If you have an irregular income (i.e. hourly, commission-based, freelance or contract work) or if you get paid more than once per month, then managing your cash flow throughout the month can be a challenge. That’s why we created paycheck planning—a premium feature designed to help you manage your day-to-day budget, lower your risk of overspending, and pace yourself throughout the month.
Step 1: Finish Your Budget.
Make sure you’ve already given every dollar a job to do. Fill in all your planned amounts so you can have an accurate paycheck plan.
Next, from the EveryDollar mobile app, click on the paycheck planning tile.
Welcome to the main paycheck planning screen! You should see your paychecks, each of your budgeted expense line items, and the planned amount for each item.
The first time you open paycheck planning, all dates will be set to the first of the month. But once you set the actual dates, those will be copied over to the next month—so you don’t have to start from scratch every time.
Step 2: Enter Your Buffer.
A buffer is a great idea for any budget. If you don’t get paid on the first of the month, then you probably have a little left over from last month. Set the amount you anticipate having as padding until your first paycheck gets here.
Step 3: Select Dates for Your Income.
First things first: You need to know when your money comes in.
Tap on each income item and set the dates you expect to get paid.
Be sure to renumber these steps when you add the buffer step.
Step 4: Select Dates for Your Bills and Expenses.
Now let’s set up the dates you plan to have money available for your expenses, starting with your regular bills (like utilities, rent, cell phone and so on).
Tap on each item and set the date you plan to pay the bill.
Next, let's plan out those weekly and biweekly expenses.
These are things you spend money on multiple times during the month, like groceries, gas for the car, or date nights every other Friday.
Tap on each item and select one or more days you want to make money available for that item. EveryDollar will automatically divide the total amount for you between those dates (and soon you’ll be able to customize how the total gets divided up if you don’t want it split evenly). Remember: You don’t have to spend that money on the exact day you set. Paycheck planning will show that amount as Available to Spend.
Step 5: Fund your Goals and Sinking Funds.
Lastly, select your goals and sinking fund line items and chose the dates you plan to put money toward them.
Step 6: Decide if you want to turn on Safe to Spend.
The Safe to Spend feature links paycheck planning to your budget and shows you how much you can spend based on the dates you set to have money available.
For example: Let’s say you budgeted $600 for groceries. When you put it into paycheck planning, you have a weekly schedule for $150. Go back to your budget and click on Groceries. If Safe to Spend is turned off, you’ll see your total remaining amount, just like you do today. If Safe to Spend is turned on, your budget will now follow your Paycheck Plan schedule, and you’ll see how much you can spend based on the dates you set. (See the screenshot below for a better view.)
Check out your new plan!
Go back up to the beginning of the month, and you’ll see how your money should flow in and out throughout the month. Are there areas where you might overspend? Do you have a buffer in your account to cover them? Is there anything you could move to later in the month after the next paycheck comes in?
Any time you open up paycheck planning, you should see a line for today’s date and what your cash balance should be.