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Being broke until payday makes a great meme, but when you’re low on money then it isn’t so funny anymore. When your deposit hits you’re feeling like Oprah Winfrey, but as soon as your bills take their share you’re crawling to the next payday.
Feeling like you’re just working to pay bills? Mhm, me too, but luckily there are frugal living tips to save money.
Create a mini-budget
Creating a mini-budget, in addition to your regular budget, will help to ensure that you’re staying on track financially. Determine what expenses you have to make in the time between paychecks and compare that amount to your income. This will allow you to see how much money you have to work with after your bills are paid.
From here, figure out what it is that you need to survive. Do you have enough food? Is your last roll of toilet paper going to last you (I’ve been there)? How much gas do you need to get from point A to point B?
You may be down to your last $2 by the time your paycheck hits, but with your mini-budget, you’ll have enough to cover all of your necessities. Don’t yet have a budget? Check out my budgeting for beginners post here!
Once you’ve determined how much money you have after your bills, take it out in cash. When you use cash rather than plastic (credit cards and debit cards) you’re more likely to stay on budget because you can visually see the effects your spending has on your finances. Suddenly, you become a lot more conscious of that $8.99 total against your $20 bill.
I’ve recently switched to the cash envelope budgeting system and it was a total game-changer for me! I would always cut it super close by the time payday rolled around, but I’ve been consistently coming under budget which allows me to save more and pay down more debt!
Create meals from ingredients you already have
Got ingredients that just sit in the pantry because you don’t know what the heck to do with them? Yep, I’m completely guilty, but the random food items you have lying around will come in handy when you’re a few dollars away from sleeping under a bridge. This means that if you’ve got a can of soup and a half pack of rice then that’s a meal, my friend! Bon appétit.
Look through your pantry and cabinets to see what you can use to stretch your money until next payday. This makes your grocery list a lot shorter and cheaper because you don’t need every single ingredient for your recipe. For example, if you’ve got a few pieces of lunch meat left then you just need bread.
I normally find myself taking random trips through the drive-thru when my stomach is singing tunes and I have no clue what to eat. Meal planning takes the guesswork out of what to cook and you’re ultimately committed to the meals you’ve chosen.
If you know you have 7 days until your next check, then you need to plan 7 day’s worth of meals. Scroll through Pinterest for some cheap meal inspiration, and then write out what you will have for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Try to come up with meals that will allow you to have a couple of days worth of leftovers. This way, you can paper sack it for lunch and not have to stress about cooking dinner.
To save even more money, consider ordering your groceries online. I’ve ordered using both Kroger’s ClickList and Walmart Pickup, but typically use Walmart Pickup since it’s free! You can test the waters through this link and get $10 to use!
Whip out the coupons
For any purchase you need to make, try not to pay full price. This means it’s time to open up that drawer you stuffed those coupons in and put them to work.
Try to stick with items on sale (yes that means no luxury tissue paper) and generic brands to make your dollars stretch. Most stores will have their sales papers upfront so grab a copy and browse through the deals before you start shopping.
I love to use Ibotta to get cash back on groceries and household items to increase my savings. You just select the store you want to shop from and see what offers are available. After you shop, just scan your receipt using the app. Boom, it’s that easy and completely free to use!
Posts to check out next!
- Building an Emergency Fund – Save Up Fast!
- Manage Money Like a Boss + a Personal Capital Review
- Christmas on a Budget! – 7 Tips You Need When Buying Gifts
- Simple Tips to Create a Bomb Budget When You’re Paid Bi-weekly
- 4 Things You Need to Do to Get Caught Up on Bills
- 7 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score 100 Points in One Year
- The Simple Trick to Paying off Credit Card Debt Fast!
- How to Pay off Thousands in Debt as a Single Mom. Yes, Even on a Low Income!
- How I Went from $100 to $1300 in Spendable Income – Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck!
Pump the brakes
Sorry busybodies, I have bad news. When you’re trying to make it until next payday, you’ve got to pump the brakes for a little while.
What does this mean? Only move your vehicle when it’s necessary to avoid all of your extra cash going towards gas. Driving to work is most definitely a necessity, but going to Walmart in the next city because yours doesn’t have the conditioner you like is no bueno.
Consider catching a ride with a co-worker who lives close by or carpooling with friends. If it’s a short distance, give walking a try. Not only does it save you money, but you’ll get a good workout too.
Say no to the invite
There’s nothing like going out with family and friends IF you can afford to. Sadly, since you’re trying to scrape up enough cash until that next deposit hits then chances are you can’t. Sorry, Charlie.
You may have to kindly decline any invites you receive for a week or so, but that’s okay. Nothing is worth waking up to an empty wallet and you can always reschedule your outings for a later time.
If you’re in dire need of socialization, consider hanging out at the house or catching a ride to free activities.
When my bank account is a tad parched and I’m dying to get out of the house, I normally just relax at my dad’s or go to the nearest park to keep my kids from driving me insane.
Do it yourself
I’ll admit that I drink too much Starbucks. It’s something about pulling into the drive-thru early in the AM and reciting your order to the barista that has to pretend she doesn’t know what you want when she hears your voice that’s so . . . addicting.
When I’m low on money I know there’s no way that I can afford those trips. Therefore, I have to dust off Mr. Coffee and put him to work.
The moral of the story here is to do things yourself to save your coins. This includes making your own coffee, painting your own nails, and/or styling your own hair for a bit. DIY is a fairly simple tip, but one that’s commonly overlooked.
Having to live paycheck to paycheck is stressful, but using these frugal living tips to save money will help keep your sanity.