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Money Tips if You Do Not Have a Steady Income

life on your own termsBigg success is life on your own terms. We talked all about that last week in a series of five posts where we painted the bigg picture.

Now we want to get into the nitty-gritty. What keeps us from living our lives on our own terms?

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The challenge of irregular inflows

One of those things is not having enough money – one of the five elements of bigg success – when we need it. It’s one thing if you have a regular salary. However, a lot of people don’t have a steady income. It fluctuates from month-to-month.

What if you’re a salesperson working on straight commission?

What if you own your own business and don’t draw a regular paycheck? You may be a freelancer or a solo entrepreneur. You may be in business and have employees. You not only feel responsible for putting food on your table, you also have a group of people to whom you feel responsible.

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georgeI certainly can relate to this subject, having been a business owner for pretty much all of my adult life. Come to think of it, before I went into business for myself, I worked on commission as a sales person so I’ve seen both sides of it.

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marylynn
Of course, with George, I now am a business owner too.

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george
Welcome to the club, Mary-Lynn!

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marylynnWe have a couple of businesses in their early stages. I left a job in the corporate world with a regular paycheck, but I sure understand now what it’s like not to have that. I know I’m not alone. A number of people in our community have mentioned this as a major challenge to living their lives on their own terms.

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So what can you do if your income fluctuates from month-to-month?

Understand your cycles

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georgeOne thing that I found is that I had to understand my cycles. I’ve struggled with this one. When I wasn’t busy, I’d spend time and money promoting and prospecting. Then I would get too busy – I don’t have time to promote and prospect. So I stopped doing it. The thing I knew, I wasn’t busy again and the cycle would start over!

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If you can be consistent with your most important activities – those things that generate the most income for you – you may be able to smooth out your inflows.

You might even find that you can hire an assistant to perform some of these activities for you. You spend a little money now to save you time and make you money a little later.

What if you can’t afford to hire someone to help you? Then you’ll have to invest the time yourself. When you find yourself in your next “up” cycle – you’re too busy to spend time on crucial prospecting and promotional activities – take a look at it again to see if it makes sense.

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marylynnAnother thing I’ve found is that I can be more consistent if I carve up my activities into smaller chunks. For example, I may send out five e-mails every day of the week instead of thinking that I need to send out 25 e-mails. If you don’t have the time to do that, start with three e-mails a day.

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Stabilize your outflows

Risk is often measured by volatility. So by definition, if we have irregular inflows, we are taking more risk. Because of that, we should strive for less risk in our outflows.

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marylynnWe do this by keeping our standard of living relatively low. Our businesses are in their early stages. So we watch what we spend and live very frugally. For example, we watch how much we shop and go out to eat less than we did when our incomes were more regular.

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One of our newsletter subscribers, Randy, says “rowing his own boat” by working for himself are his terms for his life. He’s been on his own for about 25 years now. He’s put his two sons through college while remaining debt free. He says he did it by having a plan when his boys were just babies. That plan paid off. He just turned 50 and plans on living the way he wants from here on out.

Congratulations Randy and thanks for sharing your story with us!

Randy’s story also helps us understand a second part of stabilizing our inflows:

Be very, very careful with debt.

We have to resist the urge to pile onto our outflows by adding principal and interest payments. It puts even more pressure on our inflows and more stress on us because we have to earn even more.

What do you suggest?

Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for checking in on us today.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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One of our listeners just accepted a new management job. Join us next time when we help him with bigg challenge.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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The Deal of Your Lifetime

sale We have an idea for your personal finances. Now if you’re one of our regulars, we may surprise you a little with what we’re about to say …

Go out and spend some money!

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Markets go through cycles. Sometimes it’s a seller’s market. But right now, we’re in a buyer’s market for almost everything!

Now, before you take our advice and rush out the door on a quest for that perfect item, consider these four questions:

  • Do you feel relatively secure in your job or your business?
  • Are you debt-free except for your low-cost mortgage on which you’re current?
  • Are you funding your long-term obligations (e.g. the kids’ college, your retirement)?
  • Do you have a nice stash of cash set aside for emergencies?

If you clear those four hurdles, you’re good to go … to go get the deal of your lifetime.

Spend, baby, spend!

It’s good for the economy, but even more important, it’s good for you. Because we’re seeing deals right now that we will probably never see again in our lifetimes.

Like the car dealer who is offering a two-for-one sale – buy a car and he’ll throw in a second car of equal or lesser value for free! That’s right … free! Did you ever think you’d see anything like that?

Many contractors are starving for work. It’s a great time to remodel your home – get those improvements done you’ve been putting off, add that room, remodel that bathroom or kitchen.

While we normally don’t suggest building a new home, for financial reasons as well as the emotional strain it can put on a relationship, it’s a fantastic time to think about having that dream house built.

And let’s not leave out businesses. Vendors in so many product lines just want some business. It’s a great time to expand or upgrade your business.

The paradox

Here’s the irony in our current situation – spenders are faced with great deals, but they often can’t clear the hurdles above. So they can’t spend!

Many savers have seen the value of their investments fall back ten years. So perhaps the lesson – live a little now, too! It will go against your grain to go out and shop. But look at it this way – you’re saving money because, by doing it now, when suppliers across the board need the money – you’ll get the deal of your lifetime! 

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we diss on Plan B. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00346-030909.mp3

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Are You a Shopoholic?

shopping_mall There is a group that is suffering more than most during these tough economic times. Unfortunately, their agony is not covered much in the major media. They are all around us. Yet we seldom see the turmoil that they are experiencing. They have chosen to largely endure it on their own, not talking about it to anyone.

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Who are we talking about?

Shopoholics!

This economy has really made an impact on this group of people. There are a lot of people who claim to be shopoholics. But most people who call themselves shopoholics probably don’t really have a problem that borders on an obsession.

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georgeOne of my sisters can shop all day long and never buy anything. She just seems to love being in a shopping arena … she’s a gladiator among shoppers!

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marylynnBoy, I’m not one of those people. I like to get in and out. I have an aunt who likes to do all-day shopping ventures. It gives me a headache and makes me dizzy.

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Problems experienced by compulsive buyers

We’ve taken a light-hearted approach so far, but this problem is more serious than we realize. A recent study, conducted jointly by researchers at the University of Richmond and the University of Illinois, found that true shopoholics comprise a larger percentage of the population than is generally assumed.

About nine percent of the participants were found to be “compulsive buyers” according to this study. True shopoholics feel better when they buy things, tend to hide purchases, have more family arguments, and are more likely to have maxed out their credit cards.

Test yourself

Perhaps the most interesting item to come out of this research is the test they used to determine if someone is a shopoholic. The researchers asked participants to rate the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with these six statements.

They used a 7-point scale, which we haven’t seen but can imagine it looked something like this:

1 = Strongly disagree
2 = Disagree
3 = Somewhat disagree
4 = Neutral
5 = Somewhat agree
6 = Agree
7 = Strongly agree

See how you do:

  • My closet has unopened shopping bags in it.

  • Others might consider me a "shopaholic."

  • Much of my life centers around buying things.

  • I buy things I don’t need.

  • I buy things I did not plan to buy.

  • I consider myself an impulse purchaser.

Participants who scored 25 or more were considered compulsive buyers by the researchers. If your score places you in this group, you’re at the first step to overcoming it – you’re aware it is a problem. The next step is to get professional help.

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Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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How ironic

This economy is really crimping the style of “casual” shoppers – people who really like to shop and spend money, but who aren’t really compulsive buyers.

And isn’t it ironic that many of us are being forced to cut back when everything seems to be on sale? From cars to electronics to travel, now is a great time to shop if you have the money.

But of course, that’s the reason these deals exist. People are saving their money at a higher rate now instead of spending it. We’ve learned some valuable lessons in the last few months.

Conspicuous consumption is out; frugality is in. So are we going to hear about “save-a-holics” in the coming years? That remains to be seen.

Well, we better wrap it up for now … it’s time to go shopping!

Thanks for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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Should You and Your Spouse Have Separate Accounts?

games Disagreements about how to handle the family finances is often sited as a leading cause of divorce. There seems to be an increasing number who are separating their finances so they don’t separate! This would have been unheard of just a generation or two ago.

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Opposites attract

In many relationships, there is a spender and a saver. Or sometimes you have two spenders who spend differently – one who frequently buys little incidentals that may add up to a lot of money over the course of the year and another one who can’t resist the major purchases.

Is it wrong?

While some people are finding separate accounts the way to go, others think that it’s just wrong. They believe that it’s a bad sign if a couple doesn’t co-mingle their funds.

Does that stem from a time when you had one wage-earner in the home?
Is it a control issue?
Perhaps it has to do with religious beliefs?
Or maybe it’s a trust issue?

We don’t know the answer, but we do know that many couples are making this work.

Why it works

We think keeping separate finances works for a number of reasons. Among them:

  • The saver isn’t frustrated by money being spent on things they think is unwise.

  • The spender doesn’t have to defer gratification so long that they just can’t stand it anymore. 

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How it works

We’ve seen a number of ways to do this. Here are two examples:

The Allocators. These couples begin by allocating who pays for what. It’s a negotiation process. If you choose this system, determine your respective spending priorities. Then, whenever possible, let each spouse pay for those things they feel are most important. Divvy up the basics however you see fit.

Once you’ve figured out who will pay for what, each spouse then gets to spend, save or invest however they want.

The Allowancers
. Okay, we struggled with a name for this group. That’s the best we could do!

Allowancers may maintain a joint account to pay mutual bills like the mortgage or the utility bills. Then they divvy up the excess as allowances.

But don’t forget to take out the trash or you may lose your allowance!

With their allowance, each spouse can save or spend however they want. One spouse may even save to spend … on that next major purchase.

A final thought

You may have heard us say this before, but our thought on this issue is this:

If it works for you and your family, it works.

It doesn’t matter what other people think or even say. What does matter is that you find a system that helps you keep your finances in order. After all, they are a key component to living out your bigg dreams!

How do you and your partner handle your finances? 

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00326-020909.mp3

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