Skip Nav
How Getting a Second Job Actually Lowered My Stress Level
Power Your Happy Q & A
How Susan Tynan's Custom-Framing Obsession Turned Into a Booming Business
In Her Shoes
These High School Best Friends Are Actually Living Out Your Dream Life as Co-Boss Ladies

How to Manage Money When With Irregular Income

How to Manage Money When Income Is Irregular

If you think managing your money with a regular income stream is challenging, try handling the task when you're not earning a steady salary. Those who are self-employed (think freelancers and business owners) must plan ahead even more than those of us with predictable salaries so they don't find themselves pressing the panic button when their work flow slows.

Since I've never been in this situation but am aware that several of you are, I turned to the smart folks at The Motley Fool for guidance. Find out their tips for getting your finances organized when you


The Fool got input from a debt counseling firm that declared, "planning and budgeting are just as important as soliciting work" when income is sporadic. Here are some tips on how to do this.

  1. Average out your expenditures over a three-month period. Start by tracking expenses for a few months to see where your money is going.
  2. Free up your cash flow by regulating your expenses. See if your utility company offers a balanced billing option so your bills are spread out evenly over the year.
  3. Build a safety net for lean months. How much you save depends on your situation, but put away what you can so that you don't have to rely on credit.
  4. Though credit lines are tempting, avoid relying on them to make ends meet. Always make it a goal to be debt free.
  5. Married to a regular wage earner? Try discussing using the regular income for essentials and the irregular income for savings and extras.
  6. Earmark your savings. Choose designated accounts or investments for any windfall that comes your way so you don't blow it on something frivolous.


Join The Conversation
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
this is why i want to stop freelancing immediately. i miss regular pay.
linb linb 9 years
My boyfriend is a business owner, and his job is seasonal. He makes great money in the Spring and Summer, but business really dies down in the cooler months. I have a steady income, which helps a lot. My income basically goes towards bills, and some goes into savings, and his income goes into daily expenses and into savings. It also helps if you live within your means.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
This also applies to anyone who makes commission! I track all my expenses everyday now, fortunately we get sent estimates 3 weeks before we receive our commission checks so it makes budgeting a bit easier, but still, variable income is tough!
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
These are great tips Savvy, thanks!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Like my poor hubby...
I Tracked Every Dollar I Spent For a Month — and Sh*t Got Real
How to Easily Roast Red Peppers For Beginners
Single-Leg Touch Exercise For Glutes
How Can I Retire Early?
From Our Partners
Latest Career & Finance
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds