How Part-Time Work (Moonlighting) Can Save You Money

by Jona E. Kessans


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Moonlighting or working part-time has long been an option for many full-time workers seeking a little more income. However, what has long been overlooked are the fringe benefits or dividends that working part-time provides. Working this way reduces spending and is more than worthwhile for the minimum numbers of hours required.

The national retail store I work at requires employees to work a minimum of six hours per month to receive both low cost health insurance (around $20 per week) and a very generous discount good on all regular, sale, and clearance priced merchandise. For me, health insurance is extremely important because I have been self-employed for the past eight years and was paying a whopping $400 per month for basically the same insurance coverage. Working this way I've saved hundreds of dollars per month on health insurance and paid much less for brand new, brand name clothing, home goods, and gifts than I would have otherwise.

A friend of mine works for a large nationwide video rental store. By working a minimum of four hours per week, he receives five free video rentals per week along with discounts on games and other goods sold by the store. Movie rentals on average cost around $4, so he is able to save $20 per week on rentals. Most importantly, he also receives low-cost health insurance for himself, his wife, and child, which is something he does not have at his full-time job. These are just a couple of the many fringe benefits available to part-time moonlighters.

To make the most of a part-time job opportunity, it is essential to ask yourself two questions.

  1. What is most important to you in terms of what adds value to your life or what needs you have?

    For me, this meant finding a way to eliminate the high premiums of health insurance. Another important and essential requirement for me was to reduce costs associated with buying gifts for others and needed goods for my home and myself. Moonlighting has added a great deal to my life in terms of meeting my needs and reducing my overall expenses.

    For my friend Len who works at the video store, having low-cost health insurance coverage for himself and his family was essential. Moreover, because he is a huge movie buff, the free video rentals allow him to thoroughly enjoy his hobby without breaking the bank. He also receives discounts on any videos or games he wants to purchase as well as free videos, posters, and other goods that the company needs to clear out. Len says that working at the video rental store is a perfect fit for him since he is such a movie buff and was in need of health insurance.

  2. What hobbies, goods, and activities do you tend to spend the most money on?

    By answering this question, you'll be able to determine which companies would be most suitable as potential part-time places of employment. For example, if you like to ski, then a good choice would be to seek a part-time position at a ski resort or ski shop. If you like movies like Len, then a video rental store or a movie theater is a good bet. If you are like me and place a high value on decorating your home and purchasing nice clothing, then a national retail store (one you normally shop) is a good option. If books are your passion, working at your favorite bookstore will get you a nice discount on books and other items sold at the store. To determine which companies and benefits would make a good fit for you, simply call each of your targeted companies and ask.

Regardless of what your hobby, activity, or need is, there is a company out there that is in dire need of good part-time employees and will be more than willing to provide you with a flexible schedule and great fringe benefits for working a minimum number of hours. So next time you think moonlighting is just a way to make extra money, it could actually be an excellent way to save money. By looking at the big picture, you'll be able to see that what you don't receive in pay can be more than made up for in money-saving benefits.


Jona is an instructional designer, web and graphic designer, and technical and business writer. Jona has been practicing simple living/voluntary simplicity for over 10 years and is available for speaking engagements. Contact her at simplefrugal@fuse.net. Copyright Jona E. Kessans. All rights reserved.

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