Is Working Overtime Worth It? It Depends!

Working overtime

If you have major financial goals and don't seem to be making any progress, earning extra money might be a significant next step to increasing your net worth. One of the ways you can earn extra money is by working overtime. However, overtime isn't for everyone; is it the right fit for you? In this article, we'll go over whether or not working overtime can help you achieve your financial goals!

What is overtime anyways?

According to the U.S Department of Labor, overtime qualifies as working outside of a traditional 40-hour workweek. A workweek is 168 consecutive hours which is 24 hours a day over seven days.

So, for example, if I work from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, I would hit my 40-hour workweek by the end of Friday evening. Once my 40-hour workweek is complete, any extra work outside of those 40 hours would be considered overtime. Unless you are exempt, you will qualify for overtime pay which is one and half times your regular pay. Some companies DO however pay double.

How can you earn extra overtime?

Now let's go over some of the ways in which you could earn overtime pay.

From your current employer

Two important things to consider when looking to make extra overtime are 1.) Does your current employer allow it? And 2.) Do you even qualify? Why? Because not all full-time employees can earn overtime!

Some employers have strict rules about employees earning overtime, and you may need prior approval before getting started. In some instances, if you aren't following regulations, overtime pay isn't approved. Some employers may also avoid paying overtime at all costs by making you a salaried employee and filing for an exemption through the department of labor. If your job is considered a white-collar one, it's much easier for your employer not to pay. Always check with your HR department before proceeding with overtime at your current employer.

From a part-time job

If your day job prohibits you from earning overtime, you can still make extra money by picking up a part-time job. Retail, for instance, is very flexible and will work around your schedule if you have a prior commitment, such as a full-time job or school.

Getting a job in other fields can also be part-time or on an as-needed basis. For example, many nurses and physician assistants can pick up shifts at a hospital or fill in at other medical offices when someone takes time off. Suppose you are entertaining a part-time job in the same field. In that case, it's always a good idea to make sure you aren't working at a competitor to avoid a conflict of interest.

From a side-hustle

If you would rather have complete control over your time, you could start a side hustle. Many companies such as Uber, Rover, or Instacart allow you to grab jobs if they become available. Side gigs will enable you to make money on an as-needed basis without a full-time commitment. If you are looking for something more stable, you can always start your own business from scratch or learn a new skill and pick up a freelancing gig. Udemy is great for learning new skills at a fraction of the cost.

Non-traditional ways such as a roommate or selling items

Some other ways you can earn extra cash could be setting yourself up as an Airbnb host, taking in a roommate, selling excess items, or taking on a babysitting gig or two. You can also take surveys and look into cashback apps. 

When is working overtime worth it?

So is overtime worth it? Working overtime may be worth it if you can answer yes the following questions:

Are you using the extra money you earn intentionally?

When you first start making extra money, you may want to make it rain. Seeing extra zeros in your checking account may inspire you to do some shopping you always wanted to do. It may also encourage you to start paying off any debt that's been hanging around your head since forever ago. Being intentional with money is what allows you to be in an abundance mindset. When you are practicing abundance, you see opportunities everywhere.

Are you putting some of the money you earn aside for your goals?

Besides being intentional with your money, overtime is worth it, but putting money aside for your goals. Sometimes we start a project without having a clear direction of where we want to go. Staying flexible is excellent, but it's essential to put your extra funds towards a goal to ensure your new overtime path is worth it. And putting money towards your goals doesn't always have to mean financial ones. It can be goals that inspire you to be a better person or taking care of something important to you.

Are you still able to spend time prioritizing your own needs, such as sleep and family?

Balancing a side hustle or additional time at work with life is NOT easy or for the faint of heart. People often ask me how I can fit everything into my life, and my answer is simple: I don't.

I don't spend as much uninterrupted time with my significant other as I'd like. I have a hard time balancing my projects with freelance ones. But I still get a full 8 to 9 hours of sleep and make time to work on my mental health. You'll never be able to fit everything into your life, but if you can still prioritize most of it while getting your hustle on, it means you're on the right path.

When is working overtime NOT worth it?

Working overtime may not be worth it if you can answer yes to the following questions:

Are you still overspending?

Once you start seeing those dollar signs add up from working overtime, you might start spending more money than you normally would. Excess spending is common when you are suddenly flush with cash. You may even experience what's known as lifestyle inflation; a term used when you start to desire nicer things to coalign with your new income. If you catch yourself spending more than you did before you started your new journey, working overtime is probably not for you.

Are you not making any financial progress?

Perhaps you started this journey because you wanted to make financial progress. In that case, it's important that you track your goals from the very beginning. Extra cash is excellent, and using it for big money goals is even better. However, if you aren't keeping your eyes on the prize and not making much of a difference, working overtime may be in vain. If you are having a hard time seeing where your money is going, we have many free budget templates to choose from at Clever Girl Finance.

Are you not taking care of yourself?

The more time you spend working overtime, the less time you'll have for other things in your life. Taking care of yourself is such a mindless task that we don't realize how important it is until we aren't doing it. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, eating healthy, drinking water, and even spending time alone are all ways you take care of yourself without realizing it. If you find yourself making significant sacrifices to make extra cash and not the good kind, it's not worth it.

In closing: Working overtime has to make sense for you!

There are plenty of factors one must consider when working overtime. It's not a great fit for everyone, but it is the next logical step in crushing those money goals for some people. Working overtime can help you increase your income and accelerate achieving your financial goals. It's all about creating a plan and being intentional with your time and the extra money you earn.

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