Sometimes it feels like the only thing I write about is budgeting. This is something I am extremely proud of. Budgeting is one of the most valuable disciplines one can master in life, and it can bring balance and peace to so many other aspects of life. Some people, though, struggle to get a solid monthly budget plan because they have no idea when or what they will be paid. Commission workers, small business owners, and independent contractors all have widely varying payment schedules and amounts. This can cause stress when coming up with a monthly budget when there is no real solid “monthly income” figure. No need to fret, though; we are here to help. there are ways to strategize and work around this obstacle, and we have some ideas. So, without further adieu, this is you budget with irregular income.
Cost Deduction Method
The Cost Deduction Method is really a fancy name I am using to flip the roles on traditional budgeting. Where your monthly income is usually the anchor to your budget, cost deduction makes your monthly expenses the new focus. Instead of subtracting figure after figure from your monthly total income, you add up your expenses starting with your needs. The way this works in practice is you mark down the bare necessities, and you dedicate all of the money you make to those until your income surpasses them. After which, you check those off. Then, as the income starts to move past those expenses, you move to the traditional strategy of deducting from income, except you use the difference between the cost of your needs and your total income for that month.
Priority List Method
This one is much simpler. The priority list method involves making a list, in descending order from most important to least important, and marking down their costs next to them. As your income comes in, you start to check things off of that list, and you stick to the order. The great thing about this method is that you organize your priorities when you are in a logical and rational mental space. After doing this, it is pretty much on autopilot. You have already decided how you are going to spend your money, and once you have exhausted the list, everything is extra to be saved! This one is similar to the first in the sense that you are using expenses as your anchor point, which takes the stress out of trying to predict what your monthly income will be.
Despite the fact that there are only two options here, I really think there is something for everybody. Budgeting should be simple, and these are two very simple ways to get it done. I’m not going to try to make you do financial gymnastics, as that is really the fear assigned to budgeting in the first place. Just pick a method, and let the tools do the work. This will make your finances feel much less unpredictable, and bring a lot more stability in your life.