Low on cash? Learn how to stretch a tight budget without starving yourself.
Learn how to stretch a tight budget while still making ends meet with our handy tips for holiday shoppers who are low on cash. We know you went overboard on the gifts, and now that bills are rolling around you’re feeling the pinch. You’re not alone! As worried as you may be right now, there’s an easy solution right around the corner.
Follow these six steps to balance your low on cash post-holiday budget:
1. Pay your essential bills first.
When money is tight, your rent and utilities need to be the top priority. Do whatever you can to pay these expenses, and then worry about buying food and gas for the car. If you do otherwise, you could overspend and leave yourself without the ability to keep your water or heat on this winter. Worse, you might wind up facing eviction at a time when you’re already struggling.
2. Negotiate your monthly payments.
Most landlords frown on renters who ask to make late or partial payments, but they’d rather you take that route if needed. One of the worst (and most avoidable) mistakes people can make is missing a payment and leaving landlords guessing. If you’re worried about leaving a bad impression, try to negotiate your other bills first. Water and electric companies usually offer special financing to help residents in need. Community groups may help if you have an emergency after the holidays and no savings left to work things out.
3. Suspend the bills you can.
People who travel out of the country should consider putting their cable, Internet, and even cell phone service on hold. During the months they’re gone, these services don’t rack up big bills, because they aren’t used. If you’re locked into a contract, going on hold will just extend your end date out to make up the difference. You can have services suspended for all kinds of reasons, and it may be enough to give you the room needed to get more critical bills paid.
4. Create a daily budget.
DailyFinance.com has a handy tip for keeping your leftover money in order. Once you pay your most important bills, break your remaining funds down into daily allotments. If you have $100 left, there are ten days until your next paycheck, aim to spend no more than $10 a day – on everything. Use this budget to monitor all of your purchases, from food and gas to toiletries and other miscellaneous expenses. Knowing how much you have to spend can help you save all on its own.
5. Look for grocery deals.
Beyond coupons and rebates, you can make requests for discounts whenever you make a purchase. Some places make this easier than others. Farmers’ markets, for instance, are an excellent source of deals at the end of the day. According to DailyFinance.com, deals at the meat counter are also ready for the taking. Just ask the butcher whether there are any deals available. Small hams and roasts often come with deep discounts because they’re so cumbersome to slice. Buying foods that are near (or past) their expiration dates also help you stock up on savings.
6. Go half and half on expenses.
Driving is one of the most costly activities you engage in from day to day. If you’re struggling, consider asking coworkers and friends for help with rides. By providing some money for gas, you can travel much cheaper than by taxi or your own car. Unfortunately, you cannot suspend your car insurance during these times. However, you may be able to adjust your insurance coverage to lower your monthly payment.
Even if you’re working to stretch a tight budget, you may need a title pawn to help you in the meantime. Come on into the Lilburn branch of Title Tree, and we can help you get the cash you need.