Why use a monthly budget when you’re paid every other week? This bi-weekly budget template will fit your life. But watch out for 3 mistakes that will bust it!
Are you struggling to find a budget that actually works? You know that setting up a budget is the best way to control your money. The problem is that most budget plans are set up a month at a time. Meanwhile, most of us are paid every other week. It doesn’t take a math degree to see that those numbers just don’t line up.
It’s tempting to just give up on the whole idea of budgeting. But don’t do that! There’s so much power in having a good budget. Once you’ve found the right set up, you’ll love the control you have over your little dollar bill workers.
Budgeting each paycheck as it comes in is an easy way to set yourself up for success. So let’s get rid of the idea of spreading 28 days worth of pay across 30 days of spending. This is the best way I’ve found to set up a budget you can actually stick with. As a bonus, it also makes those 3 paycheck months easier to factor into your money saving plan!
Watch Out for These Mistakes From The Start
It’s easy to say you’re going to start budgeting, but harder to make it work. Beware these mistakes that will sidetrack your budget before it leaves the umbilical cord.
1. Quitting Before You Begin
You might have seen advice where people tell you to determine how much you’ll put in each category by writing down every purchase you make for an entire month. Or maybe by pulling up old statements and doing a lot of writing and math.
If you ain’t got time for that, no worries. Take an educated guess on how much you’ve been spending in each category. Once you’ve set up a budget, you’ll naturally start paying more attention to your spending.
It’s the digital age, so obviously you can automate this process. Sign up for Personal Capital and they’ll dump your purchases into categories for you. I like to use this as a guide to getting set up and keeping an eye on my spending.
But nothing beats my simple spreadsheet (below!) when it comes to the bi-weekly budget.
2. Challenging Yourself Right Away
I know, I know. You tallied up your grocery bill and could NOT believe how high it is! How can you possibly be spending $1,000 per month on food? Let’s drop that down to $700.
Hitting the delete button and typing new numbers is one thing. Actually cutting your grocery bill by 30% is another.
Your budget is just a little baby. Let’s not expect huge things from it right away. It’s awesome to know that one category seems to be causing trouble. But take some time to brainstorm ideas for cutting back on that spending rather than expecting your money to perform tricks it’s never done before. That’s a sure way to make you abandon the whole thing in a hurry.
3. Stop Being Complicated
Why do people insist on budgeting this much for groceries but making paper and cleaning products a separate line item? Simplify! Everything you buy at the grocery store should be dumped into one line item. If you pick up your dog food there, let that be part of your general grocery bill.
How few categories can you get away with? Everyone’s life is different, so create a budget that is as simple as you can make it.
The Free Bi-Weekly Budget Template Spreadsheet
Spreadsheets are a beautiful thing for those of us who are just a teensy bit of a control freak. You can tweak and change them until they fit your life just right.
Here’s what my spreadsheet looks like:
The sheet is set up so fixed monthly expenses (bills) are on top. Categories that are more flexible (food, gas, gifts) are on the bottom.
If the numbers aren’t working the way you want them to, you’ve got options.
- Change the top numbers. Call around for better prices. Bonus: by doing this, you’ll save month after month!
- Change the bottom numbers. Maybe this month you can cook more from scratch and save on groceries. Next month you’ll stay home more and save gas. The benefit here is the flexibility.
Get the Bi-Weekly Budget Sheet
The bi-weekly budget template is totally free for my subscribers. You’ll get a newsletter just once per week from me with extra money saving tips I don’t put on the blog! (No spam, ever!)
With this bi-weekly budget sheet, you’ll have a plan that finally fits your life.
This budget understands you! Give it a try today and let me know how it works.
Did you leave a line for paying yourself? Then you need this 52 week money challenge that fits into any budget!
What part of budgeting is the hardest for you?