Q. I get paid irregularly so I end up using credit cards that I can’t pay in full each month, and I have to wait for paychecks to catch up. How can I get out of this cycle?
A. It can be challenging to set a budget when you receive irregular paychecks, but it’s not impossible.
Because you may not always be sure when your paychecks will come, it sounds like you should build a larger emergency fund than someone with a more regular income. This can help you cover expenses while you’re waiting for your payments to arrive.
It’s also important to take a very close look at your spending.
And if you don’t have the cash to pay for something, don’t turn to plastic.
Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton, says you shouldn’t carry credit cards when you are out of the home.
“If you really need to buy something you need to go home, get your card, then go back,” Lynch said. “This stops impulse spending which can kill a budget.”
Lynch recommends you go back and look at all your credit card receipts and see what you really need and what you probably did not need. You’ll probably find a lot of spending that could have been avoided, he said.
“If you do not have the cash, the general rule should be don’t buy it,” he said.
[Editor’s Note: High levels of credit card debt can also hurt your credit. You can see where your credit card balances currently stand by checking your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and by viewing two of your credit scores for free, updated each month, on Credit.com.]
More on Credit Cards:
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards
- How Secured Cards Can Help Build Credit