We can’t change the fact that you don’t know exactly when or how much money you’ll bring in this month, but we can teach you to be in total control of the money you do have right now, and stress a little less about it. This eight-part series will teach you exactly how to budget successfully and make your money stretch, unpredictable income and all.
Hopefully you’re all caught up, because we’re diving right into the next lesson in unpredictable income, and it’s a good one. In fact, it might be your fast favorite because it’s probably something you’ve already mastered: changing your mind.
How Easy Is That?
For anyone trying to be smart with their money and live on a budget, it’s important to think critically about what you can afford and be realistic in planning for the inevitable and the unexpected. If you have unpredictable income, it is even more important. But even if you do it perfectly, and faithfully, and consistently—things change.
Maybe an opportunity comes along that you didn’t see coming. Maybe your income changes again (for worse!), maybe your income changes again (for better!). Maybe you got an unexpected break on your rent, or your dog had an expensive emergency surgery—whatever the case—you can roll with it.
You adjust. You get creative. You change course. This is something you already do. And now, you have the freedom—the directive—to do it with your budget as well.
Roll With The Punches
When your circumstances or even simply your priorities change, your budget can change too.
Maybe you spent more than you planned on impulse purchases because it’s how you coped when you were glued to reading the news. Now you have a complete kit for baking your own sourdough and enough flower seeds to fill a baseball field, and also some regret over the quantity and price of both, but your budget can adapt.
Or maybe you paid for someone’s groceries at the store, because you noticed their card getting declined. It pushed your grocery budget over the limit (what else is new?). Should you have turn down this serendipitous act of generosity, because it wasn’t in the budget? No way!
And should you give up budgeting, because your plan didn’t match reality? Of course not!
Change Is The Only Constant
So, what should you do? When things change, change your budget. Re-prioritize. You might have to shuffle money around—take dollars from a planned purchase, an experience, or a savings category—but helping someone else in need has suddenly become much more important, more urgent, and it’s become a clearer priority. You move some money around and feel great that you are in control of your money.
If your circumstances or your priorities change, your budget should change too. You didn’t fail or do it wrong. It’s supposed to change!
Rolling with the punches gives you breathing room you need to make budgeting something you can and will stick with for the long-term. Adjustments and changes won’t feel like disasters or impending doom. They’ll feel, well, normal. Because that’s just what they are. No guilt necessary.
Next up, Part 7: Build Security by Aging Your Money