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How to budget on an Irregular Income

If you have debt, the absolute best way to manage it (without significantly increasing your income) is to set up a budget to help manage your money on a regular basis. For most people, this is a simple matter of planning on how much money you get every month versus your debt and bill payments. Some people have an irregular income, however, and may not be certain either of how much they are going to be paid or when. This can make setting up a budget more difficult, but not impossible if you know what you are doing.

1. Make a List

A budget always starts with a list of your debts and bills. Budgeting with an irregular income is no different. Your list, however will differ slightly from a regular-income budget in that you must prioritize your list by most important bill/debt down to the least. At the top of the list is your food, then housing, and below those two, your bills. How your bills or debts are ranked is entirely up to you, but with an irregular income, some of your debts may end up not being paid, so the ones at the bottom of the list should be the bills that can go awhile without payment if necessary.

2. Set a Rotation Schedule

When your income comes in, Pay your bills and debts from the top down without fail. If your income is not enough this time to pay items toward the bottom of the list then that is just the way things will have to be. The next time you get paid, pay the top two items on your list first (food and housing), then start paying down the list from the first item you could not pay the last time. If you reach the bottom again, start back up at the top below housing and keep paying down the list. Using this method, even if you cannot pay all of your debts every month, the longest any one should have to go without payment is a month or two - not usually long enough to cause critical problems.

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