How casuals can best manage their finances

09 Jul 2019

While the added flexibility of a casual contract is a boon for some, for many people, working on a casual basis can mean going without a number of the benefits that full-time staff receive – such as holiday or sick pay – while still fulfilling near full-time hours. If you’re struggling to take control of your money as a casual worker, these tips could help.

Put aside spare cash to cover time off

Of course you can’t know when you’ll need to take sick leave or for how long, so it’s naturally difficult to plan for. But, with most casual contracts not covering sick pay, you should try to prepare for the eventuality. This is particularly true for health care workers who are continuously exposed to people with illnesses. If you work in this sector on a casual basis, you’ll likely be paid at a higher rate than if you have a full-time contract, so it’s best to put aside a small amount of your weekly or monthly earnings as a safety net. A good rule of thumb: try to budget for at least 10 days off in the event of illness.

Find room for a holiday

A holiday might seem like an unattainable luxury if you’re on a casual contract that doesn’t offer paid annual leave. But a break from work of just one or two weeks throughout the year is essential to avoid fatigue and stress, even if it’s simply a ‘staycation’, where you’ll be relaxing and recharging at home. Here are a few budgeting ideas you could try:

  • Round up the loose change from your latest purchases and payments and turn them into investments, with a money saving app such as Raiz. This will help you save without feeling the pinch.
  • Put away any windfalls you might receive throughout the year – for example tax rebates or generous birthday presents – and use these to pay for a holiday.
  • For everyday purchases, think about using a reward-points credit card. This could help net you benefits in the long run, such as return flights or reduced holiday packages.
  • Set up a series of accounts for different needs to help keep on top of finances. For instance, you might create one for bills, one for rent
Have a good idea of your essential outgoings

When money is tight, it’s important to have a firm idea of what is going out, even when you can’t be sure how much is coming in. Draw up a budget by totalling up the things you’ll have to spend money on each month come what may: mortgage repayments or rent, energy and phone bills, transport costs, the weekly grocery shop. Having this target top of mind can both serve as motivation before the month begins and provide relief once you’ve reached it.