Woman sitting at table filling in papers and managing finances

Sex work & finances: Tips on how to manage your money

Working in the sex industry means there can be peaks and lulls in your personal finances.

Some months may see an influx of clients and revenue, while other periods can be quieter (e.g., during the COVID-19 pandemic).

But that’s okay. You can help your financial situation by adopting some basic money management techniques to stay afloat.

Read on to find out how to manage your finances and stay in financial shape.

Find out your monthly income and expenses

The first step to taking control of your finances is finding out, on average, your monthly income. This can involve your salary/wages, revenue from sex work, and any profits from side-hustle ventures.

After calculating your earnings, it’s essential to work out your monthly expenses. This should include everything you spend money on, from your household bills to living costs (e.g., food, clothing, healthcare, etc.) as well as work-related costs.

Note: You can work out your ingoings and outgoings by looking at your bank statements from the previous three to six months.

We understand that your expenses can vary over time. However, it’s important to find out a rough estimate, as it will help you to understand what you’re spending your money on and how you can prevent financial difficulty.

 

Woman about to draw money from ATM machine

Budgeting 

Budgeting will help you to keep on track of your finances. The aim is to ensure that your expenses do not exceed your income. In other words, your income should cover all of your expenses.

Once you’ve worked out your monthly expenses, you will have a clearer view of where the majority of your money is going and which areas you can cut back on.

For example, are you still paying for a gym membership you hardly use? Or are you spending too much money on cosmetics or clothes? Perhaps you would be better off finding cheaper alternatives, like exercising in the park or shopping at less expensive shops, for instance.

What are the benefits of budgeting?

  • It gives you control of your finances
  • It helps you to prioritise essential payments (e.g., bills, food, etc.)
  • You’re less likely to end up in debt
  • You’re less likely to accrue unexpected costs 
  • It can help with a good credit rating
  • It can help highlight non-essential spending and find areas where you can save money 
  • In the long run, you can find yourself in a better position for luxury expenses, such as travel, new car, etc.

Although this may be hard, it’s important to prioritise your needs over your wants – at least until you boost your income to accommodate the latter.

Financial planning

The lack of financial planning can bring serious problems to people’s lives, as it’s a guide to help you on what you can save and expend per month.

In your financial planning, you will include all the financial information of your life: earnings (fixed and variable), debts, loans and all expenses mentioned above.

With all that information on paper or an online sheet, you will have a clearer picture of what your current financial situation is, such as if you are expending more than you earn and can cut unnecessary expenses, and how you can save money.

Saving part of your income

Regardless of how much you earn per month, it is important to set a monthly amount of money for you to save.

If you haven’t started doing this yet, the tip is to start consciously as soon as possible. Every amount is valid at that moment, the important thing is to introduce the habit.

Over time you will start to increase the amount you save, either because your income has increased or even because you have managed to cut unnecessary expenses.

The best way to manage your savings is to give them goals. For example, you may have retirement plans, so in that case, it will be long-term savings.

 

Hands holding a white piggy bank

Cut unnecessary expenses

This is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of successful financial management.

On many occasions, it’s not easy to avoid unnecessary purchases, because at the time of the decision, the clarity that you really need what you are buying may not appear easily.

But we often buy on impulse, driven by well-executed advertising, or even because there is a good discount involved. However, try always to ask yourself beforehand if you really need that purchase.

If you can avoid or postpone the decision, it will be better for you and your pocket.

Avoid debt and payments using instalments 

If you need to buy something, try to plan ahead to avoid making instalment purchases. It is better for you to save in advance and buy “in cash” than to incur an instalment debt on the card, for example.

These and other debts can hinder you when planning your budget or even become a headache if you are unable to pay on time.

Take great care with loans. Only use them as a last resort and are confident that you will be able to pay them back. The interest in this type of business is usually high and can hold your financial life for a long time.

 

Woman under financial stress with credit cards and letters

Manage your taxes

When you’re self-employed, keeping on top of your taxes is another important part of financial management. This can help you avoid paying more tax than you need to as well as penalties and wrong payments, which can sometimes be quite costly. Not only can you boost your income by reducing your tax liability but you will have a stress-free tax filing experience. Filing your taxes before the deadline also means you can get a quicker refund if your tax liability is lower than what you have been paying.

Have an emergency fund

When you start saving money, don’t forget to have an emergency fund. 

Once you set how much money you can save by month, try to divide it into two parts: your savings for an emergency and for your goals (travel, things you want to buy etc).

Boost your income

As a sex worker, there are many ways you can try to boost your income so that you are more financially stable. That way you can have a bigger budget for specific areas of your life. Below are some ways you can make more money as a sex worker:

Here are some other ways you can make more money online.

The key thing to remember is to always have total knowledge about your incomes and all your expenses, by tracking everything in a document or using a relevant app to better manage your money and plan your finances for better security.

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