When it comes to sound money management, coming up with a good budget should be the number one thing in your mind. But what about a biweekly budget? How to manage bills when your paid biweekly? How do you create a budget like that?
I know you may think creating and following a budget is difficult, I get it. For a long time I thought the same.
But honestly, it really is the best way to manage your money effectively and avoid falling into debt.
Debt is no fun, whether you are paid biweekly or monthly.
Your biweekly budget is basically you creating a plan to spend the money you are paid every two weeks. You’re in charge of deciding where your money goes, what you spend it on and it’s purpose.
Having a budget that works helps you to ensure you have enough money to pay bills and other expenses. As importantly, if not more, it will help you save more money towards your future money goals.
Should you budget monthly or based on two paychecks?
Depending on how your pay period, you can decide between having a traditional monthly budget or a biweekly budget.
Some people advocate using the 50 20 30 budget rule and budgeting monthly. I’m not a fan as the idea of allocating 30% of your budget to fun when you have debt to pay off or retirement to plan seems irresponsible to me.
Any extra money you have after you have paid off debt, planned retirement and saved for a rainy day can be allocated to fun.
Speaking from personal experience I think it is better to have a biweekly budget if you are paid biweekly. It keeps things simple. And I like simple!
What are the Benefits of having a biweekly budget?
Your biweekly budget will help you plan for a buffer that comes in handy in case you get a big expense out of the blue or other unexpected expenses.
When you budget biweekly, you don’t have to create month long estimates like you do with a monthly budget. A budget that can be affected by unexpected or surprise bills.
With short timescales in your biweekly spending plan, your numbers are going to work even if you are hit with a bill you hadn’t planned on.
a budget that matches your pay period
A biweekly spending plan will help you examine and anticipate your biweekly expenses in a much better way, which is the primary purpose of a budget.
You will have a mapped out plan of how you spend, and in case of any extra expenses, you can make sure you add them.
You won’t end up spending extra cash and using money meant for other essential expenses on fun stuff.
Keep spending in check
It will help you keep your weekly discretionary spending in check. This means that you will not overspend on stuff or expenses that don’t go into paying the various bills or the rent.
Without a control measure for discretionary spending, you might find yourself overdoing it and end up spending your full biweekly pay without realizing it.
You get a lower number of transactions happening with this type of zero based budget. Because you’ll review it every two weeks instead of once a month.
This makes it less tedious, more manageable, and much easier to go through your expenses as there are much fewer transactions to crunch out the numbers when compared to the monthly budget.
Easy to make changes
When you need to make changes to your budget, a biweekly budgeting plan makes it much easier since you go through your bank statements more often.
Because of the advantages you may get from having a biweekly budgeting plan, you need to know how to budget when you get paid twice a month. Rather than just presuming you should stick to a weekly budget or a monthly one.
If you move to being paid monthly then have a read of my post on how to budget your money for monthly income payments.
The 3rd paycheck bonus
The beauty of being paid biweekly is that twice a year you get a third paycheck because there are three pay periods in those months. Your biweekly budget covers all your monthly expenses and spending for a whole month so that third paycheck is pure bonus money.
Money that you can use in a completely different way to your normal paycheck. You can throw your third paycheck at debt, at your mortgage, into savings or treat yourself to something special.
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How to budget when you’re paid biweekly
Just like with any other budget, starting and following a biweekly budget takes a little getting used to.
But getting your budget and finances organized, and monitoring your everyday expenses against your biweekly income, you can come up with the perfect biweekly budget to help you achieve your financial goals.
If you get paid biweekly and want to create a biweekly budget, here are some budgeting biweekly tips to follow to create a new budget that you can implement and follow easily.
1. Make a list of all your monthly bills and fixed expenses
Write down a list that contains all the fixed expenses you have like the mortgage payment, car payment, internet or cable, and even the loans you are repaying.
Take note of the due dates for payments and the amounts you are supposed to pay.
To make things easier, go through your latest two months’ bank statements. These will give you the due dates of those bills and expenses that occur monthly that you may forget about.
Once you have your list the next step is to plan how you will use your biweekly paychecks for paying bills throughout the month.
To make the month ahead easier, make sure as many of your bills as possible are set to be paid automatically from your checking account on their due dates. That way you don’t need to remember to pay these bills.
2. Make a calendar for your bill payments
The next step is to map out the bills and expenses you have for the month ahead on a calendar meant for bill payments.
Making a calendar for paying your bills will help you organize your bill payments depending on their due dates.
There are other ways to track the payment days but having a calendar is perfect if you prefer to visualize your budget.
I have found that seeing your budget laid out on a calendar makes it more real and much easier to understand.
When writing down the bills on the calendar, you should indicate if a bill is to be paid from the first paycheck or the second paycheck. I found using different colored pens for each paycheck really helped.
Doing this will help you to track your bill payments easily.
You can add additional expenses like birthdays to your calendar to act as a reminder of the expense you make for gifts.
Another good thing about a calendar is that you can create one on your phone with reminders for the bill payments.
3. Create your first biweekly budget from the first paycheck
With your bill payment calendar and all the dates for payments mapped out, it is now easy to know the total amount of money you will spend from the first of your biweekly paychecks.
From here, you add other variable expenses to your budget like groceries, gas money, and even to buy things like clothes.
If you have any leftover money from your first paycheck then consider adding this to your emergency fund, into a savings account or towards outstanding debts.
Every little bit of extra income you put towards debt repayments brings forward your debt freedom date.
If you have no debt, put this money towards your financial goals. Pay yourself first so you can spend the money later.
4. Create your second biweekly budget from the second paycheck
Like the first, create a budget from the bills on your calendar and pay all the bills according to their due date.
You can also have some additional groceries and other variable expenses such as payments into your sinking funds or towards your savings goals.
Also, ensure to add in the irregular expenses you pay out on for your day-to-day life like paying memberships, different kinds of maintenance, including haircuts.
Making and following a thorough biweekly budget will have you set up for a successful financial journey.
5. Have a follow up and monitor your monthly budget spending
Just having a biweekly budget is not enough to guarantee your financial success.
You need to know if your budget is realistic as you spend, and you can do this by monitoring how you are spending money. You may think you have made the perfect budget only to find out you have spent more money than planned. Oops!
If you don’t know how much money you’re spending you could spend too much too quickly leading to blowing your budget.
Having put so much effort into creating your perfect biweekly budget, you don’t want to end up worrying about money.
Biweekly budgeting tips
Biweekly budgeting can take a little getting used to, epseically if you have just moved jobs from a monthly salary. The extra paycheck can confuse you majorly!
These helpful tips should keep your bank account in the black while you get used to the extra paychecks and how they impact your new budget.
Use the cash envelope system
Use cash envelopes can help you plan your variable spending so your money lasts as long as you need it to. The common categories that people use the cash envelope system for are:
- fun money
Work out the average amount you spend on each of these categories each week and withdraw that amount in cash and place in your envelopes.
Leave your credit cards at home and use just this cash, and no more for each of your chosen categories.
set a regular date to work your budget
Getting used to a differnt budget takes a little time. It helps to regularly review your finances, track your spending, get your receipts organized and so on.
Set a weekly date to make this happen. You will thank yourself later.
make a plan for your 3rd paycheck before you receive it
With the help of a calendar you can work out which months are going to have three paychecks in them. Work this out and then make plans for that extra payment, way before you actually receive it.
As it’s ‘extra money’ it’s a golden opportunity to do something special with it, and I don’t mean spending it all!
Top up your emergency fund, make a lump sum payment into your retirement account. If it feels better, allcoate 10% for spending on anything you feel like.
The remaining 90% can be put towards your long term financial goals.
include a budget buffer
The ideal budget is a zero sum budget, where every dollar is given a job to do, a category to be spent in. The reality is, when you’re just starting out, that your newly created biweekly budget won’t work perfectly first time round.
Giving yourself some wiggle room, a budget buffer, makes life less stressful. With a buffer, the budget isn’t blown if you’ve made a small calculation mistake or spent an extra $20.
pay off debt
If you’ve got debt, then your budget needs to reflect the importance of paying it off. Debt costs you money with the high interest you are often charged.
If your debt repayments are $300 a month, that’s $300 that is not yours to spend. Better to be able to keep all your hard earned money and make plans for it. Rather than having to ring fence a big chunk of it for the loan companies.
Benefits of monitoring your spending
Gain more control of your money
Following up on your expenses will help you know your financial situation. Knowing your expenses well gives you more control over your finances for better and more responsible spending habits.
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Learn additional ways to save money
When you monitor your expenses, it may surprise you how much you spend on less important things. How much do I spend on chocolate?!!
This realization will enable you to re-evaluate how you spend and find the expenses you need to cut back on to improve your saving rate.
When you do this each week, you will find that you have saved a fair amount from your biweekly pay hence improving your financial situation.
Learn how to make a budget you can stick to
When you track your spending, you get to learn more about your money habits and how you spend it. This makes it easier to write a budget you can follow as you already know how you spend.
Budgeting biweekly is one of the best ways to manage your income when you are paid biweekly.
Your biweekly paycheck might not feel as much as a monthly payment. But with a proper plan on how to budget when you get paid biweekly, you will soon find yourself saving money and on your way to financial freedom, after paying off your loans and debts.
Start taking back control of your money by grabbing your copy of the Money Saving Starter Guide today.
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Last Updated on 12th October 2021 by Emma