One of the main themes on this blog is helping to advise people on how to be more fiscally responsible. I talk about budgeting often because I don’t believe anyone can get ahead and feel secure with their financial situation long term without knowing how much money they’re bringing in, how much is going to bills, how much is being put away and how much you have left to even begin thinking about other things you might want to buy.

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Sometimes people wait too long to get financial counseling and then they discover they’re making less than what their bills are costing them, or barely breaking even. This leaves people with 5 basic choices for getting out of trouble:

* Sell stuff

* Ask for a raise

* Start a side business

* Go on a drastic budget with help from someone like Consumer Credit Counseling

* Get a part time job

We’re going to look at this last one because often it’s the first thing people think about and it has both benefits and negatives to it. Let’s start by looking at its benefits.

Obviously you can make more money, which is always a good thing. If you could get a part time job paying just $10 an hour and you worked just 10 hours a week, that’s an extra $100 in your pocket every week, usually $400 a month (twice a year it’s $500; trust me lol). That could be enough to get you over the hump for a while as you get your finances in order.

Part time jobs are often more flexible as far as when you might have to work, depending on what the job is. There are tons more part time jobs than regular jobs, and if you want to work more or less it’s easy to find something that fits you. Sometimes it’s pretty menial stuff but there are some jobs where you might actually learn something and possibly find a new career.

Finally, you’re not as emotionally invested in a part time job unless you’re working for a relative or close friend, which I’d always advise against. If you don’t like it you can always find something else to do; easy peasy.

What are the negatives? I’m only going to mention one because it’s the most important and the one most people don’t think about; taxes. Sometimes if you don’t make enough money each week the company doesn’t take out any state taxes. If where you live has state taxes, that could come back to hurt you big time. You can also be hurt by the federal government if you work for someone who pays you, doesn’t take out any federal taxes, then ends up reporting it when they do their own taxes.

How bad can it be? I know someone who worked 5 hours a week at a part time job that paid pretty nicely but the person never took out any taxes and did report it to the IRS. She ended up owing an extra $1,300 to the federal government and $450 to the state because that income was added to her regular income; talk about a major shock!

This isn’t so say that part time jobs should be ignored. It just says that you might want to make sure you take a part time job with someone reputable, ask them to take out money for taxes (for state you might have to indicate a specific amount for them to take out if your pay is kind of low), and make them give you some kind of weekly statement showing how much they paid you & how much they took out in taxes so you’re not caught off guard later on.

Of course you could always get paid under the table, where no taxes are taken, but always realize that the other person could throw you under the bus by reporting it without your knowledge, and then they have to say who they paid.

Something to think about if it hasn’t occurred to you before.

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