If you work sales, freelance or are self-employed, you have a major issue to contend with when it comes to personal budgeting—an unpredictable income. While this can make it hard to plan your monthly spending, it’s not completely impossible. Today, Heartland Bank would like to offer you these tips to budgeting on an irregular income:
1) Calculate the Bare Bones.
These are the minimum expenses you need to cover every month, usually in the form of your absolute essentials. Rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, debt repayment and transportation all fall into this category. This way, you know what you absolutely need to get by.
2) Figure out your discretionary expenses.
These are all the expenses you have after you’ve paid for the basics. This includes the cable bill, streaming services, entertainment, eating out and hobbies. Once you add that to your bare-bones spending, you can figure out how much you spend on average each month.
3) Use the Zero-Sum budget.
This is where you use the income you brought in from last month to live this month. Once your bare-bone expenses are paid, put away a certain amount for savings, retirement and investments. The rest can then be spent on discretionary expenses.
4) Have an emergency fund.
It’s recommended that you have three to six months’ worth of expenses in the emergency fund. That way, if you have a lean month, you won’t have to forgo paying a bill. This can be tricky to build, especially if you have no savings to begin with.
A few ways to build this up include setting aside a certain percentage of what you make each month or allocating unexpected income (such as selling something, a gift, a tax refund, etc.) directly into your savings account.
By following these steps, you should find yourself with less of a headache when it comes to living on a balanced budget. If you haven’t already set up a savings, checking or retirement account, come see the experts at Heartland Bank today. We can help set you on the right financial path.