A guide to saving money as a part time worker
Regardless of whether you work part time, you can still save money – here is how.
Anyone who has ever worked part time knows how difficult it can be to save money. Often part time works leaves us living hand to mouth. Something my friends and I are now very good at as we have chosen careers we love and locations to live that we enjoy. As a result, we have had to turn to working part time to help us get by.
Whether you’re working part time to help setup another business, spend more time with your family or perhaps transition back into the workforce – part time work is a reality for many of us.
It means a few things to us; incomes that are not as consistent as a full time workers and perhaps the need to drive our money even further, to make up for the fact.
So what does working part time mean for our finances? Here I want to look at how to save money while working part time. On top of this, I want to help people working part time to feel more comfortable about their money and how they can manage it.
Firstly, let’s establish why it is we are working part time
Before looking at how we can save money and improve our finances as part-time workers, it’s important to look at the variety of reasons people aren’t working full-time.
Knowing what you hope to gain from part-time work goes a long way to fitting it into our lives in a satisfying manner.
Here are some of the reasons you may be working part time and the kinds of jobs you should be looking for to help you get ahead;
You are transitioning back into the workforce
Maybe you’re getting back into the workforce or maybe you’re looking to enter a new career and part-time work is a way of testing the waters.
Jobs that offer up to date skills and the possibility of networking, career advancement and full-time work down the track are what you should be looking for when it comes to part time work.
You have other career aspirations
Maybe you want to start your own business, or at least fund/find your real passion. For many of us pursuing other passions, part-time work pays the bills and allows us to invest some money in our real careers.
If this is the case, you should be looking for positions that fit with your other jobs. There’s no point getting a job working nights if you want to play gigs after hours. It’s also good to look for jobs that have regular hours, regular pay and maybe provide opportunities to invest in your career, i.e. work in the same field.
You cannot find full time work
A reality for many people. If you’re under-employed, part-time work is a transitory measure.
You should be looking for jobs that provide useful skills in a relevant field, networking opportunities and a structure that might allow full-time promotion further down the track. Part-time work in a relevant field always helps when continuing a job hunt.
You may need to consider which job has further potential for full time work and make short term sacrifices to accommodate (e.g. a lower paying job with a high possibility for full time work may make more sense over the medium to long term).
Ways to save money while working part time
Ok, so you understand why it is you are working part time. Now you need to look for actionable money saving tips to help you save money while working part time.
Consider these tips to help you save:
Look to downsize your lifestyle
If you’re working part-time. you need to make some big changes. As someone who freelances, you need to change your mind what you regard as a ‘life necessity’.
Whether it’s renting in a cheaper suburb, cancelling all your subscriptions or selling the stuff in your garage, it needs to happen to stay financially solvent and release as much cash flow as humanly possible. Stop your money being accounted for before you even get paid.
Build saving into your budget
The only way to actually save money is by specifically making a place for it in your budget. Save slowly, steadily and sustainably while working part time.
Ensure the regardless of how much you get paid on any given week, you always commit to saving a certain percentage of your pay into your high interest account (or if you have bad debts, repaying those first).
Quit any non-essential vices
You’re working part-time, whether through choice or not and so the ‘vices’ have to go.
Need to make it worthwhile for yourself? Add up how much you spend on non-essential vices like alcohol and cigarettes and the rest of the flutter of life. Add it all up and try and estimate what it costs you per year.
Now imagine how you will feel in 20 years’ time when you think back about all that money you could have saved. Will you be unhappy at your life choices?
Make big lifestyle changes to save
Saving money won’t happen without big changes. Move home. Move in with housemates. Advertise your spare room. Whatever the reason for working part-time, look at ways to make it easier for yourself to save. Whatever the dream, earn it.
Look to make dramatic changes to help you save. Cancel pay TV, cancel mobile phones and opt for prepaid, lower your internet download limit, find ways to reduce your electricity bill – whatever it takes, look to save money on all aspects of your lifestyle.
Learn about how you spend money
Do you leave the heater on full? Do you leave all the lights on, or not shut the door when heating the house?
Follow these quick last minute tips suitable for anyone:
- Line dry, don’t use the dryer
- Schedule meal plans, shop once a week
- Swap favours with friends (gardening for an oil change for example)
- Add your saving progress every week
- Find extra income sources- freelance, baby sit.
- Make everything go further. Water in dishwashing liquid and shampoo, for example.
What other aspects of money should you consider when working part time?
Now that you know how to save money while working part time, it is wise to start considering what other aspects of your money will be impacted by part-time work.
You will receive fewer benefits
Working part-time might mean you receive fewer benefits, or no benefits at all. You may be entitled to sick leave and annual leave, but it’s essential to allow extra room in your budget and save money for both those things as you’ll be entitled to less than those on a full-time load. This is especially important with sick leave.
There is less job security
If you’re on permanent part-time, you’re position is probably fairly secure. But if you’re a casual employee and sometimes, a part-time worker, you’ll need to save money to ensure you’re prepared for changes in your job situation should you be told you are no longer needed.
Remember to create a buffer to give you a few weeks of expenses should you lose your job.
You will have fewer/less superannuation contributions
The fewer hours you work, the less superannuation your boss contributes. It’s definitely something to consider as you assess saving money and staying financially secure throughout your lifetime.
These are just some of the things you must consider to get a holistic picture of your finances. None the less, to feel secure about your money – you will need to consider some of the below tips.
How to feel financially secure when working part time
Saving money while working part time is one thing, feeling secure about your future is another.
Here are some ways to feel better about your money/future by taking strategic steps to getting ahead financially.
Start by saving an emergency fund
Save one. This has to be your first priority. This will protect you if you get sick, or your work situation changes. It will also mean you can avert undermining your finances in the future.
We speak about this a lot. Read our article on emergency funds here.
Maximise your handouts from the Government
Learn about the Government co-contribution scheme for superannuation. If you qualify (odds are you will when working part time) – the Government will add free money to the money you put into your super account. A great way to grow your superannuation regardless of your employment status.
Commit to eliminating debt
If you have debts that are painful, start aggressively paying them off. As a part time worker you may struggle to find the money to repay the debt quickly, however this should stop you. Find ways to sacrifice your lifestyle to remove the debt. Stop spending, promise to commit a certain amount to debt each week (see it as a bill) and also look for other ways to generate money to repay the debt.
Consider de-cluttering your house and selling items on eBay for quick money.