Uneven Income Calls for Proactive Money Strategies

It’s feast or famine for a lot of freelance writers, artists, and seasonal workers, but it doesn’t have to be. With a budget and some discipline, even workers with fluctuating incomes can experience some of the stability that their 9-to-5 friends and relatives enjoy.

Follow this advice to keep your budget on track no matter your cash flow:

* Control monthly costs and minimize fixed expenses. Try to reduce and revise expenses you have control over such as rent, phone plans, and cable. Even if it only saves you a few bucks each month—over time that savings adds up.

* Save some of every paycheck. Put extra money into savings instead of spending it. That is one of the most important things self-employed workers can do. Having money on hand to use for future basic expenses is critical when paychecks don’t arrive as regularly as the bills do. Experts suggest saving around 20% of your income as it arrives to cover tax liabilities and to establish a rainy day fund.

* Prepare for taxes. Keep careful records to capitalize on allowable deductions come tax time. The process doesn’t have to be super complicated—programs like QuickBooks are useful, but spreadsheets and even checkbook ledgers can work just as well.

* Get better at budgeting. Developing—and sticking to—a spending plan is key. Consistency helps minimize stress and prevent overspending when money is flush. And that will keep you in business not only when income is light but for the long term.

* Separate personal and business accounts. Maintain a business checking account and credit card that are separate from personal ones. Not only will separate accounts simplify tax preparation, they also will make it easier to track the earnings and expenses necessary for budgeting. Having all your financial accounts at Hopewell Federal Credit Union gives you more than convenience. It gives you peace of mind, knowing that the people at your financial institution truly understand your needs.

Money management takes work and discipline, but is necessary if you want to keep working the way you are now. The longer you do it, the more experience you’ll get, and the better you’ll get at it.

Need help? The professionals at Hopewell Federal Credit Union can help you develop a spending plan and help set up the business accounts you need. Stop by or call us today at 740.522.8311.

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