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When I was in college, a full-time job sounded glamorous. I loved the idea of practicing my craft and earning a salary. As I began my first “real job” out of college as an office assistant for a PR firm, I was thrilled. I was working in the heart of Salt Lake City and taking home the largest paycheck of my young life.
But as time went on, that “large” paycheck didn’t go as far. Expenses increased as I moved out of affordable college housing and into a rental shared with friends. Then I got married and became the primary breadwinner as my husband geared up for med school.
I turned to side gigs so we could afford my husband’s tuition, build our savings and still have some spending money. The extra hours seemed daunting at first, but now I love my side hustles. Here’s how I keep myself from burning out while working a full-time and two part-time jobs.
I Use Side Gigs to Pursue Other Passions
I knew that I needed a second (and third) job, but that didn’t mean I was looking forward to working 65-plus hours a week and giving up almost all of my free time. So, I chose jobs that were flexible, fun and in completely different industries.
I settled on two side hustles: wedding planning/event coordinating and nannying. While I didn’t want to be a full-time event planner or nanny, I was interested in both and the part-time work was the perfect compromise. Plus, I’ve been able to expand my resume and skill set. And the shifts for both are nights and weekends, which works perfectly with my full-time job.
I Set Aside Time — And Money — For Fun
I took on extra work to fund some of our larger financial goals, but my husband and I also decided that a portion of this income would be for “fun money.” We value savings, but we also want to enjoy life.
And to make sure we do it, we schedule at least one activity a week — whether it’s hiking, a movie, golf or a fun date. And since the money is coming from my side hustles, we don’t feel guilty for spending on a “non-essential.” Having a little instant gratification helps keep me motivated and excited to pick up an extra shift.
I Let Myself Say No
While it’s tempting to accept every shift that’s offered (more work equals more money, after all), there’s a huge risk of burnout. Turning down extra work can be difficult, but before I took on my side hustles, I promised myself that I’d say no when I needed a break.
I Remember Why I Started
Whenever I’m questioning why I willingly work seven days a week, I take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
These side gigs improve our financial future. When I remember our long-term goals of building up our emergency savings and home down payment fund, I’m able to push through the extra hours. I know one day I’ll look back on this period in my life and be grateful that I put in the work.