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?


  1. I am right there with you regarding the fluctuating income. I will have a great week, and then nothing for two weeks. It is feast or famine. Since you can see the end in sight, just hold on. It will be there before you know and you will start making some ground on paying off the student loan debt.

    • @Melissa – I’ve been on a feast to famine income for quite a while and am accustomed to it. But, it will be nice when I can focus on bringing in a steady income when I’m finished with school in December. Just….a…..few….more….months!

    • @Robert – I have a lot of bills too and have just gotten used to saving during the windfalls and living lean during the months I’m short. Thankfully, it’s never a zero income month or I’d be screwed. 😉

  2. I also have a steady income so I can only empathize so much. However I do know that everything requires adjustments sometimes, even the budget.
    Do what you can and remember the goal you are trying to reach.

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