#KemCents: How to Budget Your Paycheck

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If you have used the infamous words in the past or present – “Catch me on payday,” it is time to make a change!

More importantly, you have to prepare yourself for the unexpected between the first and the fifteenth!

So what can you do if you ball on payday, but not so much the next?

1. Paycheck budgeting

Adopt what I like to call paycheck budgeting!  This concept is simple.  When you receive your paycheck, create a budget for the period your paycheck covers.  For instance, if you are paid on the first and the fifteenth, create a budget for that duration.  Remember, you don’t have to go at it alone. Consider using budgeting apps, such as to help.

2. Don’t spend it all in one day

Just like the old saying goes, “Don’t let your cash burn a hole in your pocket!” Simply put, once you obtain your paycheck, let it marinate!  Create a plan and think about how you can best use your resources until you are paid again.  Consider creating or building a cash-reserve so that when your payday arrives again, your funds are not completely exhausted.

3. Build your cushion

Of course, the most important thing to do at each payday is to put some money aside for a rainy day and believe me, that rainy day is certain to come!  A great rule of thumb is to commit to save at least 10- to 15-percent of your income. But no matter if it is $20 or $200, setting aside a certain amount consistently will quickly help you build your savings.

You have to remember: no one deserves your money more than you.  So before paying your bills, pay yourself first.  If you are a tither, pay God first!  Either way, putting yourself before your bills is a great way to not only build your cushion, but build your wealth.

4. Just say “no”

Listen, no matter where you turn or go, there is always going to be someone who wants your hard earned money. Whether it is an overcharge on your utility bill, incorrect charges from a vendor, or upgrades at your favorite store, you have to understand what you can and cannot afford.

You have to stay focused and keep your eyes on your financial goals! Stay guarded and if you know deep down it is not in your budget – just say “no!”

Remember: your choice, your future!

About Kemberley Washington

Kemberley Washington bio pic

Kemberley Washington, CPA is a professor at Dillard University and writes a finance blog at  She is the author of The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing. Follow her on Twitter @kemwashcpa or hashtag #kemcents.