Maybe you’ve just been laid off, or perhaps you have a child on the way. Whatever the reasons, you suddenly find yourself tight on funds. With the odds of winning the lottery as low as ever and the many expenses unlikely to go away, your only option is to change your behavior. One way or another, you simply have to make your money last. Stretching your money might require dedication and hard work, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. There are a number of simple strategies to help you get by.
Take Budgeting Seriously
Most people feel like they should be watching their budget, but very few actually do the work. When you really need every dollar to count, you owe it to yourself to keep track of your spending. If you can’t properly account for your own spending habits, then there’s no easy way for you to change them. By keeping track of your income and expenditure all in one place (a simple notebook of an Excel file will do), you’ll be able to form a comprehensive understanding of your financial situation. Once you know where your money is going, you can determine which expenses are essential and which others you can work on eliminating. You might not realize what a drain your take-out lunches are until you see it written in black and white.
Look for Deals
In a perfect world, money wouldn’t be a concern and you’d base your shopping habits on personal taste and convenience. Unfortunately, if there is a perfect world out there, we’re certainly not living in it. Here on Earth, money tends to get tight and we have to do our best to look for deals. Keep track of what items are cheapest in different stores. Opt for less-glamorous but cheaper brands. Stay on the lookout for opportunities with Checkout Saver, and buy discount gift cards when you get the chance. All these little measures can add up to significantly improve your finances.
Cut Out the Small, Daily Expenses
While the big-ticket items get your attention on the credit card statement, its those smaller daily expenses that crush your ability to save. If your daily routine includes a bought coffee in the morning, a take-out lunch during your break, and a couple of lottery tickets on your way home, then you're cutting into your savings each and every day. Brew your own coffee, pack yourself a lunch, and change other habits. You'll be shocked by your bank account's sudden staying power.
Take Advantage of Free Entertainment
You've heard the age-old adage that says, “If you wanna play, you gotta pay.” This is true for many forms of entertainment, from bar-hopping to attending concerts, but there is still plenty of fun to be had without spending a dime. Take advantage of your cash-strapped circumstances to broaden your horizons and try some new entertainment options. Hiking is as great for the mind and body as it is for the budget, and an afternoon in the park can be just as memorable as a night out at a club. There’s no reason a lack of funds has to mean a lack of fun. Get creative and make incredible new memories for free.