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How to Budget an Irregular Income in 3 Easy Steps

Blog ai lg irregular income

2 Minute ReadTopic: budget

There are more than nine million Americans who are self-employed, and many others who work on straight commission. If you’re in either group, you know how tough it seems to budget for the unpredictable income. It feels like you’re aiming at a moving target.

The good news is that it’s just as simple to plan for an irregular income as it is for paychecks that are equal. We’ll show you how in only three—count ’em, one, two, three—easy steps!


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1. List your income and expenses.

Write down what you’ll earn this month and all the expenses you have—everything from the electric bill to retirement savings to groceries (the Monthly Cash Flow Plan budget form can help you here). Then put the amounts you want to spend next to each item, such as $100 for the cable bill or $200 for eating out. Once it’s all in front of you, the next step is to list your expenses according to importance.

2. Prioritize the categories.

The most significant item (it’s food, by the way) should be the first item on your Irregular Income Planning form. The second most important item (your rent or mortgage payment) should be next. Utilities come third, then clothing, then transportation. From there, continue to list expenses from most the essential to the least. Do this according to your needs. Don’t let some credit card collector scare you into thinking that paying them is a bigger deal than buying your child’s school supplies. Now that the plan is set, it’s time to spend.

3. Go down the list.

When you receive a paycheck, take the amount and spread it out to the items on your budget, starting at the top and working down. Your check may not cover everything listed. That’s okay. Use it to pay as much as you can. Then, when your next check comes in, pick up where the last check left off.

Your paychecks may be for different amounts, but with a plan, you can use them all to get one solid result—financial peace. It’s only three steps away!

Learn more about budgeting and getting your money under control by attending a Financial Peace University class near you!

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