The 28 Day Budget

28-day-budget

There are 12 months in the year but most of us get paid 26 or 52 times per year. There are these magical extra paychecks that we can put to use to help us achieve our goals, yet it never happens. But what if it could? What if we change the way we thing about budgeting to make those extra checks work for us? Welcome to the 28 day budget!

Why a 28 day budget?

Most of us get paid 26 or 52 times a year, but we budget for 12 months. Therefore, there are some months when we get an extra paycheck but we need that money to pay things like rent or a mortgage at the beginning of the next month. By the end of the year, we wonder why we couldn’t achieve those financial goals like paying down extra debt or saving more. That carry over money never seems to make it to those financial goals. What if, instead of 12 budgets per year, you did 13? Base your budgets on when you get paid, not on months.

My husband and I get paid every two weeks. We would create our budget and some months we would get paid three times. Yay, extra check! However, we would need that money to carry over into the next month or we would be short to pay our mortgage at the beginning of the next month. It seemed like that extra check never made it to our debt snowball. One day, I decided to budget based off a 28 day month and I noticed something interesting. Each month, a few bills fell off the budget. One month, our mortgage fell

 off the budget because the 28 day cycle did not include the first day of the month! That extra money could go toward our financial goals. Slapping a mortgage payment at our debt snowball made a huge dent. We could now harness the power of those extra paychecks.

monthly bills

 

How do I start?

The first thing I did was create a list of all our monthly bills with the date they are due. Most of our bills come out of the account automatically on the same day each month. I actually taped it to the wall above my computer, right next to my debt snowball. My current budget runs from December 25 to January 21. This month, nothing fell off my budget. Last month’s budget ran from November 27 to December 24, which means we had over 300 worth of items that fell off the budget. Nice little kick for the snowball!

Once you have that list, start your budget as you normally would. Write the dates for your budget then your income for the next 28 days at the top of the page and spend every dollar on paper. Remember you are budgeting for four weeks. Write down only the bills that will fall in that four week period. One thing I love about this budget is that it is so much easier to budget for things like gas and groceries. We spend about $75 per week on groceries. Multiply that by four weeks and that is $300. No more worrying about that extra few days of the month because you are doing 13 budgets. Same thing for gas. I usually fill up my car once a week and my husband fills his up once every two weeks. Much easier to budget when there are four weeks in the budget.

If you have been having trouble with your current budget or have thought about budgeting, you might want to give this a try. It has worked really well for us over the past few months and we are seeing awesome progress on our debt snowball. We are currently on track to pay off our car two month’s earlier than we had planned. Finding extra money here and there because of the 28 day budget has really helped us stay super focused.

If you have any questions about this plan, please leave a comment below or email me at kristin@PaymentFreeLife.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Hey Kristin,

    I’m very interested in the concept of a 28-day budget. Do you have a 28-day budget template?

    I’m also paid bi-weekly and really want to take advantage of my “extra” paychecks this year to pay down my debt snowball like you do. But I find that difficult currently with my regular monthly budgeting system.

    Would love your help/advice/template!

    • Kristin

      Lindsey,

      If you are already doing a budget, the only difference with a 28-day budget is a different time frame. Do your next budget for your next two pay periods. Write the dates at the top of the page and enter the amount you will receive in income over the next 28 days. Now, look at your bills. Which bills are due over the next 28 days? You may find that some bills fall off the budget because they would be due on the 29th, 30th or 31st day.

      Our next budget runs from March 19 – April 16. My cell phone bill is due on the 18th. No 18th in this budget. That’s an extra $147 I can throw at my goals.

      By creating a 28-day budget, you will create 13 budgets during the year, not 12. Once a year you will have a budget with no rent or mortgage. That will be September for us.

      I’m sorry I don’t have a template yet, but if you do a budget now, it is the same idea. Just don’t let the calendar dictate the terms. Let your income decide!

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