When you are paid on a biweekly basis, it may make sense for you to create a biweekly budget. A biweekly budget is perfect for those that get paid every other week.
There are many monthly budgets out there, but it may get confusing if you get paid a few times in the month. Or perhaps you are just simply looking to budget by each paycheck.
Luckily we have you covered with this guide on how to create a biweekly budget. The process is not complex as long as you plan things out and set aside some time to prepare it. We also have links to some excellent biweekly budget templates below to help you start!
What is a biweekly budget?
A biweekly budget is a budget that takes into account a person collecting a paycheck every 14 days. Some pay schedules are monthly, weekly, biweekly, and even twice per month.
The biweekly and twice per month pay schedules are slightly different as the total number of paychecks per year varies. You'd get 26 biweekly paychecks and 24 twice-per-month paychecks.
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. Therefore, ensuring that you know how to properly spread this money out and make it work for you is essential.
Even though you have months where the paychecks may be different, many of your monthly expenses will stay the same. When you set up a biweekly budget, you will consider all of your expenses and income and lay it out for each month.
Pros and cons
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
- Takes into account the timing of your paycheck
- Allows you to plan and save up for the unique events
- The months with extra paychecks allow room for saving and paying down debt
- It is much easier to keep track of bill payments and times with the budget in place
Cons of a biweekly budget
- Initial setup takes some time
- You may have to move around bill payment times to make it work
- 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 involved in creating a biweekly budget.
Step 1: Print out a calendar
Start creating your biweekly budget planner by printing out a calendar to track your budget. This allows you to plan your budget easier. The calendar gives you a very visual view of everything that will occur during the month.
Step 2: Organize expenses
Once you have your calendar split up, start plugging in expenses. Look at when your mortgage, utility bills, credit cards are all due. Think about all the expenses that come out of your account each month.
If you want to be sure you haven’t missed anything, it can be helpful to look back at your last few months of bank statements. A cash calendar can be very helpful in tracking your cash flow. Don't forget to factor in your bi-weekly savings as a bill you pay yourself!
Step 3: Incorporate varying expenses
Once you have all the standard expenses in place, go back through the month and look at any other potential expenses that could come up. 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 back-to-school shopping?
Step 4: Put in a buffer
When all of the consistent and variable expenses are put into place, go back through the budget and put in a buffer. The buffer, which could be emergency savings or a sinking fund is a bit of extra money that allows you some room if an unexpected or big expense should come up. If you don’t use the buffer, save it.
Step 5: Start tracking
Now that the budget is in place, the last thing to do is to start tracking. You must make sure that you are keeping track of all spending and saving so that your budget is accurate.
There will be things that come up that are not part of what you have planned for. These can be both extra income and extra expenses; make sure you track them all.
Biweekly budgeting tips
As you can see, the process for 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.
Having this head start and awareness of the month ahead can help you ensure you are financially stable. Here are some great tips for biweekly budgeting.
- Make sure you write everything down
- Use an app on your phone to track spending if necessary
- If your bills are not working out right, call companies and ask to change the due dates
- Save up for one month of expenses so that you will always know you have the month covered should something come up
What to avoid when you’re paid biweekly
When you are paid biweekly, it makes sense to spread your payments out across an entire month. However, you will have some work to do if all of your bills are due on the 15th or the 30th of a month. This means that you will need to save one of your checks for quite some time to help the other check cover the expenses.
This situation is not ideal, but it can be avoided. Utility companies and other sources of your recurring bills can actually be quite accomodating when it comes to moving bill payment dates.
You may have to make a small partial payment one month, but you can choose the date that works for you after that. Try to split some costs up to have a few at the beginning of the month and a few towards the end of the month.
What to do when you have a third paycheck
Getting that third paycheck in a month will feel like a bonus if you follow your biweekly budget correctly. There are so many great ways to make use of that paycheck, but here are a few of the best options.
- Pay down your debt
- Put some money away towards a big bill coming next month
- Plan ahead and grow your emergency savings
- Save for a vacation or a significant home expense that may be coming up
- Use it to put aside an entire month of expenses to have 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 on your own. There are many different styles out there, so you can find one that matches your family and your style.
- Biweekly budget planner from Microsoft Word
- 101 Planners free budget template
- Templates free biweekly budget templates
You can use these templates and create a biweekly budget planner using a binder and make space for your bills, bank statements, and other financial documents too.
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 this 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 the way you think about day-to-day spending.
If you are paid biweekly, then a biweekly budget 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 completely free financial courses!