How to Create a Budget When You have Irregular Income

Budgeting is complicated enough and sticking to it is more arduous. You all know that it can give you a robust plan to take hold of your outgoings so that you do not face cash shortfalls. Budgeting is not all about spending less but taking time out of busy schedule to track spending and finding ways whenever you are off track.
Many people fail to make an effective budget despite having a steady source of income, and if they do, they fail to stick to it that results in cash shortfalls. Eventually, they end up taking out very bad credit loans

Taking stock of spending seems to be more difficult when you have irregular income. Making a budget means writing down all of your expenses and figuring out what you can whittle down, but it is not that easy when your income source is not stable. How will you be able to cut down on your spending unless you know how much money you are going to have every month?
Having a control over your finances is crucial if you do not want to fall in debt, and it becomes more important when your income is fluctuating. Here are some tips you can follow to create a budget:

Know your baseline

The first step before taking hold of your outgoings, you should know your baseline. In addition, you should also know the minimum expenses that you will cover every month. Look over a couple of months’ spending to grab the idea. These expenses include only essential expenses such as mortgage payments, rent, utility bills, transportation, childcare, food and drink.
Just jot down all of essential monthly expenses so that you know the minimum amount you have to earn every month. However, do not forget to include savings as your income is fluctuating.

Cut down on your discretionary expenses

Having created bare-bones budget, the next step is knowing your discretionary expenses. These expenses may include entertainment, night outs, dine outs, subscriptions, gym membership, club membership and money for your hobbies. To get a better idea of how much money you have spent particularly on discretionary expenses in previous months, peruse your bank and credit card statement. It may kill your time, but this is the best way to get a complete picture of sundry leaks in your budget. Once you have got the list of nonessential expenses, you can cut back on them.

Build an emergency cushion

Having an emergency cushion is extremely essential if you want to take control of your finances. Unexpected expenses can pop up any time regardless of your financial condition. For people with a steady source of income, emergency cushion should be three-month worth of living expenses, but it needs to be larger in case of fluctuating income. You should have at least six-month worth of living cost. This emergency cushion will help you tide over when you will not have enough income to meet your recurring expenses.
Try to cut down on your spending every month so that you have left with more money to save. The rule of thumb says that you should set aside at least 10% of your monthly income. Try to have full control over your nature to dip into it. Do not ignore the importance of building emergency cushion otherwise you will fall in a predatory cycle of debt.

Be careful with use of your credit card

Since your income is not stable, you should be careful with your spending. The rule of thumb says that you should rely on cash as much as possible. If you make your purchases with cash, you will have a complete idea of where and how much you spent your money. If you use a credit card for most of your transactions, it will take a toll on your finances. Not all transactions come within a grace period due to which interest keeps mounting up every day. Make sure that you make a purchase with your credit card only when it is urgent and you do not have cash available. Try to pay off the balance as soon as possible to avoid falling in a debt trap. As far as it is about grace period, you should pay back the balance within that time.

The bottom line

Whether your income is stable or not, you will have to stay financially disciplined to take control of your expenses. Make a budget, track your monthly spending and build emergency cushion. Of course, you will have to cut down on most of your discretionary expenses. Further, you should create a fixed source of income. For instance, rent out a part of your house. This will help you have more cash every month.

Description: Know your monthly expenses, cut back on discretionary expenses, build an emergency cushion and be careful with use of credit card.