It was a shock to our budget when Blake started working in public education and payday only came once a month. The paycheck was automatically deposited into our account on the first. We had to have our ducks in a row to make it through the entire month!
How to Live on a Once a Month Paycheck
The ledger makes it super simple to see at a glance which bills will be coming in for the month.
- Purchase a 12 column ledger – These can be found in office supply or even drug stores. You can also purchase one here. I prefer the ledger simply because it lasts many years and is easy to keep track of, however, I have created simple PDF files for you to download if you prefer. Accounts Receivable Ledger / Accounts Payable Ledger Update: I have created new and improved ledger printables! You will find them on the How To STAY Debt Free post!
- On the first two page spread, head it ‘Accounts Payable – year’
- Write normal monthly expenses in the left column
- Head the additional 12 columns January – December
- Turn the page and head it ‘Accounts Receivable – year’
- Write in every source of income in the left column – This may include the IRS if you usually receive a refund.
2) Record Income
Record the amount of your paycheck in the corresponding month of your ledger AND in your checkbook register.
3) Pay Current Bills
Pay the bills you have received and write them in your check register AND in the ledger.
4) Pay bills that are the same amount each month
Your car payment may not be due until the 20th but you know the amount. Go ahead and pay it or at least schedule it in your online banking. Record in your check register AND ledger.
5) Check ledger for incoming bills
You probably have an idea of how much your incoming bills will be. Add up those amounts and subract it from the amount in your checkbook register (no need to write it in) to see what’s left.
6) Write a check to cash for allowances and expendables
It will take some practice making sure your grocery money lasts throughout the month. One way to do this is to split up your expendable cash and put it in envelopes for each week. We tend to shop heavy at the beginning of the month and then maintenance shop the rest.
7) Add to Savings
Ideally, there will be enough left to add to your emergency fund, Roth IRA, etc. Hopefully you have already invested in your retirement program through work.
8) Leave a Cushion
Of course it isn’t best practice to take your checking account down to zero. We like to leave a $1,000 emergency fund in our checking account to avoid any issues. I ‘hide’ that money in my checkbook register so it doesn’t look like we have it. It’s a mind game!
9) The checking account is closed for business
Don’t use money from your checking account for anything other than the bills you know will be arriving. If you don’t like using a cash system for groceries, etc., it may be a swell idea to open a separate account just for those items!
10) End of Month
At the end of the month, add your payable column and write your total expenses for the month at the bottom. Do the same for receivables. Did you live within your means this month?!
Sixteen years later, I couldn’t imagine payday being any other way. I must admit, the end of the month can still be challenging to stay on budget but I love the once a month paycheck! I can sit down and pay the bills all at once (except for the few stragglers) and I know exactly what we have to deal with. It is a simple straight forward process!
How many paychecks do you receive a month?!
Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but How Do The Jones Do It will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!