Okay, so in my October 2022 – Life Update, I mentioned that I was struggling to readjust to my significantly reduced monthly income. UNDERSTATEMENT! Except for March, I don’t think there has been a month this year where I stayed under my variable expenses budget. And for the most part, this didn’t really matter. Between part-time work with University B and full-time work at Organization C, there was always another check coming, and my income was usually above $6,000.00 per month. However, my departure from Organization C means that I no longer have a full-time income, which means my new part-time role at University B and my side gigs have gone from being discretionary income to my only income. This change makes it really important that I stick to my modest variable expenses budget each month as there will be no large check at the end of the month to bail out my overspending.
To help me get back on track, I have decided to blog about what I spent and earned each day in October.
Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $0.00
Variable Budget Remaining: $500.00
October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $145.26*
Earned To Date: $145.26*
Goal Remaining: ($2,354.74)
*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.
I think both my income goal and my variable budget are very modest. Gigs are less plentiful in the fall and winter months than they are in the summer so I will really need to hustle to hit my income goal. Staying on top of my variable budget will also be tough and I may need to tell more of my friends about departing my role with Organization C so that they are more open to cheap or free fun.
While I have been using credit cards and paying them off each month, to earn a significant amount of cash back throughout the year, I am now wondering whether it makes more sense to go back to using just my debit card or cash. I like the additional protections afforded by credit cards so, for now, I am going to keep using them. It is my hope that publishing my earnings and spending each day will keep me accountable and motivated. I have worked really hard over the past four years to change my financial circumstances and it is my hope that I can demonstrate the lessons learned during this period in which my income is reduced. It’s way easier to be frugal when money isn’t an issue. Now that it is, we’ll see how much I have really changed.