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Paycheck Chronicles

Balancing Your Monthly Bills

One issue that causes a lot of budget challenges is when most of your bills are due in the same half of the month.  Most service members receive their military pay twice a month.  When all the bills come in one half, all sorts of problems can arise.  Sometimes, changing the due date on a bill or making a little mental shift can be a big help in balancing your monthly bills.

For example, let's take Marine Mark.  He lives in the barracks, eats in the DFAC, and his take-home pay is $1800 per month.  He gets $900 mid-month, and $900 at the end of the month.  Mark has the following bills:

  • car payment, $400, due on the first
  • car insurance, $150, due on the fourth
  • cell phone bill, $120, due on the sixth
  • Military STAR card, $100 minimum payment, due on the thirteenth
In total, Marine Mark is bringing home $1800 a month and he has $770 in financial obligations each month.  He should be doing great!  Unfortunately, Marine Mark's bills all come in the first half of the month.  He gets paid on the first, and after his car payment and insurance, he has $350 to last until the next payday.  After a couple of meals out, and a haircut, and a new pair of boots, he's scraping to pay his cell phone bill and STAR card payment.  Then, the second half of the month, he has no bills and ton of disposable income.

What's Mark to do?

Ideally, he'd find a way to pay off his STAR card, then his car loan.  In the meantime, he could figure out a way to balance his bills.  There are two ways to do this:

Pay Ahead

If Mark paid his car payment with the mid-month paycheck the month before, his bills would be pretty well balanced between the two paychecks:  $400 and $370.

Change the Due Dates

Many companies are willing to change due dates to help customers better balance their monthly budgets.  Mark could ask his car payment company to move the due date for his payment to the other half of the month. If it feels like sometimes you have lots of money and sometimes you have none, it may be because of the way your bills are balanced across the month.  If they all come at the same time, it can be challenging to manage.  Paying ahead or changing due dates are two simple, effective solutions. Show Full Article

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