By Elena M. Macaluso, clarkhoward.com
I recently changed jobs and for the first time ever was faced with the prospect of getting paid once a month rather than bimonthly.
At first I was nervous. What if I ran out of money by, say, the 20th of the month, or worse, the 10th?
But I soon realized that getting paid once a month actually boosted my financial savvy. Following 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 my monthly allotment forces me to pay my bills first. No longer can I push off the cell phone bill, figuring I can “catch it next paycheck.”
Paying all my bills up front allows me to really see my budget—how much is going out each month and where it is going. As a Clark Howard blogger, I am chagrined to admit that I have not always been the best budgeter. Before, when I got paid biweekly, I mightpay 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 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 it might be, or at least I did.
So I found that I was not spending as much at the beginning of the month so that I would not get into a financial pickle. Well, thosethrifty ways became thrifty habits, and I soon found I could (easily) carry them through the whole month.
Not to get too woo-woo on ya here, but I must 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, etc.—I get on it and get ’er done early.
I will have a few choices this holiday season:
1) Buy gifts throughout the year as I see them and have funds allotted
2) Buy them in early December (if I lump that money into my “bill money”)
3) Use credit cards (dangerous for me!)
4) Wait until Jan. 1 to pay off said credit card bills
I think most people would agree that option one is best, and with my once-a-month pay schedule, I have an added incentive to put it into action. (Happy to report, 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!