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Having an inconsistent income can be extremely taxing on your finances, you’ll more than likely experience highs and lows. Living on a financial rollercoaster can make paying bills and saving for the future or an emergency seem impossible. Whether you’re income comes from seasonal work, commission based sales, bartending or contract work you need to create a consistent budget that works for all financial circumstances so when you experience a low income month you’ll know you can continue to live comfortably. Here are the steps you should take to create a realistic budget so you’ll be prepared no matter what your income is.
First and foremost you need to calculate what your income actually is. If you have an irregular paycheque or receive income from several jobs you’ll need to gather all your paycheques and documents in one place and do some math.
Paying yourself (or your bills) first is one of the best ways to guarantee that you stay on top of your spending and never run out of money by the time your bills are due at the end of the month.
Your first budget should cover all your basic needs and monthly expenses: housing costs, transportation costs, food, utilities and any debt repayment you have. You now need to create a backup spending plan for irregular expenses:
If you have one source of income that’s more consistent than others make sure you use that money to pay for your consistent or essential expenses. You don’t want to plan to pay your rent with money that you aren’t 100% sure you’ll make; this can lead to serious financial issues.
Use irregular or inconsistent income streams for expenses that aren’t vital to your life like new clothing, entertainment and vacations.
This is obviously just a rule of thumb to keep in mind when creating your budget and you may find that you’ll need to use some of your inconsistent income to pay for consistent expenses.
When you rely on paycheques from several sources or have an inconsistent income stream it’s always in your best interest to prepare as must as possible. Unexpected expenses could pop up at any time and seriously derail your finances; here are a few things you should be prepared for:
Just because you have a fluctuating income doesn’t mean you can’t live a comfortable life and still be financially responsible. It’s all about learning to manage your expenses while living within your means and preparing for those months when your income is less than you expected.
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