farnoosh subsidize in style

Illustration: Naomi Wilkinson

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Subsidize in Style
Student loans, credit card debt, and a high cost of living inspired 34-year-old Pheniece Jones, a public relations consultant in Seattle, to take on a side gig. She's now a "stylist" with accessories company Stella & Dot. Jones paid $199 for marketing and training materials, as well as credits toward buying display products for in-person trunk shows. She also sells products online using a personalized site the company created. Products ship directly from the manufacturer, so she doesn't need to keep inventory on hand. Jones takes home 25 to 35 percent of sales. The $500 in monthly commissions—combined with her full-time income—has helped her pay off her $3,000 credit card balance, knock 40 percent off her student loan bill, and visit Paris. Her new goal: "Travel more!"

Earn, Baby Earn
"You can cut costs only so much, but you can always earn more. When you turn your skills into a side business, the cash you bring in will provide a richer life in so many ways," says Ramit Sethi, founder of Earn1K.com.

Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and author of When She Makes More, hosts CNBC's Follow the Leader and the podcast So Money.