Each Month That You Get a "Bonus" Paycheck, You Can Save Big
Are you a traditional employee who gets paid once every two weeks? One of the best strategies you can use to budget is to assume you get a biweekly paycheck.
Every month you get a minimum of two paychecks, but some months you wind up with three. This means you’ll find yourself with a few "bonus" paychecks each year.
That’s a huge windfall. You can use the extra cash to pay off debt, save for retirement, or enhance your emergency fund.
You can also save for major purchases such as a dishwasher, your next car, or a family vacation to Europe.
Here are more details about how you can do this.
Step 1: Create a Budget That Assumes You Get Paid Biweekly
Use these budgeting worksheets to help you out. Make sure you account for every single purchase and expense within that budget. Be sure to include your savings.
(Remember, your extra paycheck shouldn't be your only savings. It should be in addition to your regular savings.)
You should pay into your savings as though it's a bill. Treat it like your electricity or your rent.
Assuming you get two paychecks a month (and many months you'll only get two paychecks), create a budget that covers the following:
Health insurance, life insurance, and car insurance
Money set aside for car repairs and home repairs
Money set aside for retirement savings
Savings for your kids' college education
Savings for holidays
Savings for medical bills and copayments
Savings for replacing your laptop
You get the idea. Use the budgeting worksheets to walk you through all of your expenses so you don't forget anything. Try to include irregular expenses as well as your normal ones.
Step 2: Put Your Savings Away
Now you know what expenses and savings you need to include in your budget.
With only two paychecks a month, you’ll have no reason to feel like you "need" that extra third paycheck. There aren’t any bills you’ll need to catch up on.
As a result, you can put the entire amount toward another goal. Put it into your retirement account. Build your emergency fund. Stash it away in a sub-savings account that’s labeled for a particular goal like replacing your appliances. Make a dent in your debt.
This is one of the best ways people who get paid biweekly can ramp up their savings and stay within their budget. You won't feel deprived at all since you were already making do on your normal two paychecks.