Most people get paid bi-monthly on the 1st or 15 of a month or every two weeks. However, some of us get paid only once a month. Now, there are some benefits to getting paid only once a month like having a huge wad of cash deposited into your bank account and feeling quite “rich” on that particular day. But there are also some challenges associated with this kind of income dispersal, such as having to plan the due date of all your other bills around the one pay day a month! Yet it’s not an impossible feat.

Step 1: Automate and schedule payments

The easiest way to budget around a once a month pay cycle is to automate and schedule bill payments for the rest of the month. In my case, I’m thankful that my pay day is early in the month – I can plan my bills for the whole month on pay day. I literally sit down and schedule all of my up coming bills for the entire month, which are pretty regular, and enter auto-debits into my Quickbooks register.

Step 2: Keep a running record and use it as a guide

The key here is that I enter all of my expenses and withdrawals using an accounting program. So even if my bank account thinks I have X amount (because certain payments haven’t posted yet) I know better. Instead, I use the balance reflected in my Quickbooks register as my guide.

Step 3: Change the due dates

Another thing I’ve done to make my once a month pay cycle work for me is I’ve set or changed the due dates of my bills. Most companies will allow you to set the due date to accommodate your pay cycle. By changing my due dates to mid-month or later in the month, it gives me time to spread out my scheduled payments avoiding the week prior to pay day when my bank account may be a little low.

Step 4: Find a strategy that works

A final strategy that works for me, but may not work for everyone, is that I use my credit card for everyday purchases. Then, at the start of the month, I pay if off in full. That way, I’m not tapping into my bank account on a daily basis, I’m earning rewards points, and I can see exactly how much I’m spending from one month to the next.

It’s not rocket science, just basic math skills and organization.

Do you get paid once a month or irregularly? How do you manage your budget?


  1. Paul @ The Frugal Toad Reply

    I get paid every two weeks but use most of the strategies you outlined above. I use Mint on my iPhone to track my budget and I find it useful when I’m out shopping.

  2. Money Beagle Reply

    I was pretty close to getting hired on by a company that would have paid me on a once per month cycle, and it would have been a big adjustment. Especially since before that I was on a once-per-week cycle. Big difference! It ended up not happening, but it opened my eyes that there are all sorts of ways to get paid.

    • @Money Beagle – I think psychologically it seems like it would be hard to adjust to being paid only once a month, but in some ways it’s easier to just sit down one time per month and pay all the bills. As long as you’re organized, it works!

  3. You know, I used to get paid monthly and it was REALLY hard to adjust. Not only was I paid monthly, but I wasn’t paid until the 5th, and rent was due on the first. It took MONTHS to adjust to that. Now I’m paid every other week, and my first paycheck seemed SO LOW because I forgot I was going to get another one! So, once you adjust, monthly paychecks actually work out better.

  4. I get paid once a month, and it takes a lot of getting used to and very specific finance aims i.e. don’t spend it all at once! However, I know what is coming in when and so it’s easier to budget and know when everything else goes out. I like being paid once a month 🙂

    • @Nicola – I can’t remember having to adjust (it’s been so long!), but I also like getting paid once a month. It’s just easy to pay bills on that day and be done with it for the entire month!

  5. Jon @ Money Smart Guides Reply

    I get paid at the beginning of the month and love it! Not so much for the big account size I have, but because I can easily schedule everything. I have automatic transfers to my various savings accounts set up to go on the 2nd business day of the month. By the 3rd, I know exactly how much money I have to spend for the month.

    As the month goes on, I can easily see how much I have left and if I need to cut back at all or not.

    • @Jon – I agree. I think it’s just easier to schedule everything once a month and one pay check per month assists in that goal!

  6. Poor Student Reply

    I get paid once a month from my job and pay all my bills right away. Some of the bills that have fixed amount are automated so when I budget for the rest of the month I don’t include that amount in my calculation.

  7. I get paid whenever I complete a writing task online. It is hard to budget things out not knowing how much money I will be making throughout the month. I use many of the tips you have outlined above.

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