Wanna know something crazy?
Two-thirds of Americans don’t have a budget.
218 MILLION people are out there spending their money all will-nilly with no zero game plan.
That’s two hundred and eighteen million people who are not financially successful.
Because, let’s face it:
Without a budget, you are highly, HIGHLY unlikely to be able to afford your lifestyle, pay down debt, or save money.
But wait! It’s all good, because:
Creating a budget for your money is hella easy. And, when you stick to a budget, you’ll definitely be able to:
- • pay your bills with ease
- • finally get out of debt
- • actually deposit money into that savings account that’s been at $1.67 forever
- • have extra money for your own personal spending
and, most importantly, your money stress with disappear.
Freaking sweet, right!?
What is the Budget By Paycheck method?
A budget by paycheck method of managing your money is super easy and is perfect for people living paycheck to paycheck.
In a nutshell, budgeting by paycheck is the process of using a calendar to track your paydays and bill due dates so that you can easily manage the money you are earning and spending.
By the end of this post, I’ll cover everything you need to know to set up a successful budget by paycheck so that living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t feel like life or death.
Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll be covering:
- 1. Determine Your Why Factor
- 2. Collect Your Financial Information
- 3. Financial Evaluation
- 4. Decrease Expenses
- 5. How To Set Up A Budget By Paycheck
- 6. Tracking Your Budget
Who Is a Budget By Paycheck system good for?
IMO, the budget by paycheck system is the easiest and most straightforward way to budget.
Every single person, regardless of income, can benefit from this method and will have no problem setting it up.
Learning how to budget by paycheck will:
- • open your eyes to how much money you actually have to spend each month
- • show you point blank if you’re living within or beyond your means
- • help you plan your spending so you have enough for bills, necessities, savings, etc. each pay cycle
- • tell you exactly how money you have left over after each pay day
It’s a win-win-win-win!
1. Determine your why
Ok so, we’ve already established this:
Every single person needs a budget if they want to be financially successful.
This answer will be different for everybody. You can determine your why factor by asking yourself what budgeting will help you achieve in your life.
You might want to start budgeting to stop living paycheck to paycheck, to free up money to pay off debt, or to save more money.
Knowing your why is essential because it creates meaning for your purpose. Without it, you’d have no motivation to continue budgeting.
Because let’s be honest:
If you do not have a plan for your money, how are you going to afford your blessed life?
2. collect your financial information
The best part about this step is that it’s super simple and shouldn’t take you much time.
You’re simply going to gather up your financial records, such as:
- • a months worth of pay stubs from all sources of income
- • a list of the bills you pay and for how much
- • a months worth of receipts for variable spending on such things as groceries, transportation, household items, take-out, etc.
Once you have those things we can dive into the budget!
3. Calculate your income and expenses
Even though you will be budgeting your income as you get paid, it is important to calculate your total monthly income and total monthly expenses before you start budgeting.
If you’re never budgeted before, you probably don’t have a true picture of how much money you earn versus spent. Thus, you don’t know if you’re living within or beyond your means.
To determine if you need to decrease your expenses before you start budgeting, calculate your income and expenses now.
Using the information you gathered during step two, calculate your total monthly income (after taxes) from all sources.
For the purposes of this post, let’s pretend our total monthly income is $5,000.
- 1. Fixed Expenses: Bills that you pay monthly, usually for the same amount and on the same date. (Rent/mortgage, utilities, cell phone, credit card minimums, insurance, etc)
- 2. Variable Expenses: Costs that vary in price each month and could be decreased or eliminated if needed. (Groceries, transportation, entertainment, personal spending, etc.)
For the purposes of this post, let’s pretend our total monthly expenses are $3,500.
Now that you have you total monthly income and total monthly expenses calculated, you can do some simple math to see if you’re living within or beyond your means.
Simply take your total monthly expenses and subtract that number from your total monthly income.
$5,000 (total income) – $3,500 (total expenses) = $1,500
If the number is a positive number, you’re in the green.
You should be able to afford your lifestyle with ease each month. If you’re scratching your head right now wondering where all your extra cash has been going, then starting a budget is the best thing you can do for your finances.
If the number you calculated is a negative number, you’re in the red.
You cannot afford your current lifestyle and are spending more money than you earn. Decreasing your expenses will be key to starting a successful budget.
But wait:Everybody can benefit from decreasing their expenses, so don’t skip the next step even if you’re in the green!
4. Decrease your expenses
I know what folks in the green are wondering, “why should I decrease my expenses if I’m making more than I’m spending?”
Well, more money in your pocket is always, unanimously a good idea, right?
- 1. Take out your list of expenses and mark each one with a star that you think you could eliminate or decrease.
- For instance, could you find a company that offers internet at a lower cost? Are you overpaying for car insurance? Maybe you could refinance your mortgage or student loans for lower interest rates. Could you carpool and decrease your transportation costs? Are you spending waaayy too much money on coffee at Starbucks each month?
- You get the point! Do the research and you’ll be ah-freaking-mazed at how much money you could be saving.
- 2. Sign Up For Truebill
- When you sign up for Truebill, they’ll securely connect to your bank account(s) to analyze your spending, subscriptions, and recurring bill pay. Then, Truebill will work its magic by helping you cancel unused subscriptions, negotiate lower bill prices, and improve your credit score. In the last five years alone, Truebill has helped its users save over ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS!
- You can sign up for Truebill here and be saving money in minutes!
- 3. Pay Off Your Debt
- Credit card debt, car loans, and student loans will suck you dry every month if you don’t work hard now to pay off what you owe. My two best recommendations for paying off debt quickly are to consolidate your debt into a low-interest personal loan or use the debt snowball method to pay off your debt.
- Doing this will save you hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars over the course of your life.
5. How To Budget By Paycheck
You made it! We’re finally ready to budget!
Grab these supplies to set up your budget by paycheck:
- • A blank calendar (or download and print your budget by paycheck calendar by clicking here)
- • Different colored pens, pencils, or markers
- • Your monthly income list with your pay dates for the upcoming month
- • Your list of fixed expenses and their due dates
- • Your list of variable expenses
To get started, take a peek at the example calendar below to get an idea of how to set yours up.
Then I’ll go over what you’re looking at in more detail.
The first step to setting up your budget by paycheck is to get all of your financial information onto your calendar.
From the image above, you can see that I’ve listed my bills and their amounts on their due dates. I’ve also listed my bi-weekly paychecks and how much they’ll be for.
For each new paycheck, I use a different colored pen so I can easily see which paychecks will be used for each bill.
For example, the bills in pink are being paid by last months paycheck. The blue bills are being paid by the paycheck received on the 6th. And the yellow bills are being paid by the paycheck received on the 20th.
Next, you’re going to add in your variable expenses and calculate your weekly or bi-weekly net worth.
For this next step, I’ve added in my weekly variable expenses and calculated my bi-weekly net worth by subtracting the weeks expenses from my income.
Because of example purposes, the bi-weekly network calculated on the calendar above is positive, meaning I have extra money going into next payday.
However, it is completely normal for this number to be negative. If you subtracted your expenses from your weekly or bi-weekly paycheck and got a negative number, it means you must use money from the previous weeks paycheck to cover expenses during your current pay cycle.
Borrowing from another weeks paycheck is most likely to happen if you are living paycheck to paycheck and broke even when you did your financial evaluation above.
If you got a positive number when you did your financial evaluation, you can use that number to factor debt repayment and savings into your pay cycles, as shown in the next example.
Outlining your income and expenses on a budget by paycheck calendar is so good for so many things, like you can:
- 1. Easily see what bills need to be paid when and for how much
- 2. Determine how much money you’ll need from a previous week to afford your bills for the upcoming weeks
- 3. Find extra money for savings and debt repayment with leftover money from each pay cycle
- 4. Work surprise expenses into your budget when needed
Budgeting by paycheck makes living paycheck to paycheck simple and gives you a clear picture of your financial wellbeing.
6. tracking your budget
Here’s the deal:
Most people forget the most important part of budgeting and then wonder why their budget failed a month after implementing it.
Tracking your budget is the most important part of budgeting. If you have a budget, then you need to track it.
Because let’s be real:
If you do not track your budget, you cannot make sure that you are sticking to your budget. And if you aren’t making sure that you’re sticking to your budget, your budget will fail.
A budget by paycheck system is really good at tracking your budget for you since you re-evaluate every time you are paid.
Do you ever miss bill payments and then kick yourself for the late fee? Does paying off debt feel impossible? Is a savings account out of the question for you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a budget binder will make a huge difference for you.
When you use a budget binder to track your finances, you can check off bill payments as they come and set and track your debt repayment and savings goals.
So, you might be wondering: How do you track your budget?!
Well, we developed the Budget Boss Binder™ to track any and all budgets, debt repayment, savings goals, bill payments, and more.
The Budget Boss Binder™ is a printable and digital budgeting planner designed to help you stick to your budget, pay off debt, save money, and create an abundant life. The templates included are un-dated so you only have to purchase once to use this them forever.
Because you’re a valued reader of Who Says What, we’re offering our best selling Budget Boss Binder™ to you for 50% off when you click the button below!
Skip to the end? READ ME!
Ok, so I know this was a loonngg post. So I get it if you skipped to the end.
I’m gonna be honest with you though:
You cannot set up a successful budget by skimming this post. There’s just too many little details that you’d miss.
But, I will throw you a bone:
When you sign up for our free mini Budget Boss™ eCourse, you’ll receive a paced version of this post over the course of 5 days. You’ll also unlock access to our free resource library which contains the budget by paycheck checklist and calendar template!
I will walk you through each step with mini homework assignments so that setting up a budget isn’t so overwhelming.
Simply use the form below to register for your free Budget Boss™ eCourse today!
A budget by paycheck method was the first way I managed my money and helped ease the stress of living paycheck to paycheck and made paying off debt more realistic.
Using this budget method truly transformed my financial wellbeing and I was the same for you!
So, take action.
Gather your financial information, implement your budget, and track your budget for success.