Creating a budget on variable income can be difficult. When your monthly income remains a mystery, it’s not always easy to tell how you’ll pay all your bills. The easiest way to overcome this challenge is to use recent information to calculate an average amount of income brought in by your husband. While your average won’t always be dead-on correct, it will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Gather several months of your husband’s most recent pay stubs. Use information from several pay periods to calculate an average amount your husband brings home each week.
Write down the net check amount from each pay stub. The net check amount is the amount your husband brings home after taxes and other deductions are subtracted.
Add all the net amounts together and divide the result by the number of months you’re using in your calculation. The result is your husband’s average monthly take-home pay.
Add your husband’s average monthly income to your monthly income. The result is your total monthly income for the household.
Write down your monthly expense categories and the amounts you spend per month on each expense. You don’t have to include taxes, health insurance or retirement plan contributions that are deducted from your pay. You already account for these expenses when you use your monthly net income as a cornerstone for your budget.
Add the total amount of your expenses for the month and subtract the result from your monthly income. The result from this calculation is the amount you have left over each month. If your expenses exceed your monthly income, you’ll have to adjust some of your discretionary expenses that aren’t necessary, such as your monthly entertainment budget.
Plan for future variances in your husband’s income. With variable incomes, it’s best to create a budget that allows for months when your husband’s income is less than average. Cut out unnecessary expenses so that average months have money left over. Put the extra money in a savings account, and you’ll have a cushion for those months when income isn’t what you expect.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.