How to Manage Money When Your Income is Lower Than Expected
by CashTime Loan Centers
Everyone has “that month” sometimes: hours got cut at work, or you are between freelance jobs, or some other unexpected change in your income throws off your predicted budget. The time to plan for lower-than-expected income is now, even if right now your income is great.
Start a Budget
Be as realistic as you can with your budget: what expenses are absolutely unavoidable and which ones could you live without for a month. Budgeting shouldn’t be about what you can’t have, but rather how often you can have the nicer things in life. By choosing to reduce discretionary spending, your non-essentials, you gain the opportunity to save a little each month for leaner months in the future.
Know How Much You Need to Get By
If you are worried that a low-income month might be lower than your core expenses, you will want to see what you can do to either reduce how much your core expenses are or increase your side income. Yes, these seem impossible now, but the start to this process is a simple personal inquiry: Can I live without home internet and check my email at the library, or perhaps can I reduce my cell phone plan or shop for a cheaper one? Can I get a roommate who will pay part of my housing costs in exchange for sharing an apartment? Am I purchasing convenience items (convenience store food or take-out, for instance) when I could put more time into preparing cheaper items?
Only you know which of these is available to you, but if you worry about inconsistent income, you’ll have greater peace of mind if you start processes that will reduce your “need to get by” income number and increase your income on the side.
Save When Possible
One important detail is to not just spend additional income. Whether you just have a good month or have gotten a roommate or have started babysitting on the side, put as much as possible of any bump in income into savings. Think of it is as an advance on the income you’ll need in those tough months in the future. What’s more is that money in a savings account grows, so it will be slightly more when you actually have a low-income month.
These preparatory strategies help you plan for and anticipate low-income months without fear. If you are in a low-income month now, remember that going without the non-essentials and getting creative will make the month better so that you can get by till the next better-income month.