It seems that the majority of people get paid every two weeks, but that has rarely been the case for me. Most of my jobs have been paid once per month. Since I’m not married, there was never another person in the family getting paid every couple of weeks to help offset this once per month paycheck.
Months can feel really long when you are only paid once per month. I’ve managed to come up with several ways to help get by and keep the bills paid and the budget balanced when you are only paid on a monthly basis.
I am assuming you make enough money to pay your bills and basic necessities. If you are not, then some of these tips won’t work. You should focus on ways to earn more money or cut your expenses, which are covered elsewhere on this blog. But this is for you if you know you make enough money, and are just having a hard time making it stretch.
1. When paid once per month, go ahead and pay all of your monthly bills on payday.
This is the case, no matter when they are due in the month. First of all, it is not possible to spend frivolously if the money is gone. Secondly, you have the peace of mind knowing that your bills are paid for the month. Knowing that bills are coming due soon is such a stressor. By getting them all paid right away, you don’t have this concern. If you have bills on autopay on their due dates, then you should go ahead and mark the bills as paid in whatever system you use to track your money. This tricks your brain into thinking the money is gone, even if it isn’t.
2. Fund your savings and/or investments.
The amount you put in savings will vary depending on a number of factors that I am not addressing in this article. But you should definitely have some savings goals and this should be your next step. However, if you are struggling to make ends meet, skip this step and go to step 3 for now. Come back to it later if you have money left over.
3. Figure out how much money you need for groceries, gas, eating out, and incidentals.
Make a note of the amount you need for these expenses and stick to it. Pull the money out of your bank account in cash, if you feel that you cannot be trusted with your debit or credit card. Or, if you hate carrying around cash, you might want to open a separate checking account just for this purpose. Only put enough money in it each month to cover these specific expenses. Do not use this money for any other purpose. And do not pull money from anywhere else for these expenses. This forced budget will make you be more aware of what you are spending when you are at the grocery store or coffee shop. When the money is gone for the month, then it’s gone.
4. Use any leftover money for any purpose you want.
This can be your fun money for the month. You can also go back to step 2 if necessary.
It can take some getting used to when you are only paid once per month. But once you get the hang of it, there are some benefits to it. Sitting down and wiping out an entire month’s worth of bills in one fell swoop is my favorite part of getting paid once per month. I absolutely hate paying bills, and this monthly ritual is such a relief to get through each month. It definitely takes some planning and careful money management skills though, especially if you are not used to it.
P.S. Check out our post on using a simple paper calendar to track your bills. It can really help you stay on top of your finances.
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