Have you ever been in an instance where you just think the month will just never end? Then, you check out all of your bills and it just seems like there won’t be enough money to stretch to the end. I see a lot of heads nodding out there. It seems like no one wants to talk about those times when there seems to be more month than money. I’m not afraid to say that we’ve been there quite a few times.
This particular July happens to be a “money bags month,” which means there are 5 fridays, 5 saturdays and 5 sundays within this one month. The name rings true: if you get paid every friday, it will feel like you are just rolling in money. But what about those that get paid once or twice a month? It feels like the money is just getting away from you at lightening speed and the next check is moving as slow as a turtle. When you are already trying to survive on a budget, but you are stuck in this type of cycle, what can you do?
1. Be militant. When we used to be stuck in this situation, I barred down the hatches, and we lived like we were in a war. And really, you kind of are; its a war against your finances and you hope to hell they don’t win. We ate in, and even ate vegetarian and vegan meals for a change. We watched every mile we used gas for, and bundles up as many errands in one trip as possible. Back then, we used a laudromat to clean our clothes, so I would clean the bare minimum of clothes needed and use the rest of the change for gas or groceries! I was serious about my saving! You can’t cut yourself any slack.
2. Re-check your budget. This may seem pretty self-explanatory, but some don’t even think about this stressful time as the perfect opportunity to look at the budget again. You will really see what is stretching your budget to the max and the lack of funds will motivate you to find a better way to take care of that bill or what have you. this would be a great time to shop for new car insurance, cable, cell phone or any other monthly bill. Even if you don’t plan to leave your current company, give them a call and let them know you MAY be leaving. I guarantee they will try to give you a better price on your service. Acutally, this is something you should do every 3 months like clockwork. You could be saving 20% off your bill each time you call.
3. Entertain at home. I know this may seem like a silly thing to do if you are stretching your budget, but it’s actually very wise. Throw a pot luck party and offer to have it right in your home. Search your pantry, fridge and freezer for a list of items and plug them into recipe sites like Super Cook and make a few great dishes. It helps to be around friends and family when you just can’t get out to do your usually celebrating. Plus, a pot luck means leftovers…for everyone! You’ll laugh, have a good time and end up with one or two meals for the next few days. It’s all a win-win.
4. View technology as the enemy. That may sound extreme, but the more you use, the more you are tempted to use more. The more TV you watch, the more you wish you could get out to the great sale at walmart or old navy and spend. The more you watch, the more you want to go out for just one dinner at applebees or chilis. The more time you spend on twitter and facebook, the more you wish you could be “getting ready for a night out” like your friends who don’t worry about their budgets. This is a great time to catch up on a book, magazine, your favorite board game or just talk with your family. Not enough families do that nowadays, anyway.
There are so many other tips, but these are the 4 that kept us on the straight and narrow when we needed to tighten our belts. Do any of you have some tips on how to get through those “money bag months”?