“I’d like to start saving money, but I’m not sure if I can afford it right now” can be a common thought when starting your career with an entry-level salary. The good news is, you can start saving. It just takes some creative thinking and a plan for making extra money to kick-start your savings.

In today’s economy, side jobs are a common way to earn extra income. They provide flexible money-making options and can even help you grow professionally.

Explore Your Hobbies, Consider Your Passions

Often, side jobs can be done remotely—this means lower startup costs and faster earnings. Use your skills, do something you love or provide a service. Some ideas to consider:

  • Tutoring online. Use your knowledge to help students of all ages with languages, science or math.

  • Driving for a rideshare service. After you apply, simply download the app and wait for the ride requests to come in.

  • Working as a virtual assistant. You can help business owners by handling administrative duties like sending emails, doing research or scheduling meetings.

  • Pet sitting or dog walking. Check out apps or websites that connect you with pet owners who need your services. 

  • Catering. Channel your love of cooking into menu planning and hosting events.

  • Blogging or freelance writing. Look for websites that connect businesses with writers on a per-project basis. 

  • Transcribing. Turn your super-fast typing skills into transcribing notes from meetings or podcasts, as well as providing closed captioning for TV shows or movies.

  • Selling stock photography or video. Individuals and businesses will pay you to take photos or shoot videos for them.

Manage Your Time

Carefully consider the time demands of your side hustle. You want to be sure you can fulfill your responsibilities to both your full-time employer and your new enterprise.

Saving Strategies

Once your new side job is up and running, decide where to put your earnings. Making a plan to save while you’re in your 20s is a great way to build wealth over time.

  • Start small. Help bolster your savings by starting with small amounts, say $20 every week or month. Your deposits will add up.

  • Contribute to a retirement account. Many employers offer to match employee contributions to a 401(k) plan. If your company matches up to a certain percentage, try to take advantage of the full match. Or, consider setting up an individual retirement account (IRA).

  • Explore savings products. Checking accounts are made for frequent deposits and withdrawals, while savings accounts are meant for frequent deposits only and generally award you a higher interest rate for allowing the balance to grow. Navy Federal Credit Union has a variety of savings accounts for your needs. Check out different savings options and find the best one for you.

  • Direct deposit a portion of your income. Set up your paycheck for direct deposit to make saving easy. You can start by setting up just a small portion—say, 5 or 10 percent of your paycheck—to be deposited directly into your savings account.

  • Put away unexpected money. Whether it’s a gift or tax refund, bonus cash is a savings opportunity. Since you’re not dependent on this extra money, you can put it toward your savings without feeling a pinch.

Learn more about saving for short- or long-term goals, and save more with some of these tricks. To start putting money aside, open a savings or money market savings account at Navy Federal today.