Changing the Budget

Ahhh, it’s time for a new budget.  After switching jobs, I now only get paid once per month instead of every two weeks like I used to.  I’ve waited to do this for a few reasons

  • I was getting quite a few “final” paychecks at a time and was going to be experiencing higher than normal cash intake for the month
  • I havent gotten a full paycheck from my new job (only 2 weeks worth)
  • I owed quite a bit of taxes

Coming up soon, I’ll be getting my first full paycheck from my new job, and I’ll be able to craft a working budget with it.  Back when I was a very poor grad student, I got paid once a month, so I am used to the challenges it comes with (there were more months than I’d care to count when the 10th or 11th of the month would roll around and I’d have about $15 dollars left for the entire month.  While this sounds extreme, at that point my bills were usually paid and most of the food shopping had been done, so there wasn’t really a need f0r more (except to pay down debt).

Now, my financial life is a bit more complicated – I’ve got a car payment (boo), I’ve got student loans to pay, and I’ve got savings goals to meet.  When all these payments were selected, they were picked because they jived well with my cash flow at the time.  Savings withdraws pull a few days after I get paid off of one check, the truck and student loan are paid on the same day which was a few days after my second check was deposited.  Doing it this way made sure that I’d always have a bit of spare cash until the next payday, and all my bills were getting paid.

Now, I only get paid on the first of the month, and I’ve got to change all the dates so that I can make sure that all my bills are paid after I get paid then I can know how much I can put to my debt!

How often do you need to change your budget?  Do you prefer getting paid once a month or biweekly?

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About Jeff

Jeff is the founder of sustainable life blog and has been interested in sustainability for most of his life. After realizing in 2007 that his finances were a total wreck, he started reading financial blogs and quickly realized that what is best for your wallet is typically better for the earth, and is usually healthier. On sustainable life blog Jeff shares his journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. For updates, subscribe by email or like us on facebook.


  1. Back when we were first married, my husband got paid once a month. To ‘fool’ myself I divided the paycheck in 4, then entered that amount in the checkbook every Monday. Using that ‘week’s money’ I paid bills and food shopped making sure to never exceed the amount budgeted.

    When he changed to a paycheck every 2 weeks and I started a job paying every 2 weeks I simply adjusted the budget amounts spent for those 2 weeks. Again, never exceeding the budgeted amount.

    Not to say we didn’t have some months when the budgeted amount had to be put on the credit card, partial payments paid after discussion with the lender, but for the most part the due dates of bills and the paycheck days balanced.

    Now that we are retired and receive SS and pension at the same time, we again ‘fool’ ourselves by entering amounts on the 7th and 21st (to accommodate our due on the 15th mortgage payment) and can easily keep to our budget.

    Which do I prefer – twice a month and if there are 2 paychecks I prefer both at the same time. From friends’ experience I find it too easy to stray widely from the budget if paycheck are received weekly or monthly.

  2. I get paid twice a month (1st and 15th) which makes it very easy to budget and pay bills. However, I tweak my budget often depending on things that come up or challenges to be met (like when my college son needs money, ugh!). I look at my budget at least every other day to make sure I’m staying on track and to try to figure out where I can squeeze a little more savings.

  3. I prefer paychecks often. I am paid monthly and my wife is semi-monthly. It takes a few months to get used to it.

  4. I currently get paid bi weekly and I must admit I like it. I like being able to schedule bills and investments around when I get paid. I like knowing that every second Thursday I get paid. I used to get paid semi- monthly and I didn’t like it as much. Getting paid once a month would be really different.

  5. I change my budget when I got my new job. And chances are I’ll change my budget again when I buy a home (or other large purchases come my way). Right now I get paid bi-weekly, which I enjoy cause I get “surprise” extra paychecks in my mind that go into savings right away.

  6. Suzanne says:

    I get paid once a month on the 25th. Being an expert budgeter this works great for me. My bills are always paid early and then what is left (after auto savings) is all thats left for the month- deal with it!

  7. I get paid once a month on the last business day of the month. I am careful with my money and I find it easier to budget for an entire month than for a two week period since most of my bills are monthly or bimonthly. I haven’t had a job that paid more frequently in over three and a half years, so I’m quite used to it now. A lot of people complain that they run out of money by the end of the month, but I’ve never had that problem.

  8. Avoid the temptation of spending all the big bucks!

    Maybe just stay with what you were making before, for 6 month and see how it goes?


    • I’ll actually be making about the same (After taxes, insurance, etc) but will be spending quite a bit less on gas – Now I walk to work. So I reduced my budget by about 400/mo and it seems to be going over well.

  9. Being paid monthly works well for me. I find that I have a better longer-term view of my finances and don’t tend to think of money on a week-to-week basis. My boyfriend gets paid every 4 weeks, meaning that our pay days don’t necessarily always coincide or correspond. I would say that this is pretty tricky to negotiate at times.

  10. Myron J says:

    Very interesting subject. I have been pondering this one since earlier this year. Have used Quicken now for about a decade, so I have been accutely aware of my numbers. With that being said, I use the monthly format but forcast out six months. By using the prior year for reference I am able to include more variable expenses: auto renewals, oil changes, seasonal swings in spending patterns. I also like seeing the aggregate amounts. This allows me to really see what I can/can’t afford. Then as the results come in monthly, I just reajust the budgeted amount to the actual and modify the remaing months if there is a big discrepency. I read somewhere to treat your finances like a business, so I give every dollar a purpose and try my best to align the six month frame to my larger goals. I was wondering if anyone else forcasts out their spending plan?

  11. I get paid twice a month (5th and 20th), I’m used to it now but it was a bit of an adjustment when I changed from a bi-weekly pay system to this one.

    I’d like to go to once a month but will probably get that in retirement!


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