Your Monthly Budget Strategy with Two Paychecks a Month

Updated on October 15, 2011
V.B. asks from Jackson, NJ
12 answers

I just can't seem to win with my monthly budget. I get pay twice a month (every two weeks) one pay cycle it's for me to pay rent the other my van. I also have other bills that I pay with each check. As of late, I can't seem to have any money left over. It's not like we go out to eat etc... I cook all meals at home, pack lunch for the kids. What strategies can you share with me perhaps I am able to see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you.

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answers from Cleveland on

My bf gets paid on the 15th & 30th of every month. It took us so long to figure out the best way to handle it.
What we did is split the bills between the two checks as evenly as possible.
That way we aren't SOL waiting on the next check.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Have you made a budget and do you have enough money each month to pay it all? Sometimes when you live paycheck to paycheck it is hard to even know if you have enough overall money.

We pay the rent out of the last paycheck of the month and pay all the other bills out of the midmonth check. I have to remind myself that I have to spread that money out midmonth to midmonth.

Write down all your bills (make a budget if you haven't) and the due dates. Cluster all your due dates around the 17th or so. Give yourself some time to mail checks.

I write out all my checks and write the due dates on the back of them. I also know which ones can be a day or two late without penalty fee or credit ding. Credit cards, car payments, student loans can never be late.

We save money by creating a monthly menu and trying to keep the grocery bill down. We shop at Sam's and Walmart, and keep my eyes peeled for great deals at the regular grocery stores. I used to coupon, but got so stocked up that I had to quit for awhile.

We only have basic cell phones - our plan is through Walmart and pay much less than most people.

We have a sweet cable package that I negotiated with the cable company. Call your competitors and satelite companies first and then call your cable company and talk hard ball. Maybe you should actually switch companies.

Never sign up for any utitlity or phone company that requires a contract.

We don't have a large vehicle payment, but we have student loans. If you need to, talk to them about the lowest amount you can pay. It's great to be able to pay down that kind of debt, but if you can't at least pay the interest on it. I know it is just a couple of years when I start to make money again and can hammer my loans. Right now, my kids are my priority.

Best of luck!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

We use software to manage our bills/checking account (used to use Quicken, now we use MS Money, they work equally well). We have all our recurring bills in there, and we write all the checks and enter them into the account as soon as we get the paycheck. So, when we get paid on the 1st, we write out everything that will be due through the 15th of the month, even if we didn't get the bill yet. That way we know exactly what is left to make it through until the next paycheck.

We also requested some things, like credit cards, move our due date so that we could balance the bills between the 2 paychecks more evenly. And we are on budget plans for gas and electric, so those are consistent and don't have huge variations each month.

We can also see exactly where our money is going by running reports. It shows you where you might be spending more $ than you think.

You can do all this without software, but it's a lot more work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

We are on the same pay schedule- 2x's a month- and we use the Dave Ramsey principals- We budget for EVERYTHING!! Even though we do struggle with it sometimes and deff. get tempted to spend more than budgeted sometimes. I can completely say that since starting with Dave Ramsey, it has changed the way we spend and think about money. We have been able to knock out quite a chunk of debt and have NO plans of going back. Basically we have 2 spreadsheets broken down for the bills that are due at each pay period. We list all bills due for that time and also list money budgeted for extra expenses during the next 2 wks (ex. gas,food, clothes, ect. .) That amount is then taken out in cash a divided accordingly- Once that money is gone, then it's gone and we have to wait until next pay period to spend more. It will be a huge eye opener to how quickly money is gone when you are having to count it out as apposed to swiping a card. The hardest part is sticking with it, but it's so worth it!! I also coupon on almost everything and shop consignment or strictly sale racks. I can't remember the last time I bought something full priced- haha- Maybe one day I can shop like most Americans- but for now, I'd rather be debt free and have a little less. After all, it makes you appreciate what you have! Good luck getting started, I hope you will be able to find a budget that works for you! God Bless

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answers from San Francisco on

Do you know exactly how much you get each pay check? Then separate your bills in to "pay first pay check" and "pay 2nd pay check" and give each set a color(blue and pink for me) write the due dates on you calendar and color code them with chosen colors. we have our budget down to every last dollar and we never overdraft nor do we run out of money, we spend the same amount each month. It shouldn't be a surprise how much you pay out each month, the only variable is groceries, but we spend the same plus or minus $20 which just effects the savings amount.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

-make a list for shopping. keep snacks, cookies, ice cream to a minimum. if its not on the list, don't buy it. no impulse shopping.
- plan meals based on the store sale ads.
- call you cable company, phone company, etc. ask for the least expensive package.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


if your checks are salaried - meaning you know how much they will be each time - then you need to set up a budget set on that amount.

I would go to the library and check out Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman. They both have great strategies for resolving money issues.

Keep a money diary - track EVERY penny you spend. If you are married - husband must do the same thing...EVER this for one month - this will show you how much you spend at Starbucks, newstands, metro, gas, lunch, etc.

then set your budget according to that. If you can cut out Starbucks - do. It's amazing how fast that runs up...$5 for a cup of coffee can catch up with you.

Plan a menu for every week. Look at your weekly store flyers on Sunday and make your shopping list off of what is on sale. Use as many coupons as you can.

If you have a yard or a balcony where you can grow your own veggies - even if it is in the big planters - do that - that can save you HUGE money.

Turn lights off around you in the house. Keep the thermostat set to 78 in the summer and 65 in the winter...Wear sweaters and slippers in the house instead of turning the heat up.

If you pack the kids lunches - you need to pack yours too. That's $50 a week if not more...

Call your cable company and see if you can get a better deal if you bundle things together...if you don't "need" them - then cut the services out.

If you take public transportation into the city instead of driving - call your insurance company and find out if you can save money on your premiums because you don't drive to work. Also ask how much it will save you if you increase your deductible.

If you don't "need" it to survive - cut it out.
If you can sell your van for something that you don't have to pay on - do it.
If you can refinance your van to a lower payment (not recommended but if you plan on keeping the van for a while it might be beneficial to you). Yes, that will extend your payments, however, you might get a lower interest rate and you will get a lower payment.

Talk to the land lord to see if you can split your rent - or even do that yourself - take 50% out of one check and 50% out of the next check. that way its not all gone in one fell swoop. I remember how depressing that was - get paid and it would be gone in 24 hours...

If you have credit cards - stop using them. It will only give you more trouble in the long run. Call any and all and set up fixed payment arrangements to help you out as well. They would rather get the money then have someone go into default.

I strongly suggest you use Quicken or Quickbooks to help with your finances and pay your will also help you during tax time...if you get a tax return...use all of the return to either pay a credit card off or pay the car down.

I hope this helps!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

As your bills come in write the amount and name on the date they are due on your calendar. Don't forget to include bills that do not have a bill like rent. Also mark your paydays on your calendar.

Over time divide up the bills as evenly as possible over the month. You may have to call some creditors to change the due date to get the amounts due evenly spread over the the two pay days.

Shop sales with coupons and cook what is in season. Make a two week menu based on what is one sale.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You don't mention if your hubby participates in the budgeting process w/ you. Obviously you both need to plan for your household expenses.

Perhaps refinancing your van w/ credit union will help. If you're paying bank fees - monthly, per ATM wihdrawal etc., stop!:) Change banks if necessary. I highly recommend banking w/ credit union because you can avoid many fees charged by other banks.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Most people don't know they can change their due dates on some bills. That might help a little.

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answers from Boston on

Try to spread your bill due dates so that they're fairly even. This is a constant problem for us. My first check of the month covers our mortgage, which is about $500 more than my net pay is so I have to always have $500 squirreled away in savings that I can transfer over the day the mortgage is deducted, then I have to put that back with the next pay check. Most of our bills are paid in the second half of the month. The real issue is that my husband is self employed so I never know how much he is getting paid and when.

Just figure out how much your bills are and assuming that none of them wipes out literally your entire paycheck, schedule them so that you have roughly the same amount of expenses in each half of the month.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

the only bill you will eventually be able to cut out is the car payment so just try to pay down as much as you can of that and then u can have the extra money to save. Good luck!

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