Budgeting On An Irregular Income

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David has been giving us some great information on starting a budget. One thing I’d like to throw into the mix is how I overcame budgeting based on an irregular income.  Before Saul and I got married, my budget was easy. I make the same amount every pay period and I’m a strict budgeter. Saul gets paid the same day I do but works 28 on and 14 off.  He ends up with a 1 week, 1 week then 2 week check and he had NO budget. This threw me into a panic!!

The first thing I had to do was establish what we would be spending. For this I strictly tracked every penny we spent for a few weeks and pulled the bills from the previous 3 months. This was the basis of our expenses.  Originally I tried mapping out the pay periods and when Saul would have a 1 week or 2 week check and budgeted based that way.  This worked great for a while till his hours got cut to 14 and 14 so all 1 week checks. WHAM! Immediate budget redo.

I decided then the best thing to do was build the budget based on all 1 week checks. I figured if I based it on worst case scenario then I wouldn’t get blind sided again. This has worked out wonderfully.  Now I have every pay period for the year listed. The income portions are my income and his based on a 1 week check. I have mapped out all the bills based on due date so they are bookmarked before they are due. Then I list each of our regular expenses like groceries, gas, etc.

This base is laid out for the entire year.  We have made adjustment along the way like lowering the grocery budget when I started couponing but for the most part this beginning budget remains the same. This base leaves money remaining on each pay period.  At the beginning of each month I “firm up” the budget for the upcoming month.  This is when I adjust the income portion if Saul is going to have a 2 week check.  I would add any expenses that I haven’t been “stashing” away (we will get into that more in another article), you know like that running a stop sign ticket that I didn’t plan on EVER getting.

After all the expenses have been accounted for any remaining money goes towards whatever bill we are working on paying off.  Right now, it’s hubby’s bike.  At the rate we are going this should be done withing the next few months.  That will be about 2 years early!

The point of all this is just because you have an irregular income doesn’t mean you can’t budget.  Also remember you might not get it right the first time.  If it’s not working out don’t throw it all away.  Adjust it and keep on trucking!



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