Top Money-Saving Tips When Your Income Is Inconsistent
Saving money is understandably a top financial goal, but it also may be a goal that you struggle with regularly. While saving money is a challenge for many people, your income structure may make this task even more difficult for you.
When you read through common money-saving tips, you inevitably find tips that say to pay yourself first and to set up a regular automatic payment transfer that occurs on your paydays. However, you may be one of the many people who have an inconsistent income, so this tip may not apply to your situation.
It may seem as though you are at a disadvantage with regards to saving money regularly in comparison to your counterparts who have a consistent income, but this is not necessarily the case. You simply have to adjust a few money-saving tips so that they are effective for your situation. These tips can help you to accomplish your savings goals regardless of how frequently you receive income.
Scale Down Your Lifestyle –
One of the reasons why most people struggle with savings is because of their lifestyle, and this holds true regardless of how consistently or inconsistently money comes in the door. When you are spending almost every dime that you earn, you will not be able to regularly save money. Therefore, it is important to analyze your current spending habits. Review your last three to four months of bank statements, and create a realistic historical accounting of your funds as well as your average monthly income. You may be surprised to see how much money you are wasting on frivolous and unnecessary items.
You may also identify a great way to save money regularly, such as by switching to streaming TV service rather than cable television. Your goal should be to eliminate as much excess spending as possible so that you have more cash available to save throughout any given month.
Reduce Debt Balances –
As you search for ways to save money on a regular basis, it is important to focus on the cost of your debts. Most of your debt payments include a combination of principal reduction and interest charges. You may also have late fees and lending fees. The principal reduction is the amount of each monthly payment that is paying off money that you borrowed. The interest charges and other fees are the expenses associated with borrowing that money. These expenses continue to accrue until the debts are paid off, making it increasingly expensive for you to carry the debts. By focusing on eliminating debts, you can take this unnecessary expense off of your financial plan.
Create A Moving Budget –
Individuals with a consistent income can create and live by a monthly budget. However, your income may fluctuate from week to week or month to month while your expenses remain fairly steady. With this in mind, it may be helpful to create a moving itemization of income and expenses. For example, you may start by listing your current available balance as well as income and expenses for the upcoming week. Then, carry this over to another column that shows the income expenses for the following week. You may continue this projection of income and expenses for the next three months, six months or whatever interval works best for you. By doing so, you will be able to more easily see which periods you may be able to save more money in. Check out our free Online Budgeting Tool to help you get started!
Establish Savings Goals –
Another smart idea is to establish specific savings goals that you want to achieve within a specific period of time. For example, you may want to save money in an emergency fund, but you may also want to save money for the holidays and for a summer vacation. Determine how much money you need to save regularly to accomplish your goals. You may need to further scale down your lifestyle so that you can more easily meet your savings goals. We offer a free online savings Goal Tracker tool! Check out this free resource!
Save Your Windfalls –
Remember that your work income is not the only source of funds that you may receive throughout a year. For example, you may receive bonuses, cash gifts on the holidays, tax refunds and more. Rather than spend this money, stash it away in your savings account. By doing so, you will see your savings account balance grow substantially.
Saving money with inconsistent income may seem challenging, but you can see that it simply requires you to adjust your financial management habits in different ways. When you implement these essential money-saving tips, you may be able to more easily meet your personal savings goals.
If you need help setting up a budget or getting out of debt, give us a call toll-free at 1-866-699-2227 and ask to speak with a certified credit counselor. We’ve been helping people with their financial troubles for over 50 years now and we can help you too!