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. These are the exact steps that I’ve used to help our family budget when we are paid biweekly. 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 budgeting on a biweekly income will become easier!
Step 1: List Out Your Bills
Grab a piece of paper and list out all your bills, the amount due, and their due dates. To make sure you don’t forget any bills, print out your last 2 month’s bank statements. Go through every transaction and highlight the bills that come out every month or even once a year. You don’t want to forget about a bill because that can throw off your biweekly budget.
Step 2: Fill Out A Bill Payment Calendar
Once you’ve listed out all your bills, add them to your Bill Payment Calendar. A simple monthly calendar will work, or you can use this page from my Budget Life Planner. This is a great way to visually see when all your bills are due. As you write your biweekly budget, highlight all the bills that will be paid from your first paycheck with one color. Then, highlight all the bills that will come out of your second paycheck with another color.
Bill payment calendars are perfect for tracking when you’ve paid bills. I always put a checkmark next to each bill after I’ve paid it or if it’s left my bank account. Draw an asterisk next to every bill that will be automatically drafted out of your account. This way you know which bills will be paid automatically and which ones you be responsible for paying. You can also add other notes to your bill payment calendar to help you with your budget!
Step 3: Write Your First Biweekly Budget
Once you’ve filled out your bill payment calendar, you know which bills need to be paid with your first paycheck. Next, add any extra expenses into your budget such as groceries, gas, and spending money. 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.
Step 4: Write Your Second Biweekly Budget
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.
You’ve Got This!
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! If you need more help with budgeting (or want some amazing free printables), then sign up for my Budgeting Basics Email Course. You’ll get access to my Free Resource Library!