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Monday, December 18, 2017

How To Make A Month's Paycheck Last 1.5 Months

Got paid last Friday, the dreaded mid-December paycheck teachers at my district get every year.  Now I'm not sure if this is a practice at other school districts in California, to pay their teachers' last monthly salary mid-month, versus on the 30th or 31st as it usually is done.  Perhaps my school district (and others who do this) want to usher in the holiday break giving their teachers more money to work with for Christmas shopping?  Or maybe they just want to close their accounting departments down and tabulate their final numbers for 2017 in preparation for 2018?  Whatever the case, it's both a blessing and a curse for many teachers.

I don't get paid again until January 31st, which means my budgeting game has to be on point to survive the extra two weeks.  Wait, didn't I get paid two weeks ago also?  Yes, and December happens to be the hardest month to avoid getting into the red.  Extra expenses this month include:

Image result for Christmas expenses



A Christmas tree
New Christmas tree decorations
Baking supplies (cookies for the kids' holiday celebrations at school)
Christmas presents

Suffice it to say, it's always a struggle for me to make it to January 31st, especially simply relying on my monthly teaching salary.  I usually have to tap into my other accounts, passive rental income and emergency.  The good news is that January 31st will be an especially nice payday.  We're getting some retro pay!  Still, I've learned my lesson from previous years.  This time, I intend on making my monthly salary payment go down to the wire, deep into January.  In no particular order, this is how I will do it:

1)  Go dry.  Sorry no eggnog with rum or my favorite beer, Lagunitas Imperial Stout.  No holiday wines, Champagne, e.g., either!  Savings: Easily $100.

2)  No traveling.  We usually travel to San Jose to spend Christmas with my folks and siblings.  Not this time.  Staycation!  Savings in gas: $200.

3)  No presents for the adults.  My kids will get presents, but my wife and I have decided to forego on gifting each other anything this year.  Savings: $100-$150.

4)  No presents for the extended family.  Just gotta tell everyone in San Jose not to get my wife and I anything.  This way we won't feel guilty about not getting them anything in return.  Savings: $200-$300 easy.

5)  No date nights and stay home on weekend evenings.  Already spent $30 this past Friday watching, The Last Jedi.  What can I say...I'm a huge Star Wars fan.  Not my Luke!  Why?!!!!  Savings:  $100 to $150.

6)  Partial payment of credit cards.  I have $189 in credit card debt.  While I can pay off this $189 and be done with all my credit card debt, it will set me back too much.  The name of the game for January 2018 is survival.  I got that nice paycheck coming in on the 31st so I have to live to fight another day.  So, I'll pay just $50, and not use my credit card to make sure that balance goes down, not up.  Yes, I'll have some interest accrue in January, but I'll be able to kill it all once I get paid.  Savings: None.  

Image result for American Household Credit Card Debt



Speaking of credit card debt...

It's been predicted that credit card debt in America will rise for a 5th consecutive year.  It's hard for me to imagine having over $15K in credit card debt alone.  But according to Nerdwallet.com, the average household that has credit card debt owes this much and is paying hundreds of dollars in interest every year.  41% of respondents of the Nerdwallet.com survey said the main factor driving their credit card woes is spending on things they don't need!  Making unnecessary purchases is a manifestation of a deep-seated disease in America, don't you think?




I can understand needing to use your credit card to pay for medical emergencies (17% of respondents).  Even using your credit card to pay for necessities during a period of unemployment (23% of respondents) makes logical sense.  But you have only to blame yourself for your massive credit card debt if you're using your credit cards constantly on unnecessary purchases.  Ask yourself: What void am I trying to fill by buying X, Y, Z item?  Will the emptiness go away permanently if I buy X, Y, Z item?  I'm implying here that you're in great need of lassoing your emotions if you're to finally stop your impulse buying habit.  Back to my list...


7) Make more side-hustle money.  With the free time I'll have from my winter vacation, I'll have to step up my side-hustle activity.  I'll be looking out for writing gigs on Upwork.com, promoting my book some more, and approving more sponsored posts for this blog.

What would it take for you to make one month's salary last 1.5 months?  What sort of things can you do without and if you had to make extra cash, how would you do it?  A teacher friend says she just pretends the early paycheck isn't in her account.  We get direct deposit so I don't know how she can pretend the added cash isn't there?  Maybe she doesn't look at her account for two weeks?

Thanks for reading!  Until next time.

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