Welcome to the United States, where the American Dream isn’t just limited to that 9-to-5 life but is apparently achieved through a string of side hustles.
A new survey from Bankrate reveals that we are seriously a country of hustlers, with 44 million American adults claiming they have a side gig—aka an extra way to rake in cash aside from their main source of income. The age group most likely to grow their green with a side hustle? Millennials.
Yep, that’s right. We millennials are—yet again—defying our stereotype as being “lazy and entitled” and are actually a generation of go-getters. Looks like we’ve been really taking those #MondayMotivation posts to heart.
Bankrate’s survey found that younger millennials (ages 18 to 26) are the age group most likely to have a side hustle, with 28 percent saying they have an extra way to make money aside from their main source of income. And they’re not using these gigs to make a quick buck every now and then just to fund their trip to Coachella; 61 percent of younger millennials say they earn extra money on the side every week, and 96 percent of them say they do it at least monthly.
25 percent of younger millennials make more than $500 a month.
Income from side gigs isn’t just limited to some loose change from a lemonade stand, either. Millennials are raking in serious cash from these side hustles. The survey found that millennials make a median of $200 monthly from their side jobs, and 25 percent of younger millennials make more than $500 a month.
Looks like we can afford that avocado toast after all.
It makes sense that millennials are hustling harder than other generations; we’ve grown up with social media and the internet, so we’ve got a firm grasp on not only how to properly filter an Instagram post, but how to really grow our green in a gig economy dominated by apps and other on-demand services.
This isn’t just your mama’s Tupperware party.
Hayley Welz, a 24-year-old living in Los Angeles, says she started a side hustle to save more money and to pay off debt. While her primary source of income comes from her role as a business client solutions executive, she also works on the side as an executive consultant for a skincare company. Welz regularly posts on her social media platforms about the brand’s products, leveraging social media to market the skincare products through posts, live events, and video tutorials.
“I use this money (from my side business) for some savings to travel and to help pay off my student loan,” Welz says. “There was zero risk in trying out the business because there is a 60-day empty-bottle money-back guarantee on a business kit to start. If in 60 days I decided I didn’t want to continue the side business, I could get my money back on my initial investment with no penalty. So for me, it was obvious. Why not try it out and give it a chance?”
An extra stream of income could serve as the perfect excuse to spend sporadically … but if you’re smart, it shouldn’t. Resist the urge to splurge! Your money from your side hustle is best stashed in a high-yield savings account, where it can serve as an emergency fund (ICYMI, you should always have between four to seven months’ of expenses in case things don’t go as planned).
If your savings are already in good shape, use that money to pay down debt (helloooo student loans!), or invest it. If you’re living within your means, your primary source of income should take care of all your fixed and fun expenses; everything else should be used to invest in your future self.