Happy Friday– a Payday Friday!

In fact, this month happens to be a 3 paycheck month for me. My employer pays me every 2 weeks. Most of the time that works out to 2 paychecks per month, but twice a year it’s 3 paychecks a month.

What’s the big deal? I build my budget in Mint based on only 2 paychecks per month.

So the additional paycheck I’m receiving this month is almost like a bonus. That doesn’t mean I’m going to waste the money, though. I have taken a disciplined approach to these 3 paycheck months over the years.

The extent of what you can do with that third paycheck depends on your financial situation– and your salary.

When I was starting out in my chosen profession 10 years ago, I made only about $25,000 a year. The third paycheck helped me eliminate a small amount of credit card debt that I had.

A couple of years later, I took a new job that doubled my salary. By then, I started using my third paycheck to build an emergency fund. I was no longer living paycheck to paycheck.

I received another increase in salary about a year later. Then, I used the third paycheck to save money to buy a condo.

Once I bought that first condo in 2008, I used my third paycheck to save for things that improved my quality of life, including some home renovations.

In 2010, I relocated to Atlanta for a career opportunity, where I bought a new condo, which I paid off in 2 years.

During those 2 years, I threw every dollar I could at my $86,000 mortgage, including my third paycheck. It gave me a psychological boost to keep going.

Once I paid off the mortgage, things changed again.

I made increasing my retirement savings a priority, so part of that third paycheck went to my Roth IRA. Earlier this year, I used my third paycheck to top off my IRA contributions for the year.

However, at this moment in my life, I have no special plans for my third paycheck.

Fortunately, I have no debt, I have adequate emergency savings and my retirement accounts are funded as well. I do plan to buy a new condo, so I suppose building my cash savings would be a good move.

There is also something to be said for allowing yourself a bit of play money from time to time.

A third paycheck can be an opportunity to reward yourself for sound financial decisions throughout the year. Perhaps you can set aside some of the money to book a plane ticket, treat yourself to a nice dinner or buy yourself something you really need. If you can afford it, you can buy it. That’s one of my core values.

Is this a 3 paycheck month for you? Share your plans below or on my Facebook page.