How to Budget BiWeekly Pay + Paying Monthly Bills

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HOW TO BUDGET MONTHLY BILLS WITH BIWEEKLY PAY

Do you get paid bi weekly? Creating a biweekly budget doesn’t have to be much different or really any more difficult than any other type of budget. Your budget is about planning how to spend your money– regardless of your pay period.

What makes budgeting every-other-week paychecks a little special is that the bi weekly pay period dates change from month to month.

Let’s check out what you need to be successful with your new budget!

What does biweekly and semi monthly income mean?

First, let’s start with some clarification about how you are getting paid.

Semi monthly means getting paid twice a month– usually on the 1st and the 15th. The definition of bi weekly pay is getting paid every other week.

After many years of getting paid semi-monthly, on the 1st and 15th of every month, I recently started a new job that pays me bi weekly. I didn’t realize it at the time, but bi weekly pay forced me to learn a whole new way to budget. Some months I’m getting paid twice, others three times. Not always the same weeks.

All that change had me scratching my head like, whaaaaaaat?

How does biweekly pay work?

Since bi weekly pay happens every other week, that means you are getting paid twenty-six times a year.

Occasionally, depending on how the calendar falls, it can be twenty-seven, but for planning purposes– twenty-six.

That means twice a year you will be getting an extra pay check. We’ll talk more about what to do with these paychecks later in the article.

How Do I Manage Monthly Bills When I Get Paid BiWeekly?

Monthly Budget Categories

Getting paid once a month, twice a month, every week—it doesn’t matter. You need to know where your money is going.

Groceries. Utilities. Mortgage/Rent. Gas. Insurance. Car Payment. Cell Phone. Internet. Haircuts. Clothing. Gym. Debt Payments.

Once you know what money you need you will be in great shape to get yourself and your money organized to rock your month!

I’ve recently set up a resource library with all of my budget templates and printables!

Drop your email below if you want to receive your very own bi weekly budget template like the one pictured.

A super simple spreadsheet to track your bi weekly pay and give yourself a year-long overview. Super helpful when making sure you are staying on track with your plan and goals!

If Google is more your thing– there is bi weekly budget template Google Sheets I offer from the budgeting workbook I designed,  Dollars that Make Sen$e, specifically for biweekly budgeters. 

The Google Sheet template includes a year long over view so you can track your progress, a month by month budget and a bill tracker to keep yourself organized!



How to Organize Paying BIlls

Google Calendar is a fantastic free tool to help keep your finances organized and on track.

I use it daily to help me stay on top of the rest of my daily life and budgeting is no exception.

Part of it is that the visualization really helps me understand what’s happening in each month, but also the bonus of getting the email reminders so I don’t forget due dates and how I’ve allocated funds in my budget.

The first step to organize paying bills is to schedule out the rest of your paychecks for the rest of the year.

budgeting calendar for biweekly budgets

Budgeting calendar for biweekly budgets

Add all regularly occurring expenses to the calendar

Next, reference your budget and add your bills to the calendar.

I’m a big fan of knowing my weekly budget for things like gas and groceries (discretionary spending), so if that is something that would be helpful to you, you can add those to the beginning of every week to help you account for your monthly spending.

Again, you want to be able to see what is due, when it’s due so you can then decide when and how you are going to pay it.

For large dollar items, like rent or your mortgage, you can split them into payments. For example, if rent is $1200, you can split it into payments of $600. This really depends on what other expenses you have and how much flexibility you have to put aside the first half of the payment to start.

A good time to start if you are living on a super tight budget might be to use the occasional 3rd paycheck in a month.

Note: A bonus to scheduling this, is you get to plan ahead if there are one time expenses you need to budget. Example: birthday’s, Yearly car inspection, holiday spending, etc. No need to last-minute scramble for money to cover those expenses.

It’s far easier to put an extra $7/month away for a few months than to all the sudden have to come up with $100 because of poor planning.

Create Separate Checking Accounts for Your Money

Once you’ve organized your expenses, I highly recommend you open a separate checking account just for your bills and a checking account for the rest of your spending money (discretionary spending).

Your income happens at different times every month making it a challenge to accurately plan ahead for future bills.

Having a separate checking account for your fixed and variable expenses ensures that you have a place to:

  • Hold money for future payments. This is helpful especially if you like to split payments between paychecks for larger expenses like rent to your mortgage.
  • You don’t accidentally spend money that you had set aside for bills– keeping you on track.

Another option for holding future payments (also called sinking funds) is to set up separate savings accounts.

Ally Bank and Capital One 360 are both places I use to build my savings and keep my sinking funds organized. You can create multiple accounts for each sinking fund and at the time of this writing they offer a little higher than average savings rate.

The goal of these extra accounts is to give better visibility over how you’ve earmarked your money and to avoid you have to rely on credit cards to bail you out due to issues with tracking your money.

I’ve organized my Income and Expenses- Now what?

Save a Month’s worth of expenses

A goal of mine is to save up enough money for a month’s worth of expenses. I can’t imagine too many things more stressful than living paycheck to paycheck. Getting a month ahead helps to alleviate the stress for a few reasons.

First, you won’t be getting paid on the same day of the month every month, but typically bills are due at the same time every month.  So, if you are a month ahead, you will always have the money ready to pay bills as they are due regardless if you are getting paid during the first or second week of the month.

You have the flexibility to pay when it best works for you and the due date versus being forced into a certain window because of your ever-changing pay date.

Second, peace of mind. If anything unexpected pops up you have time to adjust for that change.

A word of caution– this is not a free for all pot of money. The purpose of this fund is to maximize your flexibility in paying bills. This is also not an emergency fund.

Check yourself, before you wreck yourself!

When you are planning to get a month ahead. You don’t necessarily need to save a months worth of salary– you just need to save enough to cover your necessary expenses.

The point is to have the money to cover next months bills.

I have a baseline budget that consists of just what I need to get by. It doesn’t include entertainment or eating. It doesn’t include any money that I don’t absolutely need.

You want to make sure you have the money for rent, utilities, cell phone, etc. Anything above necessities is a luxury and those are things you could forgo if the money wasn’t there.

Getting a month ahead of bills

If you are on a super tight budget there are tons of options to help yourself get ahead.

Temporarily cut back on other discretionary spending.

  • Pick up a side hustle: dog walking, lyft, babysitting, mother’s helper, etc.
  • Sell stuff. Check out Ebay, Craigslist, FB Marketplace, or hold your own garage sale.
  • Online surveys. Some of my favorite are SwagbucksSurvey Junkie, and Inbox Dollars.

What to do with your 2 extra biweekly paychecks during the year?

As I mentioned above twice a year you will get an extra payment.

In 2019, depending on how your pay schedule falls, this will likely happen in March and August– though you’ll know for sure when you’ve scheduled out all of your pay in your Calendar. (*hint, hint* *nudge, nudge*)

Here is a list of a few ways you could use those paychecks to get ahead in your financial goals:

  • Pay down debt
  • Save up to get a month ahead for expenses.
  • Put money away for retirement.
  • Add extra to your sinking funds: new car, vacation, home/auto maintenance, etc.
  • Pay an insurance policy (auto, home, life)
  • Grow your emergency fund
  • Pay/plan ahead for irregular expenses.

Pitfalls with Budgeting Biweekly paychecks

There are a few areas you need to be cognizant of when budgeting your bi-weekly pay.

The Two Extra Paychecks. As I mentioned above, your occasional third paycheck isn’t intended to be a free for all, so much as a potential windfall to help you get ahead. Don’t squander the opportunity.

Failing to plan for the month. You need to be diligent about laying out your whole month, so you don’t run out between payday. This is why I strongly recommend using a calendar to really visualize where and when money needs to be spent.

 

How do you budget bi weekly? Any tips or hacks to share? I’d love to hear from you, please comment down below.

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26 thoughts on “How to Budget BiWeekly Pay + Paying Monthly Bills”

    • Thank you so much! I couldn’t agree more. Having a budget is so important when you are taking control of your money. Cheers!

      Reply
    • Hi, Allison. What a great question!

      My family has been getting paid semi-monthly and bi-weekly for the past few years and I’ve found that the best thing you can do is to get organized with your income and expenses.

      I started out by making a list of all of my expenses and their due dates so I could see how much money was due each week. There is a printable bill pay tracker in my resource library, but you could just as easily make a list on a regular ole sheet of paper.

      Then, I put all that information on a calendar (I used Google Calendar but you could just print one out or DIY). Next, I put our paychecks and the amounts on the calendar and started divvying up what is getting paid during each pay period and then making notes if a certain paycheck was going to be short so I could set money aside from a previous paycheck. I also include weekly needs for gas, groceries, etc so that everything is accounted for.

      The absolute best way is to get a month ahead so that you are paying this months bills with last months paycheck. It makes paying bills and planning out your budget tons easier and really helps to alleviate the stress and feeling of living paycheck to paycheck. But depending on your financial situation, it could take some time to get to the point where you are a month ahead.

      My last tip would be to make sure that you each know, based on the budget you made above, what you are getting for spending each week so you don’t accidentally overspend your budget.

      I use a hybrid version of the cash envelope system–paying some bills electronically and some cash.

      I’m the one who does all the grocery shopping, etc. So I organize my money by week instead of just a monthly envelope. If one week I have mine and my husbands paycheck hit– that usually means I’m making 2 weeks of grocery shopping envelopes, I’m setting aside money for gas for the following week, etc. because I know the following week, we won’t be getting paid.

      The benefit of the list of bills is to help you plan ahead so you aren’t ever going to be short.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. I hope this helped!

      Cheers!

      Reply
    • Hi Amy! All of my budgeting templates are in my resource library. If you check out the menu bar there is a sign up for the resource library. Hope this helps. Cheers!

      Reply
  1. My employer recently changed from a bi-monthly to a bi-weekly pay. I’m a single mom with one income. My co-workers petitioned for the change. They want that 3rd pay twice a year. No one seems to understand that in order to get that 3rd paycheck twice a year, the other 10 months of the year my budget (and theirs) is $175 less. When you are pinching pennies to buy groceries, $175 is HUGE! I just skimmed this article, but I’m saving it to read when I have more time. I hope it helps!

    Reply
    • Hi, Jodie! Switching from bi-monthly and bi-weekly pay is a big change. We went through something similar when switching jobs and really had to think through how we were going to make all of it work. $175 is huge for some families! Once you decide to dig in, I’d love to hear from you. Good luck!!

      Reply
  2. I can’t find the exact bill pay calendar that is referenced above. I can only find the document called bill calendar + tracker but that is different than what you show above.

    Reply
  3. I’m in the early stages of the half-payment budgeting system. I really like your take on using Google Calendar to track paydays, bills, as well as events; however, I downloaded the app for iPhone and once I logged in, I have NO IDEA how to use the app! Do you have a tutorial or do you recommend only on a desktop? I think implementing that into my budgeting plan would be really beneficial. Please help!

    Reply
    • HI Monique! Setting this up on your desktop would definitely easier. You can do the same basic things on both : you can set up reminders, add color labels, etc., but it feels more intuitive and user experience (at least for the set up) is better on desktop. If you are just wanting to track bills (internet, utilities, cell phone, etc) and income that is definitely simple enough to add through the app, but if you are wanting to track daily spending, it might be easier through the desktop.

      I don’t have a tutorial, but that is something I will definitely look into for the future. I’d never considered that as something that people might want to see.

      Just the quick basics for using the app/desktop:

      1. I find it so much easier to look at the month view to start before narrowing down to week/day. It feels very disorientating (at least for me) to start with the daily tab when I”m looking at money stuff.

      2. Create a calendar for each thing you want to track and then color code your “calendars”. Events= Color 1, Paychecks = Color 2, Bills= Color 3. That way if you are wanting to look at something quickly, you can toggle off the distractions of the other categories and just focus in on what you need to see.
      On the desktop, on the left hand side you’ll see a collapsible menu called “My Calendars”. Underneath it you’ll see something called, “Other Calendars” and a “+” sign. You can add things like Bills, Paychecks, Events, Classes, etc all as separate calendars.

      Even though you are creating separate “calendars” they are all visible simultaneously as long as you have check-marked their name.

      3.Reminders are your best friend when it comes to managing due dates or making sure you don’t forget something. (https://developers.google.com/calendar/concepts/reminders)

      Please let me know if you have any other questions or want me to deep dive into anything. I’m Google Calendar obsessed! =)

      Reply
      • Thank you for the input!! A tutorial would be FANtastic! Your tips for the basics helped tremendously. Only question so far is if there’s a way to grey out or strike out a bill once it’s paid/cleared…I’m using the description to keep tabs on where the bill stands in the meantime, which will suffice. Looking forward for your reply!

        Reply
        • There’s not a way to strike it (that I’ve ever seen anyway), but you can create another calendar for “Paid” and once, you’ve paid the bill you can switch it from “Bills Due” to “Paid” Calendars (does that make sense?) and then you’d have a record. You also have an option to make a copy of an event to a different calendar so you could keep the “Bills Due” event and once you’ve paid it, duplicate it into the “Paid” calendar.

          Another thing you can do is in the description, if you have any confirmation #’s, Check #’s etc.you can mark them there to keep them for historical record.

          Reply
      • Oh! I thought of another question — is there a way to link my Facebook calendar to it so all my events can automatically be there? I know there must be a way, as I’m following the calendar of a page I follow; not even sure how that was set up.

        Reply
  4. My husband and I both get paid bi-weekly. After I set up my budget for the month I determined how much was needed to be set aside each paycheck. I used the cash envelope system and marked on the envelope how much needed to be put in each pay period. When my envelope has the full amount of the bill due, I deposit that money into the bank and pay the bill. This has been working really well for us. Like you said, two times a year we have an extra pay period. The one in the middle of the year can go for vacation spending and the one at the end of the year can be used for Christmas shopping. This helps alleviate the need to try to save for these things throughout the year.

    Reply
    • Wow, Cindy! That sounds like a great system that’s working well for your family. I really, really love using envelopes with budgeting. It’s truly one of the best and easiest ways to stay on budget. Thank you so much for your awesome tips!

      Reply
  5. This is the first time I’ve ever thought about using Google Calendar to organize bills. It’s brilliant! I like to keep everything in a spreadsheet, but I look at my calendar all the time… so it would be a wonderful reminder. Totally awesome! Thank you!

    Reply
  6. First, let me start off with a huge THANK YOU for your willingness to share. I’m so grateful that I stumbled upon your blog. I was praying about a different way to manage what I have, with a new budgeting system. I’m excited to be apart of this journey and I thank you for your wisdom.

    Reply
    • Hi Briana,
      I’m so happy you found this helpful! I can’t wait to hear how this works for you! Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Cheers,
      Kristen

      Reply
  7. Kristen, I recommend a low credit balance card for groceries. I have used one for years. It helps you to budget an expense that can easily get out of hand and keep your spending to a limit! And easier to pay off balance every month!! Linda

    Reply
    • HI Kayla!

      All of my free templates and printables are in my Resource Library. If you go up to the big red box and sign up, the address to the library and password will be sent to you. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Cheers,
      Kristen

      Reply
  8. Aloha,
    I’m really in need of this bi-weekly budget calendar, but unable to find the like to the fill-able template.
    Please email me at the email give. I’d love to start this.

    Mahalo,

    Joanie Valenton

    Reply
    • Hi, Joanie,
      The templates are available in my resource library, if you are interested in joining, just fill out the red subscriber box above.

      Cheers,
      Kristen

      Reply

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