Saving Extra Money with a Side Job

Deirdre Jannerelli
January 24, 2020

It can be hard to dedicate a portion of each paycheck to your savings account, especially when you’re finding yourself tight on cash. But if you’re serious about your finances, you know the importance of saving money on a regular basis. One way to help achieve your savings goals is to supplement your income with a side job.

Some call it a “side gig”, others call it a “side hustle”, but regardless of what term you use, a side job is any work that you do outside of your full-time employment to earn extra cash. And depending on how much time you have to devote to a side job, and what skills you have, it’s possible to make some serious money with one.

The trick is to find a side job that suits you and won’t interfere with your personal life or your full-time job. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out or risk losing your main source of income. Before committing to a side gig, you’ll want to do your research and find the right fit. When you think of a second job, chances are that restaurants, coffee shops and retail stores come to mind. That’s because these types of jobs are known for flexible, part-time work. But, they’re not the only jobs you have to choose from. There are plenty of less-conventional jobs just waiting for you, and some you can even do from the comfort of your own bed!

Here are some side jobs to consider:

  • Survey Taker – Did you know that many businesses rely on consumer surveys to get the feedback they need to make product, branding, and marketing decisions? That’s right, there are companies that will pay you to take surveys! But, before you go and sign up to be a survey taker you need to consider two major things. First and foremost, there are many paid survey scams out there, so you need to do your due diligence before signing up. Be suspicious of any site that requires a membership fee to take a survey. Websites like SurveyPolice.com can be a good resource for finding legitimate paid survey opportunities. The second thing to keep in mind is that most surveys don’t pay very much, so don’t expect to get rich lying on the couch taking online surveys. However, survey taking can be a potentially good way to generate a little extra cash and help pad your savings.

  • Mystery Shopper – Imagine posing as a customer and providing feedback to a company on your shopping experience. Believe it or not, being an “undercover customer” is a real job. Many companies utilize mystery shoppers to help identify customer service issues, and they’re willing to pay for that intel. But like paid surveys, the mystery shopping industry can be fraught with scams. You’ll need to ensure that a mystery shopping job is legit before signing up. A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of opportunities that require you to pay a fee. Sticking with well-known mystery shopping sites like Best Mark, Market Force, and IntelliShop can be a good way to help avoid fraudulent jobs and scams.

  • Focus Group Participant – Like they use surveys and undercover shoppers to inform business decisions, some companies use online or in-person focus groups to get the consumer feedback they need. And like surveys and mystery shopping, you can earn money by participating in a focus group. Focus groups generally require you to participate in a discussion, answer questions and provide your thoughts and opinions on a certain topic. They generally pay more than an online survey would, but like there are survey scams out there, there are focus group scams as well. If you’re looking for a paid focus group opportunity, your best bet is to use a well-known website that can link you to postings from market research companies. FocusGroup.com and FindFocusGroups.com can be good places to start your search, and they allow you to search focus group jobs by location so you can find one near you.

  • Freelancer – Do you have a special skill? If so, you might consider freelancing. Many companies need services like writing, web design, and software development, but can’t afford to hire someone full-time. If doing the odd job here and there interests you, you can find freelance jobs by scanning listings on sites like Upwork, Guru, or PeoplePerHour.

  • Census Taker – The 2020 Census is upon us, and the U.S. Census Bureau is currently looking to fill hundreds of thousands of temporary Census-related jobs. Census Taker positions generally offer flexible work hours, and they can pay upwards of $20 per hour, depending on location. You can search pay rates in your area or learn more about Census jobs by visiting 2020census.gov.

  • Dog Walker or Pet Sitter – Getting paid to hang out with animals? If you’re an animal lover, it probably sounds like a side gig made in heaven! But it’s not too good to be true. Many busy pet owners are trying to juggle caring for a pet with working full-time, and would love to find someone who can feed their pet during the day or take them for a walk. Others need pet care while they’re away on business or vacation. If a pet-related job interests you, you can use websites like Rover and Care.com to see if there are any opportunities in your area.
A side job can be a great way to help increase your savings, but it’s a good idea to check with your full-time employer before committing to a second job. Some employers don’t allow their employees to have another job, while others have specific policies or guidelines for secondary employment. Your company’s Human Resources department should be able to help answer any questions you may have about a side job. Good luck finding the side hustle that’s right for you; your savings account will thank you!

You May Also Like:

Set A Course For Savings

Are you unsure which is a better choice; a savings account or a certificate of deposit? Let's take a look at some significant differences to consider.