If you have a side hustle, you know just how useful—and maybe even essential—those extra dollars are each month when it comes to reaching your money goals. You might use your earnings to pay bills, hack away at debt, invest more or fund a long-term goal, like buying a house.
On the flip side, managing various, fluctuating income streams can be challenging. And if you rely on side hustle money to make ends meet—or you’re a contractor, freelancer or solopreneur—getting paid at unpredictable times during the month can really throw you off.
How to stay on track? Three side hustlers share how they’ve perfected the art of budgeting irregular income.
Lindsay VanSomeren, 29, a biological science technician, and Zach VanSomeren, 33, construction management student, in Fort Collins, Colo.
“Between my day job as a bio science technician with the government and Zach’s military benefits, we bring in about $4,200, which isn’t enough to cover our monthly expenses of $5,150. So to supplement our income, I moonlight as a freelance writer, and Zach works part time as a paid intern at a construction management company while he goes to school. He also hosts pub quizzes for a national trivia company at $50 a pop.
It varies, but our side hustles usually rake in about $2,500 a month—though it’s dipped as low as $1,950 and peaked one month at $7,200. After paying the bills, that usually leaves $1,550 that we can put toward various savings goals and debt repayment. We contribute about half of that to different savings accounts, earmarked for purposes like travel, car repairs, quarterly taxes, vet bills, a home down payment and holiday gifts.
Then we use the remaining—typically at least $700—to beef up our emergency fund, which currently sits at $558. Once we have two months’ worth of expenses saved, we’ll start aggressively tackling our student debt and car loans. The extra money we earn each month from our side gigs goes a long way in helping us achieve financial security and accomplish our goals.”
Page 1 of 3 >>