Living paycheck to paycheck can be challenging most of the time and we know how hard it can be to keep up with everything you need. Here are 10 ways to stretch your money in order to get you through until your next paycheck.
1. Start a Budget
Using a budget is a great way to stretch your money. It is a great way to manage your spending and limit how much you spend on each category. Starting a budget can be super simple but also super confusing for someone who has never done it before.
Before you start, gather your credit and bank reports from the last couple of months so you can track how much you have spent on each category. Then, list out your monthly income. After you’ve done that, make a list of all of your fixed costs. These are things that happen every month like rent, car payments, etc.
Then, list out your optional payments every month. These are things that you pay each month because you signed up to have them. Things like a gym membership or cable. Next, list out your variable expenses. These are things that vary from month to month. Things like vacations, groceries, clothes, etc. Finally, rebuild your budget to meet how much you want to save each month.
2. Participate in Free Events or Activities
What’s the best way to save money…not spending any at all! If you are someone who likes to get out and do things, but your budget does not allow for it, then find places or groups that offer free events or activities. This could be as easy as places that allow free entrance with a student ID or walking around a farmer’s market. This is a great way to stretch your money when you are in a pinch.
3. Get Rid of Services You Don’t Use Anymore
Another way to stretch your money is to cancel services you rarely or never use. If you don’t watch cable anymore because you have Netflix and only watch that then cancel cable. Go through your expenses from the previous month and watch for anything you paid for that you don’t use anymore.
4. Shop for a Better Rate
Shopping for a better rate is a simple way to stretch your money. If your phone bill is a little too high for your liking, or even your budget’s liking then look at other providers and see if there is a cheaper rate. Same thing with things like online streaming services or cable.
There is no shame in shopping for a better rate. Do what you have to stretch your money. You will thank yourself in the end.
What better way to stretch your money than to negotiate. Some people don’t like to negotiate because they are afraid they will appear cheap. But guess what? Who cares! You do what you need in order to stretch your money and make it to the next payday.
Places like big box stores probably will not negotiate with you but there is no shame in trying.
6. Plan Out Your Meals
By planning out your weekly meals you can buy exactly what you need for that week. This is another simple way you can stretch your money. When you plan out your meals for the week, make sure you list the things you need for each meal.
That way you buy exactly what you need and nothing you don’t.
7. Use Public Transportation
This option may not be available in smaller communities but many larger cities offer some form of public transportation. By using public transportation you stretch your money by not having to pay for gas. If your car breaks down then that’s more money you have to spend you were not planning to for that month.
Sometimes there are certain transportation companies that offer reduced prices if you buy a bunch of transportation tickets in advance.
8. Turn Down Your Thermostat
Turning down or even turning your thermostat off with save you money each month. I know that sometimes in the summer it is difficult to turn off the thermostat, but your wallet will thank you. Also by doing this you can open your windows and get airflow that way. Who doesn’t love the smell of the outdoors?
Continually running your air conditioning is a quick way your bills can get high. So on those breezier days, shut off the air conditioning and open the windows. If you put a box fan in the window and have it blowing into your house or apartment it is a quick way to cool down the interior.
9. Only Buy Things You NEED
We know that shopping for things you want is one of the top ways you can hurt your budget. But try only buying the things you NEED in order to stretch your money. If you do not need it right now, put it on a list in your mind, and start putting your extra change or a few dollars into a savings jar.
Then, if you still feel like it is something you can not live without, you’ve saved for it and you can get it!
10. Take Advantage of Sales
SALES! Sales are one of my favorite ways to stretch your money. Because I am someone who likes to shop, sales help me save money. Especially, since many of the things are things I want and don’t need. But, if you are someone like me who can not go a month without a shopping trip then hit up those sales and save that hard-earned money so that you have more for next month!
Most stores also have a clearance section. This is a great way to buy clothes from the past season for next year at a low price!