Pay off high-rate debt with a personal loan and save thousands. Learn more.

Guide to Weekly Budgets

By Kim Franke-Folstad · August 25, 2023 · 10 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Guide to Weekly Budgets

A budget can be a great and necessary way to take control of your finances. It helps you track money coming in and going out, which could mean your spending on necessities, fun experiences, and saving for the future.

While many people prefer a monthly budget, a weekly budget can be a better option for others. It gives added control and flexibility in wrangling your finances. For instance, if you get hit with a bigger than expected bill in the first week of a month, you can take steps to accommodate that. Or, if you wind up getting a rebate, you might decide to allocate that towards debt ASAP.

Here, you’ll learn more about this process, including:

•   What is a weekly budget?

•   How do you budget weekly?

•   What are the pros and cons of a weekly budget?

What Is a Weekly Budget

A weekly budget is a way to organize your finances and manage your money on a weekly cycle. It can help show you the money you have coming in, how much you’ll need for the necessities of life (housing, food, utilities, healthcare, etc.), how much you can spend on the wants in your world (dining out, entertainment, travel, cool gear), and how much should be set aside for savings.

For many people, a weekly guardrail like this helps them ensure their cash is tracking properly.

💡 Quick Tip: Help your money earn more money! Opening a bank account online often gets you higher-than-average rates.

How Weekly Budgets Work

Here’s how a weekly budget works:

•   Figure out your take-home pay per week. This likely requires a bit of basic division since many people are paid bi-weekly or at another cadence.

•   Next, look at your spending on necessities, such as housing, utilities, basic food (but not dining out or those vanilla lattes), minimum debt payments, healthcare, and insurance.

•   Subtract those expenses from your income. See how much is left.

•   From this remaining amount, allocate how much you can spend on “fun” items, such as dining out or takeout, clothing that isn’t vital, entertainment, travel, and the like.

•   Also remember to allocate funds for savings. Many experts recommend a figure of 20% but that may vary depending on your cost of living, debt, and other factors.

•   Now that you see how much money is coming in and how much remains for spending after the needs of life are paid for, you can track and manage your spending and saving weekly to make sure you are hitting your marks.

Benefits of a Weekly Budget

If you think tracking your money with a monthly household budget is a pain, the idea of putting even more effort into the process — and breaking it down by the week — may feel like overkill. But there could be some benefits to be had from the effort.

Here are a few pros and cons to consider:

Pro: More Flexibility

Life doesn’t always follow a schedule. A monthly budget can be a good fit for fixed expenses that are paid once a month (rent and car payments, student loan payments, etc.), or even quarterly or annual bills (insurance payments, subscriptions, and memberships). But other costs can be less predictable, such as dining out with friends, unexpected car repairs, clothing purchases; gifts; or an occasional massage or pedicure splurge.

Especially when it comes to discretionary expenses, using a weekly budget could help you spot when, where, and why you overspent in a certain category. And you can react more quickly to make changes to get back on track. In these ways, living on a budget can be a real advantage.

If you sit down to review your spending every week, instead of just once a month, you may be able to run through your transactions more quickly. And the less time-consuming and tedious your budget routine is, the less annoying it may be — which might make it easier to stay with it.

Pro: Planning Around Paychecks

If, like most Americans, you’re paid every week or every other week — or your spouse is — a weekly or biweekly budget could offer more flexibility for saving and spending.

People who are paid weekly have some months with four paychecks and some months with five. Those who are paid every other week have some months with two paychecks and some months with three.

A weekly budget could help pinpoint those extra paydays so you can take advantage of the opportunity to work on a short- or long-term goal. You might stockpile a few grocery-store staples that could help tide you over during leaner months, for example. Or you may want to set aside the money to start an emergency fund. Or you could use it to save for a wedding, honeymoon, or vacation.

Pro: Simplifying Savings

Switching to a budget that aligns with weekly or biweekly paydays also could make saving more manageable.

If you’re enrolled in a 401(k) or similar investment savings plan at work, you may already be making contributions each payday. You could do the same thing with your savings account by using a direct deposit from your paycheck. Or you could set up automatic transfers and move money from your checking account to your savings account each week.

Keep in mind that the more interest you earn, the faster you can get to your goals. So you may want to spend some time shopping for an account that offers both a competitive interest rate and innovative ways to manage your finances.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Downsides of a Weekly Budget

As you might expect, there are also some cons of a weekly budget. Consider the following:

Con: Too Much Temptation

The added flexibility that can make a weekly budget appealing also could make it easier for some individuals and households to be tempted off course — especially when it comes to discretionary spending. Telling yourself that you’ll spend less “next week” to justify getting what you want right now could become a habit. An important part of successful budgeting is sticking to the budget.

With that in mind, you might want to tuck each week’s discretionary money into an envelope …and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Using a tracking app to keep track of your expenses on your phone or tablet also could help.

Recommended: Envelope Budgeting Method

Con: Weekly Check-ins Could Become Overwhelming

Taking the time each week to review your purchases and update your budget may not be realistic for some people. If finding time to check in with your budget each week feels too overwhelming you may want to try a bi-weekly or monthly approach.

💡 Quick Tip: Want a simple way to save more each month? Grow your personal savings by opening an online savings account. SoFi offers high-interest savings accounts with no account fees. Open your savings account today!

4 Steps To Create a Weekly Budget

Making a budget — whether it’s set up to be weekly, biweekly, monthly, or a bit of a combo — can be a good way to get control of your finances. Here’s are some steps to setting up a weekly budget template:

1. Pull Together Your Paperwork

If you want your budget to be useful, it should be as accurate as possible. So you’ll probably want to pull together some paperwork to help get it right, including your most recent pay stubs, bank statements, utility bills, insurance bills, credit card bills and loan statements, and any other recurring bills you can think of. You may also find it helps to have tracked your spending (on paper or with an app) for a while before you sit down to create your budget. Or you may want to collect recent grocery store, drug store, and restaurant receipts to help you estimate those costs.

2. Calculate Your Weekly Income

Write down all your income sources for a month. (If you’re married, include your spouse’s income sources. If you’re a freelancer or your income is unpredictable, you may want to calculate the average over the past three or four months.) Find your take-home amount (what you get after taxes and other payroll deductions) and divide it by four.

3. Make a Realistic List of Your Expenses

Using a budgeting program or app, a spreadsheet, or maybe just a notebook, write down all your expenses for the month. It can help to break down those costs by categories, such as:

•   Housing costs. Things like your rent or mortgage, utilities, or other expenses

•   Transportation. Costs like car payments, insurance, gas, and maintenance

•   Food and groceries

•   If you have children, costs like child care, tuition, activities, and more

•   Financial expenses, such as bank fees or taxes

•   Savings and investing. Contributions to 401(k) or IRA, emergency fund

•   Health Care. Prescriptions, dental care, co-pays, and more

•   Personal spending. Clothes, shoes, gym membership

•   Entertainment. Movies, special events, streaming services, books, and more

Keep in mind that the categories you include in your budget will be influenced by your wants, needs, and spending habits.

You may decide you want to use a monthly budget for some expenses (utility bills and other fixed expenses) and a weekly budget for others (such as discretionary expenses, debt payments, and savings). But if you want to go weekly with everything, the math isn’t all that complicated. To convert monthly amounts into weekly spend amounts, multiply the monthly figure by 12 and then divide by 52.

4. Deduct Expenses from Income

Add up your weekly expenses and subtract that number from your weekly income. If you come out ahead, you could add more to your savings and investments, pay down debt even faster, or add more of a cushion to another category on your list. If you come out even, you may want to adjust your discretionary spending a bit, so an unexpected cost doesn’t throw you off track.

If you come out with a negative number, you may have to make some decisions about what costs you can cut or even get rid of.

Especially when you’re starting out, it may help to use a budget framework similar to the 50/30/20 budget rule, which suggests keeping essential costs to 50% or less, discretionary costs to 30% or less, and setting at least 20% aside for savings if you can. If your percentages are where you want them, you have a budget.

Test the Budget and Adjust

Once you have a budget you feel comfortable with, it’s time to test your new spending and savings strategy. You might decide to use a tracking app to see how you’re doing, but you also may benefit from actually sitting down to go over the numbers once a week. (This could be particularly helpful for married couples who are sharing a couples budget.)

If you spot any problem areas or realize you forgot something, you can always make adjustments. If something happens to change your income or expenses (a raise, a new job, a job loss, a big purchase, or a baby), you can adjust again.

Don’t be discouraged if the budget you built doesn’t work out the first time you use it. You may have to develop new habits. Or you may need to get some help with ditching your debt or determining your financial goals.

The Takeaway

Setting up a weekly budget could make it easier to stay on top of your spending by streamlining the number of transactions you have to track and helping you spotlight any areas you may be overspending in. However, for some, checking in and tracking your spending and transaction each week could become overwhelming. An app, possibly provided by your bank, could help.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What should a weekly budget include?

A weekly budget should include your income, your necessary expenses (housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and more), your discretionary expenses (eating out, travel, entertainment), and your savings.

How do you budget weekly money?

To budget money weekly, you will need to divide your take-home pay into weekly amounts and then do the same with your spending on needs and wants, as well as savings. You want to be sure your weekly income can cover those expenditures.

What does having a weekly budget mean?

Having a weekly budget means you are balancing your income, spending, and saving on a weekly basis. This can be a good way to stay in close touch with your money, though for some people it might feel like overkill vs. monthly budgeting.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SOBK0723022

All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender