Money Smarts Blog

How to decide if you should you get a second job?

Feb 2, 2018 || Sarah-Beth Floyd

young man working second job as a barista

You’ve graduated, started your career but have mountains of student loan debt. 
On top of the debt you had before graduation. So now what? Do you let it take you 15 years to pay off, or do you do what a lot of people do and get a side-hustle? Now, two jobs isn’t for everyone. Here’s a list so you can determine for yourself if it’s worth the struggle.


Earn more money, pay down debt:
You’re already making ends meet with your full-time job, but imagine what an extra $150 a week could do for you.

If you have any amount of debt, a second income will greatly benefit you. You could use that extra money for an extra loan payment, put it all in your savings or split it up between the two. Your opportunities are endless!

Sharpen your skills: 
A retail or restaurant job will probably have different requirements and standards than your current office gig. You might be surprised to find you’ll develop a new set of skills to go with it. For example, I’m also a barista, which gives me the ability to strike up a conversation with anyone you put in front of me.

At first, this may not seem like a big deal. However, because of these new skills I can do a mean interview, speak up in work meetings and I’m not afraid to yell across the cubicles to ask for help (my bosses/coworkers love it). 

Get health insurance:
Is health insurance offered at your full-time job? If not, a side-hustle might be just what you need.

Nowadays there are so many companies that offer part-time workers health insurance. My favorite (but biased) example is my current side-hustle: Starbucks. I only have to work 20 hours a week to be eligible for health insurance, dental, and vision coverage. It’s great insurance with a reasonable price tag.

For full medical and dental insurance, I pay only $50 a month. That’s not bad for a job that I’m only at for 20 hours a week.

So, I get affordable health insurance and as a bonus, I get caffeinated for free! Keep the shots coming, barista lady!


Less free time: 
Once you start that second job you can say goodbye to what free time you had.

Typically, when you pick up a second job you’re sacrificing your early mornings, evenings, weekends or a combination of them. But your time isn’t the only thing you’re sacrificing.

Because you picked up extra hours you’re taken away from your significant other, friends, your precious sleep and maybe a little bit of sanity! It’s helpful to talk to your partner and let them know your schedule and if you need their help, don’t be afraid to ask. This will help alleviate any unnecessary stress.

Overall, just be aware of how much your body can handle and set limits up front for how many hours you’re willing to work at a second job. 

The hidden costs: 
Gas, car maintenance and food are common things that get overlooked when considering a second job.

When you’re picking up more mileage every day, it will take a toll on your car. You’re putting more miles on it, your tires might start to show some wear, and you’ll need to get oil changes more often.

Make sure that you’re taking your car in for inspections or just have the mechanic look it over during your oil change. It’s also been word around the automotive world that because of the  quality change in oil, you can go 10,000 miles without an oil change instead of 3,000 miles. I would opt for the more expensive oil and get an oil change once a year rather than 3 or 4 times a year.

Is it going to be worth the struggle if your jobs are an hour apart? Unless you’re making more money at that second job, then no. You’d be spending all your extra money on gas.

On that 30-minute or under commute from job 1 to job 2, you’ll probably get hungry. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself swinging through a drive through for a quick meal more often. All those fast food dinners can definitely take a chunk out of your fun money.

Overall, do I think a side hustle is worth the struggle? It’s a big, fat yes! It’s an opportunity to add beneficial skills, beef up your savings account or pay off debt and get your own health insurance (for a killer price).

You may have lose some sleep or spend more time driving, but if you really need extra cash the pros outweigh the cons (in this writer’s opinion). 

Still on the fence about that second job? Think about your budget for a second. If you’re considering a second job, chances are your budget needs some help. Luckily, I have the perfect article. How to use the envelope budget without cash, is a fun read that is packed with beneficial information, just for you. Plus, we took some of the work out for you and created an easy spreadsheet for you to use.

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