How To Create A Biweekly Budget In 5 Simple Steps

When you are paid on a biweekly basis, it may make sense to create a biweekly budget. A biweekly budget is perfect for those who get paid every other week. You can structure your budget around your paychecks so you don’t miss anything with your money, and you can find out how here!

Biweekly budget

There are many monthly budgets to choose from, but it may get confusing if you get paid a few times in the month. Or perhaps you are simply looking to budget by each paycheck to have better control of your finances.

Personally, I’ve found using this budget game-changing. I have more control over my finances than ever before by budgeting this way. The process is not complex as long as you plan things out and set aside some time to prepare it.

If you are curious, I’ve got you covered with this guide on creating a biweekly budget. You’ll also find links to some excellent biweekly budget templates to help you start!

What is a biweekly budget?

A biweekly budget is a budget that considers a person getting paid every 14 days. So you will usually get a first paycheck and then a second paycheck in the same month (with some exceptions depending on the month e.g. some months will have three pay checks).

Some other pay schedules are getting paid monthly, weekly, and semi-monthly.

The difference between bi-weekly and semi-monthly pay schedules

The biweekly and semi-monthly pay schedules are slightly different as the total number of paychecks per year varies. The key difference is that you get 26 biweekly paychecks versus 24 semi-month paychecks.

That said, creating a bi-weekly plan gives you control over your finances because you can allocate specific expenses to specific paycheck each month.

How does a biweekly budget work?

With a biweekly budget, you will have ten months where you collect two checks and two months where you collect three checks. 

Even though your paychecks may be different in some months, many of your fixed expenses will stay the same. When you set up a biweekly budget, you’ll need to your expenses and income and lay it out for each month.

When I first started bi-weekly budgeting, I have to make sure I was properly distributing my income to specific expenses and goals each pay period. It was a little tricky at first to figure out how to do this but after a few weeks, I came up with an approach that works for me.

I essentially assigned bills that had due dates in the first two weeks of the month to one paycheck, and bills with due dates in the last two weeks of the month to the other paycheck. When it came to my savings goals, I decided on specific dates each month that I would like to “pay myself” and I split those payments according to when I would get paid.

Pros and cons

There are a few things to consider when setting up a biweekly budget. Some people find it makes life easier to budget on a weekly or monthly basis.

However, you can budget based on how you are getting paid. Here are some pros and cons of the biweekly budget.

Pros of a biweekly budget

  1. Takes into account the timing of your paycheck and the pay period.
  2. Using a bi-weekly expense planner allows you to plan and save up for the unique event.
  3. The months with extra paychecks allow more room to pay off debt or save.
  4. It is much easier to keep track of bill payments and times with the budget in place.

Cons of a biweekly budget

  1. The initial input and setup take time. 
  2. You may have to move around bill payment times to make it work.
  3. There is a chance of not using the third paycheck appropriately.

How to create a biweekly budget

Now that we have the basics down let’s look at the steps in creating a biweekly budget. You want to ensure you can easily cover all of your essentials.

That means your rent (or mortgage), utilities, groceries, etc. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Set up a calendar

To start creating your biweekly budget, you’ll need to set up a budget calendar with your bill due dates, pay dates, savings plans, and other important dates.

Having a calendar gives you a visual view of everything that will occur during the month, this way you can plan each bi-weekly check you get accordingly. That means that you can manage your first and second paychecks without worrying between them.

You can do this on a spreadsheet to have a visual view of everything that will occur during the month.

Step 2: Organize your expenses according to your bi-weekly pay

Once you have your calendar set up, ask yourself if you need to adjust the due dates on certain bills so they are more evenly spaced. Base this on when you get your bi-weekly pay so you don’t get behind on bills.

Look at when your mortgage, utility bills, and credit cards are due. Think about all the monthly expenses you pay out of your account.

The goal is to be able to cover the expenses that fall in each 14-day window with your bi-weekly paycheck. Split your expenses up into different categories to help you get this right.

Utility companies and other sources of your recurring bills can be quite accommodating when it comes to moving bill payment dates. Don’t be shy to call and ask for your due dates to be moved.

If you want to be sure you haven’t missed anything, it can be helpful to review your last few months of bank statements.

Step 3: Don’t forget your variable expenses

Once you have all your recurring expenses in place, go back through the month and examine any other potential variable or one-time expenses that could arise, such as entertainment costs.

For example, are there birthdays this month? Do you have to make an extra payment toward a larger debt? Are you planning a vacation or do you have a back to school shopping list?

Determine where to best fit them in your bi-weekly budget template. You should plan to review your variable and one-time expenses ahead of time every month.

If you want some extra help here, there are plenty of tools available. Some people find that using an expense tracker or debt tracker works for them, for example.

Step 4: Create a buffer

I personally think that this is the most important step for a biweekly budget. When all of the consistent and variable expenses are in place, go back through the budget and add a buffer.

The buffer should be for emergency money and big upcoming costs that would fall under sinking funds. Having this extra money is a huge help if/when an unexpected or big expense should come up. If you don’t use the buffer, keep it saved.

Step 5: Start tracking your budget

Now that your budget is in place, the last thing to do is start tracking. You must keep track of all spending and savings so that your personal budget is accurate. Keeping a spending journal can help!

There will be things that come up that are not part of your plan. These can be extra income or extra expenses, so make sure you track them all.

So, set a bi-weekly reminder to check in on your budget and make your bill payments and savings account transfers every two weeks. You might want to use a budget binder or download a PDF budget template to help you.

Biweekly budgeting tips

As you can see, the process of setting up a biweekly budget is not all that difficult. It takes an hour or so at the beginning of the month to plan out any expenses and income for that month. If you have mostly recurring expenses, it can take even less time.

Having this head start and being aware of the month ahead can help you ensure you are financially stable. Here are some great tips for biweekly budgeting.

  1. Make sure you write everything down.
  2. Use an app on your phone to track spending if necessary.
  3. If your bill due dates are not working out, call companies and ask to change the due dates.
  4. Save up for one month of expenses so that you will always know you have the month covered should something come up.

What to do when you have a third paycheck

Ready for some good news? Getting your third paycheck in a month will feel like a bonus if you follow your biweekly budget correctly. There are so many great ways to use that paycheck, but here are a few of the best options.

  1. Pay down your debt.
  2. Put some money away towards a big bill coming next month.
  3. Plan ahead and grow your emergency fund.
  4. Save for a vacation or a significant home expense that may be coming up.
  5. Use it to put aside an entire month of expenses as a backup.

Best biweekly budget template options

Although you can always create your own biweekly budget templates, sometimes it is much easier to just print one. There are many different styles out there, so you can find one that matches your preferences.

  1. Biweekly budget planner from The Savvy Mama
  2. 101 Planners free budget template 
  3. Templates free biweekly budget templates 
  4. Vertex biweekly budget template

You can try each bi-weekly budget template. Or create a biweekly budget planner using a binder and make space for your bills, bank statements, and other financial documents.

Expert tip: Save a “fun” fund too

We’ve gone over how to cover your basic expenses but that said you make money so that you can enjoy your life. When you’re creating your budget, be sure to set aside some cash for the fun things in your life too. 

Alternatively, you might want to use your third paycheck for this from time to time. For example, I have found that this extra “bonus” is useful when covering trips away, parties, and special occasions. 

How much should I save bi-weekly?

If you can, it’s a great idea to set a goal of saving 10% to 20% from each paycheck when you are budgeting on a bi-weekly basis.

Of course, there will be times when saving that amount is out of reach. If that is the case, keep it as a goal for the future and instead you can aim to save at least 5% of your income each paycheck.

Is a bi-weekly budget different from a semi-monthly budget?

Yes, a bi-weekly budget and a semi-monthly budget are different. With a bi-weekly budget, you are planning your finances based on getting paid every 2 weeks (14 days). In a 12 month period would get paid 26 times.

Whereas with a semi-monthly budget, your plans will be based on getting paid twice a month. And in a twelve month period, you’ll get paid 24 times.

With a bi-weekly budget you will get an extra paycheck twice a year. So it’s important to look at the calendar and determine which months you’ll get paid three times so you can properly plan for this money! I like to use this pay to accelerate my savings goals or plan for big events like family trips.

If you found this article helpful for managing your budget, check out these other ideas!

Try the biweekly budget to manage your finances!

Now that you have everything you need to develop a biweekly budget, set aside time on your calendar to get started. We know the process of putting this all into place can be a bit daunting, but it is indeed the right path to becoming fiscally responsible and successful.

It’s hard to see exactly where your paycheck is going until you put it down on paper. Putting together a budget is eye-opening and will change how you think about day-to-day spending.

If you are paid biweekly, then a biweekly budget planner can be the best method for your finances. The more specific these plans can be, the better your chance for success.

The key is to manage your money wisely so you don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. Learn more about ditching debt, saving money, and building wealth with our blog and completely free financial courses!

2 thoughts on “How To Create A Biweekly Budget In 5 Simple Steps”

  1. Man I love that you’re addressing using a bi-weekly budget! I don’t feel like enough people are talking about this in a personal finance space, even though it can be incredibly empowering. Especially for young adults just starting out, and adults at any age who are just starting to take control of their finances.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top