanigans!

Thumbs up

Thumbs Up

I scan the parking lot as I get Baby C2 out of the van. I see Andy struggling with H. Not sure what is going on, I give Andy a thumps up. He gives it back. H must be acting like a typical toddler, but otherwise all is good in the neighborhood.

This scene plays out a lot of ways on a lot of days. As parents, especially working parents, Andy and I have had to develop the art of silent communication. We try not to yell in our family, we don’t want to alarm our children and sometimes we are in a big hurry. Our thumps up, down or sideways signs helps us both know what is happening and if we need to change course or the other person may need help.

I don’t remember exactly how it started. I know that we used it a little bit prior to having kids. Now it feels like we use it every day. When one of us gives the sideways thumb it means things are going south. When it is a thumbs down, we (as Dee would say) stop, drop and… run for help.

Do you have a code for your family? How does it help you communicate?

Peace, Love and Show Me Your Thumb,


Image Credit: Grist.org


happy family

Happy Family, Happy Life

Life with children can be particularly hard on spouses. When the kids aren’t listening and there is so much to do, but you are sleep deprived tempers can flare. So how do you stay happy for the rest of your life?

According to Jimmy Soul you need to make an ugly woman your wife. In all seriousness though, marriage with children is difficult but modeling solid, loving relationships is one of the most important things you can do for your children. I always knew that my kids would model my behavior, but I had no idea how that modeling would affect me. They are like little mirrors showing us everything about ourselves, even the flaws.

When it comes to how my boys are going to treat people, think it is acceptable to be treated, know how to give and receive love; I can’t compromise. Nothing is more important than showing them the best way so that they can have wonderful, loving relationships. That means I have to be more selfless, let the petty things go, and stop getting upset about stuff that doesn’t matter: because most of it doesn’t matter.

In an article which appeared in the Huffington Post, Christine Carter, PhD wrote about the top three things parents need to do to raise happy children:

  1. Show them love and affection
  2. Manage stress effectively
  3. Model healthy relationships skills – particularly with your children’s other parent regardless of whether or not you are romantically involved.

In order to model a healthy marriage for your children, you need to keep your marriage strong. This means making your spouse a priority:

  • Going on a date together
  • Talking to each other about things that you value
  • Being affectionate with each other

Working outside the home you have very little time for anyone, let alone yourself. This advice probably seems like another thing to add to your long list of to dos. Trust me, I get it! But it is one of the most important things you can do for your kids. I know I need to remember this, because sometimes it is easy to put off the very person that you know will understand. Instead, they need to be nurtured so that your relationship flourishes and your children see, reap and model the benefits.

Peace, Love & the Important Stuff,


Friday Fun Day!

It’s Friday! TGIF! Want to order some pizza? 😛

In our house we make a big deal about Fridays. We celebrate all the things we don’t do during the week like:

  • Watching a cartoon before bed
  • Going to the park after school & work
  • Not being so focused on bedtime
  • Making or ordering pizza!
  • Putting on flip flops and wearing them all weekend long (the boys can’t wear open toed shoes to school)

Need some more ideas? Check out our Finally Friday Post. 

Friday Pizza DayMy hope is that celebrating the weekend every week will create a fun memory for my children. One of my favorite memories as a kid was ordering pizza on Friday nights, eating it on the ottoman in the den and watching TV. None of those things were allowed normally.

What ways do you make Friday or the weekend special for your kids?

Peace, Love & Family Traditions,



Career Crossroads & Kids

As I working mom, I know most of you have been at a career cross roads. This is the position I find myself in most recently. There are two different opportunities that have presented themselves. I feel lucky to be able to have options. However, each opportunity has pros and cons that make them unique and does not necessarily give me a clear understanding of the front runner.

Pre-kids the job I was interested in the most and that would advance my career the most was the job I always took. Money played a large roll as well. Now that I am a mom there are so many other caveats to nash about in my head.

  • Will I have flexibility?
  • Is there travel?
  • What are the benefits?
  • How is the pay structured?
  • What do the evening and weekends look like?

I am finding that the travel and flexibility are two things I really feel strongly about as I explore my next move.

What do you think about when you are making career changes? What helped you make the decision? Thank you in advance for your advice.

Peace, Love & Crossroads,


Put the Kids to Work

As working moms, our time is valuable, and limited. There are only so many hours in the day to get everything accomplished, and household chores take up a big chunk of that time. As F has gotten older, my husband and I have started giving him more chores around the house. He loves to dust, sweep and bring in the trash cans, and is disappointed if we do these things without him! So, save yourself some time and teach your kids some independence with these age appropriate chores:

Toddler Chores (ages 2-3)

  • Put toys and books away
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Help switch laundry from washer to dryer
  • Help make the bed

Preschooler Chores (ages 4-5)

All previous chores, plus

  • Set the table
  • Clear the table
  • Match socks
  • Water plants
  • Feed the pets
  • Dust
  • Help pack lunch
  • Unload silverware from dishwasher
  • Pull weeds

Early Elementary (ages 6-8)

All previous chores, plus

  • Wash produce
  • Wipe bathroom sinks and counters
  • Vacuum
  • Sweep
  • Put clean laundry away
  • Get mail
  • Rake leaves
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Bring garbage can in from curb

Later Elementary (ages 9-11)

All previous chores, plus

  • Make simple meals
  • Laundry
  • Clean toilets
  • Mop floors
  • Take garbage out to curb
  • Change sheets

Middle School (ages 12-14)

All previous chores, plus

  • Clean tub/shower
  • Mow the lawn
  • Clean out refrigerator
  • Make dinner
  • Wash car
  • Iron clothes

What chores do your kids help out with?


Cherishing the In Between Moments

When you are a working parent you spend a lot of time away for your kids. In fact, most of the time you are able to spend with them is during the difficult moments of getting ready in the morning and going to bed. Getting a toddler and infant ready for the day is never easy and unlike mom and dad I don’t think they ever “want” to go to bed.

cowboy boats and dressing a toddler

H, in cowboy boots and hat for school.

A few mornings ago I had this conversation with H.

H: I want cowboy boots Mommy!

Me: H,  you will need tennis shoes to play on the playground. Don’t you want to be able to run around with your friends?

H: Cowboy boots!

Me: How about we wear the cowboy boots and take your tennis shoes?

H: Ok!

After putting on cowboy boots, I pick up the tennis shoes.

H: No, mommy! No! (while grabbing the tennis shoes and throwing them back in the closet…

This is all over just shoes. We still have to get dressed, brush our hair and teeth, get breakfast and get into the car. I am tired already. These moments are not what I would consider quality time.

For all of these reasons the quality time I do get to spend with my children is very special. It is the in between times that I feel have the most impact and quality. Those are the times that they are able to open up to you, enjoy you and you them. For me it is like watching a flower bloom or a beautiful sunset creep over the horizon. I wish I could bottle the joy that they see in everyday things.  Lately, this special time is being eaten away by obligations I have. Conference calls in the evening for work are taking away from my talks with the boys on their way home from school. Both Andy and I have needed to handle work items on the weekend or other obligations. It makes my heart sick.

Hearing H describe his day in toddler speak is incredible. Watching Baby C2 light up when I pay attention to just him is priceless. I can’t even describe the excitement in the car when I am able to say yes to going to the park before dinner because we got home a few minutes early. Taking the extra few minutes to understand the important things in their worlds help us connect as a family. Isn’t that the important stuff life is made of?

Other than adding more hours to the day, I don’t know how to fix my problem. I am pretty sure adding hours to the day has already been thought. However, I am hoping by being cognizant of the issue I can limit the encroaching priorities and make the little time I do have sacred.

How do you handle when obligations interfere with time with your kids?

Peace, Love & Cherishing Their Time,



Image credit: Blogspot.com

Is It Worth It? 


While Kid Flash is somewhat disappointed, I am ecstatic and relieved that there are no soccer games this weekend that we need to escort our boys to.  Our weekdays and weekends seem to be consumed by soccer, amidst other activities and commitments.  As of late, my husband and I have been evaluating many of our (including the boys’) extracurricular activities to determine their value and worth.  When it comes to soccer, here is what we have calculated for the past 9 months:

● $700 – 2 seasons of competitive, league soccer for Junior

● $200 – 1 season of developmental soccer for Kid Flash

● $350 – Food/Hotel/Travel for weekend soccer tournament for Junior  

● $250 – Soccer accessories and equipment for Junior and Kid Flash


I certainly support children participating in organized sports.  It is a great way to learn teamwork, how to compete and how to win or lose.  But, $1500 for a 6 and 8 year old to play soccer?  That doesn’t even include the cost of gas for the approximately 50 mile roundtrip drive to/from soccer practices 4 days/week, cost of gas to travel to/from weekend games (which are typically out of town) or the time we spend traveling to/from soccer practices and games (which is invaluable, as far as I am concerned).  Not to mention that the recreational soccer league is only $45 per season in our area. 😉  Is it worth it? 

As a mom, of course I want my boys to be successful, well-rounded and exposed to a myriad of opportunities.  But, at what expense?  My boys can barely make it home from practice each day without falling asleep in the car.  Thankfully, homework is completed at their after school program, but they still have to eat dinner and shower when we get home.  And, their little bodies are just exhausted.  I wonder if they could not experience the same level of success and well-roundedness by just going outside to play in our backyard, which is completely free AND offers them the opportunity to create, dream and explore.  Playing in the backyard allows my boys to:

● exercise & compete – they play baseball, basketball, football, soccer and ride their bikes

● explore & create – there is plenty of dirt to rearrange, sticks to use for building, rocks to throw, bugs to torture and games to make up

● educate & conspire – they figure out ways to apply much of the science knowledge they receive in school

● exist & coexist – they learn how to negotiate and resolve conflict because an argument almost always ensues about what to do next and how long to
do it


While I will not argue that there is some value in having our kids involved in extracurricular activities, these activities should in no way detract from invaluable time spent together as a family, distance us from each other or determine our worth as individuals.  The overcommitted child/family has no more worth than the child/family that simply engages at the dinner table or gathers outside for free play after a busy day of school and work.  We must all make our own decisions about how we spend our time, energy and money.  Each family’s goals are different.  My husband and I agree that the most important goal for our 3 boys (remember, we have an adult son in college) is that they believe in and serve Jesus Christ.  We have determined that anything else they accomplish is just icing on the cake.  So, ‘as for me and my house’, we have decided to let some things go, so we can focus on ‘keeping the main thing, the main thing’.

Until next time-

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15  NIV)

God’s best-



The Care Conundrum

It Is very early Monday morning. Your child wakes you up complaining that they don’t feel well or the baby wakes up with a fever. You have an 8:00 AM meeting, but know you need to get them to the doctor. Besides having your heart sink, what do you do?

This is a common problem for parents in the workforce. It is difficult to take care of children, and even aging parents, while holding down a full time job. It seems to be a constant juggling act. Even news outlets like NPR starting writing about the inadequacy of FMLA back in 2013.

While speaking with a colleague who has a young child, I asked her what she does when her kid is sick. She confided that she never references her kids when there is a problem that will make her late or means that she has to leave early. “The culture doesn’t allow it,” she explained. “If I am sick or even need to take my dog to the vet it isn’t an issue, but the moment it is my kid… my commitment to the job is questioned.”*

With articles coming out about discrimination against working moms each day, it brings into question the value placed on family in this country. There is extreme irony to this increasingly difficult topic. At the very time a person’s commitment to their job is being questioned their commitment is most likely higher than ever before. Most working parents need jobs in order to take care of their children. Without these jobs they can’t afford food, shelter and clothing for their babies let alone anything extra. So companies have highly committed employees in the form of parents. Parents are often willing to work hard in order to provide for their families and  are only looking for a little flexibility in return for their commitment. Instead their flexibility is most likely decreased by the employer as the expectation is their focus will no longer be on the job. This mindset creates a severe employee retention issue.

“I took a step back in my career when I became a mom because I didn’t want to face the added criticism,” another colleague disclosed*.

One company has seen the damage that losing working mothers are doing to business. Vodafone recently took the unusual step of mandating 16 weeks paid maternity leave for all employees globally and allowing woman to transition back into the work place with a 30 hour work week the first six months after maternity leave. Despite the decrease in hours, woman will continue to receive their full salary.

“Sharon Doherty, a director at Vodafone who was the architect of the new policies, went looking for ways to address those numbers. She noticed that in Italy, Portugal and Romania, where mandates are in place for companies to help women transition back into the workplace after maternity leave, the company’s retention rate was higher. The policy will apply to all 500 full time employees in the United States” (Washington Post).

If only all employers were being as innovative as Vondafone.

It isn’t just happening to women either. Men are often told that their wives should handle issues with the children. A close friend’s husband is often ridiculed for leaving work at a reasonable hour so that he can spend time with his son and it is extremely difficult for him to help with illness and childcare despite the fact that she works as well.*

While working parents strive to make ends meet in an economic world where wages are flat and the cost of living has outpaced salaries, we are losing sight of what is most important; our children.


Children are the future. They will be the people making policies and taking care of us once we age out of the workforce. Don’t we owe them a better example? Shaming or even preventing parents for caring for their children will only affect everyone’s future negatively in the end.

Peace, Love, and the Ability to Care for Your Children,


*Names have not been disclosed to protect privacy