How Taking a Summer Job Can Help Your Finances

JUN 01, 2012

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Teenagers on a three-month break from school might not be the only ones looking for work this summer. The economy still has many people thinking about taking on a second job.

If youre thinking you could use some extra money, but aren’t sure you could handle the time demands of a year-round second job, summer work could be a good compromise for you. Increasing your income even if its just for a few months can open the opportunity to pay off debt, build an emergency fund or even put some money aside in a retirement account or education fund.

There are other reasons, besides financial ones, for taking a summer job.

A second job can also be an opportunity to expand your social circle by meeting and interacting with new coworkers. If youre contemplating a career switch, taking a second part-time job in your field of interest can help you better understand the profession and if its right for you. If you’ve been trying to get a foot in the door at a particular company, accepting a part-time or temporary position can be a good way to introduce yourself to those who make hiring decisions.

Before you log on to the job website or open the help wanted section of your local newspaper, you should ask yourself a few key questions first:

What do I want out of a second job?

Do you need a second income to make ends meet? You might want to think of something longer-term than seasonal summer work. Do you want to achieve a specific financial goal, like paying off debt or building an emergency fund? A job that allows you to earn the most money in the shortest time possible may be right for you.

How much time do I have for a second job?

For a second job to be valuable to you, it needs to fit into your existing schedule or something that offers you the flexibility to build your schedule around it. Consider how much time you can spare for a second job. Remember, you still need to allow yourself time for necessities like eating, sleeping, family time and working your first job.

What can I do?

If your objective is just to make as much money as possible, then going with what you know might be the best route. A second job that calls for the same skills you use in your primary job may be a good fit. However, if you work in an industry where competition is fierce between companies, keep in mind that you dont want to create a conflict of interest or even the appearance of one by working for a competing company. A second job doesn’t make sense if it jeopardizes your main employment.

Whether youre working toward paying off debt or building your savings, taking a second job this summer could help you achieve your financial goals.