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By Pam Leibfried
If you’ll get a biweekly paycheck on Friday, November 30, you’ll likely be feeling a bit more financially flush this month. Why? You’ll get three November paychecks instead of your usual two monthly paychecks. (And those of you who are paid each Friday will get a fifth November paycheck this week!)
Getting three paychecks in one month creates a great opportunity for you to increase your savings, make a big dent in your debt, or open a new bank account with your extra funds. If you plan ahead to capitalize on this financial opportunity every time it occurs (see schedule below ), the impact on your savings or debt will be equivalent to a month’s worth of your income.
Let’s assume that your expenses are consistent from month to month and you’re making ends meet during the 10 months when you only get paid twice. It's logical, then, that if you’ve been successfully paying your monthly expenses with the income from two paydays during your 10 two-paycheck months, you should be able to pay your bills with only two checks during the two months when you get a third paycheck. That means you can dedicate your entire third paycheck toward other financial goals without any impact on your ability to pay your usual monthly expenses.
Be strategic in planning how to use your next "extra" paycheck to accomplish your financial goals of debt reduction or a savings boost.
And because a big part of being strategic is having a plan, we've calculated the dates when you'll receive an extra/bonus paycheck for the next two years and provided it in the table below. Add them to your calendar so they'll be baked into your budget and financial plan!
When you get paid every other week, you receive 26 paychecks each year (52 weeks divided by 2). That means you receive two paychecks most months. But if you think it through, two paychecks a month for 12 months adds up to only 24 paychecks, not 26. That means that there will be two months every year – generally, months in which you get a paycheck on the first or second day of the month – when you get three paychecks.
Pam Leibfried is a marketing content specialist whose love of words led to a writing and editing career. After a brief stint teaching English, she transitioned to corporate communications and spent 20 years at The Nielsen Company before joining Alliant’s content development team. Early in her work life, Pam’s friend Matt explained the benefits of a 401(k) and her dad encouraged her to start a Roth IRA. Their good counsel prompted her to prioritize retirement savings, which just might enable her to retire early so she can read more and live out the slogan on her fave T-shirt: “I have a retirement plan: I plan on quilting.”