How Do You Feel When It Is Payday?

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about paydays. I’m lucky that I have paydays because that means I have a job which is an accomplishment for many in today’s recovering economy.

I feel I’m not quite normal though when it comes to how I feel about paydays. In fact, what is the normal feeling about paydays? I have no clue.

What Do Most People Feel on Payday?

What do you feel when it is payday? Are you happy? Excited? Relieved? Indifferent? It isn’t something I had thought about at all prior to the last couple weeks. I think most people would assume everyone feels the same way they do about payday but I don’t think that isn’t the case for me.

I know people feel different about their paydays and I think I’m one of the weird ones? Let’s take a look at some of the feelings that I think people probably feel when it is payday for them.

WOO! It’s Payday! (Happy/Excited)

I think there is a large group of people that are happy when it is payday. Why are they happy? Some are happy that their bank balance increased because they paid themselves first. Others are happy because they now have money in their checking account to go spend on the hottest gadget of the month.

There is another group that’d likely be happy to pay an overdue bill or make another extra payment on their student loans. There are lots of reasons to be happy on payday.

Are you generally happy when you get paid? Why do you feel this way?

Relieved It Is Finally Payday… PHEW!

I’d say there is a smaller group that is relieved that it is payday. Actually, the more I think about it the more I think this group is larger than I’d hope. My bet would be that this group barely stretched their budget to make it to the next payday… OK maybe that is just a hopeful thought too.

More likely this group is relieved because they finally have some money in the bank account again to pay a debt collector or past due bill. This group could also feel relieved because they stress out about everything and dipped $500 into their $25,000 emergency fund to get new tires. Payday means they can put that money back.

Do you fall into this group? If you’re relieved on payday what makes you feel this way? Are you working to change your situation or are you happy feeling relieved on payday?

Meh… It’s Payday (Indifference)

At this point I have no clue how many people feel indifferent about payday. Why would people feel indifferent? They might not have to worry about bills because they have a full emergency fund and some extra slack in their bank account to cover an extra month of budget.

Others might feel indifferent because they simply just don’t care about money at all. These people are either doing well for themselves and have a secure financial picture or they just don’t care at all.

Then, of course, there are the people who feel indifferent because they don’t even realize it is payday. Again, these people are likely oblivious or are financially secure.

Are you one of the people that feel indifferent? Why aren’t you happy or excited? Why do you think you feel this way?

Where Do I Fall?

Some paydays I’m happy because it means we get to put even more money toward our goals. I get to make a purchase for my Roth IRA, put money into my Roth 401(k), contribute money into my “Pay off my girlfriend’s student loans” fund and add more money to my growing spending money fund.

Most paydays I feel indifferent. Why would I feel indifferent? I’m doing decently financially but a paycheck doesn’t significantly change anything for me. It is nice to have but it doesn’t allow me to do anything I couldn’t do before. It just adds to my super long term goals that I’ll eventually get to.

Which group do you fit in with? Are you happy, excited, relieved, indifferent or some other feeling whenever you get a paycheck? Let us know how you normally feel and more importantly WHY you feel that way in the comments below. I really look forward to seeing the discussion on this one!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. I actually forget about payday as all my finances are done automatically as soon as my pay hits the bank account.
    It is the easiest way for me to make sure that I don’t forget to put my money into the mortgage.

  2. I’m not going to lie, this month I felt relieved! We had overspent our budget and I couldn’t remember exactly which day one of our bills was drafted on (after payday it turns out). I have a savings account to buffer our checking but I just didn’t want to have to make a transfer. Most other months it’s more of a “meh.”

    I would say my “woohoo” day is the day we transfer money to our targeted savings accounts because I like seeing the balances grow.

  3. Anne @ Unique Gifter says:

    I usually don’t realize that it’s pay day, making me rather indifferent. At some point during the month, we will both look at our bank accounts and do what we call “forecasting” to see how much extra money we can transfer to the mortgage. The day isn’t usually related to pay days though, for example we did this last night and we didn’t know if we get paid on the 30 or 31… that’s how much we pay attention.

  4. I used to feel indifferent but now that I try to keep my savings account as full as possible, I’m usually relieved/happy.

    My rent is 42% of my monthly income but 83% of a single paycheck. I don’t like to take from savings between paychecks, so when I get that second paycheck, I’m pretty happy.

    • Right there with you. My rent is $920 but on top of that utilities+water is around $140. I pay wayyyyyy too much, but judging by everyone I’ve talked to that is the same age as me, it’s not uncommon that they spend 40-50% of their paycheck on rent. It’s just not practical to say “you make $30,000 a year? You should only pay $500 a month in base rent.” I could pay $500 for rent in Tampa, but I’d probably only last a month in the neighborhood that apartment would be in. No thanks.

      I think people who aren’t in the generation that is being underpaid doesn’t understand just how much it costs to live when you don’t make $50,000+ a year.

      • I used to live outside of DC and definitely know you don’t want to be in the wrong part of town. Could you get a bigger apartment and maybe split the rent with a roommate and make it cheaper?

    • I can totally understand that! You could try saving a little from each paycheck to put in a fund to have a month ahead in rent so you don’t have to feel so stressed every month. You’ll be a month ahead and can take half from each paycheck.

  5. I love payday! I used to be indifferent or think that it was finally here, but that all changed in running our business. Now I see it as a direct result of the hard work my wife and I put in and get to think about the ways we can use it to better our future.

  6. I am indifferent! I have direct deposit and I just record it in my check book and go on.

  7. I guess I’m of the indifferent variety. We have everything set for auto payments and such that payday is just another transaction (OK, two) in the monthly cycle of finances. It basically serves as a means to an end to get our bills paid and stock some away for long term savings goals. Honestly, that doesn’t generate much excitement, but I guess it’s good that it’s enough that it doesn’t strike much worry either 🙂

  8. I can’t help but enjoy seeing my accounts rise. I already know what I am doing with it when it comes but I still like it. Its probably partially because for most of my life I didn’t have a job with a steady paycheck but rather commissions and tips.

  9. Payday here can come at anytime from contract or consultancy payment, other side hustle or monthly payment. So we don’t have that ‘wait for the month’ issue. Maybe that is bad for budgeting but it can help cash flow.

  10. I feel good about payday because I have a job and that it means my finances are getting in control. It also means that I am funding my retirement.

  11. For the most part, it’s just another two or three days a month, but since I work partly on commission, when I have an especially big month, it’s nice to see that big amount on the pay stub. But still, no partying or celebrating each time.

  12. If I’m honest I guess is changes pay to pay depending on what’s going on. But I’ve got a pretty routine system so I just plug the cheque amount in and the rest takes care of itself. Worry free for me for the most part… happy to have a job that makes that possible though!

  13. We are definitely in the indifferent group. Most of the time my wife doesn’t even know when her paydays are because it just doesn’t matter. Our budget stays the same whether it’s Tuesday or whether it’s payday. It’s like clockwork and thinks just keep moving along as if nothing happened. It certainly didn’t used to be like that but now that we’ve gotten our financial lives in order, it’s nice and stress-free.

  14. I enjoy payday, but more in the relieved kind of way….not that I won’t make it until next month, but that someone paid me. I’ve been self employed for so long that every incoming check is a blessing.

  15. eemusings says:

    LOVE payday! My reaction is the first, though that doesn’t last long once I’ve transferred money into savings and paid bills 😉

  16. I typically forget which weeks I get paid. The only reason I remember is because the secretary from HR emails me to yell at me (err. remind me) that I need to sign my team’s time sheets.

  17. When payday comes, I feel both happy and grateful. I was out of work for a long time, so it’s nice to have a paycheck.

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