Whether your household or business budget is large or small, the accounting method of tracking your income and expenses is exactly the same. Making a bimonthly budget plan allows you to see at a glance which bills get paid between the 1st and the 15th and which ones are due between the 16th and the end of the month. This system is easily adjustable for workers who get paid every two weeks and occasionally have a three-paycheck month.
1. Make a two-column list of all your monthly expenses. The first column is for fixed expenses. These are items such as rent, mortgage, insurance, loans and car payments which are the same amount each month. In the second column, list all of your variable expenses. These include credit card payments, groceries, utilities and other fluctuating bills. Money that you allocate to savings, tithes, charitable contributions and rainy day emergencies can go in either column depending on whether you treat them as fixed deductions or sporadic installments based on how much discretionary income you have available at the end of each month.
2. Identify the date that each of your fixed and variable bills is due, along with the amount that you pay. For variable expenses such as groceries and credit cards, review what you have paid for the last six months to come up with an average.
3. Create a two-column chart that reflects either the first and second halves of the month or the dates on which you receive your bimonthly paychecks. As an example, let's say that you are always paid on the 4th and the 19th. Make note of the income you receive for these pay periods.
4. Transfer your fixed and variable expenses to the two pay period columns you have created. If, for instance, your phone bill is always due on the 12th of the month, it should be listed in either the first half of the month column or in the column for the 4th of the month paycheck so it can be paid on time.
5. Keep a running tab of how much money you bring in versus how much money you spend each month so you can make adjustments in some of your variable expenses or shift them to the other half of your payment calendar. For large expenditures such as rent, consider routinely dividing the total amount between both sides.
- If you're paying down credit card debt, continue to pay the same amount each month even if the minimum payment due decreases. Each time you pay off a card, apply that amount toward another outstanding balance.
- If putting money toward savings is a challenge, consider enrolling in automatic deductions. If you don't see the money, you're not as likely to miss it or, for that matter, spend it.
Items you will need
- Ledger or spreadsheet software
- "The Budget Kit: The Common Cents Money Management Workbook"; Judy Lawrence; 2008
- "One Year to an Organized Financial Life"; Regina Leeds; 2009
- "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Living on a Budget"; Peter J. Sander, et al.; 2005