Is a Second Job Really Worth It?

Phoenix is considered one of the more “affordable” metros to live in. But with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment at over $1,100 a month, it can be hard to keep up.

Maybe you’ve already budgeted yourself to bare bones, or you trimmed expenses down to the essentials. Or maybe you’re just wondering how you’re going to manage to pay for your student loans, credit cards and rent this month (groceries aren’t that important, right?).

That’s when you start to think, “I need a second job.” A dual income can boost your ability to pay bills, save money and maybe even treat yourself to a fun purchase occasionally. But before you run out and find a side hustle, here are some important pros and cons to consider.

THE PROS: Mo’ Money, Fewer Problems

Whether you choose to get a traditional part-time job, take freelance gigs or walk dogs, you’ll have extra income coming in. With more money comes more options!

Pay Down Debt: Extra jobs allow you to start paying down existing credit cards and other “revolving debt” that carries over from month to month, accruing interest. Or to pay even more toward a loan. Just imagine how much faster you could whittle down that auto loan or credit card bill if you had even an extra $100 a month from side businesses to put toward the payment!

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Tip: Check out this handy Debt-Free Calculator to see how long it might take to pay off debt with various payment amounts.

Save for the Future: Even if you’re able to make ends meet, you might not be saving as much as you’d like to. Whether you want to build your emergency fund, put more in your company’s 401(k) retirement plan or save up to buy a house, get a new car or take a vacation, finding a second job could potentially get you there.

Enjoy Job Flexibility: More than 48% of Millennials work some kind of gig-based side hustle, according to a Bankrate.com survey. Here’s why: Unlike more traditional jobs, “gigs” like dog walking, freelance graphic design for local businesses and work-from-home virtual assistance can be done on your own time. Side hustlers love this flexibility!

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Tip: Well-known gig economy sites like Fiverr.com, Wag and Urban Sitter are a good place to start for this type of work.

Acquire Extra Skills: If you take a second job that’s outside your current field — working in a coffee shop, for example — you can add to your skill set. Customer service? Check. Managerial responsibilities? Got it. A side gig is great idea to boost your resume if you have your eye on a job that requires additional skills.

Not sure what you could earn money doing? Check out this list of side hustle ideas. From helping an online business in your spare time to getting passive income from starting a blog, there are a ton of ways to make more dough.

THE CONS: Think Before You Gig

Lack of Free Time: More cash is great, but working more also leaves you with less time for friends, family and all the fun stuff. Weigh the time costs against how much money you’ll actually take home after taxes — and what that cash will do for you!

Physical and Mental Toll: According to the CDC, adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night for the best health and wellbeing. With extra work on your plate in addition to your full-time job, you might have to sacrifice counting sheep in favor of counting dollars.

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Tip: Be realistic about your energy levels and need for sleep. Will your part-time job or gig cut into sleep time? How long before your day job is affected?

Hidden Costs: Some side jobs or gigs can come with unexpected expenses. If you’re driving for a rideshare company, consider the cost of gas and car maintenance. Working across town? Factor in transportation dollars. Even if you have a more typical side job, think through other potential snags: like what happens if your day job runs late or your car breaks down.

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Tip: A side gig could potentially move you into a new tax bracket, busting your big debt snowball plan down to a tiny flake.

So, is a Side Hustle Worthwhile?

It depends on your situation. Are you hustling just to make more bank, or are you planning to pay off debts or save for a big purchase? If you’ll only be making minimum wage at a second job, could you just cut frivolous expenses or buckle down on your budget instead?

Take a hard look at every area of your life before filling out second job applications. You may really need the extra cash and skill-building. Or, you may decide that what you’re getting from a side gig isn’t worth what you’re giving up!

Are you ready to save for your travel adventures?

OPEN AN ACCOUNT

The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.