Here’s a fact I can promise: you must have a saving account in place and ready to rely on if you plan to work from home. Yes, I know you’ve been dreaming of working from home, but please be aware, your income is going to be non-existent at its worst or and fluctuating like a bouncing ball at best. That is the reality of WAHM jobs, whether it’s blogging, online sales or even direct-sales. Having money in the bank is the only way you’re going to keep the stress in check.
Even if you are a household with one regular income to depend on, you still need a saving account. Emergencies and job losses are far too common these days. Even without becoming a WAHM, you need a saving account. And if staying at home and earning an income is your plan, then I’m going to suggest you have three savings funds. Each one will cover a different part of your journey.
The first thing I’m going to ask you to do is to make a budget if you haven’t already done so. At the minimum, you need to know your baseline expenses. That’s what it cost to keep a roof over your head, the lights turned on and food on your table. Creating an irregular income budget is a good place to start.
Also, don’t be afraid to start multiple saving accounts to stash your cash. Talaat and Tai McNeely from His and Her Money shared their multiple bank account strategies with Rosemarie at the Busy Budgeter. I loved that they had a “dining out” and a “fun money” account worked into this system.
#1 – An Emergency Fund of $1,000 to Start
The $1,000 figure isn’t an arbitrary figure I plucked from the sky. It’s the suggestion of financial guru, Dave Ramsey in his Baby Steps plan. And it makes so much sense. An emergency fund covers, well, emergencies. It’s for the unexpected car repair. It’s not for the expense you know about ahead of time and should have been saving for already, such as your daughter’s field trip.
An emergency fund is a type of saving account you should put in place as soon as–and as fast as–possible. There are many ways to do this, even if you’re not making a dime yet with your work at home job.
- Cut back any current expenses, if possible. Things such as reducing features or canceling cable TV out altogether. Or just stop going out to dinner, buying fast food or coffee at Starbucks.
- Do odd jobs for family and friends… for money, of course. That might be cleaning your mom’s house, while she plays with the kids or babysitting for a neighbor.
- Sell stuff from around the house. You probably have lots of things you don’t use, but other people would like. Remember, one woman’s garbage is another’s treasure. Use eBay, Craigslist or a local Facebook group to get rid of things and makes some fast cash.
- Dig around the house–and through the sofa cushions–for extra change. Then start saving all those quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Did you know if you fill an empty 2-liter soda bottle with dimes, you can save up to $500 to $600?
#2 – A Three to Six Month Household Expense Fund
You could call this an emergency fund, as well. But this one is to sustain you over a longer period of time. It’s the baseline budget I talked about a little earlier and it’s the amount of money you need to keep a roof over your head, food on the table and the lights on.
But, boy-oh-boy, is it necessary when you’re the living the fluctuating income work from home life.
I understand it’s not easy to get there. Honestly, it took the hubby and I a while to save that money. But that’s no reason not to start. Just think “one month at a time.” Here are some things we did that might help you put this fund into place.
- First, go on a strict, no-frills budget. Cut back as much as you can. On everything.
- Like the emergency fund above, earn and save all the money and keep at it until you have three to six months of living expense stashed away.
- Have a “fall back” position that can always make you extra money. What I mean by this is that while you need to move keep working at your dream WAH career, you may need to add another side hustles to bring in money fast, such as working as a virtual assistant or starting a small eBay store.
- Stash your income tax return into this fund, if you have one coming. It’s that time of the year, and you may have planned to use it for a family vacation this summer or buy the 60-inch flat screen TV. If working from home is your ultimate dream, then you may have to sacrifice those “wants” for money in the bank. Believe me, you’ll be happier paying your rent or buying another week’s worth of groceries than watching Game of Thrones on a big screen.
#3 – The Everything-Else-Don’t-Touch-If-Possible Fund
Once you are ahead on your household expenses fund, it’s time to save for the rest of your life. Hopefully, your work from home job is up, running and providing you with a more steady income. Ultimately, this is what you’ve been working for. A time when you can pay off the bills completely, provide for your family’s future and have money for those fun goals.
For me, frugality and working from home go hand-in-hand. It becomes a way of life. Not one of denial, but one of total financial freedom. If you’re looking for some more ways to cut back, check out some of my Pinterest boards. Not only to I capture all types of work from home ideas, but I’m always on the search for money-saving ideas. Here are a few of my favorites:
While working for yourself–and at home–is wonderful, it’s rarely a way to get rich fast. It’s a business, and like any, you have to go into it with eyes wide open. You may find these three types of savings funds are only the start of your work from home journey.