Ask LH: How Can I Budget When I Get Paid Monthly?

    Hi Lifehacker, I have recently started a new job and got my first pay. Yay! — except I don’t get another pay until next month. What are the best strategies for budgeting when you get paid monthly, especially when most of my pay goes towards a mortgage? Thanks, Four Weeks Is A Long Time

    Piggy bank picture from Shutterstock

    Dear FWIALT,

    Like most journalists, I also get paid on a monthly basis. While it initially takes some getting used to, it’s really no different to any other pay cycle: you just need to take a slightly different approach to budgeting.

    One effective method is to work out your estimated expenses and then transfer your remaining salary into a separate savings account. This will stop your bank balance from looking deceptively large at the beginning of each month and discourage you from making big ticket purchases that you can’t really afford. As an added bonus, you’ll be building up an emergency savings account which you can dip into when needed.

    If that seems like too much effort, simply divide your salary in your head into 4.3 weekly allotments. As long as you don’t go over this amount on any given week, you should make it to your next payday without going broke.

    Whichever method you employ, it pays to use common sense and frugality when needed — as a general rule of thumb, try to hold off on expensive purchases until just before your next salary payment. If you discover you never have enough money at this stage, you’re either budgeting wrong or lack the means to afford that thing you want.

    Still feeling stumped? This in-depth guide includes ten more tips for building the perfect budget. You can find plenty of additional advice via our Budgets and Budgeting tags. Good luck!

    We’re also keen to hear our readers’ budgeting tricks; particularly while juggling a mortgage. Share your tips in the comments section below!


    Have a question you want to put to Ask Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].

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