Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stacks o' Greenbacks

The company I work for is making a change in their payroll system effective January 2016. They are switching from an every-other-week format to a twice-a-month format (Bi-monthly? Semi-monthly? Split-infinitives-monthly? Gah!!). The new format moves us from 26 pays a year to 24. The company says this will help streamline the company's financials, and it makes sense.

The new cycle puts the pays on the 15th and 30th of the month. No, that doesn't mean that we only get paid once in February (Shhh - don't tell them! They might not have thought of that!) If the 15th or 30th (or in February's case, there isn't a 30th) falls on a weekend or holiday, the pay will hit the bank on the previous business day. So, if the 15th is a Sunday, the pay shows up on Friday the 13th ("Feelin' lucky? Punk?" - Dirty Harry).

I haven't seen that pay cycle since I was in the Navy. Back then the 15th and 30th were coveted days on the ship. Usually by the 16th, many of my shipmates were already broke (Pick a card - any card, or more accurately, "Texas Lose 'Em"). Not me. I was already establishing my life's philosophy of "I don't like kids. I don't play games. Get off my lawn!!" So card games - even for money - didn't interest me.

One of the more popular budgeting systems today uses an envelope system for handling money. You make an envelope for every possible expense, using cash as your primary purchasing method, and put the budgeted amount in each envelope. When I was in the Navy, I had my own envelope system. I would take the majority of my pay and have it sent home to a savings account. This was way before direct deposit systems were commonplace like they are today. So, the majority went home, and I received the remainder in singles. Yep. One dollar bills. The dispersing clerk hated me!

The first thing I'd do is set up the number of envelopes needed to get me from the 31st (or 1st, if there wasn't a 31st) to the 14th, or the 16th to the 29th; marking each envelope with the date in pencil (I was cheap and just erased the date and reused the same envelopes over and over and over). I'd take the money to my bunk, spread the envelopes out, and divide the singles among the envelopes. I then only used the money in each day's envelope for that day. If I didn't spend it all, I would take that envelope's contents and divide it among the remaining envelopes. Whatever was leftover at the end was added to that next pay and was spread out again.

The above may seem a bit overkill, but you gotta realize that I was one of the few with cash in my pocket - even if it was a sweet, sweet stack of George Washingtons. Where my shipmates tended to have less money at the end of the pay period, I'd have more.

I'm not too sure if such a system would work today. I don't get an allowance, and my wife and I share one "pot". But, if you are single, you may want to think about such a system for yourself. The other benefit was the large sum I had in the bank when I got home. Out of sight, out of mind.

Now the real question: Do you have change for a twenty?

© Emittravel 2015

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