While some rideshare and delivery drivers drive full time to pay for bills and other living expenses, many drivers drive for extra money, to pursue hobbies, afford vacations and more. We wanted to know: what do drivers spend their ‘extra’ earnings on? RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook shares what hobbies he pursues and shares some of your answers below.
I first started rideshare driving to get out of debt, and so that I could go on vacations.
Some people start because they’ve lost their job, others have got behind on bills and just need a little extra. However, there are a large number of drivers who drive because of the fun things they can get with the money.
What are some of the things people buy? Let’s look at a few.
What Do Uber Drivers Spend Their Fun Money On?
Though many will say the “extra money” they get from rideshare driving goes right back into their vehicle with driver expenses like gas, maintenance, etc., we’re focusing on the “fun” things you can do with your money.
Even still, always make sure you have money set aside for things like gas, maintenance, taxes, of course!
This is a big one for most people. They really really want to go on vacation but don’t have the money. Rather than go into debt for it, they save, but maybe the saving isn’t fast enough with their regular job, or there is no possibility of saving.
Whatever the case, a lot of people start driving to afford vacations.
It feels amazing to have the cash to pay for a vacation rather than put it on credit. It also makes driving on your days off, or before or after work that much easier.
It’s not just something to cover expenses, but a 2 week trip to Hawaii where you don’t have to think about work or ridesharing at all.
Going Out To Eat
Not necessarily into travel to relax? You’re not alone! Many people only have a side gig so they can have fun on a regular basis. By driving an hour or 2 a day, they can afford to go out to eat every night for dinner.
Earning some extra money via gig work is one way for some people to indulge in something they love – trying new food or visiting their favorite restaurants.
At the start of the pandemic I slowly started buying computer components until I had everything to build my own computer from scratch. Not only was this fun for me, and something I’ve always wanted to do, but it saved me about $1,000 building it rather than having it built.
How was I able to afford it? Each month I took a portion of my side hustle money (Uber Eats, freelancing, Instacart, etc.) and used it to buy whatever computer component was on sale at the time.
Maybe you don’t have the desire to build your own computer, but you do want the latest tech gadgets or gaming consoles. Gig work can make buying these usually-pricey items much more doable, as you can go out, make a few hundred or more in a week, then splurge on the latest tech gadget.
Investing can set you up for the future, a future where you don’t need to do any rideshare or delivery driving.
Investing in dividend stocks is how I use my income, as it allows me to get a regular income from my investments, which I currently put right back into my investments. In the future, only a few years really at this rate, I can use this income source to pay bills.
As this one gig worker shares below, while he spends some of his gig money on dates and trips with his girlfriend, he also puts half of what he makes into investing.
Maybe you don’t want to do the research on individual stocks, and that’s ok, because they have what’s called index funds that do all the work for you. Pick one like Vanguard that has the lowest fees and call it a day.
There are also robo advisors out there like RobinHood, Stash, Stockpile and more that can help you pick your investments.
We’ve all heard the stories of people who worked their way through college by working. They worked at a bar, grocery store, whatever to make sure they could pay for things and not have large amounts of student loans.
Though the cost of education has gone up, working while at school to make the cost burden easier is still very much possible. The flexibility of rideshare driving or delivering makes it easier than ever to make some money to take care of your expenses.
Mortgage + Remodel
Some have used the money they make from gig work to save for a down payment on a home, or if they already have a home, they use the extra money to make the mortgage payment or pay it down earlier.
Still others use their gig earnings to remodel the homes they own. A friend of mine has recently renovated their kitchen and bathroom, all with funds from them doing Uber and Uber Eats. They have a few more rooms in the house to do too, and it will take about 6 months to be able to get those done – all from their gig earnings!
When you drive to make money, it makes sense to use that same money to take care of and eventually purchase a new car. Some people have got a car and started driving to make the money for the car payment.
Others drive and save the money so that when the time comes to get a new car they are able to pay for it in cash. Whichever you fall into this is a great way to spend your income.
More than half of Americans would not be able to handle a $1,000 emergency if it came up. With the added expense of just about everything these days, that’s even scarier. Your car breaks down, one of the kids needs an emergency room visit, your computer gets fried, or a million other things happen, and you could easily spend $1,000 or even more.
With that in mind, saving money when you first start driving, and regularly, is a great way to use your income.
Having a nice emergency fund, even if it’s just $1,000, can really help when things happen.
Experts suggest that you have 3 to 6 months expenses saved for an emergency. This may take many months a year or even longer to save, but once you have it you’ll be grateful that you did.
As I mentioned above, my goal with rideshare driving back in 2015 was to get debt paid off. It took me way longer than anticipated to do it, but eventually I was able to get debt free.
Rideshare driving was a huge part of that. Even if you just drive 2 hours a day, or do longer weekends, put that money into your debt until it’s paid off. It will make all the long hours worth it.
Once you’re done paying off debt, you then have a few choices: you can either stop driving altogether, or you can start using that money for one of the other amazing things mentioned here.
My recommendation is to go to the emergency fund and then invest, but if you want that month-long vacation, you’ve earned it.
So, this one isn’t really anything I would have thought of, but a few Reddit users mentioned it as something they use their money for.
For me, I splurge on tech toys and video games, but if you are a person that cares about style, then it’s a solid thing to spend your money on.
My brother likes to match all the time, so much so that he has more Apple Watch straps than almost anyone else I know, and he always looks great.
While it’s not necessarily I’d spend my ‘fun money’ on, everyone has their own interests and hobbies, so if shoes or clothes are your thing – go for it!
Before I proposed to my wife, I needed to get the most amazing ring ever. It had to be so beautiful she couldn’t say no. Honestly, probably not true, but it was how I felt.
I wasn’t making enough money to save at the time, so I got a second job. This was before things like Uber, or at least when it was very new. I stayed at that job for 6 months and used that money to pay for my wife’s engagement ring, as well as save some money for the wedding itself.
Now, it’s easy to start driving for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and many others and work when you’re available.
One Reddit user mentioned they saved for a year not only for the ring, but also a trip to Sweden where they intended to propose.
Start A Business
Though I started driving to pay off debt, I took some of that money and started an Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) business. I ran that as well as many other business ventures for years.
So when I talk about starting a business, it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart.
No matter what business you start, whether a brick and mortar store, an online blog, a course, or anything else it all costs money in one way or another, some more than others. Rideshare driving or delivery are great ways to get seed money to start whatever business you’ve ever dreamed of.
The Right Motivation
Whether you started driving for one reason and you keep doing so for another, it’s important to think about why you’re doing it.
It can feel like a thankless job, one that no one appreciates you, and you can lose motivation to even get out there and work.
If you find it a struggle, find ways to remind you of why you do it. Maybe have a picture of your significant other in your car. Or you could have a picture of wherever your dream vacation is in your car. Maybe it’s owning your own house, or starting that business you’ve always dreamed of starting.
Whatever it is, make sure you keep your motivation front in your mind so that you can push just a little further. Take one more delivery, passenger, drive 1 more hour. As you do, it’s one more delivery, passenger or hour closer to your goal.
What do you use your extra earnings on? Have you taken any fun vacations or started a business using your rideshare or delivery earnings?
-Tyler @ RSG