Tips for Getting a Second Job

The Budget Fashionista’s Annual “Being Broke Ain’t Cute” Series features tips and advice to help you improve your personal financial health. For more personal finance information, please visit our Financial Health Series.

The allure of a second job can be pretty strong, especially if you’re trying to pay down some credit card debt or annihilate some student loan balances.  Sometimes a second job is the right answer, but sometimes it might actually do you more harm than good. Ask yourself:


How much is your time worth? Why would you take a minimum wage second job if your primary job pays five times that amount? You’d be better off trying to get some overtime at your current job, or maybe even looking for some freelance work in your field.

Is there a fabulous discount involved? You notice that your favorite store is hiring for part-time help, and one of the perks for employees is a generous discount. You might be able to get away with only working a couple of hours a week and still get a fierce discount that will make the job worth it.

Are you going to budget your money? One problem with money from second jobs that some folks run into is that they see the money as extra, so they don’t include it in their regular budget. If you don’t pay attention to the money from your second job you’ll soon find the money vanishes as quickly as a pair of Jimmy Choo’s on a clearance rack.

Can you avoid a second job? You might be able to cut back on some expenses and save more money each month than you’d make at a second job. Really, do you want to work a second job just to cover your Mocha Latte addiction?

Will your second job be fun? Second jobs can give you the freedom to pursue your passions if you’re not relying on the second job to pay your bills. That’s why you’ll find businesswomen who teach yoga on the side, chefs who lead art museum tours on the weekends, and teachers who DJ once in a while at local clubs.

Bottom Line: Don’t be a financial martyr and take a second job if you don’t really need to or want to. If you are completely committed to getting your finances in shape and think that a second job is your best option, try to find something that you will enjoy…or at least give you a huge discount on things you’re going to buy anyhow.  You won’t last long at a second job if you detest the work and you’re making next-to-nothing per hour.

Photo by Courtney Carmody

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  1. blutiful22 says

    I needed to read this today.  Since last year I have been searching for a part time job to get ahead and pay down debt.  I finally got a call but I’m not sure the pay + the hours needed would be worth my time.

  2. curlytop says

    it’s hard to have a second job but if it helps with the paying the bills then it’s worth the time.

  3. says

    I find it’s easier to save money than to tack on a second job. For my husband and I, this meant re-thinking our household spending. We had no idea we spent so much on eating out until we actually added it up. We carpool with friends and drive less in general to cut back on the gas expense. Cutting cable helped too, especially when there’s so much you can watch online for free these days.

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