How to budget when you’re getting paid weekly?
I know that coming up with a budget for weekly paychecks can be challenging to make work with with monthly bills can feel like a bit of a struggle to get everything to work together just right.
Creating a weekly budget with monthly bills doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated if you create a proper system and get organized.
Let’s check out this definitive step-by-step guide to creating a weekly budget and paying bills weekly.
#1 – List Your income & Expenses by Due Date
One of the absolute easiest ways to organize your income and expenses is with a budget calendar.
A budget calendar is an easy way to get a birds eye view of exactly where and when your money is moving around during the month.
If a budgeting calendar isn’t your jam, you can absolutely make the same thing work with simple pen and paper or even a spreadsheet.
#2 – Separate Bills and Monthly Expenses into weekly Amounts
Now that you know when your bills are all due, organize them by weeks.
If you took the budgeting calendar route, you can quickly see exactly what expenses you have each week.
If you opted for the pen and paper or a spreadsheet, consider listing out each week with the dates and the bills due during each week.
If you have categories like groceries, gas, fun money, entertainment, etc, consider instead of giving yourself a monthly total– breaking these costs down into weekly expenses as well.
#3 – change due dates if you have too many expenses in one week
Once you know what income and expenses will occur each week, you will be able to tell quite quickly if you have too many expenses to cover in a single week.
If or when this happens, consider calling these companies to see about changing your due dates to create a more evenly distributed payment schedule.
#4 – Create a Cash Flow
Your weekly budgets do not operate independent of each other which is why it is critical that you include a cash flow sheet into your budget.
I know the term cash flow can feel super ‘finance-y’, but it’s just a fancy pants way of tracking the movement of cash into and out of your bank account and seeing the way that each transaction affects your bank balance in the future.
It’s like you can tell the future, but without the crystal ball… and with a bunch of math.
So basically a heaping helping of awesomesauce.
If you are looking for a done-for-you, all-in-one — check out the Better Budget Calendar.
It can be used as a weekly paycheck budget template with the benefit of a budget calendar, non-spreadsheet spreadsheet and cash flow all-in-one.
You can see your daily totals for each day as well as your running balance (aka your cash flow).
It’s quick and easy to use, plus it shows you instantly what the effect of today’s spending does on tomorrow (or next weeks!) balance.
I am in love!
#5 – Split large expenses into partial payments
When you have large monthly fixed expenses like rent, mortgage, daycare, car payments, etc. it can be a challenge to make these work inside of a single week.
Instead consider making payments ahead.
Let’s say you have $1000 a month rent payment.
When you get paid every week, you would put aside smaller payments of $250. These smaller payments allow for a much more manageable expense than throwing $1000 down in a single week.
If you can’t make pre-payments, you can also put those payments into a savings account until it’s due date and transfer the money over when you need it.
Super simple, yet effective.
#6 – Utilize Sinking Funds and Emergency Funds to Make Sticking to your budget simple
Life happens at 100mph.
Emergencies are going to happen and nothing derails your budget quicker than unexpected expenses.
If you are interested in learning more about how to create an emergency fund, how much to save or where to keep it, you can check out this definitive guide to building an emergency fund.
Another absolute necessity to make your budgeting system even more efficient is making sure to include sinking funds for irregular expenses.
Much like having an Emergency fund to account for life’s unexpected surprises (job loss, medical emergencies, etc.). Sinking funds work to help you plan ahead for expenses that you know are coming, but don’t necessarily happen every month.
Back to school expenses, hair cuts, prescriptions, co-pays, HOA fees, birthdays, holidays, etc.
If you’d like to learn more about sinking funds, be sure to check out How to Create Sinking Funds.
#7 – Create a Second Account for Spending
By far, one of the most common problems families have with budgeting is tracking spending and staying on top of money leaving their checking account.
Hands down, the best thing I’ve ever done for my family’s money has been to have one account for all my bills and expenses and a second account for spending.
With this method you can eliminate overdraft fees, make sure you aren’t spending money needed to cover bills, and best of all it all– tracking is super minimal.
So what does this look like in practice?
Once I have all my bills and expenses sorted by weeks, I will transfer the money needed into the bill pay/expense account and then transfer my spending money (discretionary spending: groceries, gas, entertainment, etc) for the week into my second checking for spending.
When you have an account just for bills and expenses, the only real tracking that’s needed is to make sure those bills are clearing (coming out) of the account.
When you give yourself weekly spending amount, you only need to account for the weekly amount you have to spend. Anything that comes out of your second account doesn’t necessarily need to be tracked as you’ve already accounted for it as the weekly expenditure.
So once you reach $0 in that account you know you have no more spending money left for the week and you will need to wait until next week to spend any other money. It’s a pretty simple system that doesn’t require a ton of tracking or time spent.
#8 – Saving money When you get paid weekly
You may be wondering how to save when you get paid weekly, but it doesn’t have to super complicated.
Saving money is an important part of any budget.
Whether you want to buy a house, take a vacation, save for a car– you will need money to make these goals achievable.
The simplest, most effective way to make saving consistent is to create the habit of saving money by treating savings like a fixed expense.
It’s something that has to be paid every pay period– even if all you can spare is a few dollars, that’s still baby steps forward in meeting your personal finance goals.
Don’t follow into the trap of thinking that saving a few dollars here and there isn’t worth it.
Do you know what $3 turns into if you save everyday for a year? $1095.
$21 a week can get you to over a thousand dollars savings in a year.
Don’t discount your few dollars savings! You have to start somewhere.
Make savings a priority– you’re worth it!
What is a good weekly budget?
A good weekly budget is one that is realistic and you can stick to.
If you are looking for specific budgeting percentages, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Budgeting percentages as a starting point. It will not perfectly fit everyone’s financial situation or priorities, but it’s a solid starting point.
Next, take the steps above and walk yourself through the month a week at a time.
A budget is simply a spending plan at its heart. Taking the time to plan how you are spending your money is critical in managing your money without letting your money manage you.
Finally, if you find yourself getting off track, don’t give up! Get back into your money, make the adjustment and keep moving forward.
I would love to hear about your weekly budgeting questions, tips, or tricks– please comment below!