Making a budget and sticking to it can seem like a daunting task. Especially if you get paid biweekly! There are hundreds of tips on how to budget on a monthly income, but what if you get paid every other week? So many people ask me if it’s exactly the same and the answer is “no, but it’s similar.” If you need to budget on a biweekly income and you aren’t sure where to start, then I’ve laid out simple steps to help guide you in the right direction. Just remember that writing a budget is just like any other task. Practice makes progress! So don’t give up after your first budget. Give yourself time and I promise that it will become simple and easy!
List out your bills
Grab a piece of paper and list out all your bills and their due dates. Then, write out when you get paid. If you get paid on the 1st and the 14th, then you’ll need to pay all the bills that are due before the 14th with the first paycheck. You can then use your second paycheck to pay all the bills after the 14th. Literally, draw a line across your paper to separate your bills by date! I made an example below of what this could look like.
Budget for your first paycheck
Once you’ve decided what bills you will need to pay with the first paycheck, you’ll have to budget for every other expense. These include groceries, gas, spending money, etc. If you have any money left over you can send them to your sinking funds or make an extra payment towards debt! Make sure you track your spending so you can ensure that you don’t go over budget. There are several ways you can track your spending. Some apps include Mint and Every Dollar, but I prefer to use Quicken to track my spending. Read all about how our family keeps track of every penny that we earn and spend.
Budget for your second paycheck
After your second check has hit your bank account, then you can pay the rest of your bills for the month. You’ll also need to set aside money for groceries, gas, and other expenses. Don’t forget to include these 10 items that are most commonly missing from budgets! If there is any leftover money after you have budgeted for all your expenses, send it to savings or debt!
What to do with a third paycheck
Twice a year the clouds will part, the heavens will shine down on you, and you’ll receive that glorious third paycheck! Everything will feel right in the world and the spender in you might want to head straight to the Target home decor section. But let me encourage you to send that “extra money” elsewhere. First, you’ll need to set aside any money that you’ll need for the next 2 weeks. This will include any bills that might come up and everyday expenses. Don’t let anything go overlooked!
Then, take all your leftover money and throw it at your debt snowball or savings account! Or maybe you’re trying to save for a vacation! Then set it aside so you don’t have to put any of your vacations on a credit card. You could also use this money to set up a buffer in your checking account (which I’ll talk about it just a little bit). This third paycheck is a wonderful tool, but it should be used as such.
You might need a buffer
If you’re making a biweekly budget, you might need to start with a buffer amount in your account. A buffer is any extra money that you keep in your account (maybe a few hundred dollars) to cover your bills and expenses before your next paycheck hits the bank. For instance, if you are paid $1,500 biweekly and you need $1,700 to cover your bills and expenses until the next paycheck, you might want to have a $200-$300 buffer in your checking account to help pay those bills. If you don’t have this problem then you don’t need a buffer! Your buffer size will depend on your needs.
Hang in there
Lastly, don’t give up on budgeting! You are more likely to pay off debt, save money, and stress less about money if you take the time to budget for each paycheck. The more you budget, the easier it will become to be the boss of your money!