What if we could live paycheck to paycheck on purpose and create a life of financial freedom? Many feel the negative connotation of living paycheck to paycheck as a bad thing when it could benefit us.
There are fantastic advantages of budgeting paycheck to paycheck on purpose. We live paycheck to paycheck on purpose. We create a budget for everything we want and need to pay for within the month. However, each paycheck has its very own budget. We assign each payment within the month to the paycheck that coincides with as we get paid every other month. It is also known as the half payment budgeting method, too.
What Is A Zero-Based Budget?
I am sure you have heard this before. A budget is just a plan for your money. It is a way to be aware and present how you handle your money, an economic blueprint. A way to control how much you save, how much you spend, and where to designate the rest.
I love budgets! I love being organized and knowing where my money is going. I like knowing these things, and the advantages of budgeting are great for me. It keeps me calm and sane. I may or may not be a control freak. And knowing I am in control of our money makes me a little less stressed.
Having a plan for your money must work for you. Whether it’s on paper in a budget binder, in an app, or on a spreadsheet, it needs to fit in your life.
Three-quarters of Americans are one disaster away from financial tragedy.
Essentially, a zero-based budget is a budget that has no money left when you finish deciding where it goes. Giving every dollar a place in the budget enables complete control over your cash.
For example, If your budget is an entire month out and you have $180 leftover, you cannot just let it sit there without a name. Even if you name that $180 miscellaneous or cushion, it has a name and a purpose. It will disappear if it doesn’t have a name and purpose.
A zero-based budget is your end game. The goal you aim for in any budget gives you the power over your money and spending.
Once you have a budget, you will see where your money is going and where it shouldn’t be going. It allows you to make tweaks and changes where they need to be. You may even feel like you got a raise!!
Who Needs A Money Plan?
Ummm…just about everyone!
If you have bills and responsibilities, you need a budget. If you have goals and dreams, you also need a budget.
If you do not have a budget, I’m sure it isn’t because you don’t know-how. I am sure it’s emotional, and everyone has an excuse for not having one. There are so many places to learn HOW to make a budget. It’s time-consuming and restrictive. It’s too depressing to see all this money disappear and really, it’s just not fun.
Getting through the emotional aspect is a great first step and probably the biggest obstacle. You really need to be in the right money mindset in order to start the budget process.
Advantages Of Knowing Where Your Money Is Going
Here are some great reasons to have a budget!
- We see where you need to cut expenses and find ways to do that.
- Control over your money to become debt-free.
- You are planning for your future.
- You are saving money for a beach house or any other big dreams.
- Less money stress and fights.
- Permission to have some fun without guilt.
- You are feeling like you got a raise with all the money you have found going to waste.
The Problem With Traditional Monthly Budgeting
It’s too much time to predict. There are four weeks (sometimes five) to accommodate here. Yes, if we got paid once per month, we could plan for all of our expenses for the entire month. But why not break it down and plan for the times when you do have your money.
Having all your sinking funds fully funded is excellent, but something always comes up. You do not have all of your money at the start of the month, and you really can’t know what is going to happen during that month. I find it so much easier to manage than an entire month.
Looking at the entire month can be intimidating and overwhelming taking a toll on emotions. A budget is supposed to relieve stress not add to it. Taking smaller bites can allow you to be that much more in control.
Living Paycheck To Paycheck On Purpose
Most see living paycheck to paycheck as a negative thing, and it is stereotypical. I propose trying it all little different. Live paycheck to paycheck on purpose. Design your financial life around the way you get paid.
We get paid every other week, so we budget biweekly.
Because we like to focus on both short term and long term goals, budgeting bi-weekly allows us to look at our short term financial goals in these smaller chunks of time without getting overwhelmed and giving us control over our money.
What does it mean to live from paycheck to paycheck?
It means that there is no cushion for errors or emergencies. There is no money left in their account when the next paycheck has cont. It has all been spent.
According to Forbes, Career Builder showed some pretty upsetting statistics from their survey in 2017.
- Nearly one in 10 workers making $100,000+ live paycheck to paycheck
- More than 1 in 4 workers do not set aside any savings each month
- Nearly 3 in 4 workers say they are in debt – and more than half think they always will be
- More than half of minimum wage workers say they have to work more than one job to make ends meet
- 28% of workers making $50,000-$99,999 usually or continuously live paycheck to paycheck
- 70% are in debt
- 32% of the nearly 3,500 full-time workers surveyed use a budget and only 56% save $100 or less a month.
However, this is NOT what living paycheck to paycheck means to us!
Is This The Same As The Half Payment Budget Method?
We live paycheck to paycheck on purpose because this is what works best for us. I can add to my sinking funds, see what needs to be paid each pay period or biweekly and plan accordingly for things that might come up within those two weeks!
Essentially, we take half of our expenses and set them aside for the month. You could pay half your costs at the beginning of the month and the other half at the end.
So, instead of a monthly budget, we have a biweekly budget or half payment budget method. And the best tools for this are a calendar, a pen, and a stack of bills.
How Do We Budget Bi-Weekly?
Grab all those bills or open up the apps to find out the due dates of your bills and find out the average amount due each month. Sometimes they are fixed amounts where the payment is the same each month. Consider your mortgage or cable bills. They are always $1200 and $125 every month.
Other bills, like electric, might be variable month to month so finding an average of that bill for the year may take a little extra time.
Also, many times if you find too many bills due at the beginning of the month, sometimes utility companies will change your due dates with just a quick phone call. This will allow you a little more balance in your budget.
Let me show you an example calendar.
For April, We have these bills:
- Mortgage: $1200
- Cell Phone: $75
- Car Insurance: $100
- Electric: $120
- Netflix: $10
- Student Loan: $375
Our take-home income is $4400 per month or $2200 each paycheck.
Looking at the calendar, you can see the dates when each of our bills is due. Assigning each of these to a paycheck, we come out with a list of bills set to each paycheck as follows:
Paycheck #1 totals $895 which means there is $1110 left for debt payoff, sinking funds, groceries, and possibly investing. Paycheck $2 has a little less left over to do the same. I would consider paying off that student loan before investing.
Where To Keep Track Of Your Bi-Weekly Budget?
My favorite place to keep my budget is in my budget binder. I love this thing. If there was an emergency and we had to leave the house, I would grab this binder right along with the baby photo albums and wedding photo album. That is how much it means to me.
There are some who prefer to budget using spreadsheets or computer-based systems. These are great when you’re already on the computer anyway.
Many would instead use an app or computer program which is just as effective. You can use the calendar on your phone in conjunction with Every Dollar or Mint (or any other app that you enjoy).
Have you thought about living paycheck to paycheck on purpose? How do you budget? Is there another way besides biweekly or monthly that you have come up with to take control of your money?
My husband gets paid every Friday and I get paid once a month. How would you recommend we go about budgeting for that? Currently, I budget most of our bills using the weekly paycheck and anything that is due around the same time or after the monthly paycheck, I use it to pay with. I also noticed you had mortgage #1 and mortgage #2, are those two separate mortgages or just one that you split into two payments so it wasn’t one big one?
Hi Erica! I break down our bills into 2 week segments. Anything due at the beginning of the month gets paid the last paycheck of the previous month. I would add your monthly paycheck in and designate specific things that your check would cover. maybe your check would be for groceries for the month and the internet, for example. Mortgage is broken down into two paychecks because it’s so big and also because that’s how we paid it with our bank. They gave us a better interest rate if we paid it twice a month and automatically out of our account.
It’s good to know I’m doing it right as single mom! I have been breaking down my bills for the longest time. I don’t have any other way, with my 2 boys..
Thanks for reading. Keep up the good work! 🙂
variety with nandy
I am confused, so you mean like someone who gets a monthly check should like divide it bi weekly to pay for bills and so on?
Or how can a person thats get paid monthly go about with this budget.
I really love Nd enjoyed reading this,definately want to start budgeting this way.
I started doing this is August and so far I’ve paid off over $1000 in credit card debt. I’m hoping to tackle my student loans next year
This is FANTASTIC! Great job!!
Sarah my husband gets paid weekly and I get paid bi weekly how would this work? So that makes atleast 2 weeks out of the mo th both our checks are together.
Assigning specific bills to each paycheck would be the easiest way. Big bills like housing would be split up out of each pay for each person.
I get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month. My husband gets pause every other Wednesday (starting this coming Wednesday). How would you suggest us to set up a budget? Our mortgage and car payment are both due on the 16th.
I would suggest assigning bills to each paycheck. Your mortgage is probably a big one that needs to be divided into multiple parts. We had ours set up to auto-withdraw and pay twice a month. It was the easiest for us.
Gm this is such good information. I would like to start using this method. I’m sure it will be helpful. How does this work when I’m already behind on my bills and there are more bills than money to start with? What would you suggest?
You have to find a way to get caught up on your bills first, before anything. Try this article: https://frozenpennies.com/how-to-budget-when-you-are-behind-on-bills/
Thanks for reading!
Sara, I would love to try this method. My husband and I both get paid bi-weekly, but on alternating weeks. So, I get paid today and he gets paid next Friday. Right now, we are way behind on our debt payments, but our ‘important’ payments are current. How do you go about assigning money to regular monthly payments, and irregular debt i.e- hospital bills, credit cards, and other stuff like kids’ sports? Thank you.
I would start with an envelope system. Even if its not in cash, create a virtual envelope system to set a budget for everyday items like food, housing, electric, car. Be realistic and selfish with your money and assign all bills a date to get paid. I suggest stopping all discretionary spending until you’re caught up. I do offer paid coaching if thats an option for you.
I have done this for years. It helps to be sure to put away the savings from the paycheck that doesn’t align with all the bills.
Good information I was confused on how to start. But you all made it easy to understand I will be using these method ♥️