5 Reasons to Get a Side Job Now

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on March 18, 2021

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A smiling man on a phone call sitting with his laptop on his lap while working from his home office.

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Taking on a second gig means having less free time, but it might also mean less stress later on.

Having extra income buys you options -- the option to spend more, save more, or have more of a financial safety net. That's why it can be useful to pick up a second job on top of your main one. But here are a few reasons why it pays to get a side job right now.

1. You're still recovering from the pandemic

Millions of Americans lost income -- or their jobs -- in the course of the pandemic. Others kept their jobs but incurred additional expenses, like having to pay for childcare in the absence of full-time, in-person school. If your finances took a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, a second job could help you recover more quickly.

2. You want more income security in light of the pandemic

Maybe you've managed to make it through the pandemic financially unscathed. Even so, the events of the past 12 months may have served as a wakeup call that jobs can disappear out of the blue and that it never hurts to have a backup plan. A second job could be that backup plan. While it may not pay nearly as much as your main job, having a second income source could buy you peace of mind at a time when layoffs aren't out of the question.

3. You're not happy with your savings

The pandemic has underscored the importance of having a healthy level of income stashed away in a savings account. If you're not happy with what your emergency fund looks like or you had to dip into your savings over the past year to deal with income loss or added expenses, then a second job could help. With a side gig, you can boost your personal cash reserves so you have that safety net the next time you need it.

4. You want to buy a home

Though mortgage rates are still competitive on a historical basis, they've been rising in recent weeks. If homeownership is on your radar but you're a bit shy as far as a down payment goes, a second job could be your ticket to buying a place of your own.

5. You want money to travel once it's safer to do so

Many people spent the better part of the last year cooped up at home. If you're tired of feeling trapped in your hometown, you may already be making travel plans for the latter part of 2021. At that point, the hope is that more people will be vaccinated against COVID-19 and travel will be a safer prospect. But travel costs money, and the last thing you want to do is drive yourself into debt for the sake of a vacation. If you pick up a second job, you may be able to earn more than enough money to go out and explore.

Extra money never hurts

Getting a side job means giving up some of your free time. The upside? It also means buying yourself more financial freedom. And while gigs may be a bit harder to come by in today's economy, there are still options you can explore.

If you're not comfortable doing a job that requires you to interact with people, you can find something remote, like editing, medical billing, or web design. If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, you can sign up to perform outdoor home maintenance services like lawn care or snow removal. And if you're okay with some person-to-person interaction, you can start driving for a rideshare company. Assess your comfort level and take it from there. Even a small amount of side income could go a long way.

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