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Thursday, 1 November 2012


Why is it that I feel richer when I get paid weekly, yet feel stony broke when I get paid monthly?

It's still exactly the same amount of money, and I still have exactly the same number of bills. But it seems the weekly pay packet lasts longer.

Or perhaps I'm kidding myself.

I've been paid weekly, fortnightly and monthly over the years. When I first started working back in the 1980s, this wonderful German lady would come around to my desk each Wednesday bearing this yellow coloured envelope which contained novelty items that in this day of EFT we identify as cash.

Not that it was important that she was German, I just remember her heavily accented voice saying, "Brrrrron-vin, you vill sign here for dis money." For all I cared she could have been Serbian, Swedish, of royal descent or on work release from prison. She brought me money - that's what mattered.

I'd pull the red twenties out and smell them, smooth them down and pop them into my wallet. Then at lunch time I would dutifully trot the bank and deposit my allocated savings, put aside the rent money, and pick up a week's groceries on my way home.

Later that week, I'd go to the post office or whatever was the appropriate institution and pay electricity or telephone or car rego. All in cash.

When I changed jobs a few years later, I morphed from weekly to monthly pay days. And for reasons my accountant and I still do not understand, I was suddenly broke.

For a day, I was wealthy. Well, not wealthy in the manner of a recent lottery winner or where my rich Aunt Liz died and left me Buckingham Palace. But in my terms, wealthy.

But only for a day.

I'd pay a month's rent, pay all utilities, buy groceries, and by the end of week three was down at my mum's each night eating dinner because I couldn't afford to buy food.

Why? Poor financial management? Maybe. Over spending in the first week? Probably.

I now get paid fortnightly. And it seems to work ok. But I've also got these fabulous little helpers called direct debits, organised by my pay office. Bills like mortgage, credit card and health insurance are all paid before the balance hits my bank account.

And if I want cash, I have to walk to the ATM and try to remember my pin number.

On pay day, I sometimes look around my office, and see internet bank statements on everyone's monitor. Because nowadays, that's the only way you know you've been paid!

How do you cope with your pay period system? Does it work for you or do you find it hard going sometimes? Or should we all just budget more consciously and put in for that winning lotto ticket?

$100 million anybody? Wouldn't it be nice...

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