If you are receiving over time in today’s tough job market you are fortunate. This is because not too many people are having that opportunity. I know that those extra bucks are coming in handy and it’s also very good to get that big check on payday because I wish I could.

Although the money is good, we have to be careful as there is a catch.  Once you start receiving this money week after week, it can change your spending habits to a point where you can get yourselves into a budget trap.

However, don’t get my point twisted if I was you I would take full advantage of this great situation while you can. You should also be aware that this option won’t always be there. The companies that are offering overtime will do so  when they are in a tight spot. You have to be careful because management will also cut it out when you least expect it.  Once your overtime ends, it’s going to hurt your pockets as it did for me mainly because I didn’t see the end coming.

I know a thing or two about over time dollars because when I was working I tried to get as much of it that I could. As a matter of fact, I was an overtime junkie, which was a term we used in my day. So when overtime was offered I immediately raised my hand and it paid off for me. However, now that I’m in retirement, that is one of the things that you miss the most and that is getting those extra bucks.

However, as good as it is, earning some extra money may bring on  some drawbacks that you may not be aware of.  Some co-workers may not like that you are getting the overtime and they are not. They don’t realize that working overtime is a privilege as not everyone is asked and if you are not selected it’s not on you. The people who are not getting the overtime may also start to treat you differently, so be on the lookout for that response. People don’t like to see you getting ahead and they are not.

In my case, I had already understood working overtime would help me because when I worked in the local supermarket in my teens, my paycheck  was very small and overtime helped built it up.  My co-workers didn’t like me for working late but it didn’t stop me from making the extra money. My thinking was if the money was there to get, I was going after it.

Additionally, in getting the chance to work overtime it gave me some options that I didn’t have before.  Since my paycheck was now larger, I could not only purchase my clothing and sneakers but also add to my savings. I was able to help out with the expenses at home. As I continued to work overtime and build up my savings, this became my blueprint on how I had planned to live my life going forward.

As I got older, people laughed at me all the time about working overtime. They chuckled that I worked so much that I didn’t have a normal life. However, I didn’t let that heckling bother me as I was focused on making those deposits into the bank. Plus, I didn’t listen to those negative comments because my overtime check was  larger than their regular check and that was the best revenge to me.

However, in moving forward to today, over time is not the same as before. Overtime dollars are limited or don’t exist the way it did before.  Companies rely more on automation to improve productivity so overtime is rarely used. These technology advancements have hurt a lot of people who depended on overtime in their pockets but that’s the future.

Since today’s overtime is  limited, you can’t afford to get into a lifestyle of spending that exceeds your regular paycheck because that can be dangerous. I have seen this happen to others and it’s not a nice position to be in coming up short.  These individuals have used their overtime funds to buy some outlandish things like two new cars, a wardrobe of fancy clothing  expensive jewelry,  ten to twenty exotic tattoos and you get my point.

The people who are wasting this great opportunity are the ones who mistakenly think that those overtime dollars won’t stop.  Once you start thinking this way you are making a big mistake. I have learned from past experience that the gravy train will come to a halt at some point so you have to be careful. People need to also understand that over time is a temporary funding situation and not a permanent one. As a result, they can’t go crazy spending every dollar they receive because they will regret it later on. 

I’m suggesting that you should consider doing what I did when those overtime dollars was available to me. I made a promise to use these extra funds for a specific purpose. I did so because if the overtime was cut off I had something to show for it. Once I completed one project if the overtime dollars was still available I would set another goal. I continued using this approach throughout my career and it prove to be one of the best money-saving moves that I made and now I’m sharing this tip to you.

In using this method, I was able to clean up my debts, had some improvements made to my home, and helped put my kids through college.  I also no longer had to buy clothing from the discount stores or from the clearance rack, and I was able to build up my emergency funds.  Since this strategy worked so well for me I know that you can do the same.

In closing, in receiving over time, let’s be honest,  you must take as much of it that you can. In getting more money it always helps to clean up those miscellaneous items.  You also know very well that it won’t last long so you can’t go crazy over spending. And don’t forget to do something tangible with these funds that you can see after the overtime runs out. The worst feeling is for you to have made so much money in overtime and don’t see where it went when it ends.

And lastly, people don’t forget that working overtime puts pressure on your family. So if I was you, I would  save some dollars so that you can take your family on vacation. This suggestion worked out very well for me and you can do the same. So the lesson of this article is,  in receiving overtime dollars it’s great but it can backfire on you if you are not careful.  You don’t want to be caught working a lot of overtime and spending the dollars foolishly and  forgetting about your family because, at the end of the day, you need them both.