By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. 

- Confucius

A payday can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you have an ineffective payday check-in.  A payday check-in is where you end your last paycheck, calculate if you were on budget and prepare the next check.  But what about after that? how do you say "Ok, did I follow it? Time for the next check."

Let's explore the art of closing out your last paycheck and overall budget.  This has 2 parts:

One, ensuring all bills are paid on the paycheck you are closing.  If there are bills still pending to come out of your bank account on that paycheck [planner] – continue to close it out and move those remaining bills to the next paycheck planner. Your bank balance before payday will be your “rollover” under the income section on the next paycheck planner.  You will also add this number to the expense tracker at the top of the page for starting balance.  

This part can be quite confusing and people often get lost in it - making it all “balance” – it’s really not that fine tooth comb.  Doing a budget close out is to monitor trends, learn what's moving in and out, and be accountable for your spending habits.  Don't skip this part or you'll miss out on valuable spending insights.  If you said $500 was for food for this paycheck, did you spend $500 or more? Did you use your credit card for any difference? Take a moment to reflect and recognize that in order to change habits.

Next, consider your spending goals compared to what you actually spent.  Update your actual column totals when you are closing out the budget.  Total your categories for each paycheck.  If you are tracking every transaction on your expense tracker using categories - using highlighters, color each category a different color.  Then tally each color and list the categories on the monthly reflections page with the actual spent in each category color based on your budgeted amount on your paycheck planners for the month.


After closing out your last paycheck [planner], it’s time to prepare for your next check… this is where you begin your payday routine.  



  1. To learn wisdom, you must reflect.
  2. Carryover any unpaid bills to the next paycheck planner.
  3. Separate categories on your expense tracker to tally each category easier.
  4. Use your monthly reflections page to wrap up all paycheck planners together.


Q: Do you like to track each category?


Next time….

A look back on my personal experience budgeting and what didn't work...

November 25, 2023 — Jessica Roman

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