Most Mexicans get paid every two weeks, typically at the middle and the end of the month, so the word quincena is synonymous with payday.

  • Te pago en la quincena. I’ll pay you back when I get paid.
  • Hoy es quincena. Everybody gets paid today, so that’s why the lines at the cash machine are so long.
  • ¿Me pagan por semana o por quincena? Does this job pay weekly? Or every two weeks?
  • No se les olvide. Mañana es quincena y tienen que pagar sus rentas. Don’t forget. Tomorrow is payday and the rent is due. (movie dialogue)

You’ll often see long lines at banks during quincena, since everyone is taking out and spending their paycheck.

Quincena can also refer to the pay your receive: Gastar toda tu quincena. Spend your whole paycheck.

Don’t confuse this word with quinceañera, the celebration of a girl turning fifteen. Gracias por venir a mis quince.

Quince días

The expressions in a week and in two weeks are often rendered using the number of days.

  • En ocho días. In a week.
  • En quince días. In two weeks. In a fortnight.
  • Tienes ocho días para conseguir trabajo o escuela o algo que valga la pena. Si después de ese tiempo sigues sin hacer nada, olvídate de que tienes casa. I’m giving you a week to find a job … (telenovela dialogue)
  • De mañana en ocho días means a week from tomorrow.

Weeks in Spanish don’t actually have eight days, of course. It’s just that the counting starts from today. Give yourself a gold star if you remember to use these expressions when the opportunity comes up.