Your Six-Point Payday Checklist

Everybody loves payday. Here are six things you should be doing each time you get paid that can help you achieve your financial goals.

Payday is an important day in your money calendar. Developing positive money habits requires a consistent routine, and your payday is a great opportunity to put these into action.

It’s often the day when your decisions will push you towards your financial goals, or temptations and bad habits will hold you back.

Before you start creating your payday routine, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your financial goals:

  • What are you trying to achieve with your money?
  • Do you want to pay off debt, travel, save for a house deposit, or invest in your retirement?

Whatever your goals, make sure you have a clear idea of what you’re working towards. This will help you prioritise your spending and ensure that your payday routine aligns with your overall financial plan.

Use the below checklist to help you navigate payday with ease.

1. Check your payslip

Whether you work for a big multinational corporation, a local business or are a sole trader/business owner, it’s important that you check your payslips and invoices to make sure they are correct. Human error, computer error, or even intentional error, could mean you miss out on what you are entitled to.

You should also understand your KiwiSaver entitlements and check that the correct contributions are being made into your account. If you have student debt, make sure that it’s being accounted for correctly.

If you are paid hourly, your hourly rate and the number of hours you worked at that rate should be clearly stated on your payslip. Check for any loadings, bonuses or other allowances you are entitled to, as well as any other relevant deductions.

If you are a sole trader/business owner, check that you have been paid the correct amount stated on your invoice for the goods or services you provided.

→ Related: How to work out if you’re being paid correctly

2. Pay yourself first

One of the oldest rules of money advocated by many experts is to pay yourself first. This means that before any other expenses are paid, transfer money into your savings, investment, and/or everyday accounts.

Arrange for the money to be transferred automatically, as soon as you get paid, so that you’re not tempted to spend the money.

Paying yourself first ensures that you are looking after your future and prioritising your financial goals.

3. Put money towards your emergency fund

Your emergency fund is one of the most important bank accounts you can have to help you navigate unexpected or unplanned events in life. It’s generally recommended to have three to six months of living expenses stashed away in your emergency fund. Allocate a portion of your pay towards your emergency fund and arrange for this to be automatically transferred the day you get paid.

Compare KiwiSaver Providers with Canstar

If you’re looking for the best KiwiSaver, don’t just focus on fees and charges. Do your research, compare providers and look for the provider that best matches your appetite for risk and your long-term goals.

For example, the comparison table below displays some of the products currently available on Canstar’s database for a KiwiSaver member with a balance of $50,000 in an Aggressive fund, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by company name (alphabetical) – some products may have links to providers’ websites. Use Canstar’s KiwiSaver comparison selector to view a wider range of super funds. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.

If you want to read more about our latest KiwiSaver Awards, click on the button below.

Compare KiwiSaver providers for free with Canstar!

4. Update your budget

Your budget serves as a roadmap for your spending, ensuring that you stay on track with your goals. Start by listing all your essential monthly expenses, including rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, and any debt payments. Then, subtract your essential expenses from your income to determine your discretionary income. This is the money you have left over after your bills are paid, and it’s what you should use to both achieve your financial goals and for fun spending.

When you get paid, take another look at your budget and make any adjustments to account for upcoming irregular expenses, social events or other known changes. By doing this, you can plan ahead to make sure you are not caught by surprise. You may also find that you have a surplus of funds for the pay period and can redirect this money to your debt, savings or investments.

5. Automate your bills and debt repayments

Keep a list of your regular bills and payments, and check the bills when they come in to make sure all details are correct. Schedule a reminder in your calendar or diary for when they’re due and set up automatic payments where possible to make sure you never miss a due date.

You should also regularly review your bills to check if you are overpaying for services or being charged for things you don’t need. Think about whether you can cut back on any expenses. Research to determine if there are any better deals available, or if you can negotiate a better rate.

6. Avoid impulse shopping

Payday is always the best day of the month/fortnight/week. It can be tempting to get overly excited and spend all your pay because you feel cashed up, and then regret it later when you realise you didn’t want or need any of your purchases.

It’s important to resist the urge to splurge and, instead, to take a more measured approach to spending. Before making any purchases, take the time to evaluate whether the item is a necessity or a want. If it’s a want, consider whether it fits into your budget and financial goals.

In addition, allocate a portion of your budget for fun things, such as shopping and going out. Stick to this amount each month. By avoiding impulse shopping and taking a more deliberate approach to spending, you can stay on track with your financial goals and build a secure financial future.

Creating a payday routine is essential for managing your finances and reaching your long-term goals. By creating a budget, setting financial goals, prioritising bills and savings, reviewing your spending, and planning for the month ahead, you can take control of your finances and make the most of your hard-earned money.

→ Related: How you can stop living from pay cheque to pay cheque


This is an edited extract from Smart Moves (Wiley RRP A$32.95), exclusive to Canstar, and republished with permission.


About the author of this pageTéa Angelos


Founder and CEO of Smart Women Society

Téa Angelos is the founder and CEO of Smart Women Society (SWS),an online education platform helping women globally get smarter with their money, careers, wellbeing and love lives. She is also the author of Smart Moves: Simple Ways to Take Control of your Life

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