How do I budget if I don’t have a regular income?


In my opinion it’s almost as easy to budget with an irregular income as it is with a consistent income. The only thing you do is list your bills from most important to least. Your four walls are always the most important bills. Housing, food, electric, water, gas for your cars are considered your four walls. Then you list everything else. insurance, cable, haircuts, internet, phone, cell, etc are down the list. Then you put your total income brought in and just begin subtracting out the most important bills first. When you run out of money you simply have to make contact with the other companies to let them know they will be paid later or make a payment plan with them.

I have had to budget this way my entire marriage. We’ve never had a set income. Once you get used to it, it really is no big deal. It’s better to budget and know where your money goes than it is to look in the rear view mirror and wonder where your money went (like our government)! That’s my budgeting tip for the day! Do you budget? How do you budget? What other things are you able to include in your budget?

28 Replies to “How do I budget if I don’t have a regular income?”

  1. It can be tough budgeting this way. I don’t work summers so we really have to pre-plan to make sure we stay on track.

    1. It’s definitely tough because you a lot of times run out of money. But it’s simplistic in it’s set up I guess is what I was trying to say. I know there were many times we run out of money before the month is up! But I’m thankful to have had to budget this way because I am a more careful money manager because of it. 🙂

  2. Thankfully, my husband’s income is regular. We do know what it’s like though, having to live from one paycheck to the next. This new year, it’s my goal to make changes with our finances for the better. Planning to save more when we can, and to spend smart when we have to spend at all.

  3. I know when I was working at the school and had no income during the summer it did make budgeting very difficult. It’s easy to think to yourself “well, if I put this much money away every month, I’ll be fine for the summer”. Much tougher to put it into practice! Something always comes up, and you wind up with less than you need. That’s when you start making those dreaded phone calls 🙂 But I agree, I always base my budget on highest need bills (ie. housing, oil, car) and work my way down (ie. medical bills…heh). Also helps to know which companies are more willing to deal with you to work something out, and which won’t budge at all.

  4. I’ve had to carefully budget since my marriage, too! I have a spreadsheet where I track each and every penny and from which I make a monthly expenses/income statement. From all these statements, we make an estimated expense sheet for each category for the next year. 🙂 It’s like having a food journal – being conscious of where the money goes makes one more careful with it!

  5. I’m pretty strict with our budget and have done a couple of things to help us all year! Our local electric and gas company have a program that makes those utilities the same every month based on an average from your usage in the past few years. That means those bills are the same every month no matter the time of year. The past three years we have gotten back rebate checks from both since we used less than our average. Living in the west Tx desert, electric in the summer using swamp coolers is outrageous!! This program has really helped alot
    Since we are in the restaurant business, sometimes our income can become very irregular as far as amount is concerned in every check

  6. Thanks for the great tips! This year I’m not working and my boyfriend is the only one bringing in the income! Any advice is appreciated!

  7. Thanks for the great tips. I don’t have fix income too and am trying to list my needs and what the basic thing must to spend like housing, food, electric, water and gas for car. I always calculate every month on my extra money, got to save it for my wedding now 🙂

  8. Great tips! I’m struggling with this right now. Although my husband has a fixed income that we use for monthly bills, mine is irregular so it goes toward non-essentials. I’m going to re-evaluate how we spend my income based on your advice!

  9. We have an irregular income and, boy, is it TOUGH! We try to do exactly the same thing you do, but we really have to get better at budgeting!

  10. I think it gets to become habit when you start budgeting. What I do is when I get paid, I automatically pay everything that I can that is due, and what is left over is what is left over… I know to pay my bills first and fun last!

  11. My husband worked at a school for a few years and whenever there was Christmas, Spring, or Summer break we would lose that income. I hated it and we basically developed the “Get in Line Buddy” motto when it came down to less er important bills like cable and stuff. I became very good at negotiating payment arrangements needless to say.

  12. I think this day and age, just to survive, you have to budget. Luckily my son is in his last semester at school and then that big bill will be out of the way. Good thing we planned ahead and saved up some school money for him, probably impossible to do now.

  13. Thanks for the budget ideas. We have one steady income here, and its challenging to say the least. I do have a budget, and use coupons and only try to buy on sale.

  14. thankfully now we have a set income but before when my husband was a server we relied on tips and that was so hard because some days were good and some were bad and then there are busy seasosn and slow seasons!!! so we have to budget and there wernet much for extras!! pretty much no extras at all!! we stocked up when we could and paid rent ahead of time for slow season!!!

  15. This would drive me crazy because I like to budget to the penny – I found this post very informative and I realize that some people do not have a steady income and need to take special care with paying bills or scheduling payments.

  16. I have trouble budgeting with a regular income…. everytime I get where I want to be something comes up. Just had emergency surgery so I have to deal with that now….

  17. I do miss having a regular income and a budget, but you are right – your four walls have to come first. Then, you can take a look at everything else and figure out what has to be paid before moving to wants.

  18. I really need to write out a budget and keep track of spending. We end up with enough but just barely. I save whenever I can, though.

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