What Will You Do With October's Extra Paycheck?

If your employer pays you every other week, there are 26 pay periods per year. Ten months are boring two-paycheck months, in which every penny of your meager paycheck is most likely accounted for. But two months, including — for many wage slaves, this one — are wondrous, three-paycheck extravaganzas, creating the illusion that you’ve got a whole extra paycheck to blow on whatever you like, unencumbered by the usual bills.

Money Maus notes the nearing of this unofficial holiday at the end of next week, and says she’s using her “extra” dough to save for retirement, prop up her holiday gift fund and treat herself to a little shopping spree.

If you’re getting a third paycheck this month, what are you doing with the money?

Three Paycheck Month [Money Maus]

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  1. B says:

    Hookers and blow, just like every other paycheck.

    • Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ says:

      That’s about par for course right there

    • George4478 says:

      LOL! Whenever I get a little windfall money, I tell my wife and kids that it’s going into my ‘booze and hooker’ fund.

      I’m married to an angel, really.

    • mandy_Reeves says:

      starbucks and webkinz! oh and a tattoo maybe.

  2. qwickone says:

    Replenishing the savings account – just got back from vacation.

  3. Tim says:

    Our paychecks are on Oct. 8 and 22, so no three-check month here. January, July and December are all three-check months for us.

    • Sunflower1970 says:

      Me neither. No extra. Ah, well….

    • Dustbunny says:

      Same here. Too bad, because I just got my property tax bill. I haz a sad :(

    • JayPhat says:

      Ditto. My december extra is going to be Christmas money.

    • Preyfar says:

      Yep, my triple paycheck month is December.

      I got all excited seeing this Consumerist post, and then… =(

    • anime_runs_my_life says:

      Same here. However, the extra paycheck for December is going towards the yearly personal property taxes we have to pay in our wonderful state.

      However, the husband gets paid weekly, so he’ll be reaping the benefits of an extra paycheck for this month. Lucky guy.

      • Taed says:

        What state do you live in that has state property taxes? I thought that property taxes were always a city/county thing.

        • Demonpiggies says:

          RI works that way. If you pay online the payment goes through the state to the county… And RI (most of RI) is allowed weekly pay. CT is in 2 week increments.

    • tiatrack says:

      Me too. I was all excited for a minute, but our next on isn’t until December.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    My extra paychecks directly coincide with my 6-month car insurance premium and my home owner’s insurance premium. That’s good for me, because I don’t have to budget for big costs over the year, but it sucks because I really don’t get a super-cool third paycheck to splurge on.

    • Murph1908 says:

      Same here. I pay my 6 month premium each time with the extra check.

      Fortunately, it doesn’t eat up the whole check. The rest I am taking to Vegas.

  5. The cake is a lie! says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but mine is going toward Christmas and all the birthdays in my family this time of the year. November and December are expensive months for my little family.

  6. Rachacha says:

    October is a 2 paycheck month for me. My 3 paycheck months are January & July this year, but it changes every year for me.

  7. grucifer says:

    It’s going to add a much needed cushion to my bank account!

  8. alaron says:

    My 2 paycheck months are July and December.

  9. Robofish says:

    rent.

  10. Downfall says:

    I get paid once a month, plus a bonus in January. Suffice it to say that those are the best 13 days of the year. Nobody seems to know where this practice came from or why we do it, particularly since some types of employees are paid other two weeks and others once a month. Best guess is that it’s a tax or accounting reason lost to the sands of time.

    • katarzyna says:

      I get paid twice a month, on the 15th and the last day of the month (or whatever the last working day before that is). I’m salaried. Hourly employees at my company get paid every two weeks.

  11. Jacquilynne says:

    I don’t normally pay attention to that sort of thing, because I don’t really budget stuff month over month like that. I do have monthly bills, but they’re a pretty small part of my overall spending, at least until my condo is finished and I have a mortgage.

    But because of this article, I went and checked, and I do not have an extra pay period this month. So now I’m disappointed by something I wouldn’t have even thought about.

    Thanks Consumerist, you made my day suck more!

    • adamczar says:

      How do you not pay attention to when you get paid?

      • Gramin says:

        Agree with your comment. I get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month, but never on the last day of the month, never a holiday, never a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. If it falls on one of those nevers, the pay date rolls forward to the next applicable day.

        Complicated… but I know when I get paid.

        • Jacquilynne says:

          I know when I get paid in the sense that it’s every other Thursday. But if, at any given moment, you asked me whether this week included a payday, I would probably have no idea.

      • Jacquilynne says:

        I don’t really need to. There’s always sufficient balance to cover any money I’ve spent or might want to spend in my chequeing account, so I’m not watching and waiting for the next deposit. Transfers to savings happen automatically after my paydays, so I don’t need to know when to log on and do that.

        Other than my rent, everything I pay regularly is autopaid by one of my credit cards, and everything else that I pay for non-regularly goes on a different credit card. I am acutely aware of when those credit card bills roll over for the month because then I go and pay them. But when I get paid doesn’t prompt any action on my part, so it’s not something that needs any of my attention.

        I suppose if I did pay more attention to the intersection of my paycheques and my credit card bills I could float money back and forth between higher interest accounts, but even my theoretically high interest account pays such shitty interest that it’s really not worth it.

        I went back and checked, and as it turns out, I got three paycheques last month, something I never noticed at the time.

      • SuperQ says:

        By having a sufficient buffer of cash to pay the regular bills. Money for me is mostly numbers moving between accounts. I put a small amount from each paycheck into my cash account. This is to cover things like drinks, cabs, small items from a corner store. Everything else goes into my savings. From there a fixed amount is sent per month to the joint account with my partner. This covers our rent, utilities, insurance, internet. Everything else is “fun budget” that I pay out of my credit card that gets auto-paid via savings.

        I’d say my normal monthly budget is split roughly in thirds

        1/3 – joint account rent/utilities
        1/3 – fun budget (food/dining, netflix, hobbies)
        1/3 – savings

        The thing that I need to do now is get that savings line up to 1/2 :)

    • gparlett says:

      “I do have monthly bills, but they’re a pretty small part of my overall spending” Really? Rent, car payment, care insurance, electric, cell phone bill, cable, directv, credit card bill… like 60% of my spending is monthly bills…

      • Jacquilynne says:

        My spending breaks down basically into thirds:

        1/3 recurring bills (rent, car insurance, phone/internet, gym)
        1/3 non-recurring stuff (food, entertainment, clothing, travel, etc)
        1/3 savings (mostly earmarked for my condo)

        I expect all of that to change dramatically in the new year, when my condo will hopefully finally exist and I’ll have to start paying mortgage, maintenance, taxes, utilities, etc. The first category is lower than most people would expect because I’ve lived in the same illegal basement apartment for 10 years, I get the ‘friend of the family who tolerates my landlady’s issues’ discount and my rent has not gone up in that time.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          Food is non-recurring? You’ve never eaten more than once?

          • Jacquilynne says:

            Recurring in this context means things that are set schedule and usually set amounts — bills like insurance, rent, cable, etc. Food varies from month to month, and I buy it on a near daily basis. It’s not recurring for the purposes of this conversation.

  12. blogger X says:

    New tires.

  13. dolemite says:

    December is my extra paycheck, since we get paid every Wednesday. 1st, 15th and 29th. And it’s going towards our credit card debt.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      you get paid on the 29th and again on the 1st? Either I read that wrong, or I really want to work where you do.

      • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

        Dolemite gets paid every other week, on Wednesday. In December, those days happen to be the 1st, 15th and 29th. In January, it will be the 12th and 26th …

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah, I might have been a bit unclear. I should have said every *other* Wednesday :)

  14. Arcaeris says:

    Ours is July and December, so paying off my credit card debt. Would have been the same answer for any months.

  15. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    The people I know with jobs get paid on the 1st and the 15th. No extra. Too bad, so sad.

  16. ElleAnn says:

    I get paid once a month, so no funtastic three paycheck months for me. :-(

    • mbgrabbe says:

      Me too… I thought it was BS at first, but I’ve grown to like it. Makes bill paying much easier to manage. You pay everything all at once, right after your check comes in.

      • liz.lemonade says:

        Exactly. I’ve been on monthly paychecks for the past ten years, and I appreciate it SO much. I like knowing that I have $____ for the entire calendar month before bills and rent are due. If that amount fluctuated every month, I’d have a really hard time keeping up and staying sane.

    • dpeters11 says:

      You just get that extra paycheck paid out in 12 installments. To me, it’s almost like wanting to get a big tax refund. It’s not free money, it just lowers your pay check most months.

  17. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Ah I guess this is the downside to being salaried.

    • qwickone says:

      I’m salaried, I just get paid every 2 weeks.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Same for me. I get paid on the 1st and the 15th each month and every paycheck is exactly the same, regardless of how long or short a given month is.

    • tiatrack says:

      I’m salaried, and I get the extra checks (although not this month). Salaried has nothing to do with it.

  18. Giles says:

    Pay the stuff that I should have with my 2nd paycheck of the month. I splurged early.

  19. D0rk says:

    My pay dates this month were the 8th and 22nd. So no 3 paychecks this month for me…

  20. bonzombiekitty says:

    I was just planning on putting the extra paycheck in my savings. I’m so boring, I know. But in addition to the extra paycheck I got an unexpected raise this month which was backdated to the end of July. So it ends up being almost two additional paychecks for me this month. So I used some of the extra money to make a mash tun.

  21. Truthie says:

    I guess I’m the opposite – I see the two extra paychecks as an easy way to save a little extra money beyond my normal monthly contributions.

  22. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    “Extra” money? No such thing in my world.

  23. DanRydell says:

    My paycheck isn’t “meager,” and I’m financially secure partly because I don’t adjust my spending habits based on silly things like having three paychecks in one month (also because my paycheck isn’t “meager”).

  24. zandar says:

    we get paid on the last working day of the month, and the fifteenth, give or take a day depending on the way the month plays out.

    I used to get the third paycheck at my previous job. I treated it no differently than any other check, because the rate of pay didn’t change, and I still had the same old shit to pay off.

  25. YamiNoSenshi says:

    I guess I’m on the opposite way period, since Sept was my 3-paycheck month. We used ours to pay down my fiancee’s hearing aids.

  26. teke367 says:

    I get paid twice a month regardless, so my unoffical holiday is February, since I feel like I’m getting paid a little more per day.

  27. Harmodios says:

    Studentloans: we’re trying to pay them all off in one year. We’re living off 50K this year and by December have paid back all 100K.

  28. zatoism says:

    We get paid 2x per month – no matter how many weeks there are. This is awful for us! We end up with 3 weekends for 1 paycheck. Brutal.

  29. nextyearsgirl says:

    I get paid on the 26th of every month, which makes for a leeeeeeeeeeean third week of the month, usually.

    I just signed my first least and paid the first month’s rent for January, so this month and for Nov and Dec, I’m trying to save extra while I still live with my parents to cushion the future.

  30. JonStewartMill says:

    I get paid once a month, meaning that I usually get one check for the typical employee’s two. This month I get one check for the typical employee’s three. Does this make me more unfortunate than usual? My brain hurts.

  31. Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ says:

    Good ol’ dependable DoD, 1st and 15th, so even if I get a “third” paycheck it is still only half of my monthly pay… Just makes me broke that much faster

  32. Matzoball says:

    Sadly I spent 50% on a new suit for job interviews with prospective employers. Love the company but will likely have to leave for advancement.

  33. punkrawka says:

    My company changed from every other week to twice a month, so that the extra money was spread evenly throughout the year, to encourage me to be a responsible adult with it. Lame!

  34. colorisnteverything says:

    As an academic with a strange pay policy, I only get ONE check a month.

    No need to get excited.

  35. captadam says:

    I’m paid once a month. So, no extra paychecks for me …

  36. UnicornMaster says:

    if you’re paid biweekly you’ll notice that your checks slowly and slowly pull away from the days your bills are due. It isn’t until the check pulls away a whole 2 week cycle when you have an “extra paycheck”. I suggest you bank it.

  37. aloria says:

    I get paid on the 15th and 30th of each month. No extra check for me.

  38. belassoff says:

    By some weird payroll rules my third paycheck f the month (in my case December) ends up excluding medical deductions and other dues. I end up with some extra in that check and it is nice.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      Probably the same weird rules that allow the check to be “extra” in the first place, namely, those things are being billed by the calendar month. If they didn’t do it that way, all your checks for that month would be billed less per each check.

      Well, unless you were being robbed.

  39. swarrior216 says:

    Paycheck? What’s a paycheck?

  40. leprechaunshawn says:

    My wife and I both get paid every Thursday so we only get 4 checks this month. We did get a 5th check in April, July, September and we have one coming in December.

  41. VouxCroux says:

    I get paid on the 1st and the 15th, so whatever. No extra paycheck for me.

  42. TouchMyMonkey says:

    Well, my paycheck arrives on the other Fridays (10/8 and 10/22). My third paycheck extravaganza won’t arrive until December 31st. Six days too late to have much of an impact on my Christmas shopping, other than to settle my credit card bill.

  43. duncanblackthorne says:

    Extra paycheck? Bah. I get paid twice monthly, and because of that I’m actually going to get one of the rare short paychecks next week.

  44. kingofmars says:

    I’m paid weekly, so this doesn’t apply to me. Enjoy the extra paycheck!

  45. pippenz says:

    Half towards debt, half towards savings….

  46. qbubbles says:

    Get paid every week. :) I’m on one two week schedule and hubby is on the opposite two week schedule. Its frickin awesome.

  47. Donathius says:

    We get paid based on the date as opposed to a particular interval. While I technically get paid every other week it’s actually the 15th/last days of the month.

  48. giax says:

    We’ll get a dining table+chairs set (until now there was just an $ 8 IKEA sofa table to use for dining, with sofa), and a Mac Mini server.

  49. MercuryPDX says:

    We get paid by date (1st and 15th of every month). :(

    • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

      I used to, too. Then my company realized that it cost more in accounting to try to keep track of when the 1st and 15th fell. All is well and good when those days fall Monday through Friday, however if either falls on a weekend they had to plan for our paychecks to deposit that Friday. Giving up that much cash a day or two early costs a company quite a lot in lost interest. So they moved to an “every other Friday” schedule. Which sucks, if you are used to the 1st and 15th schedule. Rather than being paid 24 times a year, you’re paid 26 times a year. Meaning smaller paychecks. Noticeably smaller. It took some getting used to. If your company switches schedules in January, you have to wait about 6 months until you get one of those so-called “extra” paychecks. Until then, you have to learn to live with less.

  50. xanxer says:

    No extra check for me. Next check is on 5 November.

  51. yzerman says:

    I get paid on Thursdays so last month was my 3 paycheck month..

  52. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    Survive.

  53. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Paying down the credit card. I know, I know. But at least I have a plan and I’m sticking to it. All cards but one are already paid off. I have an emergency fund and am contributing to my 401K. Have owned my car for over a decade. Debt-free in 3 years (or even sooner at the current rate)! Financial security means more to me than any splurge I can think of.

  54. SabreDC says:

    There’s no “extra” paycheck for biweekly-paid employees. You’ll have to go the first 13 days of November before getting paid again.

  55. Consumeristing says:

    I just bought a $1,000 Zeiss lens to use for backpacking around Italy for a week.

  56. Consumeristing says:

    BTW, I hate bi-weekly pays. It’s hard to get used to even though I’ve been getting paid like that for years. Just as soon as your pay syncs with the billing period, it messes it up again for another 5 months of smaller paychecks. Not only does taxes eat up 31% of my monthly income, another 8% goes to this bi-weekly ‘tax’.

  57. xamarshahx says:

    this depends on what biweekly schedule you are on…

  58. StutiCebriones says:

    I’m glad the post pointed out the illusion of this. Your employer is only giving you the money it should have given you weeks or months ago. Pretending it’s a third paycheck is as dumb as arranging your withholding to get a large refund instead of keeping the money and earning interest.

  59. daveinva says:

    Woohoo! I love the three-paycheck months, they are my favorite.

    Alas, I budget out two years (!) at a time, so the money is technically already spent (or, in this case, thankfully saved).

    Far more welcome this time of the year is hitting the Social Security cap. ‘Tis nice to have a couple extra hundred in the paychecks for a few months.*

    *Before jealousy kicks in, while I am comfortable, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, and get raped on my cost of living. Even over six figures, every extra dollar counts (especially while raising a family).

    • BradC says:

      That’s the way to do it. Your budget should be for at least the longest length of time between recurring bills, and most of us have at least a few things that are due yearly. Ever since moving to a year-based (instead of paycheck based) budget I’ve never been stuck waiting for the next paycheck to come–it really takes a lot of stress out of life.

  60. NotEd says:

    I’m taking my dogs to the vet finally and paying bills as usual.

    As the SO gets paid twice monthly, no matter what, there won’t be too much “extra” money coming into my household.

  61. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I get paid every week and as fast as it comes in, out it goes again. Mostly toward bills.

  62. Lucky225 says:

    I got paid on the 8th and 22nd, so much for that ‘extra paycheck’ consumerist. Depends on your employer’s pay period. My extra check was July.

  63. JollyJumjuck says:

    I usually hate “extra money” because it’s an excuse for the bad luck fairy to drain my wallet dry by making my car break down, or my kid requiring extra money for some school function. Fifty extra bucks means eighty extra bucks worth of “surprise expenses.”

  64. Chaluapman says:

    I only get 2 paychecks this month :(

  65. DJ Nihil says:

    Pay period ends on the 1st and the 16th for me, and its a 2 day delay if you have direct deposit and 1 week if you get a paycheck. and if its Friday, you wait til Monday, and if its Saturday or Sunday you wait til Monday for the payroll to process then get paid accordingly.

    Extra paychecks a couple times a year would be nice, but tell my employer to make paying me a priority.

  66. tbax929 says:

    I’m paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. If the last day of the month falls over a weekend, I get that the Friday before.

    Anyway, my budget is so set in stone that getting another check during the month wouldn’t change anything. I pay my rent on the 1st and everything else on the 15th. The balance of each check goes to savings. Once I move into my new house in December, I suspect I’ll have a lot less money that falls into that “the rest goes into savings” category.

  67. Not Given says:

    Paid once a month and October has fewer hours than some other months, so the check will be smaller

  68. initforthelulz says:

    Uncle Sam enjoys sending my checks on the 1st and 15th, no bonus monies for me.

  69. Kevin says:

    Putting a fresh head in my Jeep.

  70. Lorelei714 says:

    Giving my hubby an all expense trip for a week fishing in the carolinas :)

  71. physics2010 says:

    Can we re-title this to…”What will all of you people that live from paycheck to paycheck do with October’s extra paycheck?” It isn’t really extra money to anyone else.

  72. Conformist138 says:

    I moved just in time for my three-check month. So, now I’m actually more broke than I was before.

  73. MrEvil says:

    Except those of us paid only 24 times a year. I’m paid on the 15th and the last day of the month…so I did get a paycheck on my birthday, but I didn’t get an “extra” one. FUUUUUUUUUUUU!

  74. guspaz says:

    I try to maintain a buffer, so incoming paycheques don’t affect me at all. Keeping any less cash on hand would mean that you’re living from paycheque to paycheque, which isn’t very fun situation to be in.

    As such, a third paycheque in one month just bumps the buffer up higher than usual, which means I’ll probably put a bit extra into long-term savings.

  75. SynMonger says:

    I only get paid once a month. Poo on you all.

  76. dilbert69 says:

    I put it in the bank with the other paychecks.