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Budgeting on a fluctuating income

Today, we discuss strategies on how to plan one’s budget, especially when you do not have a stable income.




One of the best ways to keep a lid on one’s finances is to have a budget and stick to it. It takes a superhuman effort to set up a budget and insist on not spending outside of it. Budgeting becomes much easier, especially when you know what your monthly income is.

But what about individuals who are either self-employed, freelancers, or those whose earnings are commission-based? How do these people budget on what they do not know? How can they budget on an unpredictable income and cannot be planned on as it depends on lots of variables beyond them?

Truth is budgeting can sometimes be assiduous, but budgeting on an income that is not stable will be more technical and more brain-tasking as one would have to be creative in his planning.

In this blog article, we would be filing out free strategies on how to plan one’s budget, especially when you do not have a stable income.

Always estimate that you will be earning very low

When your monthly earnings are irregular and depend on circumstances mostly beyond you, you would do well always to envisage that you will be earning a very meagre amount every month.

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By basing your budget on the probability that you will be earning very low, you will be able to fathom items that should be at the top of your list. This way, you would be budgeting for the necessities, and you would have no room to think of items that would only be consuming your funds.

Calculate your monthly least expenses

You already have envisaged that your earning will be low; you must also calculate the barest minimum of your monthly incurred expenses.

Your monthly expenses would cover items like groceries, transportation, health emergencies, insurance, and other essential services you must cater to every month.

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Calculating your minimum monthly expenses would also help you know how much you must earn to keep body and soul together on month by month basis.

Always have an emergency fund

One piece of advice that is even tenable with those earning a stable income is for everyone to have an emergency fund somewhere ready to be used when the need arises.

This fund could be used to handle health emergencies, house repairs, or any other kind of crisis that might occur during the period.

Without an emergency fund, you will most likely run into debts to keep up with handling these necessary expenses. You should always make room for an emergency fund in whatever you earn during the month as it could be a lifesaver in the long run.

Pay yourself

After labouring for a month, it is only right that you pay yourself a monthly stipend for all of your efforts. This fee would help you to be able to save more money than you would be able to ordinarily.

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Paying yourself monthly would help you to keep a leash on what your expenses are. In months when you can earn more than you might have envisaged, you quickly would be able to know what to do with such earnings rather than in periods when you never paid yourself, and you allowed undue expenses to eat the bulk of whatever you have earned.

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Avoid debts

Anybody who earns an unstable income has to do well to avoid debts. Debt is spending your future earnings now. And in your case, you don’t know what that future earning would be.

You might have gone ahead to over-borrow when you could be earning less. It would be best if you remembered that your earnings depend on so many factors, and they are not all in your control.

A client may decide that he does not need your services again, or he could choose to defer his payment or even cut your pay. If you had gone ahead to borrow, thinking that you would be making a refund with what you earn from that client, and any of the above situations happens. You would have ended up creating an avoidable mess for yourself.

So, if your earnings are not stable, try as much as you can to avoid debts.

Budgeting on a fluctuating income can be frustrating sometimes but if you follow the strategies discussed by the book, you should be able to confidently set a budget for your irregular income and live happily and without fear.

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Personal Finance

The five hidden secrets for investing success

These are the five main differences between making money, saving money, and investing money.



How young Nigerians invest

One of the popular questions I get asked all the time is this; how do I invest for financial success or how do I make wise investment decisions. Today I will show you how to invest for long-term financial success. There is the right way to invest and there is also a wrong way to invest. The right way leads to financial success and the wrong way leads to financial failure. This means that the same investment vehicle can make you rich and it can also make you poor. I know this because there is virtually no person that I know today who has not lost money in investing before.

READ: Here is how much you should save at every age

To achieve financial success you must know how to invest without losing money and you must also master the three abilities necessary for investing success. The first ability is the ability to make more money and earn high incomes. The second ability is the ability to save big portions. And the third ability is the ability to invest your savings without losing it. These are the three secret formula for investing success. Unfortunately, only a few people know this formula or even thrive in all three areas. Many people are good at making money. They make a lot of money and save little or nothing. Some are good with savings. They save a lot of money but then lose it all through investing. And others are good at investing. They invest well but have little savings to make any significant progress. If you want to achieve financial success, you must thrive in all three areas. You must also know the key differences between them. There are five main differences between making money, saving money, and investing money. And these five are the hidden secrets for investing success. Let look at each of these five components in detail.

READ: Where to invest $10,000 right now

Secret No 1. Money making, saving money and investing money are different

Making money is a money-producing activity. Saving money is a money preservation activity. And Investing money is a money growing activity. To make money you need to solve a problem for other people and earn money for the problem you solve. To save money you need the discipline to live below your means and the self-love to pay yourself first. And to invest money you need some money and the right investment vehicle. Making money thus requires problem-solving skills, saving money requires the right attitude, and investing money requires money. So why you can make money from scratch with your skills. You cannot save from scratch or invest from scratch. To invest you need to save. To save you need money, and to get the money you need money-making skills.
Secret No 2. Investing Cannot Make you Rich

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READ: Investing & Gambling: Differences and Where They Intersect

Investing does not have the power to make you rich neither does your savings. The only way to be rich is to solve the problem of many people. The richest people in the world are all problem solvers. They solve problems by creating products and services that meet a need. And their wealth is the reward for the problem they solve. There is no single person in the world today who made their money solely through investing or saving. The fastest way to create wealth is to solve problems for many people.

READ: Financial skills everyone should master (1)

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Secret No 3. Investing is a poor money maker but a rich wealth creator

Investing and investment vehicles are poor money-makers but rich wealth creators. While they can make you wealthy and increase your Net-worth they are poor income producers. Many people in the bid to make up for their lack of money-making ability try to force the responsibility of making money on their investments. They become aggressive, take unsafe risks, and put pressure on their investment to produce high returns. They are lured by “get rich quick schemes” and make erratic investment decisions. They do this in the hope that their investments will produce the income they need to be rich. But this is a recipe for failure. The purpose of investing is to grow your savings and produce passive income and not to make you Rich. Your job is to refine your skills, build rich relationships, learn about sales and marketing so you can make multiple streams of income. As you produce more income and invest more money your passive income begins to build up to the point where it can carry the weight of your bills. This is the point where you can begin to relax a bit. Until then, keep refining your ability to earn multiple streams of income.

READ: Big mistake: Ripple’s CTO sold his Bitcoin for $750

Secret No 4. Investing can do five things for you

Investment vehicles have five capabilities and can do five things for you. The first capability is protection. Certain Investment vehicles can protect you from risks and emergencies. The second capability is passive income. Certain investment vehicles can produce passive income for you. The third capability is principal appreciation. Certain investment vehicles can grow your invested capital. The fourth capability is gambling. You can gamble with certain investments and lose all your money. And the fifth is sales income. You can get back your money with interests when you sell a profitable investment.

Secret No 5. Investing is easier than making money and saving money

Investing is easier than making more money and saving money. When you want to invest all you need is a clear understanding of where you are going, how to be safe on your way, and how to get there. It is like a car, you don’t need to know all the component parts in your car bonnet. But you need to know the fundamentals of driving a car, how to be safe inside a car, what to do to get to your desired destination, and who to call when your car has a problem. With this critical information, you can successfully drive a car. Similarly, you can invest successfully by just knowing the fundamentals of investing and collaborating with advisors and investment experts who know the tiny little details about investing. Only a few wealthy people in the world are investment gurus. They simply know the basics and surround themselves with experts that can help them. This is what you must-do if you want to achieve investing success. But when it comes to making more money and saving money the story is different. While you can learn how to make money and save money from other people. No one will make money or save money for you, you have to do this by yourself. Also, nobody’s skill or expertise will work for you. You have to develop your own skills and expertise to make more money and save more money. This makes making more money and saving money more difficult than investing. Nevertheless for you to be successful you must focus your energy and attention on making more money and saving money. You can always get help with investing and succeed in investing without being an investment guru.

READ: 10 ways to save and make more investments

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Investing for financial success is the dream of most people. However, there is the right way and the wrong way to invest.  The key to success with investing is to recognize the difference and understand the five secrets we have discussed in this article. The truth is your salary will never be enough to achieve all your goals. Your Investments will also not make you rich. You need to increase your ability to earn more income and save a major part of that income to thrive.

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If you want to learn more about how to invest with total financial confidence or how to make more money and save more money we can help you. To learn more send an email to [email protected]

Great investing success is not about the amount of time you put in it but the knowledge and principles that govern your investing.

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About author

Grace Agada is The Senior Financial Happiness Director @ Create Solid Wealth. She is an Author,and Column Contributor in Six National Newspaper. She is a contributor at BellaNaija, Nairametrics and Proshare and she is on a mission to help working-class professionals and CEOs become more financially successful. To learn more about Grace and how she can help you send an email [email protected]

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Personal Finance

The top money mistakes people make in their 20s

Below are 10 top money mistakes people make in their 20s and how to avoid them.



Financial skills everyone should master (1), Financial decisions for 2020, Between saving, investing, speculating, trading & gambling

In your 20s, you are either in your last year in the university, just starting your career or setting up a business. Either way, you are still new to many things and just building up yourself.

Your 20s is the time you learn, make mistakes and grow. People say you can’t grow if you don’t make mistakes; however, there are some costly mistakes you should try to avoid. They might end up helping your growth but spoil a lot of things before then. One of such mistakes is money mistakes.

Money mistakes are made when you don’t have enough financial knowledge, and this can land you in debts you have to keep paying for, years after. Below are 10 top money mistakes people make in their 20s and how to avoid them. These tips would help you to make wise money decisions from now.


The top money mistake young adults make is emotional spending; Many spend to make themselves feel happy. If your happiness is tied to spending, you will have a problem trying to save up or plan for the future.

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In your 20s, you are just starting your career. You will have many job offers with mouth-watering pay. It is only logical that you choose a job that offers growth instead of money, if you are interested in making more money in the future. You might want to start making enough “dough” now, but in the long run, if you don’t increase your value, you are going to remain stagnant.

Young adults tend to spend more than they earn because they want to stay in vogue. This is a common money mistake many make. If you spend more than you make, you tend to run into debt quickly and become financially unstable. Your 20s are not the time to live in luxury (unless you can afford it) or buy the things you cannot afford. If you will save more when you stay with your parents than if you stay alone, why not stay with them? If cooking at home would save more costs than buying food from restaurants, why not cook at home? Don’t live beyond your means.

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Many young adults are comfortably sitting in debt. Understandably, some situations might warrant you taking loans like student loans or personal loans. However, it is a wrong move to stay in debt for a long time. You should save up or look for other sources of income to settle your debt. ‘Don’t sit comfortably in debt’.


Emergencies are money-draining circumstances that are unplanned for. To prove that you are financially stable in your 20s, you should save up for emergencies. Young adults often make the mistake of not saving up for emergencies, hence, hitting them hard when it (emergency) comes.


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For every facet of life, it is essential that you have a plan; however, having a financial plan tops it all. Having both short and long-term goals shows that you are serious about being financially stable.

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The importance of knowing the difference between needs and wants cannot be overemphasized. In your 20s, you should know the things you truly need and the things you can do without. Your needs should be 90% of your budget if you are seeking to become financially stable.


Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, ‘what if I lose my job?’ or ‘what if this business crashes?’ It is very risky to rely on only one source of income. You are most energetic in your 20s; it should be the time you take on different jobs to earn more money.


As a young adult, you must track your spending always. There are many tools and mobile apps available to do this. Track your spending to make sure you are not spending more than you are receiving. You can do this by putting down your expected monthly income and plan how you are going to spend it, including your savings and emergency fund to the expenses. This way, you don’t buy on impulse because you have a financial vision for the month.


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Many young adults don’t see the need to have health insurance, and this is a huge mistake to make. Health insurance gives you peace of mind and saves you from spending more. It also shows that you are concerned about both your health and your finances.

We have not only discussed the money mistakes people make in their 20s but also put out tips on how you can avoid them. You don’t have to make these mistakes too before you learn how to be financially stable in your 20s.


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Personal Finance

15 quick ways to make extra cash without quitting your day job

While working your job, there are a few side hustles you can take on to make extra cash.



Side hustles you can start in 2020

There are diverse views about having additional sources of income. Most people think it is wise to have other earnings and to work daily; that’s why they continuously search for ways of diversifying their sources of revenue. At the same time, some believe that investing in one sustainable source of income can be more profitable. You may have a permanent career, but it may not give you the degree of financial independence and ease. Therefore, to avoid financial stress, it is worth finding ways to increase your profits. This feat can be accomplished by activities which, in addition to your daily work, can earn you extra cash.

READ: Thrive Agric drama: What it means for Nigerian investment startups

Below are 15 quick ways to make extra cash without quitting your day job;

1. Writing E-books

If you are dedicated and enthusiastic about sharing your thoughts and views with others, then this approach might be one to lay hands on. Writing e-books offers you the ability to monetize your expertise and ideas. This can be achieved by either using the Microsoft Word Document app on your smartphone or other writing apps. You need to find a way to arrange your information in a manner that is useful to your audience.

2. Organizing Webinars

Online classes can be held in various areas for a range of topics. Suppose it provides an opportunity for people to learn. In that case, it can be a good source of extra income. You have to build an online forum to attract an audience and share your expertise for pay if you are experienced in a specific field. You get to gain a certain amount of authority and power in that sector in addition to the money.

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READ: CBN offers clarification on cashless policy, but Nigerians aren’t having it 

3. Managing Social Networking Channels for Businesses

Many enterprises are increasingly appreciating the need to build an online identity for themselves. By controlling social media outlets for corporations and creating visibility and engagement for them, you can make extra money.

4. Private Tutoring

This is a great way to make extra cash at your convenience. You can grow your expertise into a profitable side job by tutoring students on the subject areas that fit around your interest. You can offer one-on-one coaching or lessons to students for pay. Tutoring offers flexibility and allows you to shuffle between your day job and the classes conveniently. Another benefit is that you get to set your own pay rate for tutoring.

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READ: CBN Commences distribution of grants and inputs worth over N700 million to cocoa Farmers

5. Babysitting

This is another way to earn extra cash by taking care or looking out for children while their parents are away. However, if you are on a 9-5 job, and you consider engaging in this, you will need to analyze and plan your schedule to allow you the time to venture into this.

6. Starting a Retail Business

This is one of the fast-growing ventures that guarantees you a regular cash income. To make extra income, you can engage in selling goods and services that are not readily available in your locality. The good thing about retail business is that any product or service can be sold if useful marketing techniques are employed.

READ: Anti-virus creator, John David McAfee charged for U.S tax evasion

7. Subletting

Some items you own that are not regularly used can be let out to people for an agreeable period to receive payments. This is a profitable way of making extra cash without having to quit your day job.

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8. Monetizing Your Hobbies

Are you looking for a way to make money while having fun? Then this can come in handy. If you have an activity, you engage in at leisure; It is possible to turn it into an avenue for making extra income. Fun activities like cooking, reading, baking, and games can be grown into a money-making venture. You can cook and deliver to people, and you can organize reading courses and charge a fee for it. The goal is to make additional income while enjoying what you do.

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READ: STANBIC IBTC posts Profit After Tax of N45.2 billion in H1 2020

9. Selling Products Online

A lot of people have established an online presence for themselves. They have an audience they can interact with. This offers them an edge to sell different products and services. You can take advantage of your social media platforms to attract customers and sell any product by consistently creating awareness of the products and services you offer.

10. Running Handy Jobs

Many homes are in search of skilled handy person to help with the maintenance and home repairs. If you are experienced at managing repairs and installation of home appliances, then this can earn you extra cash.

READ: 10 side businesses to sustain your professional career

11. Selling Your Craft

A lot of people engage in craftwork as a leisure activity. They are skilled at producing and decorating objects by hand. Artists and artisans can make money from their talent and creativity by building a brand for their crafts which will offer them the opportunity to trade their work for extra income.

12. Providing Laundry Services

Nearly everyone cherishes convenience. A lot of people would not mind sparing some notes to have their clothes pressed and delivered to them. You can take advantage of this to offer laundry services for people and make extra cash.

READ: How not to worry about money in retirement

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13. Online Marketing

Due to the emergence of different business enterprises which has stirred up competition for already existing businesses, much emphasis is now placed on marketing to source for leads. If you are skilled in the marketing game, you can make extra cash in addition to your 9-5 job by helping organizations maintain relevance in the business sector.

14. Running Part-time Jobs

If you wish to earn extra income along with your day job, you can pick up a night shift part-time job. The additional income can help you to sort your bills comfortably without worries. However, it would help if you considered the rigours of running two demanding jobs.


READ: Thrive Agric drama: We only insure the farms, not funds of individual investors – Leadway Assurance

15. Growing a Blog

If the thought of interacting and building an online community excites you, then you can consider growing a blog. Gaining visibility and earning through a blog takes time and requires consistency. However, the result is quite rewarding if you keep at it.

Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website

With the evolution of technology, running a side business with your day job has been made possible. The goal is to build several streams of income to avoid financial worries. An extra income can go a long way to help increase your earnings and meet your needs. When considering an avenue to make extra cash, flexibility should be one of the determining factors.

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