Long Pay Period Warning

Heads up, folks?  Remember that paycheck you got on Friday?  Make sure to spend it carefully, because the next paycheck isn’t coming until Tuesday, 1 February 2011.  That is 18 days between paychecks.  Not the longest stretch possible but still long.

From the comments and emails I get, it seems that these long pay periods surprise a lot of people.  Don’t be surprised – know when you get paid so you can plan.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • marilyn

    we got paid on the 11th, do you know why

    • KateKashman

      Marilyn, I can’t imagine. Did you get paid on the 14th as well (13th if your bank deposits early)? Was it the amount of a regular pay?

      Are you in basic training? Is it a travel pay? Are you living in TLA right now?

      Let me know what you find out…I’m curious.

  • Christie

    I hate these long pay periods – I still don’t understand why the military doesn’t get paid every other Friday like the civilians do. Anyone have an answer?

    • KateKashman

      Christie, I don’t know if this will help you, but in the past the military was only paid once a month. Technically, military members are still paid once a month but they have the option to have half of the estimated month’s pay deposited mid-month. This is a relatively new choice for the military. Many military members still choose to take their pay in one payment per month. Retirees are still only paid once a month.

      Since military pay is based on a monthly amount, it would be a little odd to pay every two weeks. I suppose that it could be done, but then with various monthly deductions and such, you would be having different sized paychecks every time. Though I guess they could change the amount of the monthly deductions and recalculate them based on a 26 pay period year instead of a 12 pay period year.

      I think that in the civilian world, you will find that as you rise up in terms of education and professional experience, jobs tend to go from bi-weekly pay to semi-monthly pay to monthly pay. Not always exactly true, but often.

      I know none of this makes it any easier when it is a long time between pay periods, but at least you know the history. Many families find that they actually prefer to be paid the once a month option as it makes budgeting easier for them.

  • MostlyMisha

    I noticed Navy Federal Credit Union has a new Active Duty checking perk:

    Early posting of qualifying Military Direct Deposit

    After seeing it on website product detail page I called to find out about it and I was told it means that instead of seeing your military direct deposit pending in your Active Duty account like you do now, as soon as they get it NFCU will post it into your Active Duty checking account.

    I hope that means NFCU members will see our Feb. 1st paycheck hit before Tuesday since I can usually see our DFAS deposit pending days in advance.

    • KateKashman

      Misha, I’m anxious to see how this works out. They often get it days before payday…I’m not sure if I want access to that money early. Do you think this might have the potential to make the stretches between long pays even longer? Very interesting – thanks so much for sharing. I will be keeping my eyes on it!

  • Ok, so if Monday is the “official” paydate, when are we guessing that early depositers like USAA will put the money in, Saturday?

  • KateKashman

    Tara, payday is Tuesday, February 1st. I’ve asked my contacts at USAA if they intend to disburse funds any earlier than Monday and while they’ve emailed me back, their answer has been “I’ll get back with you when I have a good answer.”

  • Dang, here I was thinking the first was Monday. January is just the longest month EVAR!

  • Teddi

    In my professional life as a teacher I have never been paid every other Friday. In my first job I was paid on the 1st and 15th and on my second teaching job I was paid once a month on the last day of the month. Either way, people need to learn how to budget. If you are living pay check to pay check, then you need to make cuts in your lifestyle.