Planning a Budget with Inconsistent Income

September 15, 2019

A budget is so much easier to create when you know how much money you’ll get in each paycheck.

When you work on commission or as a contractor for various projects, it’s hard to know if the next paycheck will cover your bills.

Here are some tips for handling a budget with inconsistent income, so you can avoid trouble when the bills come rolling in.

Always Save

Though simple advice, it bears repeating. If you’re not sure that, in two weeks from now, you’ll have the extra hundred dollars you need to make rent and be able to eat, put away what you can on the good days.

Working a job that doesn’t pay consistently means that there will be many times you’ll be living on savings until you find your next project. Make sure you replenish what you use and add a bit more in the pile.

Find a Routine

Variable expenses, like groceries and gas, can reach a range of consistency if you’re able to follow a good and methodical routine. Keep a journal of what you eat, how much you eat, and how fast you go through a given container of something. If you can, go the extra mile and note how much each thing costs. This way, you can map out a week or two’s worth of groceries if you plan all your meals ahead of time.

This isn’t fool proof, as some cooking staples cost a bit more – even if they take forever to run out. This means when you run out of rice, your grocery budget may take a big jump.

One extra blessing means fewer trips to the store, which saves you both time and money! Understanding your routine can also keep you from making too many unnecessary trips with your car. Double up on errands, rather than spacing them out through the week.

Find a Low Interest Credit Card

If you don’t have a huge savings cache built up yet, you can gamble with a credit card. This may put you back, but it can be better than getting evicted or going hungry. This option means taking on debt in the hopes of finding a better job or getting paid for work you’ve already finished.

If you take this route, make sure to cut back on expenses and live minimally in order to avoid paying too much interest.