Did you know that twice a year, a curious event happens to those of us paid biweekly? It's a phenomenon I like to call "Bonus Months" - those delightful times when, instead of two, you receive three paychecks within a single month!

Imagine my surprise when I first stumbled upon this little gem hidden within the maze of personal finance. I was on my first year working as a federal employee, carefully living by the mantra "live within your means." I had meticulously set a budget is Quicken based on two paychecks a month, adjusting my lifestyle to this structure. But then, April arrived and with it, an unexpected boost to my bank account. A third paycheck, quite like an unexpected guest, arrived and suddenly I was presented with choices. Choices that ranged from increasing my savings, taking care of pending expenses, or even the odd splurge!

Church Tower

Biweekly pay systems have been around for quite a while. They originated as a cost-saving measure for employers, reducing the number of payments they needed to process each year. While the exact inception of biweekly pay systems is hard to pinpoint, they have become incredibly popular, particularly among large employers in the U.S. In the 1970s, the Federal Government began exploring various pay frequency options, with biweekly pay eventually becoming the norm due to its balance of employee convenience and administrative efficiency.

The Federal Government's biweekly pay system can trace its roots back to the 1986 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, which standardized pay frequency across all federal agencies. This move was designed to ensure that employees in different agencies, but with similar roles, received paychecks on a similar schedule, fostering a sense of fairness and equity.

Now back to our "Bonus Months", as delightful as they are, they're not exactly designed into the pay system, rather they're a happy accident of our calendar system. Our Gregorian calendar doesn't sync neatly with biweekly payments, and hence, twice a year, we have an extra payday. But remember, these "Bonus Months" only happen if you’re on a biweekly schedule and your pay date falls on specific days of the month.

To make life a little easier, and maybe for a bit of programming fun, I've written a Python script that identifies these exciting months for you. It's simple, just input your last paycheck date, specify how many years you'd like to peek into the future (the default is 10 years), and voila! It lists out your bonus months.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import argparse
from datetime import datetime
from dateutil.relativedelta import relativedelta

def find_triple_payday_months(last_paycheck, years=10):
    payday = datetime.strptime(last_paycheck, "%Y-%m-%d")
    end_date = payday + relativedelta(years=years)

    payday_counts = {}

    while payday <= end_date:
        month_year = payday.strftime("%B, %Y")

        if month_year not in payday_counts:
            payday_counts[month_year] = 1
            payday_counts[month_year] += 1

        payday += relativedelta(days=14)

    print("Months with three paydays:")
    for month_year, count in payday_counts.items():
        if count == 3:

def main():
    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Find months with three paydays.')
    parser.add_argument('--last_paycheck', required=True, help='Date of the last paycheck in "YYYY-MM-DD" format')
    parser.add_argument('--years', type=int, default=10, help='Number of years to list. Default is 10 years.')
    args = parser.parse_args()

    find_triple_payday_months(args.last_paycheck, args.years)

if __name__ == "__main__":

These "Bonus Months" might seem small, but for those of us living paycheck to paycheck, or striving to meet certain financial goals, they can be a real boon. It's an opportunity to accelerate debt payments, boost savings, or take care of larger, one-time expenses. So, mark your calendars, plan ahead, and make the most of these delightful little bonuses that the biweekly pay system brings us. Happy planning!

For those working at DHS, here's the next ten years of bonus months:

September, 2023
March, 2024
August, 2024
January, 2025
August, 2025
January, 2026
July, 2026
January, 2027
July, 2027
December, 2027
June, 2028
December, 2028
June, 2029
November, 2029
May, 2030
November, 2030
May, 2031
October, 2031
April, 2032
October, 2032
April, 2033

Bonus Months: Calculating Months with Three Paychecks

Discover "Bonus Months" - those special times in a biweekly pay system when you receive three paychecks instead of two! This can be a financial boost for debt payments, savings, or large expenses. Use my Python script to easily find your upcoming Bonus Months. Plan ahead, prosper more!