This is the second article in a two-part series. Read part one here.
Many of us are struggling to manage fluctuating levels of income at the moment, either due to a change in working hours or after taking up freelance, casual or ‘slashie’ work. Not knowing exactly how much money you’ll be taking home each month can make managing your money and setting a budget more challenging, but it’s not impossible!
Depending on how much you earn, you may find that paying yourself a set amount each week, however small, can give you an element of regularity to your income and allow you to feel more confident in setting a budget. This type of approach works well for contractors and freelancers, as it adopts more of a business-minded approach to managing money. When managing a fluctuating income, assuming a ‘baseline’ of expenses can also be helpful. By prioritizing paying those core expenses, you can manage all surplus income in more creative ways, like applying a percentage rule to everything you earn over your basic expenses. It’s also wise to live on last month’s income, rather than hanging out for the money to come in in real time. Getting one month ahead of yourself can alleviate money stresses that come with fluctuating incomes.
If you’re returning to the office or trying to adjust to splitting your time between home and the office, it’s important to prioritize routine. Lockdown shifted our priorities, body clocks and overall energy levels, so getting back into a sustainable structure can take time.
Routines are especially important when it comes to our finances. You might have found yourself getting into bad spending habits when you were returning to the office infrequently, like getting lunches with your coworkers or treating yourself to a coffee as a pat on the back for making it into the office in one piece – but consider whether these types of spends can remain in your regular budget, or whether you need to cut back in some areas.
We all need to be kinder to ourselves, and that applies to our money too. Mental health and money are intrinsically linked, and one of the best things you can do for your financial wellbeing is to recognize how your emotions are reflected in your spending and money mindset.
When we know how our finances are impacted by our mental health, it’s easier to keep on top of the impacts to our financial position. Spend some time connecting the dots on how your mental wellbeing is linked to your financial wellbeing, and look for ways to stay in control.
Navigating job loss and the complexities of the workforce post-COVID is putting financial pressure on lots of us. Whether you’re stuck in a job that’s not fulfilling you, you’re still experiencing income cuts, or you’re completely out of work, it can be really disheartening to feel like you’re unable to make financial progress. If you have time on your hands, picking up a side hustle can help bridge the gap or bolster periods of lower income, and even help hone your skills for a future career move.
As the cost of living increases and wages remain stagnant, more and more of us are feeling the pinch. One way to overcome increased expenses is to bring in some extra cash from a side hustle, but we mustn’t ignore the money we already have, too.
Making sure your savings are kept in a high yield savings account, keeping on top of any changes to your interest rates, and even getting your money to work harder for you by investing into the share market are all helpful ways to keep on top of rising living costs. Using PocketSmith’s automated bank feeds to get a full view of how your money is organized can help you make small changes that add up to big results.
The upside of tough times is that they don’t last forever. By taking a measured and proactive approach to your money, you can overcome these challenges with your finances intact. You got this!
Emma Edwards is a finance copywriter and blogger, on a mission to humanize the financial services industry by creating meaningful content that’s accessible and empowering. You’ll find her penning money tips at her blog, The Broke Generation, sharing financial insights on Instagram, or injecting life into content for her business clients.