Creating a Budget on Waitress Wages

I am about to move out of my parent's house soon. I am trying to form a budget and need some help. The problem is that I am a waitress, so my net pay can vary immensely from week to week. I'm trying to figure out how much I can afford for rent each month. Any thoughts? Thank you.

Ann from MN

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Here's a blog entry on creating a budget with irregular income:

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I watressed fo 35 plus years and I had to learn how to budget my monies.

The only thing that saved me was learning to live on the little paycheck I received which was usually, minimum wage. I banked all my tips as they were alot more than my salary.

I loved the work therefore, my personality reflected what my tips amounted to at the end of my shifts.

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Well, a start would be to figure out the absolute least you could make in an average week, and use that figure as a basis for your budget. Anything beyond that figure, put it away for that inevitable rainy day. Figuring tips into your weekly income is as dangerous as figuring overtime into your weekly income-neither is promised or mandatory.

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Go to for help creating a budget using an irregular income. Read all his books too. Good luck! It is great you are planning ahead!

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Minimum wage for waitstaff is HALF the regular minimum. You simply CANNOT live on that amount alone. I was a waitress for many years, and budgeted my projected wages for rent/electric/phone. As for the rest, I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. Please forgive a momentary diversion in topic and allow me to remind readers that your waitstaff has to report 10% of her sales as tip income. Any diner who is cavalier enough to not tip COSTS the server money.

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Go to This will help you find a job and create a budget.

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Budget & Finance BudgetMarch 19, 2008
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