Why it’s actually pretty hard to calculate your gross monthly income with just biweekly paystubs


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Gross income is the amount of money earned before any payroll deductions for taxes, insurance, retirement contributions, and such. To calculate gross monthly income from a biweekly paycheck, find the gross amount listed on the pay stub (usually the starting number). Multiply that figure by 26 (the number of paychecks received in a year), then divide by 12 (months in a year).

The calculation for gross monthly income can differ depending on paycheck frequency. Below we’ll show you how to calculate your gross pay for different payroll schedules.

How to Calculate Monthly Pay From Biweekly Pay

There are two different monthly pay figures to understand, gross and net. Each is useful in different situations. When you’re applying for a loan, most lenders use gross monthly income to determine your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). However, many people find it easier to budget based on net or take-home pay. A budget planner app can help you decide the best approach for your situation.

As we spelled out above, if you’re paid biweekly (every two weeks), the formula for gross monthly income is:

(Gross pay amount × 26) ÷ 12

Hourly workers can also use this next formula, if they work a consistent number of hours per week:

(Hourly salary × weekly hours worked × 52) ÷ 12

To find net monthly pay, substitute the actual amount of your paycheck for the gross amount in the first formula.

How Many Bi-Weeks in a Year

There are 26 biweekly pay periods in a year. Employees who get paid biweekly will receive 26 paychecks from January to December.

It’s important to note that receiving pay biweekly differs from receiving pay twice a month on the same dates. Workers who receive biweekly checks can’t just multiply one paycheck by two to find their monthly salary.

Employees who get paid twice a month — for instance, on the 15th and 30th — can find their monthly gross income simply by adding together the gross figures on their two monthly paychecks.

The Different Types of Payment Periods

The most common pay periods for employees are:

  • Biweekly: Paid every other week, or 26 paychecks per year.
  • Semimonthly: Paid twice a month on the same dates, or 24 checks per year.
  • Weekly: Paid once a week, or 52 checks per year.
  • Monthly: Paid once a month, or 12 checks per year.

Employees who receive biweekly pay get two checks or direct deposits each month, except for two months of the year when they receive three paychecks. Employees who are paid biweekly might get a paycheck every other Wednesday or Friday, or whatever day their employer chooses.

With semimonthly pay, an employee might get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month. So there are always two paydays, for a total of 24 per year instead of 26.

An employee who gets paid twice a week is on a semiweekly schedule. This would entail eight paychecks each month.

Pros and Cons of Biweekly vs Semimonthly Pay

For employees, there are pros and cons to biweekly pay. Depending on their expenses and savings strategy, someone might prefer a biweekly or semimonthly schedule.

For most workers, the main pro to biweekly pay is the third “bonus” check they receive two months out of the year. By budgeting for two paychecks every month, workers can designate the occasional third check for special line items like vacations, holiday gifts, paying off debt, or boosting savings.

For others, biweekly checks just make budgeting and managing expenses more challenging. Semimonthly pay is preferable because it offers an accurate reflection of real monthly income.

Also, each semimonthly check can be dedicated to particular expenses. For example, the second check of the month can go to rent, utilities, and other housing costs, which are often due the first of the month.

Compared to weekly paychecks, both biweekly and semiweekly checks require better cash management on a weekly basis. For someone who lives paycheck to paycheck, biweekly pay periods might mean they run out of money before the next check arrives.

The Takeaway

To calculate gross monthly income from a biweekly paycheck, find the gross amount listed on the pay stub, multiply by 26, then divide by 12. (Do not use this formula if you’re paid twice a month on the same dates, rather than the same days of the week.) For your monthly net pay, substitute your net or take-home pay for the gross amount in the same calculation.

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How to stop living paycheck to paycheck, once & for all

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck, once & for all

There is nothing more stressful than coming home from a long day of work and not knowing how you will afford to pay your bills. If this sounds like something happening to you, then it might be time for some changes. 

In the U.S., 54% of people are living paycheck to paycheck

This article will go over how to stop living paycheck to paycheck. 

For help with your personal finances, consider working with a fiduciary financial advisor. Find an advisor who serves your area today




The first step to stopping your paycheck from constantly running out is figuring out where all of your money is going. Track every penny you spend for a month using an app like Mint

You will see where you can cut back and save some money. Awareness is critical here. 

Make sure you use my free budget template to get you started on tracking your expenses. 


Eliminate any unnecessary expenses. Here is a list of ordinary expenses that cause you to live in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle:

  • Fast food trips
  • Restaurant eating
  • Expensive gym membership
  • Coffee at the cafe
  • Alcohol
  • Another pair of shoes
  • More clothing

There are many ways to cut back on your spending, and it will likely take a bit of effort on your part. You don’t have to eliminate these above expenses completely. 

Being 1% better every day is the way to financial independence. Begin by making temporary sacrifices that are small and sustainable. If you stop spending on everything you like, you will probably relapse and accumulate more debt. 


One way to save right away is to negotiate your expenses.

Many people are afraid to negotiate their expenses, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know whether or not you could have gotten a better deal.


Go through all your spending and see if you can do without one of your four streaming services. When you eliminate a $10 per month, you will save $120 per year, and if you do that ten times, you can save thousands each year and make real progress toward your savings goals. 

EnDyk/ istockphoto

If you haven’t touched something in the last year, it is likely time to sell it. Have a yard sale if you have many items or use Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Having a less cluttered house is totally worth it, and the extra cash doesn’t hurt. 


If you’re looking for a way to bring in some extra money, then consider starting a side hustle

The great thing about having a side hustle is that it can help you make extra money without making any drastic changes to your current lifestyle. 

Millionaires have an average of 7 streams of income. Never rely on your 9-5 job solely. An extra job can help you break this vicious cycle. 

Prostock-Studio/ istockphoto

If you don’t know where you’re going, it can be hard to get there. And when it comes to your money, this is undoubtedly true with financial goals.

You will break the cycle of check-to-check if you set your mind to it. Your financial situation can change if you write down your goals and change your spending habits. 


Avoid spending the cash if a purchase is not part of your regular monthly expenses or spending plan. 

As discussed earlier, the easiest way to add new debt to your life is to spend more money on unnecessary things. 

Put your cards in the sock drawer or only use cash. Paycheck to paycheck life doesn’t have to be forever, yet you need to laser focus on your spending habits. 


One of the easiest ways to save is by reducing your utility bills.

Not only will this help you reduce how much electricity and water you use, but it can also lower your monthly bill as well. Plus, making these changes won’t require any effort on your part either.

Related: 50 Tips to Help You Save Money on Energy Costs


If you have high-interest debt, it’s crucial to plan to pay it off as soon as possible. Credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control and become difficult to manage.

Go after the account with the highest interest rate first and move on to the next one. Start paying every extra bit of money toward this to pay the debt faster. Do your best to break the cycle of only paying the minimum payment. 

For help with your personal finances, consider working with a fiduciary financial advisor. Find an advisor who serves your area today (Sponsored)


One of the best ways to improve your finances is by educating yourself on personal finance. The best way to do this is by reading books about spending money, saving money, and prioritizing debt payments while breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle. 

Here are a few of my favorite personal finance books that have helped me build savings and begin building wealth:

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
  • The Death of Money by Jim Rickards

Related: Why a frugal lifestyle is powerful, painless & fun

Pattanaphong Khuankaew / istockphoto

Being debt-free means you will need to stop spending money in various areas and increase your monthly income. 

Get a part-time job. Avoid that big purchase until next year. Spend money on essentials and have money saved for unexpected expenses. 

These sacrifices will help you avoid financial disaster, and when you have more money, you will probably have less stress. Living paycheck to paycheck makes everyone have anxiety. 

Ridofranz / istockphoto

Remember the reason why you want to have financial freedom and not live paycheck to paycheck. 

Is it for that vacation to Italy you’ve always wanted to take? Is it for your kids? You can give them more money tips than you received when they are older. Or is it to become a digital nomad not stuck to any location because you have your living expenses by online income sources. 

Whatever your reason, remind yourself of it daily to not feel aimless. I recommend making a vision board to remind you why more cash is the only way you will break free from the paycheck to paycheck life. 

designer491/ iStock

Someone recovering from alcoholism does not frequent the bars to hang out with old friends. They avoid the bars and go to meetings to stay sober.

Leave the credit cards in the sock drawer if you don’t have discipline. Do not keep them near you. You will relapse and blow your emergency fund on something silly. 

Know thyself and act accordingly. 


Set up a system where your expenses are automatically taken out of your bank account each month, and your emergency fund contributions are automatically transferred to your high yield savings account.

Automating takes the guesswork out of budgeting and will ensure that you’re always on track with your finances. It’s also a great way to ensure that you never miss a payment or contribution. 

Don’t attempt to do this manually with your checking account, or you will invariably put off your savings goal and use your paycheck for something else. 


Instead of keeping up with all the latest trends and material items, you’ll only keep what brings value into your life.

Sound like an impossible task? It is at first and will be easier as time goes on and can be pretty rewarding in the end.

Last year I eliminated about 80% of my clothing and shoes. Now I only have what I need, and I feel very relieved. 

There were too many options, and now oftentimes, there is only one option. Easy decision.   

Damian Lugowski / iStock

Don’t deprive yourself when working toward paying off credit card debt. Make sure you are saving money for some enjoyable parts of life.


Your pay must be higher than your expenses. Make sure lifestyle creep doesn’t set in, and you have a surplus at the end of each month. 

Deposit Photos

With Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you can buy nearly everything used. Everything I have bought used was in excellent condition, and I saved a lot of money. 

It’s Time to Break the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle With Better Spending Habits

You have the tools to stop living paycheck to paycheck. Now it’s up to you to use these tools and begin improving your life. 

Need help managing your finances?

Learn how you can start saving money right now. 

Additionally, a financial advisor can help you work out the details of your personal finances. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.(Sponsored)

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This article originally appeared on MaxMyMoney.org and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.



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