Paycheck Chronicles

Long Pay Period Warning

It happens every now and then - the months align in a way that creates a longer than usual pay period.  If you have your ducks in a row, then this isn't a problem for you.  But lots of folks are living paycheck-to-paycheck, or throwing every available cent into paying down debt or meeting some fabulous savings goal.  If your spending plan already accounts for every penny, sometimes that longer pay period will throw you for a loop.

The official mid-month March payday is 13 March 2015, because the 15th falls during the weekend.  However, 1 April isn't for 19 days.  When your pay hits tomorrow, or today if your bank or credit union releases deposits early, be sure you have a solid plan for having enough food and fuel to get you through until the next payday.

Here are some easy things you can do to stretch your dollars:

  • Pack lunch and snacks for work, school, or any voyages out of the house.  The average "little snack" runs over $3 per person, per snack.  That adds up fast.
  • Inventory your freezer and pantry, and plan meals to use the items you already have.
  • Cut your fuel consumption by planning your driving more carefully, organizing a carpool, or skipping a trip or two.
  • Alter a routine slightly.  For example, we have pizza on Friday nights, and we try to alternate between takeout and frozen pizza.  If we juggle the schedule and have frozen pizza two weeks in a row, we save about $25.
  • Iron your own clothes.
  • Be on top of your perishables and leftovers.  Most families throw away a lot of food.
If you really get stuck, check with your service's relief society (Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society, Army Emergency Relief) for an interest-free loan.

Once you've gotten over the hump, make a plan so that a long pay period doesn't ever cause problems again.  Build up a little buffer in your bank account and be aware of when long pay periods are coming.  Hint:  it is the end of November, over Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

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