When you’re paid biweekly, you receive paychecks every other week. In most months, this means you’ll get two paychecks, but two months out of the year you’ll receive three. While this may pose budgeting questions, in most months you’ll still want to budget your monthly bills around two paychecks to avoid coming up short.
Gather all your fixed monthly bills and calculate the total. Monthly fixed bills are expenses that don’t change on a monthly basis -- you pay the same amount each month.Examples of bills you pay on a monthly basis include rent, utilities, your car payment, car insurance and minimum credit card payments.
Divide your total fixed expenses by two. The result is the amount you need to set aside each paycheck to meet your monthly fixed expenses.
Estimate other variable monthly bills. These include groceries, fuel for your car, entertainment and clothing. Review your receipts, credit card or bank statements to see what you're spending in these categories on a regular basis. Choose a time period you feel best represents your current spending. Add all your variable expenses for that time period, then divide by the number of months to get an average of your variable monthly expenses.
Divide your variable expenses by two. The result is the amount you need each paycheck to pay for variable expenses.
Add the results from your fixed and variable expense calculations after you have divided the two categories by two.
Look at the net amount of your most recent biweekly paycheck. The net amount is the actual amount you take home. If the amount is not enough to cover your fixed and variable expenses, you’ll need to adjust the amount you spend on variable expenses to make sure your check covers what you need.
Put money for your fixed expenses aside. After you get paid, place the amount you need for your fixed expenses in a safe place, such as a savings account; separate from your variable spending allowance. This ensures the money you put aside for your fixed monthly expenses is available when you need to pay those bills. Use the remaining amount to cover your variable expenses until your next payday.
- The period you choose for estimating variable expenses could be several months to a year depending on whether your living situation, lifestyle or spending habits have recently changed.
- In months where you receive a third paycheck, resist the urge to spend the extra cash on items you don't need. Consider placing the money in a savings account for emergencies or paying more than the minimum payment due on credit cards and loans.
- Don't forget to factor expenses you may pay on a less frequent basis, such as annual tax payments or prepaid insurance. Divide annual payments by 12, semi-annual payments by six and quarterly payments by three to determine your monthly obligation toward bills in this category. You can either add the result to your monthly budget or use money from your extra biweekly checks to cover these expenses.