Another way to build a budget if you have irregular income is to set up a holding account. All of your income is deposited into the holding account. You pay yourself a monthly amount based on what you have identified you can afford and what will allow you to meet your obligations. During months of higher income, the holding account will have a larger balance. During the leaner months, the holding account balance will decrease. However, the amount you pay yourself does not vary from month to month.
The holding account method also works well for students. If you have a sum of money saved from employment, or if you receive a lump sum of student loan funding, set it all aside in a separate account so that you don’t spend it all at once. Pay yourself a monthly or weekly amount to meet your obligations. You may also choose to supplement your weekly amount with part-time income while you are attending school. This will not only beef up your resume, but can lower your long-term educational costs as well.
A third way to deal with irregular income is to have two budgets, one for the better months and one for the leaner months. For most people, this is the hardest way to manage their money effectively because it’s easy to get into a spending habit during the better months and then feel deprived during the leaner months. People are tempted to spend because they expect to have money again in the better months ahead. Then they use credit to supplement their leaner times. As a result, they develop a debt cycle that becomes expensive and difficult to break.