Budgeting with biweekly paychecks in the Foundations Template

I’m using the Foundations Template and both my husband and I get paid biweekly, so 4 months out of the year we have an extra paycheck per month coming in. Previously, I’ve always just used “our regular paychecks x2” as our spending budget every month, meaning those 4 extra paychecks are not included in our budget. But, as I’m working on my 2021 budget setup, I’m realizing that it might be better to account for those 4 paychecks within my budget. (Coincidentally, I’m also accounting for more annual expenses as well as periodic ones, too, as opposed to just strict monthly expenses, and those “extra” paychecks will come in handy for that.)

I was thinking I could average out my monthly income and use that as my spending budget every month…but in doing so, I would then have a higher spending budget than my actual income for 8 months out of the year, and that makes me a little nervous.

Has anyone come figured out a good solution for this kind of scenario (using the Monthly Budget)? I’ve really enjoyed the simplicity of the Monthly Budget, but am wondering if most people solve this by using the zero-sum/envelope budgeting template (or the new savings budget) to resolve this.

I get paid monthly, so budgeting is currently easy, but I’m told it’s going to be switched this year to bi-weekly, so I’ll be in the same boat as you. I don’t have a solution, but I hope the community has some good suggestions as I hadn’t considered this difficulty until you mentioned it now!

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I’m also paid bi-weekly and this is how I calculate my monthly budget.

Monthly budget = (Bi-weekly pay*26) / 12

Monthly pay, of course, does not always equal budgeted pay. But over the course of one year, it would tie out. Maybe there’s a better way, but this works for me.

Hi @kjlawless!

I also get paid bi-weekly and use the Foundations Template. I never did anything special for a bi-weekly budget. I simply take the avg of each paycheck and multiply by 2 to make my monthly budget. In the months I know there will be three pay periods, I add an additional paycheck amount to that month in the categories sheet (if I forget, its not a problem because it will be captured in that month as a positive number under Income category, although if you are very intimate with your finances and need every dollar accounted for and planned, then add this in the categories sheet).

Also of note, in my case, I could actually earn more in one pay period (overtime), less in another (sick but no sick leave or vacation days) and have to consider 2 months of the year of receiving an extra bonus that can drastically vary based on team performance. This is why I use and avg of pay checks and it helps I have this data from at least two years of using Tiller.

Hope it helps your ideas and needs.


Have you considered the Savings Budget, @kjlawless? It’s helpful when you need to level out irregular income or expenses. It would allow you to accrue some extra in the fat months and run that down in the lean months.


@randy, @nakeva - I ended up applying both of these to my budgeting plan for the year. I projected budget amounts for my paychecks, adding more to the 4 months I know we’ll be paid 3x instead of 2x. I plan on using the Savings Budget for making any needed adjustments throughout the year, too. Thanks!

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Excellent! Glad to add value to what you needed to know. Cheers and Happy 2021!

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I’m also paid biweekly. I think your solution, and those offered by others here, work fine.

But what worked for me was to create separate sheets named by year (Pay2019, Pay2020, etc.). In those sheets I estimate the net pay for each check.

Then, in my Categories, the cells for the line item for Main Income contain a formula:
=sum(( FILTER( 'Pay2020'!$A$2:$B$27 ,'Pay2020'!$A$2:$A$27 = (mid(S$1,1,3)) ) ) )

This formula is using the column headings in Categories, which are ‘Jan 2020’, ‘Feb 2020’, etc., stored in this example in cell S1, and extracting just the month portion, such as ‘Jan’, and using that as the basis for the FILTER formula, which here looks at the array of data in the ‘Pay2020’ spreadsheet from A2:B27, which contains month names (‘Jan’, ‘Feb’…) in column A and estimated net pay in column B. Finally, whatever rows are found in Pay2020 which match the month name are then summed up into the column in Categories for that month. This gets around the fact that some months could have 2 paychecks, others 3, etc.

In my case, I also like to underestimate the net pay a little, to account for variations (I am paid hourly), and then base my spending and savings budget on the budgeted income amount. This way, in theory, I always have a little ‘surplus’ to put toward additional savings or off-budget items.