When you get paid every week, do you look at your paystub? Do you even get a paystub? If you’re like most people, your paycheck is probably direct deposited, but there should be a paystub somewhere. Mine’s available online, and sometimes also gets mailed to me (I’m not sure why that is, since I’m fine with the electronic version). I have a feeling most people don’t pay much attention to the paystub. After all, the important part is what gets deposited into your bank account, right?
Well, partially right. It is important that the right amount of money end up in your bank account. But it’s also important that the other information is correct as well. If your net pay is correct, the odds are good that all your other deductions (retirement, insurance, etc) are correct, but it’s not a guarantee. It’s probably a good idea to take a quick glance at the numbers.
What about your sick leave and vacation leave? For me, these both accumulate every week. I get a certain number of hours every pay period and these are applied to my totals. While I’ve never seen an error, today a co-worker noticed that her sick leave was wrong. Somehow, her paystub was showing she had a full week less of leave than she should have. Clearly an error happened somewhere. Maybe she took 4 hours off one week for a doctor’s appointment and somehow, the system interpreted it as 40 hours. Who knows. Either way, it’s an easy problem to correct because she knows that it happened between last pay period and this pay period. But what if you don’t notice such an error? It might be that much harder to correct.
So your paystub isn’t exactly exciting reading material. And sometimes it’s a little painful to see the difference between your gross pay and what actually ends up in your bank account. But it’s important to take a few minutes and make sure things are right. If you’re paid the same amount every pay period, you’ll quickly notice the patterns and discover errors quite easily. If your pay varies every pay period, it’s especially important to make sure all of your hours are calculated.
It’s your money. You worked for it. Make sure it’s right.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.
We don’t even get a pay stub unless we look at it online the friday we get paid which sometimes isn’t good because where I work makes errors all the time.