Seasonal, unpredictable income, hard to budget: what to do?
What do you do?
Are you or your dp dependent on seasonal income? Income that varies from year to year? Self-employed? Any arrangement that makes it impossible to predict income even from month to month?
Do you have trouble budgeting? Knowing in the moment whether you have enough to get through the "slow season"?
I am having a very difficult time wrapping my head around budgeting for our family. DH is a gardener, so our gas bill varies by several hundred every month. It's hard to budget for truck and car repairs, hard to know how much to put aside.
We've had the luck of making money on a house sale at the height of the market and an inheritance, but those are gone. I'm working a little more myself (self-employed as well), but we never know how the year will play out financially.
And with health care, I never know from year to year whether I will have to pay or not or how much. Our income can *vary* as much as 10K, 15K or more, though that's worst case (very recent worst case, which is why it's fresh in my mind).
I love doing what we do. I love being self-employed. But I don't really know where to start short of not buying anything for a year.
Anyone been through this and figure out how to manage?
ETA: Our down season is November through March. Expenses can exceed income as early as October and as late as April. We have 2 birthdays, Christmas, and property taxes due all in that time. Otherwise, we'd love to not spend during that time!
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