Kick-start your savings in the new year: Gig economy edition

By Jackie Lam
January 20, 2020

We all know how critical it is to save for an emergency fund. When unexpected things happen, not having money tucked away can burn a serious hole in your pocket. 

In an ideal situation, the money would come through in abundance, and you would have no trouble stacking the bills in your arsenal. But the reality? It’s hard enough to make do with income from your job. There’s food to be put on the table, rent to pay, and credit card debt to crush. 

That’s where the side hustle comes in. Because of the growing gig economy and freelancing, there’s no shortage of ways to earn a buck outside of your 9 to 5.  

In this post, we’ll go over what the gig economy is, and how you can make some extra dough and squirrel away funds for the new year. Read on to learn more. 

What is the gig economy?

Before we dive into how you can use side hustle cash to kick-start your savings, let’s start with this: What is the gig economy?

In a nutshell, the gig economy is when you take on short-term jobs, independent contracts, and side hustles. Some folks do this in addition to full-time jobs, whereas others patch together enough money from various side hustles to pay the bills and save money. Instead of having just one boss, you might work for several different companies doing a variety of things. For instance, you might get paid to take online surveys, walk dogs, and drive for a rideshare company.

According to the Freelancing in America annual report, 57 million Americans, or 35% of the workforce in the U.S., freelanced in 2019. Bottom line: the gig economy shows no signs of letting up. 

What are the best gig economy jobs? 

There’s no “best” gig economy job. That’s because it depends on your interests, where you live, and what you want out of a side hustle. 

Besides, you’ll want to factor in how much experience or training you need, or whether a particular side hustle requires special equipment or materials. Some important questions to ponder: Is this something you’ll like doing, or do you feel like it could provide a change of pace from your daily routine? 

If you want to take on a gig that you can squeeze in on nights and weekends after your 9 to 5 job, then signing up to be a tasker on TaskRabbit, or delivering food for Uber Eats might be where it’s at for you. 

Or, if you’d like to eventually turn a side hustle into a full-time job, picking up creative gigs on freelancing platforms might lead to a full-time job. If you’re a copywriter, graphic designer, or photographer this might be the way to go.

You’ll also want to consider your passions. For example, if you love dogs, you may want to get started with walking dogs using an app like Rover. This could eventually help you launch your own pet sitting business. 

Tips to boost your savings with side hustle money

Truth: Not all money earned through a side hustle can go toward your emergency fund. Some of the cash earned might need to go toward covering your bills. 

Here are 3 ways to effortlessly save some of your side hustle income. 

  1. Commit to saving a portion of your earnings. Start by making a pact to tuck away a small amount at least once a month.
  2. Auto-save. If you have a Chime bank account, you can set up automatic savings. Whereas the money you make through the gig economy might change from week to week, you can start by saving a small amount automatically. 
  3. Set up direct deposit. If you’re a Chime member, you can set up a direct deposit with one of your gigs. For instance, if you are a rideshare driver, you can get a direct deposit from that company. Once you do that, you can commit to auto-saving a percentage of each paycheck. It’s easy and effortless. 

Set up a savings system

Having a system in place and getting into the habit of saving money will help you get ahead with your finances. No matter if you have five dollars or $50 in your bank account, taking steps today will help you reach your future goals. You got this!

Jackie Lam is an L.A.-based financial writer whose clients include Fortune 500 companies and FinTech startups. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Business Insider, and GOOD.

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