Originally Posted by Oxilon
I always thought after graduating from college and getting a full-time job, money wouldn't be that big of an issue as a single, young professional. Well, that blew back in my face. Car loans, car insurance, student loans, rent, utilities, gas, cell phones....all that crap adds up. So...does anybody know of a good way to make some extra money on the side? Obviously I'm working M-F, so Saturday and Sunday are pretty much my only options.
By far your best avenue is to cut expenses. Successful wealth building occurs based on what you keep, not what you make.
You could grab a second job and be able to save a little bit of money off those earnings, but what's likely to happen is you'll just spend even more than you're already spending. Subsequently, it's likely that any type of second job may be temporary (most people don't work two jobs for decades) and then you'll be absolutely forced to cut expenses when the second job goes. It's better to just to align your spending habits now with your current gross income. This sets up a pattern of wealth building that you can implement for the totality of your working career.
Try a little exercise: outline your total average monthly expenses down the line. Include all bills, food, gas, discretionary spending, etc. Sure some months you'll spend more on entertainment than other months, but put down a reasonable monthly average. Then start identifying things that you could realistically cut out/reduce the cost. Some things you probably absolutely do not want to live without. Other things may be easy to slice off, though, and you'll probably surprise yourself. For example, I reduced my monthly energy bill by 30 percent simply by switching energy suppliers. All it took was one 20 minute phone call.
In a nutshell, save 20 percent of your gross income in retirement investment accounts, maintain a separate emergency savings fund (6 months or so), then live off what's left. If you're simultaneously trying to save for a large purchase (house downpayment, car, appliances, whatever), then ideally that needs to come out of the "what's left" category, not one of the other two categories.
If you do that, then you'll likely be able to tell the workforce to go shove it by the time you're in your mid 50s, if not sooner.