If you are reading this – here’s a hug! Life can be tough sometimes, there are weeks when you just can’t catch a break. I know because I’m living it, with my significant other losing his job last week. Trying to s-t-r-e-t-c-h that little bit is hard when you have looming bills and the kids just gotta eat. When you are in a financial crunch- every little bit helps! Sometimes you need to find creative ways to make ends meet until payday.
Here are a few tried and true tips to making it through until next payday. Here’s hoping your money crisis is short-lived!
- Pay the Essentials. Even though it’s hard, realistically look at what bills NEED to be paid. Pay the essential bills if possible or try to call them to see if due dates can be extended. The last thing you want is to have your electricity shut off or lose your house. Put off any bills you can until you have the essentials paid.
- Sell something. Most of us have a ton of stuff lying around that needs to be sold. Sometimes even $10-20 can help, especially if you have nothing. List a few things on Facebook yard sale sites or Craigslist. Have a yard sale if you can or sell to a consignment shop. If you have old jewelry lying around, bring it to a gold dealer, you might be surprised on how much you can get!
- Avoid unnecessary trips. Try to use as little gas as possible. Walk your kids to school if you can, carpool to work, walk to the store- anything so you don’t have to use your gas. Sign up for gas station rewards through a grocery store or the gas station itself to help save money on the gas you do buy.
- Go through your cabinets and refrigerator. Even if it isn’t much – you can usually scrape something up. A box of pasta, a can of beans, some flour and sugar. You can make a treat for the kids or pull something together easily to brown bag it for work.
- Plan meals. If you plan your meals for a few days you can figure out what exactly you may have to pick up or what you may be able to borrow from a friend. It is usually possible to conjure up a few meals with what you have in your cabinets if you think creatively. Check out this post here for some ideas.
- Keep an eye on your bank account and put a few things on hold if needed. Automatic debits can sometimes be pushed back. Other companies like insurance or personal loans may allow you to change your due date if needed. You don’t want anything automatically pulling out if you barely have anything and end up getting charged overdraft fees. (Netflix, subscriptions etc.)
- If you have any spare money, figure out what you can spend to add a few days to your menu plan. If you have only $10 to you name, check out the stores weekly ads for sales. You can sometimes get by with a 10 for $10 sale and pick up pasta, sauce, bagged salad etc. You would be surprised at what you can manage to buy! See if you can walk or carpool to the store to save on gas money.
- Put away leftovers. When you have any leftovers, put them away for the next day and add it to you dinner or the kids lunches. If I have a few chicken nuggets left, I would add them to salad for a little variety the next day. Say I have corn leftover (because my kids never eat their veggies!) I will put it in the fridge to add to soup the next night for dinner.
- Swap with friends and family. Have a leftover night if you have friends/family living close. Everyone can bring their leftovers for a potluck meal and everyone gets something new! This can work on different levels too. Swap skills for extra veggies from the garden or shoes that no longer fit your kids. Don’t be afraid to ask because most people are willing to help if they can.
- Search coupon databases and coupon sites for free/cheap items. Living Rich with Coupons, Krazy Coupon Lady etc, will often have products you can get for free with coupons. Head to the library to print them out if you don’t have a printer of your own.
- Say No. Sometimes you can not attend every birthday party your child gets invited to. Say no to friends who want to go out and spend money and find some free/ cheap entertainment instead.
- Have a No Spend Weekend (or week, month etc) with the kids. Brainstorm ideas that you can do for free and do them! Take a walk somewhere, play in the snow, watch a movie at home, make paper kites, go to the beach, head to a playground and have a scavenger hunt, make an indoor obstacle course- the possibilities are endless! I find the kids are more willing if they are involved with the plan because they like the challenge of it.
- Head to the library. If you have maybe lost your internet due to an unpaid bill – you and the kids can use the computer there. Plus there are a ton of other resources. Check out free passes to local businesses. Rent movies for free. Some libraries even have Video games. Get some books that are related to an upcoming holiday and do some crafts related to them with stuff you have lying around.
- Look into side gigs. I hesitantly say this because some of them are a waste of time and not worth the effort. But if you can, try a ride sharing company, walk other people’s pets, baby sit, tutor kids at school, sell at a craft fair etc.
- Plan accordingly. Make sure you look at our nest paycheck and plan it down to the dollar, putting away something for savings if possible. It doesn’t have to be $100! Even saving $10 a paycheck is something. Look at the things you can cut out to save money. Maybe a hefty phone bill, insane cable packages, high car insurance rates, or car payments can be looked at and changed in order to save some dough.
Life does not always go the way we plan it! Hopefully your money crisis is short-lived. Remember your kids don’t care about material things – they just need a happy parent!