Redoing Your Budget for a Career Transition

Budgeting for Career ChangeThere are so many factors to consider when you’re preparing for a career transition. Whether your goal is to start your own business, launch a side hustle, or change job paths, you’ve got a lot to think about as you gear up for the leap.

Having a solid (and realistic) budget in place is key in making sure your transition is as stress-free and secure as possible. And while the internet is chock full of resources on how to follow your dreams and manifest your destiny, it’s not so chock full of practical ways to handle this very important step in the transition process. (Maybe because talking about money isn’t as exciting as talking about manifesting destiny.)

Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered. (You knew we would, right?) Here are some key tips to keep in mind when you sit down to look at your soon-to-change finances:

Go on a Date with Your Budget

(I give Amanda full credit for this spectacular visual.)

Money stuff is typically not fun. Money stuff, when it comes to “How am I gonna make this work?” is even less fun. If you’re a non-math-fan like myself, just the thought of numbers can make your jaw clench.

But budgeting doesn’t have to be a painful thing. Set yourself up in a calming environment by closing the door to distractions, playing some relaxing music, and lighting a candle or two. (Seriously. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!)

Yes, it may be stressful to crunch numbers, but the truth is, you’re crunching these numbers to make your life closer to the life you really want for yourself. This is an empowering and exciting step. Remind yourself of that!

Be Honest About What You’ll (Really) Need

If you want to start a business, do you know how much overhead you’ll need cover in order to break even each month? If you want to freelance, do you understand how your new tax situation will effect how much you bring in per project? If you’re thinking of switching to a different career that means starting out at a lower salary, are you willing to make some sacrifices in exchange for your brighter future down the road—and if so, what are they?

Make sure you’re crystal-clear on what you’re getting into, and that you’re fully prepared for it, and the transition won’t be nearly so stressful.

In addition to these questions, also take a long, hard look at the budget you currently have in place and ask yourself if it’s really as tight as it could be. You can get yourself some extra wiggle room to pursue that new career if you realize you don’t really need to eat out so often, or that going on runs with your dog can get you just as fit as your current gym subscription. (And you know what? Once you find yourself in a career you truly love, you won’t feel a need for as much stuff and treats as you used to. Career satisfaction is both happiness- and money-saving.)

Have a Fall-Back Fund

Your transition will be easier if you’ve banked a little to tide you over through any rough patches.

Consider pursuing your business as a side hustle at first, and you can squirrel away some of your day job paycheck for the slower months once you go full-time. Take some of those treats you’ve shaved off your budget and put the money you would have spent on them into a savings account. Any transition comes with its ups and downs financially, and having a little extra to fall back on makes the downs much, much easier.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

Part of the stress of a career change comes from that little voice that says things like “You’re not ready for this” and “This will never work.” This voice can rear up especially loud when you’re confronting cold, hard numbers. But you can come up with a realistic, workable budget to see you through any transition—so long as you keep your spirits up. If you’re considering a transition in the first place, chances are you already know a thing or two about determination, optimism, and perseverance—so make sure to keep that positive energy flowing, and you’ll find it much easier to wrangle the numbers.

Read uplifting books. Subscribe to daily affirmations like Notes from The Universe (which are truly kickass and not your usual fluff—I highly recommend them). Connect with people who support you, believe in you, and will motivate you to keep going.

It may seem like nurturing a positive attitude has little to do with your finances, but I can tell you from experience (and I know Amanda can, too) that there’s a correlation. With anything in life, being open and hopeful can bring about opportunities and make things fall into place in a way you’d never anticipate. I say this as someone heartily opposed to woo-wooism. This shit works.

Are you considering a career transition (or have you recently gone through one)? How are you preparing (did you prepare)?

Image via Ken Teegardin

About Kelly Gurnett

Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and hire her services as a blogger extraordinaire here.

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