Survey Finds 41% of Americans Now Need Side Gig Income for Living Expenses

Jul 1, 2022Financial Literacy, News

A Bankrate survey released last week found that 41 percent of American adults who have side jobs need it to cover their living expenses instead of putting it into a savings account or using it for discretionary spending. The 41 percent figure is an increase from 31 percent who said the same in 2019.

“Unfortunately, due to high inflation and other financial burdens, more side hustlers are working a side job just to make ends meet,” said Ted Rossman, Senior Industry Analyst for Bankrate. “Instead of using this income to boost savings, knock out debt or pay for a vacation, there has been a big increase in people who simply need these funds just to pay for everyday living expenses.”

In 2019, 36 percent of Americans had side jobs to make extra spending money, which fell to 26 percent in 2022. 24 percent had side jobs to boost their savings in 2019, while only 17 percent are currently using their side jobs to boost savings. Additionally, 12 percent are using their side jobs to pay down debt, which was not polled in 2019. 

Inflation is a major reason for the shift in spending; 37 percent of those with side gigs are working extra hours at those jobs, 48 percent are working roughly the same amount, and only 16 percent said they are working less. 

In 2017, only 19 percent of U.S. adults had side jobs, compared to 31 percent in 2022, and the average income for a side job is $996 per month. However, men are earning nearly triple the average income with their side jobs and are less likely to need the money for living expenses than women. Men earn $1,492 per month on average from their side gigs while women earn $571. 

“I have to wonder if high gas prices and other inflationary pressures are making people question whether or not their side hustles are worth it,” Rossman said. “Right now, the most lucrative side hustles are probably those that can be done from home. Even then, inflation could be an issue if you need to source materials for crafts or other activities.”

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