These days, a growing number of working Americans are taking on side hustles -- second gigs on top of their regular jobs. Of course, side hustles can come in different shapes and forms. For some people, they involve showing up to a specific place at a preset time. For others, they mean logging onto a computer, crafting, or baking from the comfort of home. But if you've been on the fence about getting one yourself, here are several good reasons to consider it.
1. You don't have any emergency savings
Without emergency savings, you risk racking up serious debt the next time an unplanned bill lands in your lap. Ideally, you should have three to six months' worth of essential living expenses tucked away in the bank, so if you're nowhere close, getting a side hustle could help you build cash reserves rather quickly. And that's something you'll appreciate the next time your car breaks down, your roof springs a leak, or you're slapped with a hefty medical bill.
2. You have debt to pay off
The longer your debt drags on, the more it'll cost you in interest charges. And that's akin to throwing money away. On the other hand, if you get yourself a side hustle, you'll be able to use your extra earnings to pay down that balance faster, thereby saving yourself some cash and aggravation.
3. You're struggling to build a nest egg
It's hard to amass retirement savings when your income is eaten up by near-term expenses. But if you don't build that nest egg, you'll risk struggling financially when you're older. That's why a side hustle can be helpful; you can reserve your primary paycheck for your immediate living costs, but use your secondary earnings to fund an IRA or 401(k). Incidentally, 14% of workers with a side hustle hold down that additional job for this exact reason.
4. You haven't taken a vacation in years
Taking vacation isn't just fun; it's a crucial part of maintaining your sanity in the face of work- and life-related stress. If you haven't had the financial means to take a vacation for a long time, a side hustle could be your ticket to a much-needed, and much-deserved, getaway.
5. You're nervous about your job security
Maybe your company hasn't been seeing the revenue it expected. Or maybe your department keeps getting restructured, and you're worried you'll soon be shifted out of a job. No matter the circumstances, if you're not secure in your job, but you aren't yet ready to find a new full-time position, then it pays to get yourself a side hustle. This way, if you are let go, you'll have a secondary source of income to fall back on while you look for work.
6. You're not sure if you should switch careers
It's not uncommon to want to change careers after being in the same field for a while. But if you have trepidations about making that switch -- say, you're not totally certain the industry you're contemplating is right for you -- then a side hustle could be just the thing that allows you to dabble in it. For example, if you're an accountant who's looking to go into graphic design, you could try developing websites independently for a few months while keeping your day job to see if you really like it as much as you thought you would.
7. You want a cheap way to occupy your time
Working is a fairly inexpensive activity. If you find that you're often tempted to spend a lot to keep yourself entertained, a side hustle could be a good way to fill the hours you're not at your main job without costing yourself money. And that, in turn, could really help your finances take a turn for the better.
The great thing about side hustles is that you have the option to find a gig that's not only flexible but enjoyable. If you're not sure a side hustle is right for you, give it a go and see what happens. You can always stop doing that work on the side if it interferes too much with your schedule or causes you stress, but chances are, you'll find a good balance and enjoy having the extra income.