Does a month of success affect your budget?

Prompted by this awesome question, today I’m going to talk about what I do when things go amazing in a particular month.

I mean, what if your monthly average is $6K and you suddenly do $24K in a month? What if it’s more, even?

Budget

It’s been a while now, but I did a whole series on budgeting. If you don’t have a business budget then you’re setting yourself up to struggle in your business.

Without a budget, you’re way more likely to overspend on things that aren’t really necessities and then not have enough money to pay your real bills at the end of the month. But of course, you’ll enjoy the latest Mac you just ‘needed’.

So when things go really well in a month I go back to my budget. I keep paying myself the same amount. I put money in savings for a new computer. I put money away for my education needs.

Really, I don’t do anything different when a month goes extra well, except maybe increase my 30% rainy day savings up to 40%. There is rarely such a thing as too much money in your rainy day fund.

But life happened

As I’m writing this, I just had a plumber come in and say we need a new hot water tank because our 20-year-old tank is leaking and can’t be fixed.

The sales for my Effective Client Email went pretty well and while I’m not rolling in money, the sales will more than cover the cost of that hot water tank. So this month I’m not saving the income; instead, I’m putting it towards a new hot water tank.

I’m totally okay with this, because if my income had been low for this month, funds for the new tank would have come from my emergency fund. It’s very important, though, to understand what constitutes an emergency. Don’t make a habit of continually finding an ‘emergency’ every time you have a good month and some extra income. (By the way, emergencies will always find you — you don’t have to go find them.)

But I want STUFF

Yeah, I know there is some new gadget that you want. I want a bunch of new stuff for my bike as well, but those aren’t priorities.

More than some new thing, I want a business that can weather a storm — and the only way to ensure that is to stick to my budget. Save extra and keep on the slow and steady plan.

So many businesses struggle simply because the owner couldn’t keep their spending under control.

Don’t be that person.

photo credit: pasukaru76 cc

4 thoughts on “Does a month of success affect your budget?

  1. I started using YNAB for my business. Part of the budgeting process involves budgeting/spending that you earned last month. So if May is a good month, June’s budget will be higher. It’s like a build-in delayed gratification due to the disconnect between “money in” and “spend money now”.

    My month this month was great so next month I’m going to pay myself the same salary, maybe make a small equipment purchase, and put the rest away for business savings and investment.

    Even if you don’t use YNAB you can still apply their lessons to your finances.

    1. Yeah I’ve looked at that before but to be honest, my wife does most of my budget since I hate it and she is great at it. She doesn’t like that and likes to have a consistent monthly budget so that’s what I go with.

  2. Thanks for writing this Curtis, I appreciate the wisdom of sticking to your budget, and not trying to find emergencies so you can spend your newfound income.

    I do like that feeling of putting a little extra away and knowing your future will be a little less worrisome when trouble inevitably hits.

    1. I so easily find those emergencies. Maybe it’s a new router or…something. The more my wife and I sit down to talk about my business the better I do at not spending. She’s my built in gut check on things and without her I certainly wouldn’t have the awesome business I do today.

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