Article written by Vanessa from 26 Years and Counting.
This isn’t a great thing about me, but I seem to be fantastic at getting contract jobs and terrible at getting permanent jobs. There are pros and cons to both, but what this has truly meant for me is that I have an irregular income – sometimes I do well and other times I struggle badly. Today I’ve compiled my tips to finding extra cash on an irregular income.
Extra cash can come from a variety of places. These are broken down into Earning, Saving and Selling.
You can use a variety of sites to sell your skills. Classifieds, forums and your own website or social media channels are all places you can sell your skills. The key here is to make the services easy to do at any time, allowing you to work them in with your current commitments.
Try your local community notice boards in shopping centres and supermarkets. I’ve noticed that while most say “no commercial advertising” that (at least in my area) they let you leave ads up when it’s for things like freelance work.
Things you can do:
- Social media consultations
- Freelance writing
- Web design
- Cleaning (cars, houses, lawns, ironing etc)
- Pet sitting
It’s important to be aware that unless you’re lucky, work doesn’t usually just fall into your hands! Put notices out regularly and in advance of when you know you will need extra money. When your work schedule changes a lot, it’s hard to plan when you have income, but most bills come on a regular cycle. If you can’t plan your income, pre-budget for extra bill money. Michelle has some great tips on budgeting here.
Those are the keywords for Google (or Pinterest) that can save your budget! It’s not fancy, it will probably involve $1 bags of pasta, home brand tins of tuna & frozen peas, but it can let you skip by with relatively healthy food to help reduce your expenditure.
Meat is a large expense in any grocery budget. If you can go without meat as your protein source, then you will save a decent amount each grocery shop.
Call your bill company
They can negotiate payment plans and help you out with extending due dates. The helpfulness varies wildly between companies. I had to pay my electivity bill late earlier this year and despite having made a few payments on it (as much as I had left), the balance could not get paid until my wages arrived. Despite clearly explaining this to the call centre staff, they asked repeatedly if I could just pay an extra $100 now. I said no. They asked me to go check if I had another credit card that I may have “forgotten about” that I could use. I started to get annoyed, especially seeing as I had been diligent and honest about the entire thing. Just keep saying no to them if you get a bad customer service person.
Something that really saved my hide this year was a lot of Googling and coming across this gem for those in Queensland… The Queensland Government will pay your electricity bill for you under a hardship scheme! The full details are here. I’ve yet to find out if any other states have this, but it’s worth asking around. A general tip with Government agencies: ask more than one person. You will get different answers. I also try to call first thing in the morning as sometimes you luck out with more senior staff answering phones who know more.
It can be hit and miss, and like many things, it comes down to when your audience is online. This isn’t a rule, but I’ve found I have good luck posting early Saturday morning – people are often up and thinking about DIY projects. Personally, I prefer Gumtree to Trading Post as people on Gumtree seem more willing to email – and I don’t like talking on the phone!!
I’m lucky and live in an area that is fantastic for garage sales and bargain hunters. $20 for a newspaper ad usually gives a return many times that. The biggest problem with garage sales is that you will have to have the cash for a float so you can give the shoppers change. You will also probably earn less than you would selling on classifieds. The advantage is that you will have most things gone in one day, rather than constant replies and people coming to look at items
Do you have an irregular income? How do you make it work for you?
Thank you so much to Vanessa for contributing this article. Vanessa writes over at 26 Years and Counting. Vanessa is from Brisbane and writes about life, creativity and blogging. Go check her out!