Whether you work on commission, have a seasonal job, own a small business or work as a freelancer in the new “gig economy,” it’s likely you’ll end up without a steady paycheck. Even when your income is sporadic, the bills aren’t. Use these tips to build a budget and stick to it, even when your next paycheck is hard to predict.
Find Out Where Your Money Goes.
There are two keys to budgeting on sporadic income. First, tracking your expenses so you know how much money you need and when. Second, tracking your income so that you can estimate the lowest average income you can expect–whether you’re measuring things weekly or monthly–and build your budget around that. This leaves you free to save during times of plenty and able to survive the lean times, too.
Be Your Own CEO.
Once you know how much money is coming in and where it’s going, give yourself a regular monthly, weekly or twice-monthly salary that’s enough to cover your expenses and, ideally, allow for some spending money. If you’re bringing in more than enough to save with your salary, put the extra away in a “rainy day” fund that will make up the difference should you fall short.
Is that rainy day fund growing? Good! Once you’ve built up a comfortable savings cushion to buffer you in case of an emergency, it’s time to start thinking about other uses for those savings: These can include building a retirement fund, saving for a special purchase, and–most importantly–putting away money for tax season.
Automate Your Savings.
Sporadic income can make it hard to get into a saving mindset. Automating the process makes it easier–you won’t even miss the “absent” money. Consider opening a Chime Savings Account and turning on Automatic Savings.
When Automatic Savings is turned on, each Chime card purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar. Round ups are transferred from your Spending Account to your Savings Account.
Luckily, electing for a flexible lifestyle does not have to mean financial insecurity as long as create a realistic budget and stick to it.
How do you budget without a steady income?