I’ve been getting paid once a month for over a year and I really love it. The first month was tough but once you do it, it really is the simplest form of budgeting. You have everything coming in at once and don’t have to worry about pay dates vs. due dates. Here’s how to make a home budget when you are only paid once a month.
1. Track Your Expenses – You may think you know what you spend each month, but unless you’ve tracked your expenses, I can pretty much guarantee your going to be surprised. Ideally, you need to track your expenses for a full month to get a clear idea of what’s going on with your personal finances. Don’t worry, this isn’t done by a fancy spreadsheet or other tracking device. The way I always recommend to do this is to take a manilla envelope and staple a sheet of notebook paper on the front. Each day you spend money, write it down on the notebook paper. If your in a hurry and don’t want to write something down, just stick the receipt in the envelope so you can write it down later. Don’t “hide” expenses from yourself! If you don’t write down what you spent, you will only be hurting yourself later.
Check out my other popular article Budgets for Dummies: Creating a Household Budget in 5 Easy Steps for more budgeting tips.
2. Analyze your Findings – Once you’ve tracked your expenses for a month (if you don’t want to do a month, a week is o.k. but won’t give you a clear picture) take some time to look over the numbers. You will find your expenses fit into categories such as entertainment, food, etc. Your goal here is to get your budget categories so you can start creating your household budget. Don’t make a category for lunches out, groceries and snacks, just lump that group together as “food”. If you need help coming up with your budget categories here is a great list to get you started.
3. The moment of Truth – Once you’ve tracked your spending, you can compare this to your income you are bringing home each month. Are you spending more than you make as most Americans do? Where can you cut back? I’ve put together a list of ways to cut money from your budget to help get you started. The goal, of course, is to make more than you spend so you can put money aside to build your emergency fund. That way you won’t panic when an unforeseen event comes up and you won’t fall back on your credit cards for survival.
4. Create your Home Budget – Once you know what your spending each month in relation to your take home page, you are now ready to create your monthly budget. Budgets don’t have to be fancy, mine have never been, I just use a piece of paper and a pencil. It’s always worked well for me. The way I recommend doing this if you are only paid once a month is as follows:
- On payday, enter your paycheck amount into your checkbook register (Yes! You should still use a checkbook register or some other method to keep track of your checking account. The ATM receipt doesn’t cut it!)
- Then refer to your budget and immediately input all of your bills into your checkbook register. I recommend doing this now instead of waiting until the bill is due because you aren’t going to get any more money that month and you might forget to write something down later.
- I recommend moving your budgeted amount for entertainment or other incidentals to another checking account or even using just allowing yourself a set amount of cash each week. It will be really easy to spend all your money in the first few weeks of the month and then be left with nothing at the end of the month.
- You really should not touch the checking account where you paid your bills out of for the rest of the month unless you are also using this account for your emergency fund. I think its easier to have an account to pay bills from and then use your entertainment funds in another account, that way your not tempted to overspend, you can see it all at once.
Putting it all together
I know this can be hard to picture as your reading this, so I put together this How to Make a Home Budget excel spreadsheet that I hope you find useful. I’ve also created a more in depth guide that you can sign up for here
Do you have questions about budgeting? If you’d like to dig a little deeper into budgeting, I created a Budget Bootcamp to get you on the right track so you can get out of your financial hellhole. This bootcamp is a 16 week program that can help you to:
- Pay all your bills on time
- Save any where from $450-$1,100 a month
- Become debt free (at last!)
- Watch your savings and investments grow
- Have extra money for the vacations you want or the dream house you desire
- Freedom and peace of mind to know you will be free of the burden of debt
What are your tips for creating a home budget when you are only paid once a month? Leave a comment and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
I’m planning on doing some upcoming webinars to explain this process further. Would you be interested? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts, without your feedback, I don’t know what you need or want and I want to make this as useful as possible for you! My goal is for every single one of my readers to have a household budget! Let’s make it happen!