What Are the Best Jobs for Low Income Families?
Low income families have a lot of hurdles when it comes to career advancement and jobs. There are plenty of barriers and reasons why people work in low wage jobs. Some of these reasons include lack of skills, lack of access, or factors that make it difficult to find better jobs. Ultimately, there are things low income families can do get better jobs and to work at excelling at the ones they currently do have.
A Look at the Lowest Income Jobs
Some of the available low income jobs have led people to look for the best jobs for low income families.
This category has the distinction of being the lowest wage gig in the country. Many of these jobs are part time and don’t require any education. Despite the hard work, long hours, and small paychecks, lots of people have these jobs and it’s the fourth largest occupation in the country. While it’s seen as a dead-end job, it can be beneficial for those who have plans of going into hospitality management.
There are about half a million dishwashers in the country. Training to be a dishwasher is minimal and these jobs are often used as a stepping stone to other jobs in food service establishments and restaurants.
Cashiers are found just about everywhere. It’s one of the biggest occupations in the workforce but the pay is lousy. Many cashiers are trained on the job but there needs to be some understanding of math. Background checks are usually required for these positions since workers handle money. The profession also does have a high amount of turnover.
You don’t tip a hostess in a restaurant and that means they don’t get paid all that well. They don’t do the same heavy lifting that the wait stuff does but the job is more than just greeting patrons. Hostesses can act as cashiers, take reservations, and more.
Amusement Park Attendants:
Wages for these jobs are below the national mean hourly average. The employees do get some on-the-job training and need to have good customer service skills. The jobs are very diverse and attendants do everything from collecting tickets to removing unruly patrons.
Movie Theater Ticket Takers and Ushers:
Watching all the movies you want can be the only perk of this job that doesn’t bring in a lot of wages. A job at a local theater isn’t a gateway to Hollywood and the movie industry. However, these jobs require little training.
Farm work is often cited as a job that many Americans don’t want. Most of the work is dangerous, strenuous, and seasonal. The bulk of the jobs are in California and workers learn about the work while already out in the fields.
Home and Personal Care Aides:
There are plenty of opportunities for these jobs and there is expected to be a big jump because of the aging population. However, the work can be unpleasant and grueling. The work can also be emotionally demanding but many aides do have satisfaction in knowing they are helping those in need. Workers doing this job not only don’t have great wages but there is a high rate of work-related injuries and illnesses. Workers aren’t able to put away enough money in order to take care of themselves as they age.
Programs That Help Low Income Workers Climb the Career Ladder
The best jobs for low income families may not be higher paying jobs but instead programs that can help low wage workers develop internally.
The Jobs for Low Income Families Program was designed to provide placement services for individuals with limited economic means who are struggling to find stable work. Anyone with limited economic means is eligible for job assistance. The program is administered thorough various non-profit agencies. Some of these programs help with training and education so you can find some of the best jobs for low income families.
Workforce Training Academy Connect:
This program is designed for students with low skill levels that wouldn’t typically be eligible to enroll in any vocational training certificate course. The program’s goal is to accelerate entry into training by allowing students to peruse basic skills and occupational training at the same time.
College Prep Academy, Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement:
This program serves four counties in Texas and funds training. It’s been developed for those who want to get an associate’s degree or occupational certificate in manufacturing, allied health, business, education, information technology, and other specialized trades. The program helps with financial support to cover needs such as childcare, transportation, tuition, and licensing expenses.
This program at different sites is an intense, one-year program. It gives high school graduates between the ages of 18 and 24 a combination of corporate internship opportunities and hands-on skill development. The first six months focus on skill building, both technical and professional. Then, the second half of the year is then focused on applying the learned skills with corporate internships. In addition, there is an onsite social work resource to help students access support like affordable medical services, childcare, and housing.
Starting a Side Gig to Supplement Income
Some of the best jobs for low income families can be supplementing your low income with a side hustle. If you have a passion or professional skills that are not being used to the full potential then it could be time to consider this.
Be Smart about the Start-Up Costs:
There isn’t a need to spend money if you are testing out new ideas for your side gig. It’s easy to launch one today and can end up being one of the best jobs for low income families. One of the best money making tips is that you don’t necessarily need to spend money to make money. You can always make some adjustments later. However, what matters is that you start taking the plunge. It’s best to avoid any endeavor that requires a large initial investment.
You don’t even really need a business plan. For low cost marketing. You can develop your own following through social media. One way to find new customers and fans is by writing guest posts for other blogs that can share your target audience.
Many successful side giggers actually discovered their second jobs by accident. With the online world, it’s easy to test products and then build from there.
Don’t Hide Your Side Hustle:
You want to avoid any conflicts of interest with your current full-time job but employers will usually embrace side gigs. If you bring the skills you are learning back from your side job to your current job, you may even use that for future advancement.
Master Time Management:
Focusing on time and energy management is going to be key when you are essentially balancing two jobs. If you are a morning person, get your side work done when you wake up. That way it’s easier for you to focus. If you are night owl then do it before you turn in for the evening.
Don’t let failure stop you. Many established side hustlers have experienced obstacles early and many still will experience failure. Don’t let criticism bring you down either.
The most important thing you can do is be organized from the beginning. When you have extra income coming in, you have to be careful about what you are making and spending come tax time. Many business-related expenses could be eligible for deductions but you have to check with the IRS. You aren’t able to deduct home office costs if you also use the space for personal reasons. You may want to pay taxes quarterly so you don’t have to have a big tax bill in April. Once you start earning significant money you will then want to speak with a tax professional. The more organized you are from the beginning, the easier it will be.
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Side Gigs Jobs to Make Extra Money
If you don’t have an idea to start your own side hustle. These are some of the best jobs for low income families that want to make some extra money.
If you have a vehicle and know your way around town then there are openings for drivers everywhere. You will be able to have a flexible schedule and use your car for cash. If you have a reliable car, you can also make money driving for services such as Uber and Lyft.
Personal Assistant/Household Helper:
If you are hanging around the house then you can get paid for your services. Try TaskRabbit or Amazon Professional Services to find jobs in your area.
Elder care is a quickly growing industry and babysitters are always in need. You will be able to set availability based on your schedule.
Pet Sitter or Dog Walker:
If you love animals more than people then pet sitting or dog walking can be one of the best jobs for low income families trying to make some extra cash. You could work at a doggy daycare or start your own business. One way to get going is to check your friends, neighbors, and family for referrals. There are also websites you can use to market your services.
Customer Service Representative:
Customer service is a fast growing occupation. You can find a lot of opportunities to be hired in person or for online positions. Weekend and evening jobs are also available if you want to work around your day job.
Rent Extra Space:
This isn’t necessarily a job you have to do but if you have some space at home you aren’t using, such as in the garage, you can rent it out to get some extra money.
Sell Your Stuff:
If you have a closet full of bags, accessories, or clothes you aren’t using then downsize your wardrobe, free up some space, and sell what you now longer want. You can use eBay or other online sites that are designed for selling clothes. You could even consider organizing a garage sale!
If you love being organized and cleaning out spaces is fun for you then you may be able to help people move. You can use GoShare or Bellhops to find jobs.
If you enjoy and have a knack for party planning then this is a side job that you can get started pretty quickly. Offer services to everyone you know and then you will have some clients that can vouch for your abilities. Start with some events, such as children’s birthday parties, and then build your experience from there
Work for a Caterer:
A benefit to working for a caterer is that you don’t have to commit to a regular schedule. Plus, you are able to work events when you are available. Being able to pick up shifts is a great quality of some of the best jobs for low income families. Positions include bartenders, servers, and other event staff. Search online for jobs in the area and check with local caterers to see if they are currently hiring.
You don’t need advanced degrees to be a tutor! College students can be hired to tutor younger students.
Work at a Festival or Market:
Many communities have weekly markets or flea markets held on a regular basis. If you are available on the weekends then sign up for a job that can give you some extra income. If you live in a resort area then check the calendar for upcoming fairs, concerts, and festivals. Not only can you earn some extra income working these events but you will also get free admission.
Getting Extra Income at Your Current Job
Even if you don’t have one of the best jobs for low income families, you can still find ways to get more money at your current job.
Ask for a raise:
One of the most logical ways to get more money is to ask for a raise. This can be a good option if you have had good performance reviews and have been on the job for a while. If you choose this approach, you want to make sure that you gather your work-related accomplishments. That way you have them with you when you speak to your manager. Your contributions to the company are going to be the reasons why you may deserve a raise.
Take more responsibility:
Sometimes you may be able to make more money by taking on more responsibility at the job. You can offer to complete more projects or stay longer. Which may increase your hourly pay if you are classified as an hourly employee. You may be able to make time and a half if you stay later to work on those extra projects. You can also attempt to apply for a new position in the company. Getting a higher paying job within the same company also looks great on your resume. Indeed, it shows loyalty, commitment, and a desire to grow within your career.
Increase your pay by sharpening your career skills:
For example: If you are a sales associate then you may want to consider increasing your sales per hour and sharpen your customer service skills. This is a measurable and practical approach that can give you more money. With more skills, you may be asked to train others or take on a higher paying position.
Further your training or education:
You can look at credentials, certifications, and degrees to qualify for a better job and more money. There are some companies that will be willing to pay for this training. You could also consider using your low income to qualify for assistance programs. If you are in a position to realistically go back to school then not only will it help you with your current job; It can also help you with future job searches.
Finding a Part-Time Job to Boost Income
Some of the best jobs for low income families can be part-time jobs that allow you to get some extra income. The goal with a part-time job is not to add on any more stress to your life than you have with your full-time job. There is no one place to find a part-time job and it all depends on the job you are applying for. Craigslist can be a good source. FlexJobs could also allow you to look for remote work.
Look at your current favorite businesses:
If you have a favorite store, salon, gym, or coffee shop, see if they are hiring. Customers can make great employees so you may already have an in with the hiring manager.
Tell your family and friends that you are looking for a part-time job:
That isn’t too demanding. Networking does work, even for part-time jobs! Plus, it’s one of the top ways people can get hired.
There are resources available for those who are looking for a job with low incomes. Some of the best jobs for low income families are extra part-time jobs that can be done alongside a full-time job for extra money. These part-time jobs don’t have to be traditional jobs and you may want to consider a side hustle. Especially if you have skills that you aren’t using in your regular career.
There are plenty of different ways to find new full- and part-time jobs so be sure to use your network to help you find one!
Jackie Strauss is a finance writer with a background in economics living in Los Angeles. She has a passion for helping readers learn more about personal finance, insurance, home loans and paying down debt. As a college student during the Great Recession, she has had to learn budgeting and money saving techniques to become a new homeowner.