My wife is an educator and she normally gets her paycheck on the last day of each month. But, in November and December, she gets her paycheck a couple of weeks early, due to the fact that school will be out for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. In the past, we would look forward to this “early money”, because we were living “paycheck-to-paycheck”. But, inevitably, when January rolled around, we would be struggling to make it to January 31st! November’s and December’s paychecks would have long-been-spent, and we’d be using our credit cards to help fill the “paycheck gap”.
If you get your paycheck a few weeks early, be careful! Do not treat this money as a “bonus” and go crazy. I know folks who will spend every dollar of their December paycheck before January 1st – and then they have to go through all of January, using credit cards to ‘make ends meet’. This ‘strategy’ (or lack thereof) will put them behind for an entire year!
Now, because we have an emergency fund and a budget, it really doesn’t matter to us “when” we get paid. Our budget is based on our annual salaries, and bills are broken down into monthly categories. So, even though we might receive a paycheck on the 21st, money from that paycheck will not be allocated for expenses until the 31st.
Using a budget helps to keep things in perspective!
If you are looking for an easy-to-use budget solution, consider the YNAB Personal Budget system. YNAB is a spreadsheet-based system that I’ve been using (with great success) for more than 2 years. (YNAB has been a sponsor of No Credit Needed for more than 2 years – and I proudly promote it!)
If you want to read more about creating a budget, check out a few of these articles I’ve written: