How to Make Money Last When You Get Paid Once a Month

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As a family, we have always lived off only Tom’s income. This always allowed us additional spending money — and debt payoff money from my income. I am so thankful that we have stuck to this method over the years and I believe we saved ourselves a lot of additional financial hardship by doing it this way. However, one of the toughest struggles we faced was to make our money last the entire month. You see, Tom gets paid one time at the very beginning of the month. We weren’t always great at budgeting this money and often found ourselves running low on funds only 2 weeks into the month. Yeah…2 weeks. Now we have perfected our system and have great tips on how to make your money last when you get paid once a month.

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Smart budgeting when you get paid once a month

There are steps to follow that will help you be more successful with your budget when you only get paid once a month. Here is a quick run down of what we’ll go over:

  • Knowing your personal goals
  • Doing a budget analysis
  • Get help reducing your expenses
  • How to budget when you get paid once a month

Know your financial goals

Many people truly struggle to get ahead because they really aren’t sure where to start with their finances. If you feel totally lost on how to budget, sign up for my Basic Rich Budgeting Crash Course waitlist. You will get free trainings along the way and first dibs when the course goes live!

Budget analysis

If you are struggling to make your money last throughout the month, when you get paid once a month, the first thing to do is a budget analysis.

Use the available printouts in my Fun Sized Budget Bundle to help break down your budget, analyze your spending, and help you create a solid budget that works. Save 10% with code: 10FORFUN

How do I start a budget analysis?

When doing a budget analysis it’s important to go through your last 3 months of spending to find areas where you are wasting money. This could mean unplanned shopping trips, liquor store, fast food, or any other spending that isn’t necessary.

Get help reducing your expenses

If you are struggling to find extra money in your budget, take advantage of some of these apps that are designed to help you save money each month.

Charlie – Charlie is a great messaging service that helps you reduce your bills, save for the future and even find free money. On average people are saving $80 per week!

Cushion – Cushion syncs with your bank accounts and finds places to get you refunds on bank and credit card fees.

Tello – Tello is a new type of phone company that lets you choose how much you pay each month with plans starting at $10!

Trim – This takes a look at your spending habits and instantly finds different areas where you could be saving money! I saved $20 almost instantly after signing up!

More ways to reduce your costs:

Create a solid budget

Creating a solid budget that works is something I recommend for everyone. Especially if you only get paid once a month. It’s a great way to make money last, because you have total say over where your money goes.

Grab the budgeting sheets in my Fun Sized Budget Bundle so you can perfect your budget and make sure you are staying within your financial means.

How do I budget when I get paid once a month?

The first step when starting your budget is to take your monthly pay and then subtract all of your bills.

The Paid Once a Month Budgeting Tips

There are some must-do budget strategies to follow when you get paid once a month. Make sure you are following these steps to avoid getting into deeper financial struggles

  1. Pay yourself first
  2. Pay your bills on pay day
  3. Make sure you are budgeting for everything
  4. Divide your budget into weekly payments
  5. Budget for fun money
  6. Stick to it!

These steps will not only help ensure you have financial security but will also make money last throughout the entire month. Let’s dive into each area a little bit more.

Pay yourself first

If you are not paying yourself first, you are missing out on some serious cash!!

Most companies offer 401K plans. What this allows you to do is actually pay yourself before you pay the government! Then your money sits in these account collecting interest. Read the total guide to 401Ks.

Having a secure savings plan is important to make sure you are financially providing for your future self. If you thinking getting paid once a month is tough, imagine not being able to retire because you didn’t want to pay yourself first now.

Get help making your money last.

Your savings and retirement plans will vary depending on your line of work and your individual circumstances. In order to make sure you are making the absolute best choice for your future, it’s important to begin working with a financial advisor.

A financial advisor can help you earn more in your retirement savings, plan for the future and secure all of your assets.

Find a financial advisor near you.

Budget for more than your bills

There are areas of the budget that people often forget about. (I used to be one of them)! A lot of times people start with their take-home pay, subtract bills and think they’ve created a solid budget. This could not be further from the truth. You have not created a solid budget until you have planned your spending for every last dollar you’ve earned.

Budgeting for gas expenses

When you do your budget analysis and go through your last 3 months of spending, make sure to calculate the average amount of money you spend on gas each month.

How do you calculate your average cost of gas?

You can calculate the average amount of money you spend each month on gas with the following steps:

  1. Add up your total gas expenses from each month
  2. Add the cost of all three months together
  3. Dividing by three
  4. Get your average spent on gas

To set up a successful budget that works, finding out how much you spend on gas each month is going to be crucial. Make sure you budget for a little cushion here as well. You don’t want to find yourself with an empty tank and 5 days still left in the month.

Budgeting for groceries

You can handle your grocery budget in the same way that you handled your gas. Calculate how much you’ve spent on food (groceries and out-to-eat expenses) over the last 3 months. Then, find your average per month.

Tweaking your grocery budget

In order to make your money last when you get paid once a month, it might be necessary to really look at how much money you are spending on food and be honest with yourself if you think you could reduce this amount.

Our family of 5 has gotten good at spending $100 per week on grocery expenses and we rarely go out to eat. When we do, we take advantage of Restaurant.com’s $25 gift cards for $10. This helps reduce the overall expenses of going out to eat.

Other tips for saving on groceries

Reducing the amount spent on groceries can be one of the biggest struggles for people. Here are my 2 best tips to help you reduce the cost:

Have someone else plan your meals

If you struggle to plan meals and grocery shop on a budget, you have got to check out the $5 Meal Plan. There are healthy and affordable meal plans and grocery lists available so you can stay on budget and still enjoy your food!

Order your food to avoid over-spending

The temptation of walking the aisles at the grocery store can prove to be too much. That’s why services like Shipt grocery delivery can be one of the biggest time and money savers!

Get $50 OFF your first Shipt delivery.

Budgeting for fun money

If you are struggling to make money last when you get paid once a month, chances are part of it is because of unplanned spending on fun things.

A budget doesn’t mean you no longer get to have fun in your life. In fact, having a budget gives you permission to spend and I am a firm believer in having spending money set aside in your budget.

How much fun money per month?

The amount you end up spending on fun money each month will ultimately depend on the rest of your financial situation. A great way to do this is by following Dave Ramsey’s recommended budgeting percentages and using is super user-friendly budgeting app, The EveryDollar Budget.

Using this app allows you to plug in your monthly expenses. It will keep track of your spending for you and shows you the percentages of where your money is going to each month.

Divide your budget into weeks

After you have paid your bills and calculated expenses like gas, food and fun money, it’s important to divide your budget into weekly dollar amounts.

For example: if you have a $600 per month grocery budget, you would divide this by the number of weeks there are in a month. Hint: there aren’t always 4 weeks in a month so make sure you count!

  • $600 divided by 4 weeks = $150 per week

Because we get paid once a month, I like to count the amount of weeks in a month starting from the day we get paid. So, if we get paid on Tuesday the 1st, I consider our first week to be Tuesday the 1st through Tuesday the 8th.

Break your budget into envelopes

Once you know the amount of money you have available per week, sort this money into cash envelopes.

Leaving the money in your bank account could leave you vulnerable to mindless debit card spending. Instead, withdrawal all of your budgeted money as soon as you get paid and then divide it into weekly envelopes. You can use cash envelopes or handy mini-accordian files.

Stick to it

Living on a budget, especially when you get paid once a month, can be tough. The important thing to do: make sure you stick with it!

It may take you a few months to get the hang of your budget and you will definitely have to do some tweaking. Just stick with it, I promise.

Be smart with your money and find a budget that works. It’s the best way to make your money last when you get paid once a month and will help create long term results.

Author: Renee

Renee is the blogger behind The Fun Sized Life. After downsizing with her family, she also took the time to get serious about he finances. Now she is sharing the wealth with all of her readers.

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