Trying to get a better handle on your money, or stop living paycheck to paycheck? These free budget by paycheck worksheets will help.
If there’s one thing I wish I had access to in my early 20s – when budgeting down to every last penny was essential and ordering from Taco Bell’s dollar special menu was considered a night out – it would be a budget by paycheck worksheet.
That’s because weekly budgeting can get dicey when you have paychecks in some weeks but not others, and the rent or mortgage bill soaks up all the funds in a single week.
And monthly budgeting can often be too long an amount of time to change or guide your daily money decisions (though it can be great for a more holistic picture of your money).
Remember that even though using these worksheets will definitely have you thinking about your money on a paycheck basis, the goal isn't to reinforce living paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.
Rather, these worksheets are here to help with both having enough money to get to the next paycheck AND to get ahead financially because you'll be controlling your money better.
Whether that’s paying down your debt faster, saving up money, investing in yourself to get that promotion or work towards getting into the career of your choice, or even to be able to live a different lifestyle than what you’re currently experiencing.
Let’s dive into the free resources, and then keep reading to learn more about how to budget by paycheck so that you can make the most of them.
Free Budget by Paycheck Worksheets (PDFs)
I find that organizing and prepping things ahead of time is half the battle, personally.
So, choose one of the following budget by paycheck worksheets, then set yourself up for success by printing out enough for at least six months. Punch some holes, stick them in a binder, and you now have a budgeting station.
Hint: these can be really helpful when figuring out how to transition from credit card to cash.
Here’s my top pick for free paycheck budgeting printables. It’s nicely designed, includes important areas for things like sinking funds and savings, and has a helpful summary area on the bottom.
You could pair it with the next set of worksheets, which will support your efforts to budget by paycheck.
While the Budget Mom does not have a free budget by paycheck worksheet, she does offer a Budget Crush Workbook that supports you budgeting each of your paychecks.
Free worksheets in the workbook include:
- Monthly Budget (read the section below for why this is important)
- Blank Money Calendar
- Bill Tracker
- Variable Expense List
Here’s a colorful paycheck budget template from Money Bliss.
FYI: you need to subscribe to her entire free resource library to get access to it.
Here’s a simple, one-page paycheck budget for people who get paid weekly. There’s room for 5 paychecks on these sheets, so that you’ll be set in those months that seep into a 5th pay period.
For example, I’m writing this in the month of September. There’s 5 Fridays, so if you’re paid on a Friday, you’ll get 5 paychecks in this month.
I like how she offers several different colors to choose from.
Psst: looking for a whole budget binder? Here are sets of free budget binder printables.
Here’s a set of simple Paycheck Budgeting printables – what I like about them is that there’s a spot for what you budgeted, then what actually happened, and the difference between the two.
Going through this process – planning your budget by paycheck, then writing in what actually happened, and subtracting the two to finding your “leaks and leftovers” – will definitely build your budget-making skills.
How Do You Calculate a Budget for a Paycheck?
For each paycheck that you get this month (and throughout the year, if you decide to stick with this personal budgeting method), you’ll need a paycheck budget worksheet.
You then need to assign specific expenses, savings goals, debt payments, and other budget line items (like money for food) to each of your paychecks.
When you sit down to calculate a budget for a paycheck, consider these few things:
- Your Entire Month: Yes, you’re just figuring out how to spend each paycheck. But what happens in week three of the month can affect what you need to do with the first paycheck’s budgeting. So, you need to keep a month-wide view of things. I like to use a blank money calendar, and just fill in when I expect money to come in, and when bills are due.
- Your Larger Bills: For larger bills that take part of two paychecks to handle, you’ll want to make a slot on each of your two-paycheck budget printables (or three, if you’re in a month where you get paid three paychecks) for that particular expense. Then, figure out how much of your first paycheck and how much of your second paycheck you can give for that bill.
- Your Savings and Debt Goals: You’ll want to budget for money from at least one of your paychecks to go towards your savings and debt payoff goals.
- Your Sinking Funds: You likely have larger bills due just a few times per year – like car insurance, travel plans, back-to-school shopping – and you’ll want to set money aside from more than just that month’s paychecks to be able to pay these expenses. That’s because if you don’t, then that month you’ll be stuck with no extra money to spend, or you’ll have to take from your savings/emergency fund. Make a list of larger expenses you’d like to spread out over the course of several months or even a year, and put that as a line item in your paycheck budgeting worksheets. This is called a “sinking fund”. Here are some free sinking fund tracker printables.
Now it's your turn. How are you budgeting currently? How do you think using a budget by paycheck worksheet is going to change things for you? I can't wait to see your results. If nothing else, then you should get some clarity around where your money is going each paycheck (and that's golden!).
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