When you live the cash life money seems to flow out of your pockets as quickly as it goes in. Keeping track of how much you make and being able to budget when your income constantly changes is a challenge.
One day to the next you never know how much money you will make. So how do you manage to budget and save? These five tips will help you track your cash flow and start maintaining a budget.
Cash Life Budgeting
1.Calculate your monthly expenses! – how can you know how much money you need to make ends meet if you don’t list and track all you recurring monthly bills. Does the bill fluctuate month to month like electric or gas? Calculate your budget on the higher end so that you are never scrambling to have enough money, when the bill is on the high side. When you calculate these out don’t forget to include money for groceries, spending (eating out & shopping) as well as savings.
2. Track every dollar you make – Now that you have a list of all your expenses, it’s important to track every dollar you make. Keep this in a spreadsheet or notebook so you know how much you’ve made for the month and how much more you need to meet your monthly expenses. Plus if you are ever audited, you’ll need this record of your income.
3. Set aside money from each shift/gig – Everytime you work set aside 10-15% of what you make to put towards those pesky self-employment taxes and to help save for the future. If you’re making a cash based income odds are you don’t have a company matched 401k, so you need to be saving for retirement all on your own. If you have an interest accruing savings account, deposit this money in it each week… if you don’t, get one.
4. Set a daily spending allowance – Cash has a tendency to fly out of your pocket faster than it comes in, so setting a daily allowance is important. Take the amount that you set for monthly spending and divide it by the days in the month. Since every month is different your daily amount may vary month to month. Anytime you go over this daily amount, know that the next day you will have less to spend. Try to only keep a single days worth of money on you at a time to keep from overspending.
5. Save your change – Never use your change to pay for things, instead toss it in a jar at the end of each day. This is your DIY version of a checking account that rounds up into savings. Once the jar is full, either roll your coins and take to the bank or use coinstar to cash them in. Coinstar will take a small percentage but in my opinion it’s worth that coin rolling time. Use half the money for whatever you want and put the other half away for savings.
If you start using these five strategies, you may find you’re not stressing each month or scrambling for last-minute gigs to make ends meet. Long live the cash life hustle!
Do you have any other budgeting tips to share? I’d love to hear them.