If you think managing your money with a regular income stream is challenging, try handling the task when you're not earning a steady salary. Those who are self-employed (think freelancers and business owners) must plan ahead even more than those of us with predictable salaries so they don't find themselves pressing the panic button when their work flow slows.
Since I've never been in this situation but am aware that several of you are, I turned to the smart folks at The Motley Fool for guidance. Find out their tips for getting your finances organized when you read more.
The Fool got input from a debt counseling firm that declared, "planning and budgeting are just as important as soliciting work" when income is sporadic. Here are some tips on how to do this.
- Average out your expenditures over a three-month period. Start by tracking expenses for a few months to see where your money is going.
- Free up your cash flow by regulating your expenses. See if your utility company offers a balanced billing option so your bills are spread out evenly over the year.
- Build a safety net for lean months. How much you save depends on your situation, but put away what you can so that you don't have to rely on credit.
- Though credit lines are tempting, avoid relying on them to make ends meet. Always make it a goal to be debt free.
- Married to a regular wage earner? Try discussing using the regular income for essentials and the irregular income for savings and extras.
- Earmark your savings. Choose designated accounts or investments for any windfall that comes your way so you don't blow it on something frivolous.