If you didn’t know, October is National Financial Planning month! If you are a part-time employee, saving money can take a back seat to survival when it comes to living on a smaller income. Many women without full time work find themselves victim to the ebb and flow of side hustles. Without a steady income, bank accounts can fluctuate wildly from week to week and month to month. Lots of traditional saving methods don’t work for mamas like us, so I have some tips for you ladies in the same boat.
Stick with Percentages
If your income fluctuates, it can be difficult to put a dollar amount into savings or to create a budget. Read more about why budgets don’t work in real life here. Over the past few years, I kept trying to stick to a dollar amount in my savings account or for spending and it just didn’t work. My pledge of let’s say $100 was easy to make when my income was $500 for that week, but certainly not quite as easy when it was closer to $50. Now? I stick with percentages. I take 20% right off the top and put it into savings. It takes a little more work since I have to manually transfer the money, but it helps me stick to saving regardless of how much money I make in any given week.
Don’t get Caught off Guard
With fluctuating income, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by unexpected expenses. Until you realize that most of them aren’t unexpected. Each year my daughter has school pictures, so why did I find myself feeling frustrated by this “surprise” expense? Well, I simply hadn’t written down these expenses when I created my monthly spending goals. Sure, I had factored in my cell phone bill and gas for my car, but I was neglecting to include expenses that didn’t happen every month, but happened at certain times of the year. If you find yourself in the same position, start by writing down all of the “surprise” expenses as they happen and then build them into your budget for the following year. Voilá…no more surprises.
Keep the Change
Use your spending to save! If you know that you use your debit card to fill up for gas or grab lunch, there are lots of apps you can use to round up purchases and put the extra money into a savings account. Lots more savings tips that you can start today right here. Let’s say you spend $4.50 on a latte at Starbucks. The app will round that purchase up to $5.00 and deposit the extra 50 cents into a savings or trade account of your choosing. Think it won’t add up? Take a look at your debit card purchases for a single month. There’s plenty of spare change to start building that nest egg.
While working a part time gig has some great advantages for moms (more on that here), most of them don’t pay as well as a full time job. You may not be pulling in your pre-kid salary, but don’t sell yourself short. Even if you can’t save as much as you would like, taking even the smallest amount and depositing it will have a cumulative effect on your accounts. Those small deposits can add up to big bucks over time. Just because you can’t deposit large amounts doesn’t mean that your consistency won’t pay off.
Managing money with fluctuations can be challenging, but making some minor adjustments can really add up to better financial health. What are some of your favorite money management tips for part time working moms?