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How You Can Use the Cash From a Side Job Wisely

Lots of Americans hold down side jobs for various reasons.

You might do it because you enjoy keeping busy, because you can use some extra money — or both.

Whatever your motive, if you have a side hustle — a way to earn extra cash apart from your main income source — you’re among 44 million other Americans doing the same, according to a report from bankrate.com.

The most likely group to hold down a second job is younger millennials (ages 18–26), 28 percent of whom do so.

The study found that 86 percent of side hustlers do their extra work at least monthly, and 36 percent earn more than an additional $500 monthly in this way.

Frequency of side jobs and amounts earned typically differ by generation. Here’s what the study found:

? Of those in the 18–26 age group, 96 percent work at their side hustles at least monthly, compared with 83 percent of those who are older.

? Millennials generally earn less from their secondary income sources than older generations do; only 19 percent earn more than $500 a month, while 50 percent of those who are older earn more than $500.

? Younger baby boomers (ages 53–62) are the most likely to rake in at least an extra $1,000 per month.

The majority of side hustlers (54 percent) use the extra cash to cover expenses rather than as disposable income for nonessential wants. But how the extra funds are used tends to vary across gender and political affiliation. For example:

? About seven in 10 women (69 percent) say they use the extra money to cover essentials, compared with less than half of men (42 percent) who do the same.

? Democrats and Independents are nearly twice as likely as Republicans to use the additional cash to cover expenses (60 percent vs. 32 percent).

Our recommendation for using any extra cash you receive: Pay down and pay off high-interest credit cards and other high-interest debt first, ensure you have saved enough to have adequate cash reserves and take care of monthly expenses before you spend on nonessential items.

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