Budgeting With A Low Unpredictable Income – Part 1

Budgeting low income that fluctuates is difficult. “Are you kidding? How do you expect me to budget when I don’t know my income? Some months, my cash flow is zero. How do I budget?”

I hear these comments often. Certainly, many folks’ incomes are unpredictable. Several corporations, ministries, churches too, have uncertain cash flow. Should they forget about budgets, spend only in periods when they receive funds, don’t spend when they get no funds? Would this be good stewardship? I don’t think so.

Budgeting Low Income That’s Unpredictable Is A Challenge

Budgeting low income
Budgeting low income

Certain costs are fixed for a time, and like a freight train, they keep coming at you. If you have a mortgage, it doesn’t pause when you have no income. Your challenge? Accept reality, learn to handle unpredictable cash flows and adjust your lifestyle to fund needed expenses, orderly. That’s what Pharaoh appointed Joseph to do in Egypt–smooth the supply of grain over 14 years, so Egypt would have grain during seven years of famine (Genesis 41).

From this event, we can learn at least two practical lessons to apply to our circumstances. First, accept the reality of your circumstance. Second, plan for the reality, until God changes it.

Accept The Reality of Your Circumstance

Pharaoh and Joseph accepted their circumstance–they accepted there would be a feast followed by a famine.

If you surrendered your life to Messiah, He has promised to provide for your basic needs, when you seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. Indeed, six times in Matthew 6:24-34, He assures you not to worry, but you do? Don’t you believe He will do as He says? Alternatively, do you think you haven’t adjusted your lifestyle to fit His requirements to provide for you?

When you think your prayers are not being answered, look at your lifestyle to see whether you need to adjust it in line with His way. Remember, He will answer your prayers according to His character, His values, His way, not yours!

Check out our free, simple, frills-less envelope budgeting system.

In part 2, we discuss how to plan for the reality of a low, erratic income.

For more Christian financial advice about God and money, debt free living tips, debt solutions, and more on Michel A Bell, visit: Managing God’s Money™.

Copyright (c) 2011, Michel A. Bell

Michel A. Bell

Michel A. Bell is a former senior business executive, author of seven books — including his first children's book published in 2022 — speaker, and adjunct professor of business administration at Briercrest College and Seminary. Michel is a Fellow of the Chartered Certified Accountants (UK), holds a Masters of Science in management degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa from Briercrest College and Seminary. He is founder and president of Managing God's Money™ and Stewarding God's Resources.

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