Undoubtedly you are familiar with the term budget – whether or not it is something you implement, you probably have an idea of how budgets are designed to help save money and pay off debt quicker.
There are various kinds of budgets, including monthly budgets, where you have all your payments and expenses for the month laid out; and there are also weekly budgets where you plan out your spending each week.
Depending on your lifestyle, you might be more inclined towards one budget style over another, but for now, we’re going to primarily focus on the pros, cons and how-tos of setting up a weekly budget.
Tips for setting up a weekly budget
Regardless of how you are paid (bi-weekly or monthly) you can organize your spending habits to fit in with a weekly budget in a few easy steps.
1. Calculate your income
You might have one job with a pretty fixed income, or you might have an hourly job with a more variable paycheck. Additionally, you might work multiple jobs and have a few sources of income. Regardless of how your paychecks come in, start by calculating your total monthly income amount.
2. Calculate your weekly income amount
Using a little basic math, you can calculate, based on your pay frequency, what your total weekly income is. If math isn’t your strong suit and you need a little multiplication and division help, try this handy table.
3. Calculate your expense costs
You know that each month you pay rent, insurance, phone bills, subscription costs, gas, groceries, etc. It may take some time, but write down all those amounts, add them up and discover how much money is coming out of your account each month.
Then, you can break that number down into weekly amounts. Each week is going to look a little different – the first few weeks of the month might be more expensive due to rent, loans and other payments being due. But then the middle weeks of the month might give some more room for wiggling due to fewer expenses needing to be paid.
You can find lots of resources online, including budget templates, to help you organize and keep all these numbers straight.
4. Calculate what’s left
After you have subtracted your expenses from your income, the amount remaining is what you can use on activities like eating out, travel, birthday gifts and savings.
This amount can fluctuate from week to week, but if you have it budgeted ahead of time (usually once you make one month’s worth of weekly budgets, each month will be roughly the same), you’ll know what weeks tend to be tighter and which ones offer more flexibility.
The pros of weekly budgeting
Again, depending on your lifestyle, you may find that the benefits of weekly budgeting are more conducive to the way you spend and manage your finances. One of the pros includes the flexibility – you have the chance to sit down with your budget once a week to know when and where you overspent, or where you saved a little this time around.
Additionally, touching base with your budget once a week can help you more quickly see when you went over. If you don’t look at finances for a month, you might be inclined to go over more and not catch it. But, if you’re doing weekly check-ins, you may be more prone to catching mistakes before they add up.
And lastly, you might find that a budget allows you to better build up your savings account. If you’re sticking to the amounts you assigned yourself to spend each week, you are more likely to have more money to set into savings and experience more financial freedom in the long run.
The cons of a weekly budget
For some people, they simply do not have the time each week to check in with their finances. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you might be a better candidate for a monthly budget design. Additionally, checking in once a week might become overwhelming – monthly check-ins could help eliminate this stress.
Possibly the flexibility of having spending money each week will be tempting for some and they may be inclined to “be better next week” after overspending the week before. This is not a good system of accountability and may benefit from an envelope system (putting cash into an envelope for each area of spending, and when it’s gone, it’s gone).
Take into consideration your preferences and habits when determining what kind of budget is right for you.
Need help with budgeting?
There are plenty of weekly budget templates online, as well as budgeting apps that allow you to plug in your income and expenses and build yourself a budget. Plus, the experts at Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP can help you with any financial concerns you may have.