Millions earn an extra $500 a month on the side — so can you


Millions of Americans are bringing in hundreds of extra dollars every month through side hustles.

A recent Bankrate report shows that some 44 million American adults have a side hustle. The report defines a side hustle as a way to earn extra money, meaning in addition to your main source of income.

For many side hustlers, the extra effort is lucrative. Bankrate found that 36 percent of people who side hustle at least monthly earn an extra $500 a month. That amounts to an extra $6,000 a year.

Older people earn more money side hustling

Younger people, those ages 18 to 26, are more likely to side hustle at least monthly compared with people who are older than that. But older people tend to earn more money on the side.

For example, only 19 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 36) who side hustle monthly earn more than $500 a month, compared with 50 percent of older people. And baby boomers ages 53 to 62 are the age group most likely to earn at least $1,000 per month in side income.

As we reported earlier this month, even retirees are using the so-called gig economy to supplement their retirement savings.

Putting extra income to good use

Bankrate found that most people who make extra money on the side use it to help pay for expenses instead of using it as disposable income.

Perhaps the best way to use extra income, however, is to pay off interest-bearing debts or to save in interest-bearing accounts.

Using extra income to pay down interest-bearing debt like credit card debt or car loans reduces not only your debt, but also the amount of additional money you pay in interest over the life of the debts.

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Putting extra income in an interest-bearing account like a high-yield savings account enables your extra money to generate even more cash for you in the form of interest. Additionally, you'll have savings to fall back on in the case of an emergency, which will decrease the chances of you going into debt to cover an unexpected expense.

Check out the Money Talks News Solutions Center for help finding a higher-paying savings account.

Finding the best side hustle for you

Thanks to the internet, the gig economy is flourishing. There are probably more ways than ever to bring in extra money, and you can read about all kinds of side hustles here at Money Talks News.

Just to name a few examples, we've detailed how you can make money by:

We've brought you video of interviews with everyday people who bring in money on the side through their own pet-sitting and dog-walking businesses and by renting out their cars to strangers.

You can even get paid for doing shopping you were going to do anyway and for achieving your own fitness goals.

For plenty of other options, check out the articles in our "Make" category.

Have you ever made extra money with a side hustle? Tell us about your experience below or on our Facebook page.