This is a guest post from Anthony Benedict from Credit Donkey.
Most of us experience being low on money – or downright broke – often, particularly around the end of the month when the paycheck hasn’t come through yet. Advising someone not to worry about it is a waste of time. While we all wish that our lives didn’t revolve around money, the truth is that it often has to. There are some ways to make life a little less stressful when you don’t have enough money to go around, though.
Create a Mini-Budget
Look at any money that you do have, however little. Get out a piece of paper and allot portions to food, rent, and other bills. Food and rent are the two most important expenses you have. Stick to this budget and avoid any temptations to splurge on anything.
If it comes to having to decide which bills not to pay, pay your rent first. You can live without utilities, but you have to have a place to live. If you don’t have rent, your order of importance with utilities is: electricity, gas, phone, water. Find out if your water can be cut off. In many places, it is illegal to cut off your water, even if you don’t pay. If it is this way in your area, leave your water bill dead last.
Get Your Loans Back
If you’ve loaned money to family or friends, ask for it to be repaid. Don’t let sob stories guilt you. You are having just as hard a time with money as any of them. Even if they can’t pay back the entire amount, ask for anything that they are able to pay on it. Any little bit will help you.
Keep Your Eyes Open
When you’re out where there’s high foot traffic, keep an eye out for money on the ground. This may seem insignificant, but those pennies and dimes you find could add up to dinner one night. Stick your fingers in payphone change slots. Look around the drive-thru at restaurants, where people drop change and don’t pick it up. There are often quarters underneath drink and candy machines. Don’t walk by a penny just because it’s a penny. It’s still money.
Use Cards with Benefits
While it’s ideal to use only cash during a time when you’re broke, to avoid building up a lot of debt, you can actually save yourself a little money by using cash back cards for your necessities. Just don’t go overboard. Buy only what you absolutely need.
When you’re broke, stop worrying about buying health-conscious foods. Just make sure that you eat. If you can get a hamburger for less than you can get a couple of carrots, eat the hamburger. Gaining a couple of pounds is better than acquiring malnutrition. Also try to get yourself invited to dinners with family and friends – most of them will probably be more than willing to feed you.
Look for Yard Sales
If you find yourself in immediate need of something like clothing or housewares, drive around and look for yard sales. Many people sell things for just a few cents and most are willing to negotiate even on those prices.
Free Cell Phone Time
If you absolutely must have your cell phone during this time, make sure you are only using your free minutes and texts. You should have a way to get in contact with people, but don’t overdo it and get yourself huge overage fees.