At the worst possible time, my company has decided to change from a 24/year paycheck cycle to a 26/year paycheck cycle.
24 paycheck cycle
yay: bigger paychecks
boo: only paid twice a month, bigger time period between paychecks
26 paycheck cycle
yay: paid more often, get 3 paychecks two months out of the year
boo: smaller paychecks
*For example purposes, Based on a $50,000 salary, someone who gets 24 paychecks would get $2,083 every paycheck, vs. $1923 for someone who gets 26 paychecks. *
So now that we’re all caught up, let me explain why this sucks for my situation.
Eric’s not working, we need every penny we can get. And now, my salary will be distributed across 26 paychecks rather than 24. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but we’re talking about a few to several hundred dollars a month. Crucial, crucial dollars in our situation.
Right now, I only get two paychecks a month and each one is allocated for something–to the dollar. The first paycheck pays all our bills and covers our grocery and gas budget. The second paycheck pays our rent and with the little that’s left over, saves us from charging stuff to our credit card. By the end of the month, Eric and I are always on lockdown mode until I get my next paycheck.
And now, I have to eliminate a few hundred dollars from our already strict budget. It’s enough to make me want to do this:
But I don’t.
Instead, I do this:
And I start crunching numbers. And this is what I have come up with: Our new monthly budget.
The Bills are the non-negotiables. It’s what has to be paid every month just so we can survive–and yes that includes our cell phone bills. Because I don’t know about you, but my phone helps me breathe. This category also includes rent, student loans, car loans, and internet. I cannot wait until Aug. 2012 when my car loan will be paid off…hopefully sooner depending on Eric’s job situation.
Gas and Groceries are negotiable. Depending on how much we drive, and how much we eat–we can really stretch our budget here.
Savings. This is a toughie. Are people in one-income situations allowed to not save? Even when I was working as a journalist and making a pauper’s salary, I still saved. Because even though I considered myself poor, it could always be worse. Eric and I are on a tight budget, but we’re not destitute, and yes, there could always be an emergency and that’s what our savings account is for. To be honest, this savings is for Costa Rica. I’m doing everything in my power to save as much money as possible into a separate Travel savings account. As long as I keep our emergency fund at $5,000, I feel comfortable putting the rest into our travel fund.
Other: This is everything else. Everything else nowadays includes dry cleaning for Eric’s uniforms, anything Bentley-related (our happy little dog), dining out, our allowances ($40 each/monthly) and that’s pretty much all we’re spending money on right now.
I may have to dip into the savings every now and then to cover the “other” but for now, this is just what we’re going to have to do. I keep telling myself that it’s only til January–but it’s not like Eric has a job lined up. We could be living this way for a while. But for my sanity, I like to think that all will be well by February. Because starting in January, my monthly income is going down by $500. I’ll explain that in a later post.
Do you get paid bi-weekly or bi-monthly and which do you prefer?