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“Extra” Paycheck? Here’s What To Do With It

February 24, 2022
A family counting their coins

How It Works

Did you know that there are multiple months every year that provide the potential for an extra paycheck? That potential comes from each of those months containing 5 of certain days. For example, March may have 5 Wednesdays and July may have 5 Fridays. Depending on the day and frequency you are paid, it could mean that you receive an “extra” paycheck. That’s because the 52 weeks in a year aren’t spread out evenly among the 12 months.

Of course, this money isn’t really a freebie—you work hard for that paycheck! But if you plan accordingly (budget to use only your regular paychecks on usual expenses), you might be able to use this as an opportunity to contribute to your savings goals. How would you use an “extra” paycheck? Will you splurge on something special, or tuck it away in a savings account or emergency fund?

What To Do With the Extra Paycheck

Whether you get paid weekly or biweekly, you can count on anywhere from two to five additional paychecks a year. An extra paycheck can go a long way or be used up fast if you don’t have a plan. The first step is to find out exactly when the extra paychecks will come. Once you know that, you can mark your calendar or put a reminder on your phone. This will help with the budget planning process. The next step will depend largely on your personal financial goals.

Here are some ideas:

  • Pay bills. After you pay off current bills that you have already budgeted for including rent, mortgage, cable, and internet, consider paying off some debt. Student loans, personal loans, and credit cards could potentially impact your credit score depending on your DTI (debt-to-income) ratio and if you carry a balance on revolving credit. A great way to utilize your additional paychecks is to pay toward your highest interest rate loans.

    Start a rainy-day fund. We’ve all heard about the importance of saving for a rainy day. What the phrase really means is saving for the unexpected curveballs in life – medical emergencies, job loss, car accidents – that can drain your savings if you don’t have money earmarked for such situations.

    Save for a big goal. If you feel good about the status of your bills and already have an emergency fund, it’s OK to have some fun with your extra paycheck. Maybe you’re dreaming of purchasing a new car or taking on a major home improvement project? Whatever your goal is, plan ahead and put your extra paycheck to good use.

Mark Your Calendar!

Look through the calendar and identify the months you could expect an extra paycheck based on when you’re paid. For example, if you get paid weekly, you can expect to see an extra paycheck in every month that contains 5 of your paydays. If you're paid once every two weeks, you can also expect to have months when you'll receive an extra paycheck, but you'll have to check your calendar as the extra paycheck months vary year to year.

No matter what you plan on doing with your extra paycheck, DCU has an account that will help you to make the most of every dollar you earn. Check out our Primary Savings and Free Checking accounts.

Please note, membership is required to open a DCU Savings account. Visit our membership eligibility page for more information.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, financial, investment or tax advice or indicate that a specific DCU product or service is right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a financial professional.