Joint budget with different pay periods

Hi Everyone,

My partner and I have recently begun budgeting together, and the biggest roadblock we've encountered thus far is that we get paid at different intervals. I get paid bi-weekly on the 15th and 30th/31st of each month, and he gets paid on a weekly basis every Thursday. This can be confusing, forcing us to put our "half" of larger expenses in as our checks come in, which is exactly the type of calculating we were hoping budgeting together would help avoid. 

Does anybody have advice on how to manage this? 

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  • The best way is to get yourself one month ahead.  You will put all of your September paychecks in a holding category or budget directly to October.  Then in October all of your paychecks go to fund November.  This makes it so you are no longer tied to paydays.

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  • If possible, use startup capital to allow you to push all income received into the following month as @satcook indicates. (I prefer to use the holding category because of increased efficiency over budgeting directly to next month. The main thing is it facilitates budgeting with the entire month-sized chunk, ideally a one-click affair when using scheduled transactions and Goals.)

    If you are close, I'd also suggest reallocating funds from an Emergency fund or Income Replacement fund to put you over the top. You can always reallocate back IF an emergency happened, but in the meantime, you might as well enjoy the easier time budgeting.

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  • I found that asking what do we need to pay from this money until the next inflow was useful to simplify the task. We budget each payday since we are not fully a month ahead. 
    also, reading your question it sounds like you are keeping separate bank accounts and moving money over to cover each persons half. If that’s correct then it will be frustrating because you are working backwards from the expense rather than forward from the “pile” of money. 

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  • I agree with MXMOM that the best way to handle this if you're not yet a month ahead is to (a) join forces by making sure your paychecks are going into a joint account that's part of your budget, and (b) ask yourself "what does this money need to do before one of us gets paid again?"

    You may find that it feels like YNAB is pushing you toward seeing more of your money as "ours" rather than "mine or my partner's", and that's not unintentional. It's not that we don't want you to maintain autonomy! But I've found in working with lots and lots of couples that it's common to have end up with a complex system that essentially recreates an "mostly ours" setup but with lots of extra complexity, and in that type of situation, we recommend simplifying as much as possible. Happy to go into specifics!

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