Even if you’re diligent when it comes to your finances, all it takes is one unexpected crisis to throw your budget off track and leave you scrambling to make ends meet until payday. Living on next to nothing after covering your immediate costs is stressful at best. All it takes is a bit of foresight and planning to help you get through the next few days or weeks until that sweet direct deposit hits your bank account. Read on to learn about some actionable tips for navigating tough financial waters without putting yourself at risk of debt:
Ditch the Credit Card
First thing’s first: while using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses may give you a sense of liberation when money’s tight, keep in mind that most banks charge staggering interest rates on repayments that can send you spiralling deeper into debt. If you have an emergency expense to cover and you’re flat broke, look into low-interest fast cash loans that’ll help you get back on your feet. Otherwise, ditch the credit card and only spend money you actually have.
Make a Daily Budget
Sit down and figure out how much money you have left over once you’ve covered all your bills, expenses and subscriptions. Make sure to think of the weeks ahead and consider whether you have any once-off costs coming up, such as purchasing a birthday gift or attending a planned dinner with friends. Then, divide the amount left over by the number of days until payday, which will give you a rough estimate of how much you can spend each day without going into overdraft. If the thought of crunching the numbers feels a bit daunting to you, there are a plethora of handy budgeting apps available online that will make the process simple and painless for you.
Money for Gas
Although incredibly convenient, we all know just how expensive running a car is. If you use your vehicle to travel to and from work, do some research and find the cheapest gasoline prices within a reasonable distance from you to save a few dollars. Otherwise, leave the car at home altogether and cycle, catch public transport, or carpool with a colleague until you’re back on top of your finances.
I know, I know. Boring, right? This one’s pretty self-explanatory: if you’re strapped for cash, you may have to turn down an invitation to a restaurant, bar or cinema with your friends. Instead of heading out, invite your buddy over for a leisurely easy dinner and movie night at your place. You’ll still get to enjoy your social time without spending sums you can’t afford on dinner, drinks and your transport home.
Get Savvy with Groceries
Holding out until payday doesn’t necessarily mean eating nothing but instant noodles for dinner; all it takes is a bit of imagination and savviness to get all the nutrients you need without eating the same thing every night. When you go to the store, pick up some pantry staples including pasta and rice, and opt for frozen vegetables. Frozen food is significantly cheaper than fresh produce, and tastes just as good when prepared correctly with all the same nutrients.
Living on the bare minimum may not be glamorous, but it doesn’t have to be unbearable. When you’re struggling, remember that reining in your spending for a short time without putting all of your expenses on a credit card will ultimately be much better for your financial health. Hopefully, it will prevent the need for you to use the above tips in future!
Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash