She Became Debt-Free by… Dashing?

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(This article was originally published in NextIdea, our weekly newsletter on side hustles and pursuing financial independence. Sign up for it using the box below.)

It’s Fed day, which is like the World Series for us here at NextAdvisor. 

Today’s Federal Reserve meeting is expected to announce another large interest rate hike to try to combat persistent inflation. Each time the central bank raises the federal funds rate, there’s a trickle-down effect to consumers, impacting credit card debt, business funding, and even mortgage rates

Americans have a lot of credit card debt these days, amounting to $887 billion in June, a 13% increase from the year prior, according to a press release from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  And as these interest rates go up, there is little relief on the horizon. 

Researching debt management solutions is how many of our readers at NextAdvisor stumble across the weird, fabulous, and eccentric world of financial independence. Some are seeking out money moves to make in the interim, such as opening a high-yield savings account (find the best ones here), which are getting better yields. But to close the gap and really nip your credit card debt for good, it might be time to incorporate a side hustle or some additional gig work to get your earning potential up.

Dashing for Dollars

Shonnita Leslie paid down her debts by using DoorDash strategically. (Courtesy of Shonnita Leslie)

This was the situation Shonnita Leslie found herself in. Drowning in student loan and credit card debt, she transitioned to a job that qualified for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which would wipe her federal student loans after 10 years of on-time payments. But the salary was low, and her debt payments were still high. Simply put, she needed more money. 

So she tried her hand at DoorDash. Five years and $52,000 of debt payoff later, Leslie has thoughts on how you should manage a side hustle when doing it on top of a 9-to-5 job. Writer Chi Odogwu got the scoop:

She Paid Off $52,000 in Debt by Delivering for DoorDash. A Top Dasher’s Lucrative Side Hustle Secrets

Speaking of advice — last month we launched a new column entitled “Burning Questions” with Bernadette Joy, NextUp honoree and founder of Crush Your Money Goals. From career changes to FIRE stumbles, she’s answering your questions in this recurring series. Check out the newest installment here:

‘Is Renting a Waste of Money?’ Burning Money Questions With Bernadette Joy

Have a burning money question for Bernadette? Slide into her DMs to ask. You might be in a future column.


Personal finance is personal. As the holidays approach, take this time to get your money goals dialed in so you can be better prepared to pursue financial independence.