Budgeting for Unpredictable Income

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This tip comes from The Dollar StretcherMy husband has an unstable income, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. I found that if we know approximately what we will make in a year, we can figure pretty accurately.

This tip comes from The Dollar Stretcher.

“My husband has an unstable income, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. I found that if we know approximately what we will make in a year, we can figure pretty accurately.

For example, if he makes $36,000, we know we have $3,000 per month to work with. In the months that he brings in more than that, we put away the rest for following months.

I’ve been able to do this by paying my bills ahead. If I have a car payment for $200, and I have an extra $1,000 that month, I make three or four car payments ahead. Once I’m a little ahead on one bill, I start working on others. When I’m able to get ahead, then the lack of money for one month no longer affects my budget.

Another trick that works for me is to put at least five to ten percent of every check in an emergency account until I have enough funds to cover myself for three months. It’s hard to get started, but this gives us the security of an emergency fund.
J”
My husband has “unpredictable income” also. His work is seasonal. In the winter and deep summer he works long hours and brings home a lot of overtime pay. We put the excess of this into savings. During the spring and fall when the hours are less and we find ourselves dipping into this savings.
Some other things we have done to help during the lean times.

One of the first things we did when we got married was to pay off our debt. This took a little less than two years but has been a wonderful thing to have off our plates.
We had to buy a new to us car about 10 years ago when the old one died but that is now paid off also. We keep it in good repair and get it checked out seasonally. Take care of what you have is the motto.
Knowing what your monthly expenses are is very helpful. I also keep a list of what our tithe, monthly utility bills, gas, and food allowance is so that I can know what we need to spend against what is coming in.
All of this is a good idea not only for unpredictable income but just in general. Having a savings account and knowing what your expenses are can help tremendously whenever life throws you a curve.
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