One thing I noticed when I started earning money blogging is how inconsistent my income became! When I did other things online such as freelance writing, data entry, etc., my money came in like clockwork. The sites I worked for paid me on set days each week or month. It’s pretty easy to budget when you know when you’re getting paid.
Over the past year, I’ve earned a lot more money blogging than ever before. This has been great because it means I can spend more time blogging, which I truly enjoy, and less time doing other online work that I don’t enjoy quite as much since blogging now pays off more than it used to. But there is a downside — my blog earnings for the most part don’t always come in on a set day. This can certainly cause problems because as you know our bills always do!
If you’re struggling with the same thing, whether your income is from blogging or something else, hopefully this post will help some. I’ve figured out a few ways to deal with it when my earnings don’t come in when I think they are going to. I also shared a link to an excellent post by Dave Ramsey that you might find useful if your earnings are inconsistent.
As a blogger, I have multiple income streams. For the most part these companies all pay me monthly on a net basis. Some are net 10, some net 15, net 30, etc. But this isn’t just set in stone I’ve discovered. Sometimes I’m paid earlier (which is great!) but sometimes I’m paid later (not so great). And sometimes I find myself waiting and waiting on a check to come in the mail that almost never arrives when I think it will — a great example of why I prefer Paypal!
If most of your money comes from companies that pay like that, then needless to say budgeting won’t be easy. Fortunately my husband has a traditional job and gets paid every week like clockwork. This certainly helps. But I’m responsible for a few of our bills too and my money is definitely not coming in like clockwork. I always get it, but not always when I think I’m going to.
After about a year of dealing with getting paid inconsistently, I’ve learned a few things about making it work:
This is pretty crucial when you’re getting paid like I do. If you have money in savings and you have a bill due that won’t wait on your payment, you can just take the money out of savings to cover it and then put it right back in once you are paid. You might also consider setting up a separate little fund just for this purpose if you’d rather not touch your primary savings account.
Setting up a fund like this is easier said than done if you don’t have money to start it with, but if you’re getting a tax refund in the next month or so, now would be a great time to set a little aside for that.
Try to do something online where you get paid at least a little every week. I bounce around doing different things honestly, but the past week or so I’ve been focusing on Textbroker. They pay every Friday like clockwork with Paypal and sometimes they have some pretty simple work up. If you need ideas for things you can do to get paid every week, check out this post I wrote with a list of companies that pay weekly.
If you get paid near the beginning of the month and you know that you won’t see any more money until the last few weeks of the month, take some of the money you get around the first of the month to pay a little on bills that will be due during the time you won’t see any money if you can spare it. Most creditors are a lot more willing to work with you if you end up being late on something as long as you’ve already made a portion of your payment.
Are your earnings inconsistent?
I know that some of you work on commission or do a lot of freelance work, and this can cause a different problem that might affect you in the same way — not getting paid the same amount all the time. You might feel like it’s feast or famine because some months you’ll be doing great and then the next your earnings just go down to nothing. I can relate to this a little too because blogging is the same. Some months are good, others not so much.
I was researching inconsistent earnings and discovered that Dave Ramsey has some great tips on it here. He recommends creating a monthly cash flow plan to figure out how much you need each month just to get by and then doing a budget that lists everything you owe in order of importance.
Do you have tips to share?
If you have any other tips for managing when your income either comes in irregularly or your earnings vary wildly, please share them. I’d love to know how you manage it if you deal with similar problems.