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Strategies to Save

11 Tips for Budgeting Monthly Bills on a Weekly Paycheck

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

While Chelsea Jackson finished her Early Childhood Education degree at Georgia Gwinnett College in 2016, she took a job as a cashier at a local grocery store. The 23-year-old earned $9.25 an hour and was paid on a weekly basis, bringing in about $250 with each paycheck.

Getting paid on a weekly basis, she says, came with its own set of challenges. She needed to figure out how to save enough from each paycheck to cover bills due later in the month while also meeting her immediate needs (food, gas, etc.) at the same time.

“When you get paid weekly you don’t really have a snapshot of what your true income is because it’s gone so fast,” says Jackson, who now works as a first grade teacher. “It’s such a little amount, you really don’t see how much you make until the end of the month when you add up your paychecks.”

More than 30% of U.S. businesses pay workers on a weekly basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cashing a paycheck every week might sound like a great deal, but it can actually make budgeting for bills more challenging.

Exacerbating matters is the fact that workers who are paid weekly are already at a financial disadvantage, as they are more likely to earn less than their counterparts who are paid biweekly or monthly. Employees on weekly pay schedules earn an average of $18.62 per hour versus $24.81 (workers paid biweekly) and $28.45 (workers paid monthly), according to the BLS.

There are ways to adjust to a weekly pay schedule and still meet your financial obligations at the same time.

Here are some tips:

Change your bill due dates if you can

If you can, ask whatever entity is sending you a bill each month if you can move your due date to one that’s more convenient for your budgeting purposes.

“You kind of have to have one thing pushed back so it doesn’t hit you all at once,” says Shannon Arthur, 22, who receives a weekly paycheck as the assistant manager for a department store in Suwanee, Ga.

Arthur says her credit card bill comes during the second week on purpose. She called her credit card company to change the bill’s due date to better fit her payment schedule.

Work with your lenders when you can’t meet your due dates

If two bills overlap and there isn’t enough money in the bank for both, workers are left with a hard choice. Arthur found herself in that situation, and she knew she was going to be late paying her phone bill. She found that honesty worked in her favor.

“I just explained to [T-mobile] my situation,” she says. They allowed her to pay $20 of the bill that week, then pay the remainder the following week.

But she stresses making a good-faith effort to pay your bill on time if you’re going to ask for extra time as you’ll likely need to show you have a good payment history or the company may not allow you to pay later.

Save your “extra” check

When you’re paid weekly, you’ll have some months when you’ll receive five paychecks instead of four. “Those months should be used strategically,” says behavioral economist Richard Thaler.

He advises workers to budget based on receiving four paychecks each month and then use the fifth, or “extra” paycheck to boost or address your financial goals.

“When it comes around, or if, perish the thought, there are outstanding credit card bills, pay them down,” says Thaler.

Chart your cash flow

Know exactly what money you have coming in and how much you have going out each month. Lauren J. Bauer, a financial adviser based in Greensboro, N.C., recommends creating a list of all of your bills. From there, calculate how much you need to withhold from each paycheck in order to cover those bills by their due date.

“It makes it easier than just writing down a total for all your bills and trying to get them paid when you think about it,” says Bauer. She says the chart makes it easy to see what you’ll spend by check, so that you know how much money you’ll have coming in and what you’re able to pay for that week.

Set aside money to cover bills in advance

“If you’re getting paid weekly, you need to develop a discipline to save for things that you pay for on a monthly basis,” says Peter Credon, a New York, N.Y.-based financial planner.

Jackson says she relied on a simple strategy to make sure her bills were paid on time. She strove to save up three months’ worth of expenses. Once her savings fund goal was met, rather than paying her bills with a bit of each paycheck, she used her savings to pay bills as they came. Then, she replenished some of the funds each time she was paid.

This strategy is all about taking back control of your budget.

“If you have enough money [set aside], you can prefund things in many aspects and have control,” Credon says. “You’re controlling your finances and how you spend your money.”

Set aside funds for emergency expenses

No matter how often you’re paid, you should build an emergency fund that holds enough money to cover about three to six months’ worth of your fixed expenses. It can help cover irregular or unexpected bills that don’t line up with your pay schedule, like an emergency dentist visit or a trip to the auto shop.

“The emergency fund helps keep you out of long-term debt,” says Credon. “Focus on building up a little more cash on the side to get yourself through the tougher times. He says you may even want to save a little more if you’re a shift worker and your hours fluctuate.

Keep your spending money in a separate account

An easy self-hack that helps combat overspending is to transfer funds you need to cover your expenses for the month to a designated checking account and restrict yourself to using only those funds each month. Automatically transfer the amount you wish to save to a separate savings account, so you’ll be less likely to spend it.

Putting the extra money in savings can help prevent you from getting used to a larger budget. It stops you from seeing you have more money in your budget for the next week and thinking you can overspend. You take that money out of the equation to keep your spending habits tamed.

Make partial bill payments with every paycheck

If you know the date and amount of an upcoming bill, you can get ready for the payment ahead of time to lessen your financial burden during the week when the bill arrives.

For example, let’s say your rent payment is $700 per month, but you receive only $400 per week. Each week, set aside $175 for your rent and reserve the leftover funds for other expenses.

This way, a large, recurring bill like a mortgage or student loan payment won’t eat up the majority of your paycheck the week the bill becomes due. Plus, you’ll already know you have the money to cover the bill.

Try not to splurge

When you’re paid weekly, you’re paid quite frequently, so it can be easy to feel like your next payday is right around the corner. But you may run out of money faster than you imagine. When Jackson was paid weekly, she was forced to be strict with herself because she wasn’t paid that much at a time.

“There were definitely weeks or months when I would splurge,” says Jackson. “Those six days [till the next paycheck] can feel like a really long time.”

Use apps to track your spending and saving

You can set bill reminders on your banking or budgeting applications to remind you when a bill will be due in the coming week or set alerts to let you know when you’re overspending in a category you’ve budgeted a limit for.

Jackson says she used the budgeting app Mint to reign in her spending on food since she realized she was overspending at the grocery store.

Don’t forget to check your credit report from time to time if you use credit cards or have loans you’re paying off. “If you’re paying your bills on time and promptly, you’re also building your credit score,” says Credon.

Keep your goals in mind

Admittedly, if you’re already struggling to live paycheck-to-paycheck, saving up can be tough, but it’s not impossible.

“Watching a budget isn’t fun because most people want to be able to do what they want when they want to,” adds Credon. He suggests building in some rewards — like getting to go on a date night once a month — to help stay on course. He says to think of longer-term goals to keep you going, like the ability to buy your own place or take a trip for a few weeks overseas.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at [email protected]

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Reviews, Strategies to Save

BB&T CD Rates and Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

BB&T’s website can leave CD investors wanting more, as the information regarding CDs is fairly basic. Although the bank’s website has as basic overview of certificates of deposit (CDs) stating it offers CDs with terms ranging from 7 days to 5 years with rate information, you need to navigate through a menu and choose your state of residence in order to view current rates.

We called BB&T branches and, on the same day, compared its CD rates with those at other banks and the national averages. After conducting this research, it’s not surprising to see that BB&T makes its CD rates hard to find — they aren’t very competitive.

BB&T CD products and rates

BB&T offers CD terms ranging from as short as 7 days to as long as 5 years. It has 24 CD options, each with different investment goals.

7-day to 60-month Personal CD

For short-term investments, BB&T offers CDs with terms ranging from 7 days to 60 months. These Personal CDs offer a fixed rate of return – annual percentage yield (APY) – along with the flexibility to focus on developing either a short- or long-term investment. It is worth noting that a higher minimum deposit, $2,500, is required for CDs that range for terms of 7 to 31 days.

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

3 months

0.03%

$1,000

6 months

0.05%

$1,000

12 months

0.10%

$1,000

18 months

0.15%

$1,000

2 years

0.20%

$1,000

3 years

0.30%

$1,000

4 years

0.30%

$1,000

5 years

0.30%

$1,000

With the 7-day to 60-month BB&T CDs, there are no penalty-free options for withdrawing your funds before the CD matures. The early withdrawal penalty is the lesser of $25 or 12 months of interest for longer-term CDs. So with smaller initial deposits, early withdrawal penalties will negate any interest you may have earned.

Not only can you find better CD rates at other banks and credit unions for each of the terms BB&T offers, you can also usually secure those rates with smaller minimum deposits. You can see some of the top options in our monthly roundup of the best CD rates.

Can’t Lose CD

As the name of this product implies, whether rates go up or down, you can’t lose – in the broad sense of your investment accruing interest. However, the APY is so low you’re almost certainly going to lose money due to inflation on the longer-term CDs.

At the 12-month mark of this CD’s term, you may make one withdrawal without paying any fees. So if the market rate is higher than what you’re currently getting, simply withdraw the money and reinvest at a higher rate.

If, however, the interest rate you’re receiving is better than what’s currently available, you also have the option of making a second deposit into the Can’t Lose CD (up to $10,000). This locks in the rate for the new investment amount for the remainder of the term. Whether rates go up or down, you’re locked in for the higher rate.

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

Withdrawal Penalties

30-month Can’t Lose

0.25%

$1,000

No penalty for one withdrawal after 12 months

Even when you consider locking in that higher rate, remember that you can find many CDs with better APYs than BB&T’s Can’t Lose CD, regardless of term.

Stepped Rate CD

Creating a CD ladder is a way to stagger your investments so can take advantage of increasing rates. With the Stepped Rate option from BB&T, laddering is built into the CD product. The initial CD starts out at a lower rate and increases each year. BB&T’s 48-month Stepped Rate CD tiers rates this way:

Months

APY

12

0.30%

24

0.40%

36

0.55%

48

0.75%

This particular product allows you to make an additional deposit each year (up to $10,000). So if the interest rate you’re receiving is better than the market, you can invest more money into your existing CD to make a higher return. But if the current CD market is offering better rates than your existing CD, you can simply take advantage of that offer and still make a higher return.

In addition, you may make a withdrawal from what you initially deposited into your Stepped Rate CD after two years. So, again, if the market changes dramatically, you may withdraw your money with no penalty and reinvest in a better option.

An alternative to using the bank’s stepped rate CD is to create a CD ladder on your own, choosing CDs with better rates than those BB&T offers.

Add On CD

The Add On CD option from BB&T offers a 12-month CD with an opening deposit of $100. You’ll need a BB&T checking account and a $50 automatic deposit every month from your checking account into the CD. To get a personal account, you’ll just need to set up direct deposit or maintain a $1,500 balance.

Note that the 12-month Add On CD product is not advertised on BB&T’s website. You need to visit a branch in order to open an Add On CD — contact the bank to learn about the current APY offered on this product.

CD Term

Minimum
Deposit to Open

Withdrawal
Penalties

12-month Add-on

$100

Greater of $25 or
6 months’ interest

Home Saver CD

If you’re in the market for a new home, and you want to earn a little more interest on the money you’re saving, consider the Home Saver CD. Starting with as little as $100, you’ll be able to deposit money earmarked for your new home every month. With this CD, as long as you’re withdrawing the money for use toward the purchase of your new home, you won’t pay any penalties for early withdrawal. But you will need a BB&T checking or savings account set up with a monthly deposit of $50 into your Home Saver CD.

Note that Home Saver CDs are not advertised on BB&T’s website, and you can only open them by visiting a branch. Contact the bank to learn about the current APY offered on this product.

CD Term

Minimum Deposit to Open

Withdrawal Penalties

36-month Home Saver

$100

No penalty for home purchase

College Saver

The College Saver CD is meant for parents or students saving for college. It offers the benefit of starting at a higher APY with the flexibility of withdrawing the money up to four times per year to pay for the cost of attending school. As with the Home Saver CD, you’ll need to have a BB&T checking or savings account with an automatic monthly deposit of $50 into the College Saver. It offers terms of 36, 48 and 60 months.

Note that you must visit a branch to open College Saver CDs, and they are not advertised on BB&T’s website. Contact the bank to learn about the current APYs offered on these products.

CD Term

Minimum Deposit to Open

Withdrawal Penalties

36-month College Saver

$100

No penalty for school costs

48-month College Saver

$100

No penalty for school costs

60-month College Saver

$100

No penalty for school costs

Treasury CD

This CD offers the ability to make additional deposits of at least $100 into your CD at any time and one monthly withdrawal without penalty.

The CD has a six-month term with a variable interest rate tied to the U.S. Treasury Bill — if the rate goes up, you’ll make more money, but if the rate declines, you’ll make less.

If Treasury Bills rise, this can be a great option if you have the $5,000 minimum deposit amount and want a short-term investment with the option to add or remove funds from the CD. You will need to make monthly deposits of $100, and the CD will automatically renew if not cashed out.

CDARS

CDARS, which stands for Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service, protects your principal and interest by making sure your money is placed into multiple CDs across a network of banks to keep your CDs insured by the FDIC (maximum limit for each CD is $250,000).

Other things to know about BB&T CDs

Can customers take advantage of rising rates once they’ve opened a CD?

BB&T has two CD options that allow you to take advantage of rising rates: the Can’t Lose CD and the Stepped Rate CD. Both allow you to make a withdrawal before the CD comes to maturity in case rates increase (certain terms apply). They also allow to make additional deposits in case rates drop and you want to invest more at the existing rate of your CD. However, the current rates on those products are very low, essentially negating the value of their flexibility.

About BB&T

BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust Co.) is a North Carolina-based bank with locations in 16 states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia – and the District of Columbia.

BB&T offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. While its website is easy enough to use, finding specific information, particularly about rates, is difficult. The bank’s customer service number isn’t much help either, with most questions answered with a suggestion to visit a branch location. To find the BB&T branch closest to you, use its branch locator tool.

The bottom line

BB&T offers some flexible CD deals to its customers, but in general, better CD rates can be found at other banks and credit unions. You can find them on our list of the best CD rates, which is updated monthly.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Ralph Miller
Ralph Miller |

Ralph Miller is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Ralph here

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Strategies to Save

Review: The Aspiration Account

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

The 1.00% APY has one of the highest rates in the country. If you move both your checking account and savings account into an Aspiration Account, you would be able to earn a high interest rate on your money while avoiding the risk of overdraft and enjoying the convenience of only having one account.

Aspiration is a fairly new financial services company that aims to be “the investment firm for the middle class.” In this video (that could pass for a parody if you didn’t realize they were serious), the company proclaims that it is possible to be a “capitalist with a conscience.” Lofty goals are behind the company and the products they have designed. The CEO (Andrei Cherny) was a former Clinton White House aide, and with Aspiration he is trying to take action and create a new type of financial services firm that lives up to his ideals.

All products offered by Aspiration (which includes two investment funds and a cash management account) have the same pricing model. You decide how much to pay. Yes, the fee is set entirely by you, the customer. You can set it to $0 or you can set it to any amount below $10. You can change the fee whenever you want. They provide a service and you decide what it is worth.

Aspiration is making a big bet.

With traditional banking, people are nickel and dimed every month. Make an out of network ATM withdrawal, and you could end up spending $10 in fees. Put your money into a savings account, and earn only 0.01%. By using Aspiration, you could be much better off financially than banking with your traditional bank. And you can do your own calculation and decide how much of that savings you share with Aspiration. They are hoping that you will share enough for the business to continue.

Application Process for the Aspiration Account

Opening an account used to be a bit challenging as you needed to be invited. However, Aspiration has made it as simple as ever to open an account. Simply click on the “Get Started” button on their website and enter your email address.

 

At that point, you should be directed to a page that allows you to open your account online and apply for the account.

 

Create your password, check the box to let Aspiration know you’ve read the Terms and Conditions, and click “Let’s Go!”. Since this is an online account, there will be extensive KYC (know-your-customer) and compliance questions. I was required to provide:

  • Answers to identity verification questions. These are questions generated by a credit bureau. So, you will be asked to provide your social security number, but they ensure that they won’t “run the kind of credit check that will ding your score”. You might also be asked to answer questions about your mortgage payments, car loans, and other credit bureau items to identify yourself.
  • A link to an existing bank account. This is used to provide the initial funds in the account. I put $10 into the account for a test drive. (By doing this, Aspiration also reduces its risk, because you will have gone through the compliance checks of your existing bank).

Once you finish the account opening process, it may take a few days for the account to be open and for you to receive your debit card in the mail. Aspiration has partnered with Coastal Community Bank in a way that is similar to how Simple operated. (Simple, for those who remember, was not a bank. It created the front-end user interface, but partnered with an FDIC-regulated bank).

Aspiration Mobile App

In 2016, Aspiration joined the rest of the financial industry with the launch of their mobile app. Their app allows you to view your Aspiration Account balance and transaction history, remote deposit checks using your phone’s camera, schedule transfers between the Aspiration Account and other bank accounts, pay bills, and track the impact of your spending habits. The mobile app also allows you to use fingerprint authentication to secure the data.
There are two features that stand out:

  1. Their Payments feature
  2. Their Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) feature

Payments

Payments is Aspiration’s bill pay feature. Not only does this feature allow you to pay your bills, but it also allows you to pay your friends. However, unlike other bill pay and money transfer features (like Zelle), Aspiration’s Payments feature sends payees a paper check with your name, address, and optional memo if you choose to include one. This feature is available at no charge to the account holder.

Since this feature is sending a paper check, you can expect the payee to receive the check within 5-7 business days from the send date. Fortunately, Aspiration doesn’t limit the number of payments that can be scheduled and they don’t limit the amount of money you can send.

Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM)

AIM is a pretty unique feature as it allows you to see the impact you’re making on the planet and people based on your spending habits. This feature will provide you with a score that is determined by the types of businesses you frequent. The score is calculated by how the businesses treat their employees, customers, community, and environment. So, businesses are given a score and you’re given a score based on where you do your shopping.

Aspiration shares that they created AIM “so that we can all think about how our everyday spending can make the world a better place.” This may sound very “kumbaya”, but there’s no denying that they’ve created an innovative feature.

What We Like

  • Unlimited, global ATM fee reimbursement: With this account, you can use any ATM in the world and it won’t cost you a dime. Not only won’t Aspiration charge you a fee, but you will be reimbursed any fee charged by the other bank whether they are located in the U.S. or in another country.
  • Zero overdraft and stop payment fees: This is a huge perk as these are some of the “gotcha” fees that you’ll encounter at big banks.
  • Other fees are also fairly lower than big banks: Outgoing wire transfers and receiving an incoming wire transfer will only cost you 82 cents.
  • One of the best interest rates in the market: At a traditional bricks-and mortar bank, you would receive no interest on your checking account, and you would earn only 0.01% on your savings account. With this account, you earn 1.00% on your entire balance. The best online checking account in the market is currently paying 2.02%, but you need to maintain a balance to earn this APY.
  • You no longer need to have a separate savings account and checking account. With that, you no longer need to worry about overdrafts. At a traditional bank, you could end up paying $10 just to have money automatically transferred from your savings account to your checking account if you make a mistake. Because you can keep all of your money in one account, you will not need to worry about overdraft transfers.
  • All deposits are FDIC-insured, up to $250,000 per depositor.

What We Find Lacking

  • Bill pay functionality. While Aspiration does mention that they will be making updates and improvements to their Payments feature, they don’t seem to mention going away from the paper check method. While sending paper checks may be a good solution for a feature that once didn’t exist at Aspiration, it’s still not as efficient as most online bill pay features that other banks offer.

Who Could Benefit From the Aspiration Account Now?

The perfect profile for an Aspiration Account customer today would be:

  • You travel a lot, and frequently need to use ATMs that are outside of your bank’s network
  • You have a lot of cash that you keep in your account and would like to earn interest on that money
  • You are about the impact you make on people and the environment.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Aspiration’s secure website

Alternatives if This Account is Not Right For You

This account is going to get better over time. It won’t come as a surprise if this account starts to become much more competitive.

Depending upon what feature is most important to you, there are excellent alternatives:

  • If you want the highest interest rate, you can earn up to 1.85% with an online savings account with a moderate deposit amount requirement. You can find the best savings account here.
  • If you want to avoid ATM fees globally, but need better bill pay capabilities, you should open a Charles Schwab checking account. You can find that account, and others, on our checking account page.

This Looks Great and Will Get Better. But is it Sustainable?

One of the biggest worries we have at MagnifyMoney is the following: when something looks too good to be true, it usually doesn’t last long. The offer can last for a few years, but eventually market forces will catch up with it.

Providing unlimited reimbursement of ATM fees globally is expensive. Ally originally offered the same perk and then capped that benefit at $10 per month ($120 per year), because it was impossible for them to make money on the checking accounts otherwise. Aspiration does not have a magic formula, and eventually the business will need to make money somewhere.

Often, banks do not make money on checking accounts. Instead, these accounts serve as the foundation account and the bank cross-sells other products. Perhaps this is Aspiration’s plan.

Regardless, the product is very consumer friendly and potentially lucrative. According to CrunchBase, the business has raised over $67 million. Clearly, the business will need to raise more capital as it scales, especially given the low level of customer profitability expected. There is certainly limited risk to taking advantage of the great offer available now. At MagnifyMoney, we just hope that they find a way to make money sustainably. As Ally customers know all too well, it can be frustrating to switch accounts based upon a strong feature (unlimited ATM reimbursement), only to have that benefit taken away when it is deemed too expensive.

promo-checking-wide-v2

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at [email protected]