Most people earn a salary from a job that they show up to everyday. If you're here, however, odds are that doesn't describe you. This is a website for people who own a business, who work on commission, are self-employed, or who live off their investments. Making a budget used to be simple. You took the amount of money you make every month, subtract all of your bills, put something into savings, and go spend the rest. Of course, there’s a few variations on this theme; some people want you to save some money and then pay your bills.
Today, however, hardly anyone can count on making the same amount of money month to month, much less year to year. A typical American can expect to be out of work at least five times during his or her career. If you work hourly, it's next to impossible to predict how many hours you'll get each week. If you work on salary, you constantly contend with budget cuts and changing benefits that can reduce your take-home pay overnight. When you work on commission, work on contract, or own a business, there is really no way to know exactly how much you’ll make from year to year or even month to month.
Even if you've had the same clients for years, it can be unnerving to think that a hiccup in their business can cause a major upset in your own financial life. If you work for a company, a glitch in another department, a buyout, or even gross mismanagement can mean you're out of a job overnight. If you can’t count on a steady income, however, budgeting can get a lot more complicated.
Fortunately, there are things you can do that don't involve an expensive investment in higher education or praying that you win the lottery. Although it is projected that about 25% of Americans will not have a steady job by 2020, that doesn't mean that you're doomed to a life of living paycheck to paycheck. Plenty of people have figured out how to survive without an employer providing them with a pension, health care insurance, or any of the other perks that used to go along with a full-time job. In fact, working for yourself means you have a better chance of being in the upper class than relying on being an employee.
The trick is learning how to do it right. Rather than constantly struggling to pull together enough work to make up for the full-time job you probably would have had in a different economy, it's time for you to learn to take advantage of the benefits that working for yourself can offer. Depending on how you want to set up your life, you have the potential to set your own schedule, cut your expenses drastically, and make more money. Self-employed people have the ability to pay less for everything from childcare to housing while setting up their lives to take advantage of what they want to do.
The first step to getting in control of your money is getting started (don’t worry, we’ll try to limit the ridiculous platitudes from here on out). Start with these steps. If you outgrow them or run into problems, don’t worry. Keep looking around the website to find a solution, or contact us.
Most financial advice we see is geared towards people who can count on the same amount of money coming in each month. They get a salary, pay their bills, put something in savings, and spend the rest however they want. Just like your grandpa. Today, however, there are a lot of people who can't count on earning the same amount of money each week. If you're starting a business, working part-time, work on commission, are self-employed, or if you just happen to be in an industry that routinely lays off its employees, odds are you have a problem creating a budget every month too.
Over the years, we've developed a system that will allow you to create your own stable income without having to rely on an employer. We call it the Basic Plan, and it's designed to help people even out their pay while making saving automatic. We've also discovered a lot of tricks to save money on the bills you already have. If you need to increase your income, look at our job and business listings. Finally, if you're having problems coping with a disaster, look at our expert advice pages.