How to Budget with a Once-a-Month Income

The world of work comes with a lot of different types of jobs to choose from. The kind of career that you choose will determine a lot of things, from how much you can eventually earn as you work your way through the ranks, to how often you get paid.
Some companies pay their employees on a weekly basis so that they can figure out their costs on a rotating 7-day basis. Other employers will give you a monthly income, or bi-weekly salary. Today, we’re going to discuss how you can make the most of your money when you’re being paid on a monthly schedule – one of the most common options.

Although being paid once a month can be great for a lot of people, it also means figuring out how to spread out your money, so you don’t fall short a couple of weeks after you get your pay.

1. Pay All Your Bills at Once

If you’re paid on a once a month basis, then the best thing you can do is arrange your bills so that they all arrive the moment that you get paid. Most companies, from electricity providers, to broadband companies will allow you to create an automated payment in your bank account that ensures you give the money you owe at the same time every month.

Choose the day when you’re most likely to be prepared to pay your bills by figuring out when you get your income. If you pay all of your bills on the same day you get paid, then you’ll know any money left in your bank account at the end of the next day is yours to use however you see fit.

2. Know Which Costs to Spread Out

When you’re getting paid once a month, it can sometimes feel like you have a huge chunk of cash burning a hole in your pocket. If you know that you need something, you might even be tempted to pay for it all at once and avoid worrying about debt. For instance, maybe you want a new computer for £900, and you earned £1,000 this month.

When you can see all that cash in your account, or you know it’s coming in, it’s easy to tell yourself that you can afford what you need. However, it’s not until afterwards that you realise that you forgot to account for things like foods, bills, and emergency expenses. Rather than putting yourself in a dangerous position, consider taking out a loan so you can spread the costs out instead.

3. Use Cash for Spending Wherever you Can

If you have a hard time with budgeting for a once-monthly budget, it could be helpful to switch to a system that gives you a certain amount of cash to spend in each crucial category of your financial plan. For instance, a cash-only spending strategy will mean that you take a certain amount of cash out of your bank account for things like food shopping and entertainment. Separating your cash into envelopes will show you exactly how much you have for each week.

When you divide your cash up on a weekly basis into envelopes, you can get a better insight into how much money you really have and reduce your chances of over-spending. At the same time, if you only take a certain amount of cash with you whenever you go to the shop, you’re less likely to give in to temptation and go over the budget you had on your debit card.

4. Plan for Infrequent Purchases

Remember, just because you don’t have a certain expense to pay every month, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be planning for it. When you’re arranging your budget to suit your monthly pay schedule, keep those occasional purchases in mind too, like the cost of car maintenance, or the price that you pay to buy gifts for your kids’ birthdays once a year.

Having an extra “irregular expense” pot in your budget will mean that you’re not caught off guard as often by expenses that you forgot to consider earlier.

What’s more, when you only get paid once a month, this can make the month feel particularly long. This is especially true when you run into unexpected expenses, like the ones we mentioned above. As well as having an “irregular expense” section in your budget, try setting a small portion of your income aside for emergencies or unexpected issues too. You’ll thank yourself in the long-term.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk.