It’s amazing how many things you look back at and wish you did something differently. But sometimes, some things can’t really be helped. Like when you have an unsteady income and you still have to pay bills and buy groceries and necessities. However, there are some things that you can do to help make that time a little less stressful. First, of course, is to pray and trust that God will provide for your needs. As my daddy tells us anytime we want or need something, “Two things: pray and save your money.” But there are also some things that we can take action on.
1 – take out tithe first
God promises to bless us when we willingly give to Him and His work.
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”
(2 Corinthians 9:7-8)
2 – set aside bills/non-negotiable payments
If you have regular bills, have to take out taxes, or are paying off a debt – or have some other type of payment that you absolutely HAVE to pay – set aside that amount first thing after taking out tithe. If you allow yourself some splurges before you pay what you need to, it will add stress that you could have avoided. I also recommend setting aside at least a third or half of what you need to pay about a month ahead. If you don’t have a steady income, you may not get a good paycheck next month, and already having some money set aside for bills is immensely helpful.
3 – have a budget plan
This doesn’t have to be absolutely set in stone, though in my research it shows that it’s good to budget every penny. But when you don’t have a regular paycheck, this is hard to do. This is where it’s helpful to have a cash wallet system. Have an envelope for every category that you need/want to set aside money for (this is also helpful for making sure you set aside enough for bills, so make a bills envelope as well). Then put them all into a wallet or folder (you can get a basic folder like this for less than $7 or a wallet made specifically for the cash wallet system for less than $20) and, as you get money, set aside a little bit into each category. You can either have an amount that’s a goal every week/month, or you can just put different amounts towards different things as you need it.
4 – cut out unnecessary expenses
Do you really need Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and a paid plan for Pandora, Apple Music, or Spotify? Do you have to stop by your favorite coffee shop every day or two (that’s one that adds up quickly!)? There are more, but these seem to be some of the most common expenses that aren’t necessarily important. And they add up super quickly!
Costs for Premium Subscriptions:
Netflix: ~$9-$16 a month
Amazon Prime: ~$7-$13 a month
Disney+: ~$7 a month
Pandora: ~$5-$15 a month
Apple Music: ~$5-$15 a month
Spotify: ~$5-$15 a month
Total Cost: ~$38-$81 a month
~$456-$972 a year
Of course, you may not have all of these subscriptions. But you can still save a lot of money by cutting out at least a few of these! Plus, almost all of them offer free trials for a week or a month, so if there’s a movie that you really want to see or you’re tired of ads with your music, you could get them for a little while for $0 (as long as you remember to cancel it)!
And I’m not saying that you don’t need any of these. But maybe count up how much you’re spending and decide if they’re worth the cost. A couple ideas: get one subscription per month (like Disney+ one month, Netflix one month, etc.), or see if you can split the cost with a family member or two.
5 – have a splurge budget
You need to have some fun now and then, and you need to reward yourself for sticking to all the other tips! As you get “spare” cash and change, set it all in one place for some splurges. Or allow yourself one or two small splurges per paycheck (after you pay for the necessities!). It can get hard to set aside every penny for bills and other stuff that just isn’t fun. Sometimes you just need to splurge now and then.
And of course, be flexible! Allow yourself some wiggle room, and don’t stress if things don’t turn out exactly as you want it to or you’re behind on some things. Above all, seek God’s will with your finances and pray about how you need to use your money.
What are some ways that you budget when you don’t have a steady income?
Until next time,
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