If you get paid weekly, there are several times each year that you'll take home five paychecks in a month instead of the usual four. That's because the 52 weeks in a year aren't distributed evenly between the 12 months.
Because many regular expenses such as rent, gas, electric, and all those internet and phone bills are due monthly, you'll likely end up with a little extra cash in your wallet in these off months. It pays to make a note of when those five-paycheck months will occur so you can plan ahead for how you'll use those extra checks to improve your finances.
How to Handle Extra Paychecks
You can just bank that extra paycheck into a savings account or add it to your investments. If you do that each month in which you get an extra check, you'll have added a full month's worth of net pay to your nest egg—and you won't have shorted yourself on your monthly cash flow needed to meet regular expenses.
Or, you could use that extra money to pay down credit card debt or make an extra payment on your mortgage, which would go entirely toward the principal, increasing your equity. This is actually another form of saving the money because that equity comes back to you when you sell the house.
These extra checks might feel like windfalls, and you could earmark them to have fun you otherwise couldn’t afford. So why not set up a "splurge" savings account that's devoted entirely for play: vacations, expensive dinners, pricey entertainment, and more. Just don't do this at the expense of a common-sense savings plan that will help you achieve your future financial goals.
If you are paid weekly on Fridays, each of the years from 2021 through 2029 has at least four months containing five paydays. That's a lot of extra cash to use for fun, to pay down debt, or any other way you see fit.
The following list shows which months have five paydays during those years:
- 2021: January, April, July, October, December
- 2022: April, July, September, December
- 2023: March, June, September, December
- 2024: March, May, August, November
- 2025: January, May, August, October
- 2026: January, May, July, October
- 2027: January, April, July, October, December
- 2028: March, June, September, December
- 2029: March, June, August, November
If you get paid every two weeks, you will also see months where you will receive three paychecks instead of two. However, this will only occur if your payday falls on the first Friday of a month that has five Fridays in it. Unfortunately, if your payday falls on the second Friday of those months, you will only receive the usual two paychecks. The next step? Get out your calendar and check the five-Friday months to see when your paydays will fall.
How the Season Can Affect Your Budget
Seasonal expenses during these months that are not in your regular monthly budget might include holiday spending, birthdays, taxes, school expenses, or months with recurring home and car maintenance. If you do get an extra paycheck, it might show up just in time to keep your budget on track during those extra-spending months.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can you estimate how much taxes will be taken out of your paycheck?
There are three main categories of taxes you have to estimate to figure out your take-home pay. The first tax is the payroll tax, and most employees will pay 7.65% for this tax. The second category is federal income tax, which varies according to your place in the tax bracket. The third category concerns any state or local income taxes; for some, there are hardly any state or local taxes to consider, while others may have to plan for these tax costs.
What is 'FICA' on a paycheck?
FICA stands for the "Federal Insurance Contributions Act," and it's more commonly known as the payroll tax. These taxes fund Social Security and Medicare, and combined, they are 15.3% per person. Employers pay half of these taxes for their employees, so many people only pay 7.65%.
How much of your paycheck should you save?
There are many different strategies for how much of your paycheck you should save. One popular idea is known as the 50/30/20 rule, which states that 50% of your paycheck should go toward your "needs," 30% to your "wants," and 20% to your financial goals. Under this rule, saving could be considered your 20% financial goal. However, factors like debt, income level, and years until retirement will determine the best saving goals for your situation.