When most of us get paid, we follow a similar routine: Receive money. Spend money.
What if I told you there was another way?
Ideally, you want to know what to do with your money every time you get paid. What makes this different from a budget is the fact that you want to implement this every time you get paid instead of having a monthly budget overview.
You get paid and then you immediately sit down to allocate your money where it needs to go. It saves the stress of having to do it later on or do it when you feel "ready" to (aka you might never do it).
Generally, there are four budgeting theories which we will go over. 50/30/20, Zero-based, cash-only, and Value-based.
Sure, there are more out there, but these are the four most common. One is not inherently better than the other, but it depends on what your goals are and what makes the most sense for your life.
Keep in mind, some people find it helpful to combine a variety of these systems or mix-and-match depending on what works for them.
Let’s dive into each one of them so you can develop a smart money plan for the new year.
This one is pretty simple – 50% of your income goes to your needs, 20% goes to your savings, and 30% goes to your wants.
Every time you get paid, you’d put your money away by those percentages into your set accounts.
For example, if you received a paycheck of $1,000, you’d put $500 into your checking account, $200 into your savings, and $300 into the account you use for your “wants”.
This budgeting system gives every single dollar you have a “job” and after you put it where it needs to go, you end up with $0 in your account. You allocate all of your money to expenses, savings, and debt payments as soon as you get paid.
This budgeting method lets you focus on the basics where you pull out all of the cash in your account and put your cash into designated “envelopes”. That’s why this is also called the envelope-budgeting method.
Each envelope represents a budgeting category, such as eating out, gas, pet care, and so on. Everything in the envelope represents what you can use when it comes to each category.
Instead of tracking every penny you earn and spend, you simply make conscious decisions about what to spend your money on.
Generally, you get to this level after spending a good amount of time with other budgeting methods so you can manage your money without going over budget. Meaning, if running to Sephora instead of paying off your debt is your first instinct when you get paid, you’re not ready for this one yet.
How I created my paycheck routine - my budgeting tips
Now that we’ve gone over all the various ways you can manage your money every time you get paid, let me describe what I do.
First, when I get paid I open up my MSTRPLN planner to the monthly budget.
Every single time I get paid, I write down which brand paid me and then I minus 50% off the total. (This is because I pay 20% to my management team and 30% to taxes right away -- ouch, I know).
From there, 50% of that remaining money goes into my checking account for regular expenses throughout the month.
The other 50% goes to my financial goals. (Which is why it's important to have your goals, so you know where to put your money!)
Let’s break this down. If I get paid $4,000 from a company, I take $2,000 out right away for taxes and my management. From there, $1,000 goes to my checking account and $1,000 goes to my financial goals.
Overall, you should use this as a guide to figure out what works for you. Just because this is the system that works for me doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.
Above all, the most important part is to make sure you’re setting goals and staying on track. Just hoping your money game will get together magically on its own is not a plan. Take the time to pick a plan or give your time trying them all.