We all have those moments when we struggle to make our money last from one payday to another. Most of us have even had times when our money did not last and we had to scramble to borrow money or to take cash out of a dwindling bank account. I have found some tips to make money last from one payday to another.
Visualize Your Expenses on Paper
The first thing you need to do is to write down all your monthly bills. Take a careful look at your pay periods and the date your bills are due. This will make it possible for you to decide which bills will be paid out of which paychecks. Pay the bills that are going to be paid out of your paycheck that week before you do anything else. Then, make certain there are no extra bills that month. For example, is your car due for maintenance work or do you have any quarterly or semi-annual bills due? Make those payments next. Your money will stretch farther if you are not worrying about late fees and overdrafts from the bank.
Look for Coupon Deals
My two other big expenses each month are groceries and gas. I opt to buy groceries, other than items like milk and bread, once per month. At the beginning of each month, look through your freezer, fridge and cupboards to make a list of foods that you need. I am not a coupon diva and you don’t have to be either. You should, however, clip coupons that catch your eye each week.
Compare your grocery list with your coupons to see if you can save any cash. When purchasing items at the store, watch for manufacturer coupons that are attached to products you buy. I sometimes find last minute deals on foods I need this way. You can also save money by not purchasing foods you do not need and that are not on your list.
When it comes to gas prices, everyone needs some ways to save. I formed a car pool at work so that we can all take turns on driving while also saving some gas. If you ask around at your job, I am sure you will find people who would be interested in doing the same. I do my grocery shopping and errands the same day. This cuts down on wasteful trips using up too much gas. I try to plan the best route for my errands. If I am tempted to run somewhere other than work during the week, I take some time to think: “Is this trip to town I am going to take really necessary or can it wait?” Usually, it can wait.
Make It At Home
I no longer purchase flavored waters or coffees during the week. You’d be surprised at how much money you can waste at the coffee shop. Prepare a drink at home and put it in a container that will keep your drink hot or cold. It is much cheaper to make your own coffee, iced tea or flavored water. I also pack my lunch which allows me to control exactly how much I spend, rather thing having to pay whatever the cafeteria or local restaurant charges.
Earn Shopping Rewards
These few simple tips have helped me to stretch my money more every pay week. I also use store shopping cards to earn shopping rewards and gas rewards points. I always have my eyes open for coupons, unexpected sales and other ways to save some cash. Every little bit you save, is more money you have left over at the end of the week and less worries about making your paycheck last.
Trim Your List of Bills One by One
To go the extra mile, list your bills on a piece of paper including the amounts you are paying every month, then ask yourself some basic questions: Can I live without this? Do I really have to have this? Go down the list item by item and write down an alternative, no matter how unattractive it sounds. I made such a list for my personal bills and eliminated several entirely: transportation (carpool), got rid of the land line entirely, reduced the cable bill to basics (stick to netflix and other alternatives), rented a cheaper apartment and paid down all of my credit cards.