Advantages of An Irregular Income

irregular incomeToday's post was contributed by personal finance blogger - Trisha Funk.

Please give Trisha a warm welcome, enjoy, and please share.

Trisha Funk, is a financial coach, author, wife, and mother of four. Not always in that order. She blogs on her personal finance blog Finances With Funk. Always authentic, usually sarcastic, and immensely passionate about helping people transform their finances and their lives.




If you think an irregular income sounds like a budgeting nightmare you are not alone. But you just might be wrong.

Irregular income budgeting different? Yes!

Irregular income disadvantage? No!

People who choose to trade a standard 9-5 job for a set salary may be granted some stability in their financial process but there are some major advantages that those of us with an irregular income have that you just might be overlooking.

They are:

The ability to be paid according to the effort you are willing to put forth.

How many of your friends can choose to find their hustle because they want to go on vacation next month? Want something and commit to pay cash for it? You don’t have limits on your income. Want to push out another sale this month? Do it.

Set your ideal budget every single month. Go ahead and put in the deposit for the vacation fund to Europe, the extra debt payment you want to make, the ideal ROTH contribution, and that other saving goal. Then set your base budget. This is the budget with only the necessities. Once you list out that ideal detail, you have just made a commitment in your mind to go there. You don’t want to miss that vacation, it was important, that’s why it’s in the budget. So you’re going to show up in a huge way that your clock punching, paycheck collecting cousin is not going to do.

The ability to be acutely aware of your finances and overly protective of your emergency fund.

Those of us who live our lives on an income that is not guaranteed don’t often let money go unnoticed.  Out of necessity we are more involved in the weekly or monthly budgeting and cash flow process than those whose finances are almost completely automated. When something becomes too automated it’s a lot easier to not feel emotional about it. When you stop “feeling” where your money is going you don’t keep as close of tabs on it. And it likes to run away.

We can also be hyper-protective of our emergency funds. You also have an option when an emergency does hit that a set paycheck counterpart lacks. You can choose to just cash flow your issue. Have to replace a battery on your car? I know that wasn’t part of your normal budget but rather than just pulling it out of savings or putting it on a credit card you have the option to write one more article, or close one more sale before the end of the month.

The ability to rock your financial goals.

You can set a goal to buy your new car in August but with a focused budgeting approach you know before the month starts where your “over and above” is going to go. You could just continue to put your $200 in the new car fund every single month but by directing that $300 over base budget somewhere that is going to make a difference you could be driving that car off the lot in April instead.

So it’s time to stop making excuses about how your irregular income seems to be restricting you and start looking at all the opportunities your irregular income actually is affording you. If you start looking at your glass from a different direction you just mind end up changing your financial situation in a pretty huge way. 



    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 03/12/2013 6:36 a.m. #

      Your first point hit the nail on the head. I love being self employed because of the direct correlation between how well my client likes my work and my paycheck. If they think it's worth more, I can get paid more AND if I want more money, I have a direct ability to go find more work...just go find a new project.

      • Trish

        Trish 03/12/2013 9:41 a.m. #

        I love that perspective. You also have the ability to create a new product or service based completely on what your clients really need or want. What better way to guarantee success of that new project?!

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 03/12/2013 7:48 a.m. #

      Good post! We run our own business and know very well what it's like to budget when you do not know what you're making. However, we love that we get to benefit from our hard work and that our income is not limited. This can give great freedom and should be used wisely.

      • Trish

        Trish 03/12/2013 9:52 a.m. #

        I think sometimes I love those lean months even more because it allows you to practice discipline in scaling back to base bare bones budget. I love having a very real perspective of needs vs wants.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 03/12/2013 10:58 a.m. #

      Great article, Trish!A lot can be said for the steady income a 9-5 job offers, but being a small business owner, there is no greater thrill than landing a new client and watching my own business grow. Income can cycle, but I also think that makes me hungrier and less likely to become complacent. And yes, if there is something I want, but currently is not in my budget, then I have the ability to buckle down and find a new client, etc.

      • Trisha

        Trisha 03/12/2013 12:42 p.m. #

        It's hard to not feel like that security of the 9-5 is such a nice option but you're totally right, the actual opportunity that comes from not becoming complacent creates highly disciplined people. And that resonates in every area of our lives.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 03/12/2013 11:16 a.m. #

      Being rewarded for what I produce is what all entrepreneurs love. At times it can be difficult if cash flow is irregular, but that is what savings is for.

      • Trish

        Trish 03/12/2013 12:52 p.m. #


    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 03/12/2013 11:20 a.m. #

      You make a very compelling argument for irregular income. I wrote a post about all the advantages of having a full-time job working for a large company. There are many! The biggest advantage you present, though, is being able to have your effort match your pay. It allows you to put it in overdrive when you have a big savings goal or need extra cash.

      • Trisha

        Trisha 03/12/2013 12:49 p.m. #

        You're right, there are HUGE advantages of full time large company job. (If you love your job.) Which is often why people start a side business they hope to grow into a full time paying gig.

        My husband still maintains one currently with our needs being the great health insurance while the kids are little. If benefits changed dramatically, we might consider differently.

    • Keenyn

      Keenyn 03/31/2013 6:01 p.m. #

      Excellent article! I have an irregular income and I love it. It allows me be flexible and make more when I want too. It's all about effort!

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