When I changed jobs a few years ago, I was faced, for the first time ever, with the prospect of getting paid just once a month rather than twice.
At first, I was nervous. What if I ran out of money by the 20th of the month, or worse — the 10th?
But I soon realized that getting paid once a month actually boosted my financial savvy. Here are three reasons why getting paid once a month works for me.
1. I Get All of My Bills Out of the Way, Right Away
Getting paid monthly forces me to pay my bills first. No longer can I push off the cell phone bill, figuring that I can “catch it next paycheck.”
Paying all my bills upfront allows me to really see my budget: how much is going out each month and where it is going.
As a personal finance blogger, I am chagrined to admit that I have not always been the best budgeter. When I got paid every two weeks, I might pay my rent and some bills with one paycheck and then more bills with the next paycheck. But having it all go out at once gives me a better sense of what I spend — and gives me clues to where I can cut back.
2. I Actually Save More Money
When you have that fear that all of your money could be gone by the 20th (or the 10th!), you start to act as if that might happen, or at least I did.
So I found that I was not spending as much at the beginning of the month. Those thrifty ways became thrifty habits, and I soon found I could (easily) carry those habits through the whole month.
This seems a good time to caution you against a scarcity mindset. It’s not healthy to have a true fear of running out of money, so instead, I made it a game: “How much money can I still have on the 10th? The 15th? The 20th? The 25th?”
Once I started viewing saving money like a fun challenge, it became a form of play, no fear involved.
3. I Do Not Procrastinate
On the whole I am not a big procrastinator, but getting paid once a month forces me to plan better.
For example, if I have something big coming up in the next month or two — a loved one’s birthday, a weekend getaway, even scheduled car maintenance — I get on it and get ’er done early.
I will have a few choices this holiday season:
- Buy gifts throughout the year as I see them and have funds allotted
- Buy them in early December (if I lump that money into my “bill money”)
- Use credit cards (dangerous for me!)
- Wait until January 1 to pay off credit cards I used to buy those gifts
I think most people would agree that the first option is best, and with my once-a-month pay schedule, I have an added incentive to put it into action. (Happy to report that I already have a couple of gifts purchased and wrapped.)
Those are three ways that I have made going from a twice-a-month paycheck to a once-a-month paycheck work for me. I would like to hear what works for you. I am always looking to pick up smart money-saving tips!