Many Americans, especially frontline employees, face unpredictable job schedules and erratic wages as companies continue to lay off or furlough staff in the midst of more economic closures. With a shifting paycheck, being able to handle cash and budget is a valuable skill to have.
With an unpredictable income salary, How to spend money wisely?
Knowing how to budget for a shifting paycheck will help make handling money a little less stressful during a pandemic-induced recession if your income is unstable and erratic.
Watch the limits of your credit card and interest rates
Credit cards can be used as a way to cross the difference between when bills are due and payday if you’re careful. You must be very cautious, however, not to begin overspending on your card. When sticking to your bare-bones spending plan, this means understanding your credit cap, your minimum balance, due date, and your interest rate. Credit, when used wisely, can be helpful when money is tight.
Scheduling credit card purchases into your budget is the secret to keeping yourself out of credit card debt. Do not spend more than you know you can afford, and as soon as your income comes, try to pay your bill off in full. Loading up debt on a high-interest rate credit card is something you absolutely want to avoid.
First Create a Buffer
Once you know what you need to get by and have a strategy on what you will do in a temporary cash pinch, giving yourself a buffer is the next best step.
The secret to a good irregular income budget is getting money set aside. That way, if a freelance client pays late or you haven’t been able to pick up as many side gigs, as usual, you won’t have to rely on borrowing to get by. Aiming to get stashed away in savings for at least a month.
Also Read : The Best Business Loan Options for Freelancers
Regularly revisit the expenditure
The biggest aspect of setting up a budget is being flexible for a shifting paycheck. Although standard budgets focus on setting a target and reaching it each month, to comply with your changing job situation, budgets made for irregular incomes need to be reviewed and adjusted throughout the year. Ideally, the costs should stay the same but reassess what you should pay, where you’re falling short, and change accordingly if you have budget surpluses or deficits week-to-week.
Establish a budget that is bare-bones
Figuring out what you absolutely need to get by is the first step to making a budget with a shifting paycheck. A bare-bones budget is a budget that cuts your expenses down to just what you need to survive: food, housing, cheap internet connections, average monthly car payments, required insurance, and debt management. A bare-bones budget sometimes called an ’emergency budget’ or a ‘crisis budget’ Without any of the extras like it is a minimalist, essentials-only budget.
Without being entirely impractical, an important element in a bare-bones budget is to be frugal. For example, you’re not going to automatically become a meal prepper if you’ve never cooked before. But even if it’s takeout, you can shop smart and set a fixed monthly spending cap on food.
Know your other capital options
If you have depleted savings and don’t feel comfortable spending on your credit card, it’s worth it to have a few other options to easily access funds and be conscious of ways to pay off debt creatively:
Personal Loan Credit
A personal loan is an amount of money that can be used for some purpose, such as personal home improvement loans or a car loan, and that is paid back over a specified period of time in daily, fixed monthly installments. Since you’re going to pay interest on the whole amount borrowed, just apply for what you really need to get by. And make sure that you can pay the full sum due each month on time. For personal loans, compound interest rates can be up to half that of credit cards.
Home equity line of credit
You can qualify for a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, if you’re a homeowner. HELOCs also have broad credit caps and low-interest rates, but the downside is that you risk signing over your house if you are unable to repay the loan.
Track your expenses
You will have to rely more on yourself when you don’t have a steady paycheck to rely on. You might not be able to shrug it off by reminding yourself that you can just skimp until next Friday if you overspend.
Throughout the month, keep track of your expenses. You may use budgeting software or create your own erratic budget spreadsheet for revenue. The correct option is whatever approach you know you’ll stick to.
Check on emergency savings
If you have one during times of erratic income, dipping into an emergency savings account may be a lifesaver. Knowing what’s available and how much you feel comfortable clicking will help you to compensate for any income shortages or fluctuations.
Also, note to keep track of any provisions for minimum sums in savings or checking accounts. Contact your bank to ask if they can waive those fees if you intend to draw down your emergency savings to a value below the minimum that the account requires. Better still, transfer to a bank that does not demand minimum account balances or charge excessive fees.
With a shifting paycheck, managing money and working out the budget is not always a walk in the park, but it can be done. In successfully handling this, making a roadmap and revisiting it periodically would be two of your greatest allies.