by David Lester, managing director of Brightworks Interactive Marketing and author of “From Middle Class To Millionaire: The Money Handbook For The Other 99%“
Side Hustle: another form of income apart from your day job. Whether it’s a passion project, travel fuel, or to pay off debt, side hustles are a popular second form of income amongst millennials. In fact, one third of millennials have a second job. While they may dominate the market for number of side hustles, millennials aren’t always the best at reinvesting their extra cash.
With all that being said, here are a few tips to help make your side hustle money work for you:
1. Deposit more money into your 401k.
While it may seem counterintuitive to put your hard-earned side hustle money into an account you can’t access for years, it actually makes a lot of cents (hah!). Although you can’t deposit your own after tax money from sources other than your employer into your 401k, you can increase the amount you contribute for a brief period of time.
The money you earn from your side hustle will make up for the portion of your income going into your 401k. You won’t notice the gap in your wages, but you will notice the faster increase in your retirement savings.
Bonus – you’ll save more money during tax season by lowering your adjusted gross income.
2. Pay off credit card debt before student loan debt.
The second you get your hands on that shiny diploma, the student loan repayment countdown begins. But before you start throwing side hustle money at the bank, make sure you’re paying off your debt with the highest interest rates first. More often than not, credit cards and department store debt will cost you more in the long run.
Credit cards apply 50 percent of your payment to new purchases and 50 percent to old purchases, so in order for you to get the interest to stop you must bring your balance to $0.
3. Save for your big business idea, home or rainy day in a high interest savings account.
Most banks offer high interest savings accounts, but you should compare the interest rates of other third party banks as well. You can easily set up a savings account at a third party bank, link it to your checking account and initiate an automatic transfer to reap the rewards. Just make sure you keep more than the minimum balance in your account to avoid monthly fees. And use that money to achieve your ultimate life.
Long story short, side hustle money waterfalls in five easy steps:
- Make extra money from a side hustle
- Contribute to your 401k to take advantage of employer matching and interest
- Reduce the amount of money you pay in taxes
- Use the extra income to pay off high interest debt
- Make more money from your side hustle –and repeat!
Making your side hustle money work for you does not have to be as tough as it seems. With these tips, you can maximize your income and make your side hustle work for you. Spending your extra time doing what you love for extra income has it perks. Having your side hustle as supplement your regular paycheck is not only smart, but can be fun if you’re doing something you love. All in all, being smart about where you put your money make side hustles a win-win.
David Lester, Managing Director, leads Brightworks’ digital financial services out of New York. Lester is a professional financial coach with over thirteen years of experience in finance, advertising and communications. He is the author of two finance books, “I (Heart) Money” and “From Middle Class To Millionaire: The Money Handbook For The Other 99%” and writes the blog iheartmoney.com.