In response to The Saved Quarter’s money challenges post, I started outlining my very own money challenges and realize mine are mostly due to a variable income. I intend to remedy this variability by next year, but until then this is what I see most often wreak havoc on my budget:

  • Two consecutive months of low income. In the past, I’ve noticed that some months are windfalls while others are bleak and dry; almost identical to an AB pattern. Yet, since last summer, it’s been more along the lines of bleak, bleak, windfall, bleak, bleak, windfall; or an AAB pattern. Making it much more difficult for me to spread out the windfall months to cover the bleak ones. This seems to lead to a domino effect:
    • Savings gets pushed aside. Again, that variable factor really messes with my savings. I set aside a savings amount in my budget, but when I don’t bring in enough to cover the budget’s basic expenses, something has to give; often that “something” is savings.
    • Student loan debt stagnates. I’m on a mission to pay off the remaining debt that I have, which is student loan debt. A fluctuating income means some months I can pay down more debt than others.

I’ve been working on projects that bring in additional income and that helps pad the fluctuating dollar bills; tutoring and blogging. But the real solution is still 7 months away when I can focus solely on working. Of course there’s always reworking the budget, but I feel I have it so far pared down that any other cuts may be too painful. I think I can wait it out another 7 months then kick it into high gear.

Do you have a fluctuating income? How do you plan your budget around variability?