A few people have asked me how I survive with such inconsistent paychecks. I seriously have the most inconsistent pay in the whole world, and I don’t say that lightly. You see, I have many forms of income. I don’t believe in just having all my eggs in one basket. I’ve learned from being in sales for so long that when one thing is hot, the others aren’t. When another is hot, the first is cold. It’s all ebb and flow and if you have multiple streams of income, you are rarely on ebb, because something, somewhere is always flowing. Several income streams make managing irregular income much better.
How I Survive on Inconsistent Paychecks Every Single Month
Because of what I do, I live every single month on very inconsistent pay. In fact, my essential oils company is the one paycheck in my life that I can actually count on. Every single other source is not consistent, and they vary quite a lot.
So, how do I do it? How do I live WELL on such varying amounts each month?
It’s not really that hard for me. In fact, it’s easy, and while I attribute everything to Christ (I can do nothing apart from Him) there are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way.
First, I don’t buy a whole lot.
What I buy is quality, so it lasts me a really long time, and I do not go without. I just bought the kids a Wii U system and will be selling their old Leappad’s this week in order to fund that already-done deal (usually I wait to sell to buy, but I had selfish Wii-wanting motives in the deal myself. lol) That is always a great limit I put on myself, “Okay, Sarah, you can have that, but you need to make the money. How can you do that?” Once I fund the item, I can buy it.
Second, I don’t buy something I don’t have the money for.
I refuse to go into debt. That may not always be the case for me, but so far, I’ve been able to pay cash for everything by saving and budgeting, including my car! If I feel that I REALLY truly NEED something and I can’t afford it, I go to my Father. I pray to Him to provide. He promises He will. I ask Him to please help me find something that will fit my needs that is in my price range. Sometimes I have to wait, sometimes it pops up that same day on sale, whatever it is, if it’s a true need, God promises to provide.
Third, ALL extra money each month stays in my checking account.
It’s probably easier for most people to roll it to their savings account (like a hill and valley fund type of thing) but for me, I just leave it in checking. There will be some months where I have a lot of money, yet other months, I would be seriously homeless had I not saved up the previous months. It’s kind of like the Joseph story. There was to be a famine, so they stocked food for 7 years, so they were prepared. They knew it was coming. Same thing for me. I KNOW it’s coming. I KNOW there’s going to be a month where my sales stink or my ex-husband buys something brand new and doesn’t pay support for two months. I know it’s coming, so if I plan for it, and let’s say hypothetically it never comes or there goes months and months where I’m still standing strong, then I just have even more cushion. You want 3 months of living expenses in your bank account at all times!
With me, it’s a little easier to do that. I’m a really good saver and I don’t have to deal with teens eating me out of house and home yet, kids clothes are still relatively cheap at yard sales, and I don’t have a husband who is a frivolous spender. You may find yourself in some of those situations. In those cases, I would say you need to try to be all the more diligent and talk over the plan with your spouse. You two should be on one-page.
When all is said and done, all you can do is do your absolute best.
With those things in mind, just do your best. Work with what you’ve got, mortify your frivolous desires, and be in agreement with your spouse. I’m not saying you can never buy the things you want. I certainly do. But, the point is that, you have to constantly check those desires with your long-term goals.
Lastly, always, ALWAYS buy quality over cheap.
Stick with brand names for everything except food, and for food if you can afford it go with brand names as well. They are much healthier than the generic brands. This week, I scored Del Monte corn on sale. It was cheaper than the generic brand, so I grabbed 20 cans. The lady at checkout probably thought I was nuts, but that’ll last us at least 6 months! Now that I think about it, frozen would have been healthier. Ugh! Well, there you go, I tried my best. lol.
Do you have inconsistent paychecks and variable income? What do you do so you’re not just surviving, but thriving?