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Balancing Multiple Jobs

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Why the Second Job?

I've found that it depends upon the reason behind the second job will depend upon how willing you will be to actually go to it. For example when I worked a second job during the summer in between college semesters I wasn't too aggressive in trying to get hours because it was just for a little pocket money. I would tell myself that I could go without Starbucks for a few days in exchange for a few more hours of sleep. However, now that I need to work two jobs in order to pay the bills, eat, an attempt at savings, and have a little extra cash for a happy hour every now and then I find that I am much more eager to get as many hours as I can.

I know that everyone has different ways of thinking but this is how I feel. The way I see it is if I have to do it I will.

Take Time to Plan

So, you have come to the realization that you need to take on a second job. Maybe you have student loans that have piled up. Or you are having a hard time making ends meet on the salary of one job. Possibly you are saving up for a vacation, or even better, retirement. Don't be ashamed. I have met too many people that feel as if they have failed at life somehow because they need to work a couple extra hours each week.

Before you go rushing out to apply for every job you see you need to take a few minutes to think. What is your availability? How many hours do you want/need to work each week? What type of job are you looking for? It is important to keep in mind that you might have unrealistic expectations. If you work a 9-5 five days a week, but don't want to work late nights or give up every weekend it is going to be nearly impossible to find a traditional job. Also, not all places are able to guarantee consistent hours each week so having a budget that depends upon getting 20 hours each week can lead to disaster.

It is important to map out how many hours you can realistically work each week. If you have never had to balance two jobs before you might think that working a couple nights a week after your 9-5 and then all of the weekend will be easy. But think about it this way, your 9-5 is about 40 hours each week, and if you work a retail job with a five hour shift after work twice a week and then a full eight hours on Saturday and Sunday and those hours add up. Sure, it sounds completely doable to work 65 hours every week right now, but after you work it for a month or two you might start to question your sanity. Personally, I try not to work more than 55 hours in one week between both of my jobs. Since both are part time it still gives me at least one day off each week to relax.

Don't Burn Yourself Out

Just like with anything you need to keep your limits in mind. I know that I tend to get a little overzealous when I start a new work out regimen. I get really into it for a few weeks but then I jest get tired of it. And then I don't do it any more. Surprisingly I found it to be the same with all my classes in college. I would be super excited for all my classes at the start of each semester, but by midterms I was burnt out.

If you need time off don't be afraid to ask for it. Everyone needs a mental health day every once in a while. If you have been working three months at 55 hours a week you are going to need time to breathe. If you haven't had a day off in two months you might want to consider taking a day to relax. Trust me, I know how stressful it can be if you are working two jobs because you need the money. But, think about it this way; would you rather take a day off on your terms or be forced to call out because you are sick because you have been overworking yourself? I would go for the first option myself.

Learn to Budget

Set up a monthly budget. Track how much you are making verses how much you spend each month. Is there anything that you can cut out? Do you really need a five dollar late every morning? Do you really need to be eating out every week? I know that it might make having a social life a little difficult, but its only temporary. Think about it, which is more important; paying all your bills or getting a martini after work? (Though there are some days where that martini sounds much better….) Go out once a month in stead of once a week, your friends and coworkers will understand.

Prioritize what you need to pay. For example; for me it is rent, credit card, random bills, food, health insurance, then student loan. (Though it is important to note that I am ahead on my student loan so if I don't have enough at the end of the month to make a payment I don't really sweat it too much.) If you need to, talk with your landlord and bill collectors to find out what is the latest that you can pay. Also, find out if you can pay early. That way you can pay when you have the money and save the next month.

Always make sure to put anything you can into savings. I know it is hard. Trust me, putting $20 into savings instead of going to happy hour doesn't sound like fun. But, it does add up. Ideally you want to have enough in savings to survive for three months, should the worst happen.


Other Ways to Save

Chances are pretty good you aren't working yourself to the bone just for grins and giggles. I'm willing to bet that you need the money. It might be worth it to do some research on-line and see if you can find money saving tips and tricks.

Coupons are a great way to save some money on things that you were going to buy anyway. Food, health, and hygiene products all usually have coupons in the Sunday paper. You can even find coupons on-line for free.

Watch for when things go on sale. In my city grocery stores have new promotions every Wednesday. Often they try to out do each other. Simply see which has the better deals, go there, and use your coupons on top of the promotions. It's a win win.

Check out what your location has for free. Where I live there are many parks that are free to the public. There are also free festivals from time to time.

Make Time for Fun

You need to make sure that you aren't just spending all your time working. Get into a hobby, find a work out regimen, join a book club. Do something that is just for you for at least an hour every day. Watch a movie, knit, read, cook, or call your parents. Trust me, it makes all the long hours at work better. I like to reward myself after particularly grueling work weeks. There was one time when I had to work 112 days strait. It sucked. I was so burnt out. I got irritable and depressed. Now I don't like to work more than four weeks without a day off. If I do end up working that long I day a day off and spend it doing whatever I want. Last time I started my day with a Starbucks coffee and spent my day knitting and watching Disney movies. Some of my friends like to go to the mall and buy something they have had their eye on for a while. Whatever you need to do to bring yourself up do it.


Alex (author) from Virginia Beach, VA on December 28, 2014:

To the gentelman that posted the comment. I'm afraid I had to mark it as spam, as my account has been heavily spammed recently. However, I do invite you to repost your comment should you feel the need to do so. Though, this time when using quotes against me in your comment please make sure they come from this hub or one of my others. It makes it a little obvious that you didn't read it when the 'direct quotes' from the article aren't in said article. Thank you!

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