A budget is a crucial component of managing your finances. However, having a changeable income can make it more difficult. Your income may vary from month to month whether you work as a freelancer, are self-employed, or have a commission-based employment, making it challenging to successfully plan and budget. This blog post will explain how to construct a budget with variable income and provide you some advice to help the process go more smoothly.
Calculate Your Monthly Average Income
Finding your average monthly income is the first step in constructing a budget with variable income. To calculate this, multiply your 12-month total revenue by the sum of the previous 12 months.
This will provide you with a ballpark figure for your monthly average revenue. Although this amount might not be exact, it will serve as a good place to start when developing your budget.
Determine Your Fixed expenses
Monthly payments for things like rent or a mortgage, a car, or insurance premiums are examples of fixed expenses. Calculate these costs, then deduct them from your monthly average revenue. This can help you determine how much money you have available for optional expenditure and unforeseen costs.
Find Out What Your Variable Costs Are
The costs that vary from month to month include things like groceries, utilities, and entertainment. To start, look over the last few months’ worth of bank and credit card statements to see how much you regularly spend in each of these categories. To track your spending, you can also utilize spreadsheets or budgeting apps.
Prioritizing your spending is crucial when you have a changeable income. Start by listing your basic costs, such as rent or mortgage, food, and transportation. Then, order your variable costs according to their significance to you. For instance, you can conclude that going out to eat is less important than going to a concert or taking a vacation.
Use a budget based on percentages
Using a percentage-based budget is one technique to make a budget for someone with fluctuating income. With this strategy, you divide up your money into many areas of expenses. For instance, you could set aside 50% of your salary for necessities, 30% for discretionary purchases, and 20% for savings.
Create a fund for emergencies.
When your income is unpredictable, you must maintain an emergency fund. Use this fund to pay for unforeseen costs like auto repairs or hospital bills. Your emergency fund should contain at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses.
Finally, when you have a changeable income, it’s critical to be adaptable. Your revenue could change from month to month, necessitating an adjustment to your budget. Prioritize your expenditures depending on your existing income and be ready to adjust your budget as necessary.
Monitor Your Earnings and Expenses
When your revenue is unpredictable, keeping track of your income and expenses is essential. You may keep track of your spending and income with applications or software for budgeting. You can use this to find out where you’re overspending and where you might make savings. As your revenue changes, you can also utilize this information to modify your budget.
It’s crucial to plan as far in advance as you can when your income is variable. This entails planning ahead for your income and expenses for the upcoming months and adjusting your budget as necessary. For instance, you can change your budget to save money in advance if you know that a significant expense, like a car repair, is coming up.
Create a Buffer
The best method to deal with a variable income is to budget for a buffer. This entails saving away cash each month to cover any gaps in income or unforeseen costs. To increase your buffer, try to set aside at least 10% of your income each month.
This will provide you with a backup plan in case your income is unexpectedly reduced.
Budget using envelopes
The budgeting method known as envelope budgeting entails putting money into various envelopes for various types of costs. When you have a changeable income, this can be especially helpful because it will allow you to stick to your spending budget for each category. For instance, you might set aside $200 per month for groceries and place the money in an envelope. You know you’ve spent all of your monthly allotment on food when the envelope is empty.
Limit your spending
Keeping your spending as low as you can is crucial when you have a changeable income. Find ways to save money, such as by reducing subscriptions or negotiating reduced utility prices. You can use every dollar you save to increase your emergency reserve or buffer.
Budgeting for a changeable income involves careful preparation, adaptability, and a readiness to make necessary modifications. Tracking your income and costs will help you identify your fixed and variable expenses and establish spending priorities. To assist you in sticking to your budget, think about creating an emergency fund and buffer, employing envelope budgeting, and creating a percentage-based budget.