Make the Most of Five-Paycheck Months

If you get paid weekly, you'll usually take home four paychecks a month, but occasionally there's a month with five Fridays, and that means an extra check for you. Here are some ways to make the most of those five-paycheck months.

Build Up Your Emergency Fund

Emergency Fund
Emergency Fund. Stewart Waller/Getty Images

Drop those extra paychecks into your emergency fund, and you'll have an extra month's pay in the bank by the end of the year. Talk about a painless way to save!

Pay Down Debts

Woman Cutting Up Credit Card
Woman Cutting Up Credit Card. Chemistry/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Speed up your debt pay off by applying all of your fifth-week paychecks to your debt with the highest interest rate. This should be on top of whatever you would normally put towards your debts.

Make an Extra Mortgage Payment

Make Extra Mortgage Payments
Make Extra Mortgage Payments. Phillip Spears/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Save tens of thousands of dollars by using your fifth-week paychecks to make an extra mortgage payment (or three). If you make just one extra payment a year, you'll shave two to three years off of your mortgage. Not too shabby, eh?

Tip: When you send in your payment, be sure to mark it, "to be applied to principle only." This will ensure that none of it gets gobbled up by interest.

Add to Your Retirement Account

Couple Planning for Retirement
Couple Planning for Retirement. Chris Ryan/Caiaimage/Getty Images

If you're not already in the habit of maxing out your retirement contributions, start using your extra paychecks to make it happen.

Save for Something You Need or Want

Start a College Fund
Start a College Fund. JGI/Jamie Gril/Blend Images/Getty Images

Planning ahead makes it possible to afford all sorts of things. Make a list of all of your current financial goals -- both short and long-term. Then, start using your fifth-week paychecks to fund them.

Things to Consider Saving For: a home, home repairs, car repairs/replacement, gifts, vacations, dental work, college

Stockpile Groceries

Stocking Cupboards
Stocking Cupboards. RapidEye/E+/Getty Images

Stocking up on groceries when they're on sale is a great way to get your grocery bill down, but it's not always easy to find extra money in the budget for bulk buying. Use some of your extra paychecks to start filling up your pantry and freezer, and before you know it, you'll have a well stocked kitchen.

Invest

Financial Independence
Financial Independence. Tom Merton/Caiaimage/Getty Images

If you're debt-free, and both your emergency fund and retirement accounts are fully funded, use those four or five extra paychecks a year to build wealth. Financial independence is the ultimate reward for living a frugal lifestyle.

Ready to Start Putting Those Five-Paycheck Months to Work for You?

Calendar
Calendar. Chee Siong Teh / EyeEm/Getty Images

Here's a list of all of the five-paycheck months this year. Get them on the calendar. Then, start planning how you'll use the extra money.