Waiting for a paycheck can be stressful if your bank account balance has dwindled to nothing. You start to sweat thinking about overdraft fees, gas prices, and whether that can of beans in the back of the cupboard is expired. It might also make you angry because you don't feel that you've splurged. Yet, here you are, looking for change in the couch to make ends meet. This happens to most people at one time or another, but there are ways to make your money last until payday.
Top 5 Ways to Make Your Money Last Until Payday
- Ride, Walk, or Hitch a Ride: If you live near your workplace, consider walking or riding a bicycle to work. It's good for the body and doesn't cost a cent. If that's not an option, see if you can carpool with a co-worker. Worst case scenario, if you must drive and are running low on fuel, only fill your tank enough to get to work and back until you get paid. You might not need to fill your tank.
- Count Everything: If you are at risk of running out of money before payday, it's time to consider anywhere you might have some extra cash lying around. If you have a change jar or a rainy day stash, consider this the day to use it. Check purses and backpacks. Look in the cupholder or console of your vehicle.
- Contact Bill Collectors: You might have a bill that is due prior to payday or an autopay that is going to result in non-sufficient funds. Not only can this pause utilities, but it results in fees that make money problems worse. A simple phone call can alleviate this problem. Payments can be postponed, and late fees waived, so you don't end up further in the hole.
- Live Skinny: You might have thought you were living skinny, but most people don't actually do it until times are pretty tight. Set limits. This isn't the time to give in to your daily Starbucks habit or weekend beer with friends. This is the time to focus on what's free. Enjoy the park, go for a walk, or read a book. Watch television or exercise. You'll have time to go out and splurge a little once your finances are under control. Until then, it's time to lie low and live the simple life.
- Set Up a Budget: If the previous tips to make your money last until payday make you cringe, then this last tip is the most important. Set up a budget for your next pay cycle. Living paycheck-to-paycheck happens once in a while. In most cases, it doesn't have to be a regular event. You might have to live skinny for a couple of months or take on some side work to get ahead, but budgeting is typically all it takes to set boundaries and keep you out of the red. It isn't as difficult as it sounds, and you'll enjoy the freedom you get when you know you're going to make it to the next payday.
Make It Last Until Payday and Prevent the Downward Slide
You may have to sacrifice a little to make it until the next payday, but it will prevent a downward slide into bigger problems. It's easy to get "in the hole," but it's hard to dig yourself out. Taking the steps to avoid financial penalties and using your creativity to live a little in the meantime will keep you from sliding into that financial hole and empower you to continue on a pathway toward financial success.