I had a caller the other day who is typical of so many people, holding down three job and cobbling together a living. She used to have a career job with one paycheck, but now she gets it done with three.

The latest numbers show 7.25 million Americans hold down at least two jobs. People are either trying to "catch up" after living on unemployment or "pay down" after amassing some lifestyle debt.

There are situations where picking up part-time work is a very smart thing to do. I think about the calls I get where people say they can't pay beyond the minimums on credit cards. That's a perfect example of when it makes sense to pick up extra work.

Look at your credit card statement and look at those boxes where it tells you how fast you'll pay your debt if you only pay the minimum, and how fast you'll pay it down if you pay more than the minimum.

If you pick up maybe 10 hours a week at a second job, you can probably afford to pay more than your minimum payment.

I find that picking up a second job, if it doesn't have a goal attached to it, is a burden. But when it allows you freedom, a goal that you achieve that creates breathing space, that's a powerful motivator to keep working.

So if you are just getting by, give up a couple hours of TV a day and use those hours to work a second job. The payoff in achieving financial goals can be enormous.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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