If for whatever reason, your income fluctuates, then you need to have a financial plan. Whether you’re a freelancer, self-employed, working based on commission, or don’t have set work hours, a budget is critical to avoid consumer debt. We can help you start a budget that will take your inconsistent income into account and help you set money aside into savings.
Saving & Budgeting with an Inconsistent Income
Add up monthly bills
Fixed expenses HAVE to get paid. They are non-negotiable. Fixed expenses include mortgage, rent, car payments, utilities, child care, and more. Add up your monthly fixed expenses so this way, no matter how much you make in a given month, you know you need to cover that amount. These are the bones of your budget!
Calculate your bare minimum
Next, calculate your bare minimum income. Establish the weeks where you get paid the absolute least and identify what that amount is. Make sure that your bare minimum exceeds your fixed expenses (the bones). Otherwise, you need to seek an additional source of income until you’re no longer in the negative.
Plan ahead with last month’s budget
Budget, budget, budget. One tip is to plan to live this month based on last month’s income. This way you’ve had time to do the math and make a plan to get yourself through. Try using our budgeting worksheet to help you.
During months where you have a higher income, take advantage! Rather than spending it, set that money aside in a savings account. Since you are planning to use this month’s income to get through next month, you know how much you will need to get by; put the rest into savings.
Prepare for emergencies
As we know, life happens. If your car breaks down or you need a trip to the emergency room, you have to find a way to pay for it, ideally without going into credit card debt. An emergency fund can also help you cover your expenses for, particularly “lean” months. The best way to do so is to start an emergency fund to prepare for the unexpected.
Use credit sparingly
Avoid using credit cards to supplement income. This can lead to consumer debt and get you into serious financial trouble. The last thing you want is to add credit card debt (and added interest payments) to your list of monthly expenses!
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.