For all of my adult life, I’ve looked at my money on a monthly basis, and assigned bills to each paycheck. The electricity gets paid out of the first paycheck. The rent (now mortgage) gets paid out of the second paycheck. And so on and so forth. My planning for how to meet monthly obligations was always directly tied to the money that was coming in that particular month. I honestly didn’t realize there was any other way until after I started this blog.
We have now successfully reduced our recurring monthly obligations so that they could all conceivably be covered by one of my spouse’s two paychecks each month. Because we have eliminated about $660 worth of monthly bills in eliminating the car loan, his student loan, and the credit card, our recurring monthly bills are almost exactly the same as a single biweekly paycheck for him. Not quite, but very close. This does not in any way, shape or form mean that we could get by each month on just one of his paychecks, for we wouldn’t eat or drive the cars, never mind saving any for irregular expenses, but it has opened up a new possibility in my head. Maybe it’s time to try and get a paycheck ahead. Maybe we could go from living paycheck to paycheck, to living one paycheck ahead of the game. Instead of spending paychecks as they come in on monthly bills and expenses, we could be spending the first paycheck of the month at the end of the month, and the second paycheck of the month the next month instead.
I still have to come up with a plan how to do so, and since it is close to the end of 2008, I’ve decided to make it my goal to start 2009 working one paycheck ahead. I’ll still be putting all the money we possibly can each month towards paying off the last non-mortgage debt, it may just get shifted by two weeks or so while I do it.
Off to work on step one – change all direct deposits of paychecks from our checking account to our savings account.