The concept of payday is usually based on a bi-weekly paradigm. But there are millions of Americans that do not get paid two or three times a month. They get paid only once.
Keeping up with payments, eliminating debt, and adding your emergency fund can be challenge with one paycheck a month, but it is doable.
Take the following tips as a starting point.
Consider moving all of your bill due dates closer to your payday. One of the reasons that many people find themselves short at the end of the month is because their bills are spread throughout the month and they end up overlooking due dates that are scheduled further from payday than closer.
Pay your bills as soon as you get paid. The aforementioned tip will only take you so far if you don’t actually pay your bills. Set up automatic bill payments to ensure that you pay your bills on time so you can avoid late fees or blemishes on your credit reports.
Make your savings goal a bill. The concept of paying yourself first is rooted in the belief that you need to be as vigilant about paying your debt as you are about contributing to your short-term and long-term savings and investment goals. Similar to automating bill payments, it is best practice for you to open up an online savings account—especially if you have problems with dipping into your brick and mortar savings account—so you can automatically transfer your predetermined account of savings every month without falter or fail.
Use the envelope system. The envelope system is cash-based spending that uses envelopes to manage spending for any given category in a budget. For example, if you decide that you can afford to spend $300 on groceries, $200 on transportation, and $75 on entertainment on a monthly basis, then you will place that amount of money in envelopes labeled with these categories. You use only these funds for these categories for the duration of the month. Once the money is depleted, you have to work with what you have until the next payment. In other words, once there is no more money to buy groceries, gas, or entertainment, you will have to come up with alternatives. For groceries, you can get creative with what’s in your pantry. With transportation, you can opt to walk or carpool. And with entertainment, you can search for free concerts in the area or have a Netflix and Chill night with bae at home.
Consider paying yourself weekly. It’s possible to take your monthly income and divide it by the number of weeks in the month. Only keep the money that you will need to use for the week in a checking account or in cash. Once the week is over, you can repeat the process until the month is over. With this method, you can feel like you are being paid weekly (or bi-weekly if that’s your pleasure).
Get a hustle. A second stream of income, no matter how modest, can offset the anxiety that living on a monthly pay schedule creates. Since we are living in an age of online enterprise, it is easy to start a freelance career with little start-up cost. Sites like Fivver.com, Thredup.com, Poshmark.com, and Parkatmyhouse.com are great places to begin your #sidehustle life.
Budgeting with success on a monthly paycheck is possible. With a clear game plan, you’ll be able to get organized and financially fluid for good.