#27 The three-paycheck month

Butcher, baker, candlestick maker.

No matter what, if you’re working for The Man, there’s a chance you’re getting paid every two weeks. Maybe every other Thursday or every other Friday, maybe dollars dropped into bank accounts or fistfuls of change dropped into sweaty palms.

All I know is if you’re on this schedule, you’re loving the couple months a year when you score three paychecks instead of two. Nobody knows how or why this happens, but let’s hold hands today and agree not to question it. On that third payday, raise your eyebrows, glance left very slowly, glance right very slowly, nod slightly, and carry about your business.

If you’re chiseling away at a mortgage, throwing in for car payments, or dropping coin on a fat phone bill, then you know the bliss that comes with having a tiny bit extra after paying your monthly debts.

So go ahead: Supersize that combo, fill up with high-octane, or just tuck it under your pillow for a rainy day.



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35 responses to “#27 The three-paycheck month

  1. TrixieRix

    Oh dear God yes. What’s better is how you somehow convince yourself that it’s extra money you didn’t even work for.

  2. We poor, unemployed students are baffled by such wonders… o_O

  3. Oooohh…like this month?
    I used to only get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month, so about 4 times a year instead of getting paid for 2 weeks, I got paid for 3. It was super nice. It was an extra week that didn’t get health insurance taken out. It was a full week of pay that I actually earned.
    This year they are trying out paying us every other Friday, so it makes months like this one extra awesome!

  4. Ken

    Let’s see…yes! This is a 3 paycheck month. It is nice, since the third paycheck has less taken out of it (lovethebadguy – unemployed college students beware! Things get deducted from your paycheck before you even see them!). I used to get paid monthly on the first day of hte month, nice having it all at once but if you couldn’t budget well it was a loooooong time until the next paycheck.
    I’ve been paid bi-weekly now for 15 years, and I have gotten used to it – especially months like this.

  5. Ken

    Something about today is also awesome – it is 3/14, or maybe 3.14 – which is Pi day. When I found a woman born on Pi day, I married her. Best decision of my life. Happy birthday sweetie!

    • Kathy

      Happy Birthday to Pi wife! :)

      • Freddo

        Awwww.. I love this! Ken – congrats to you and your “Pi wife” (good call, Kathy!)..

        Maybe instead of a birthday cake, you should get her one of these!

        • jdurley

          I was trying to find this photo of a Mazda 3 that had it’s model plate altered to say “Mazda 3.14159…” and also had a pi -related license plate, using google. First, I typed “pi car” into google and got “do you mean picard” This was awesome thing #1. Then I clicked over to “images” and of course it was a whole page of Jean-Luc picard images. That was awesomeness #2. So I went back into the search bar, and changed it from “picard” to “pi car” and the suggested result was “magnum pi car”. Brain exploding from awesomeness. So I never did find the Pi Mazda, but had fun anyway.

        • Kathy

          LMAO @ Pi pie! How absolutely perfect!

  6. wendy

    We work on contracts. Customer gets a draw, we get a draw. More changes along the way, longer the process, since there are also inspections before bank draws. Wealthy ones have been known to make as many as 45 and laugh about it! They don’t understand, *at all*, even if we stand before them, empty bowl out pleading for gruel! These are the times we “sometimes” wish we were still working for the man with those steady paychecks rolling in. And those months with three…well, between 19 and 20, I remember feeling like it was a bonus. I thought, I should be investing this, at very least as my grandfather had, stuffed in a sock and hidden high above the rafters in the basement, but I was already beyond my years responsible. So for one year when that third check magically appeared, pretend I was wealthy and spent it wildly with my friends, buying new records, playing pool, riding mechanical bulls, dancing on table tops and rolling, rolling, rolling on the river…and it was awesome:)

  7. wendy

    By the way, your writing has a thuggy air about it this day…a whole other side of you we haven’t seen a whole lot of, but sense at times is there… whispering in your ear and it just seems so fitting to throw a photo of Hamburglar somewhere in there;)

  8. jen325

    I always base my budget on two paychecks a month instead of 26 paychecks a year, that way the extra checks are a bonus. :)

  9. Freddo

    I only learned of this wonderous thing a few years ago when I got a new job. At my previous employer, we got paid twice a month (15th and 30th), but unlike Bekah above, we didn’t get paid more in certain weeks – all the paychecks were exactly the same size – there were just 24 of them.

    Then at my current job, we get paid every other Friday.. so this month is awesome! Time to sock some into the rainy day fund! (oh.. and maybe treat ourselves to an extra big Jar of nutella or something!)

    • wendy

      YOU have to pay for Nutella? I had friends who worked for Kraft and long time ago, I worked in pharmeceuticals and we at least got to take a chance with past expiry date goods!
      Anyway, I thought you were in the market for new snuggies and brain cell stuff;)

    • Laura

      That’s how we get paid at my school … 15th and 30th, straight up, no exceptions. Boo. Oh well, better than when I worked as a graduate assistant … we only got paid once a month!

      NUTELLA! Good place to spend your “free money” :)

  10. Mary

    First of all – Shout Out for a Payroll Awesome!! I am on my way home from a 4-day payroll conference. Perect timing :)

    Now… did you know there’s such a thing as the bi-weekly payroll leap year when there are 27 paydays in the year? Not only do you get the two awesome-worthy three-paycheck months, but you also get a bonus one!!! Last time there were 27 Thursdays and Fridays was in 2009.

    Payroll geeks rule!

  11. Dienna

    Huge fan of the three-check month! :-)

  12. Elisa

    Wow, I didn’t even know you guys got paid bi-weekly!
    Here in France it’s only once a month- I get my paycheck on the 5th of the next month. I don’t really mind but it is true that things can get a bit complicated by the end of the month.

  13. Robin

    I hate to burst the bubble, but no one gets paid three times in a month. If you get paid every other Friday, or whatever day, you get paid every two weeks, period. 26 times a year, period. What the calendar says might make you THINK you’ve been paid three times in a month, but in the course of a year, you’re still gonna find, you got paid the same number of times, 26. No extra money, I’m sorry!

    • Robin

      Oops, I meant to also say, UNLESS you get paid every single week, like I do. But every week is every week, and it might look like there are more then 4 weeks in a month, but still, there are 52 Fridays in a year, period.

    • jen325

      Not true; do the math.
      2 paychecks per month x 12 months = 24 paychecks
      If you get paid biweekly, you get two checks 10 months of the year, and 3 checks two months of the year.

    • Jack

      I know this is an old post, but there’s no way that I can let this one slide…

      Are you generally inept or do you just suck at reading and math? Nobody said they got more than 26 paychecks in the year…

      Yes, three-paycheck months exist (two per year, to be exact).

      How? Simple math: if there are 52 weeks per year and you get paid every two weeks, you’ll get 26 paychecks (at least you got that part right). 26 divided by twelve months equals 2.2 (rounded).
      Why? Simple: there are more than 28 days per month (except for February, duh). Those extra days “add up” in a way, and every time there are 5 Thursdays in the same month, there is a chance you’ll get 3 paychecks (depends on which week you get paid).

      Next time, do your homework before writing your nonsense.

  14. It s like getting a bonus.

  15. It really does not matter how far along in your career you are, 3 paychecks in a month are fantastic. Love it, save it, enjoy it.

  16. Jaimie

    Three paycheck month, oh how I love thee. So many wardrobes and trips planned based on it. I know for me I split both my bills into both my monthly pays which equals 24 pays. We really get 26, so those extra ones are solid gold.

  17. That’s one scary lookin’ “burger slave”!
    Cool post, though!

  18. Rachel

    I call these months “Magical Paycheck Month” because they truly are magical!

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  20. Christopher

    I discovered your list of awesome things, do you plan on adding to this list?

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