Weighing Money and Values

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Everyday Money Questions is an ongoing series that seeks to answer your financial questions. Submit your questions to hannah@hannahjoymoore.com.

Question:

We need extra income, so my husband and I are trying to decide if I should get another part-time job or if he needs to pick up extra shifts at work. How do we approach this since we already work so much?


The best way to approach this type of question is to first identify the purpose behind getting another job or picking up more shifts.

In the Everyday Money Workbook, we break down goals into categories, including short-term and long-term goals. One of the biggest mistakes I see (and have made myself!) is approaching all goals the same way.

short-term goals

If you’re looking to achieve a short-term goal, like paying off your credit cards and getting out of debt, I would encourage you to look at extra shifts or a part-time job. Doing hard things and making sacrifices is doable when there’s an end in sight or a specific goal that you want to achieve.

On the other hand, if you realize that you need the extra money to live off of each month and maintain your lifestyle, then there are other considerations. This is a lifestyle decision, not a short-term commitment. I would encourage you to ask the bigger questions, like “are extra shifts or part-time work necessary for the kind of life we want to live?” and “does this time commitment support the values that are most important to us?”

Before making any major changes to work commitments, consider that running out of money at the end of the month may be a symptom that financial changes need to be made. While difficult, it’s important to dig deep into your spending numbers first and see if there are ways to cut back.

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Make an effort to consider your intentions and ask those big questions before you make a decision. Remember, you are in charge of your money, don’t let it be in charge of you!

long-term goals

The other category of goals is long-term goals, like saving for retirement or your children’s college. Many times, small changes can make a big difference. For example, maybe instead of picking up extra shifts and spending less time with your family, you commit to putting all future raises into your retirement accounts, or you could pick up one shift a month and put that money towards a future goal.

Weighing financial decisions against family time and the values you hold can be hard, but it is the crux of what it means for you to live a wealthy life.

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