What do you do when you get your paycheck? Do you even look at your pay stubs anymore? Are you entering it into your budget spreadsheet to see how much extra you have each paycheck? Or are you just breathing a sigh of relief that you made it to another payday?
It's the end of another week, and many of us are just getting paid again, or we are in the middle of our paycheck period and have another week or so to go. Across the country, I can just hear many people saying T.G.I.F.! and are ready to go out for the weekend or have finally received their paychecks and now they can finally go get some more groceries since they've been scraping by for the past few days.
I just wanted to go over my ritual and what I do. I'm not saying that I know the right way to go about it, but, maybe it will spark some discussion about the topic or provide some insight into both of our lives about the process.
Check the bank for the paycheck deposit and enter it into my budget spreadsheet.
This is as simple as logging in to my bank online and seeing the paycheck hit my bank account. I'm able to get a little head start on this since we get our direct deposits earlier then our pay stubs. My pay varies since I'm hourly at my job and sometimes have overtime and also get commissions monthly.
Go through and plug in all of my payments for this pay period with my bill pay.
This is done with two web tabs open. I usually have my monthly budget spreadsheet open in Google and then have my bank website bill pay open to take care of this. Now, if I'm unsure of the monthly payment, I pay all my utilities in full each month without a budget plan, then I just login at the various sites to get the balances. This is kind of nice as well, because then I can compare my usage and bill to the previous month to see how we're doing on our consumption. After plugging in each of the bills, I enter the totals on my monthly budget form and send off the bill pay through my bank and I'm done.
Categorize my transactions in Mint.com to make sure all my sinking funds are on track.
After making my bill pays and any transfers to sinking funds, I then head over to mint.com and make sure I've got everything categorized correctly in the transaction view. This allows me to check up on my monthly budget and where I'm at for the month compared to what I've budgeted for. This generally takes about five minutes unless I doddle around oohing and aahing over their graphs in the trends section.
Think through the next couple of weeks to try to come up with any extra expenses that we might foresee to set money aside for.
This step is crucial in whether or not I have to either cut back on my baby steps or whether we end up having to make compromises later on in the 2 week period. This is generally where our "budget committee meeting" comes into play. We try to think through the next couple of weeks until we get paid next to see if there are any extra expenses coming up that we need to fund outside of our budget. This can be get-togethers, extra outings, last minute kids activities, etc.
Apply what is left over towards my current baby step.
After brainstorming through the 2 week period for extras, we then see what's left over and apply it towards our baby steps, and viola! We are done with our budgeting and have executed the spending of our paycheck in a way that hopefully won't leave us scraping by before the next paycheck!
All in all, the main thing that we have found is that, when we fail to work our system, things get out of hand and we end up chasing our tails. When we do work this system, we find that things tend to sail much smoother and we are that much more at peace with our finances.
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