I have always been comfortable with self-employment. Although my dad always worked a steady job, my family had several businesses growing up, including:

  • a web hosting company
  • a grain store
  • several blogs and websites
  • a website and graphic design company

It seems like there are plenty of people that believe that you have to live the feasting or Ramen lifestyle if you’re self employed, or that you have to “side hustle” for non-renewable income… and that just sucks.

Managing the Good Financial Months When You Work From Home

When you’r self-employed, or just have income that fluctuates

Overpay bills

Back in my hometown, (Louisville KY is a great city an I go back every chance I get!) a couple I met used rental income to pay their bills. We did something really similar when we moved from Kentucky to West Virginia for Ian’s job, AirBNB paid our rent for the entire month which was amazing. The couple, during huge events like the Kentucky Derby was when they made the bulk of their money renting their homes for a few weeks to high-paying clientele.

Instead of having a few months of plenty then struggling for the rest of the year, she would use the money that was above and beyond their extra needs to pay their bills ahead of time.

  • Insurance
  • Phone bill
  • Utilities
  • Inexpensive Memberships (Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Cozi)
  • Debt payments (Mortgage, cars, student loans, credit cards – although ideally you’re on your way away from those!)
  • School tuition or child care
  • Expensive Memberships (Gym, clubs, AAA, professional organizations, Sam’s Club or Costco, )
  • Mortgage or rent

Once their bills were paid ahead, she would continue to pay the rest of her bills as normal. When they had slow months, she would only pay part of their bills, or none if they were very short. That was alright, because she had been paying ahead so she did not fall behind.

Save for other expenses

More than paying your regular bills, it is important to look at the other areas where you spend your money each month to make sure all your needs are covered. Some people who have an irregular income prefer to set aside more money in savings for expenses that are not just their monthly bills, but some people really struggle with keeping money in the bank long term and it ends up getting absorbed into their budget over time on non-essential things.

When I used to have a real problem keeping money in savings, it is really tempting to spend it, so I preferred to just prepay our bills and pay our variable expenses. I try to use my savings primarily for emergency preparedness and for big expenses I know will happen, like major house or car repairs but if you have the discipline to put moremoney into savings, go for it!

  • Gas
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Holiday gifts
  • Healthcare costs
  • Major car and home repairs

In some ways you are better prepared for slow months when you have more money in savings, but if you choose to use to put money into savings, you have to be prepared to budget that money very carefully and not spend it on the non-necessities.

Necessities to Buy

Although bills should be your highest priority, there are some things that it benefits to buy when you have a surplus of money. It isn’t just about stocking up, it’s about making sure I don’t blow the money, kind of like the whole ‘putting it in savings’ thing. Great concept, but it doesn’t always work for me.

  • Gift cards for oil changes
  • Christmas gifts
  • Gas cards for road trips or holiday travels – these can also double as gifts in a pinch!
  • Household items (toilet paper, body wash, toothbrushes and paste, deodorant essential oils…)
  • Clothing
  • Scissors – because they are always disappearing!

If you don’t already, now is a great time to learn about buying in bulk when things are at rock-bottom prices, so you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.

 

 

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