Reducing Debt with a Second Job

Reducing debt can be a difficult task, especially if you are already involved with collections. Sure the FDCPA will protect you from harassment, but who really wants to deal with that? One method to getting out of debt is to make more money…fast. Getting a second job is an effective way of doing that. While getting a second job may seem like it only has its perks, it also has other elements to consider.

Advantages of taking an extra job include:

–       You’ll reduce your debt much more quickly.

Most importantly, an extra paycheck enables you to pay off your creditors faster. Make sure to budget your added income to take care of any taxes, dues or transportation costs that might result from your second job, and devote the rest to your primary goal – getting out of debt.

Regardless of how much your second job pays, earning additional income is tangible proof that you’re serious about getting out of debt. If you’re working with creditors directly, this extra effort can provide evidence that you’re on your way to a new lifestyle.

–       You can add new skills to your resume.

In an uncertain economy, new skills are useful for even the most secure workers. Whether you’re gaining knowledge and experience in a field related to your current area or an entirely new area, you can present yourself as a more versatile candidate when applying for a promotion or when seeking a new employer altogether.

–       Expanding your network could result in a better-paying job.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has become a classic saying for good reason. The more people you meet, no matter what the circumstances, the more contacts you’ll have.

For example, an attorney who moonlighted as a bartender made a point of positioning herself as a helpful, knowledgeable person…which came in handy when a customer recommended her to a co-worker seeking a lawyer.

–       A second job is easy to “leave at the office.”

While your first job might involve plans and projections that stay in your mind all weekend, a get-out-of-debt job won’t likely create such demands. At the end of a shift delivering pizza or brewing coffee, for instance, you can pocket your tips and head home without any nagging concerns.

Disadvantages include:

–       You’ll have less free time.

Getting time for yourself — as well as for enjoying family, friends and hobbies — becomes more difficult when you’re spending extra hours at work. Another consideration is that scheduling time off, even for a single day, might be harder when you need to clear schedules with two different employers.

–       Your first employer may frown on a second job.

Some companies have a clear policy against outside work, while others perceive it as a conflict of interest. If your current employer has questions about your timetable, be sure to clarify your availability and emphasize when and where you can be reached.

–       Working overtime becomes almost impossible.

If your first job provides an opportunity to work overtime, with the financial bonus that entails, you may have to decline that opportunity to reach your other job on time. Of course, if your second job allows you to set your own hours, you can work overtime whenever the chance arises.

Other considerations include:

–       How much will you owe in taxes?

If your extra income pushes you into a higher tax bracket, the rewards of another paycheck may be diminished. Even at a higher tax rate, though, you’ll still likely bring home more overall. Taking fewer exemptions or increasing the withholding amount at your first job can help you avoid paying extra taxes later.

If a second job like mowing lawns or walking dogs doesn’t provide you with a W2, you may need to send quarterly tax payments on your own. Be sure to consult your tax preparer to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the way to getting out of debt.

–       Where can you find a second job?

Along with conventional resources like the local want ads, consider options like creating your own second job. For a variety of possible job ideas, as well as extensive short-term and long-term job listings, consult:


–       How well do you handle stress?

Working an extra job can be stressful, so prepare yourself with extra defenses before you begin. Maintaining a positive attitude is easier when you get enough sleep, allow time for exercise, and take a short break every hour or two. Prioritizing tasks can help make your working hours less stressful, and so can enlisting support from friends and co-workers.

While you might not be one of those people who like their second job so much they wind up changing careers, keep in mind that getting out of debt will be your ultimate reward.

Larry P. Smith & Associates, a Chicago Law Firm, focus on debt collection laws. If you are having difficulties with bankruptcy, debt collection or consumer fraud, request a free case review with Larry P. Smith & Associates.

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