Making your Money Stretch

Far too many of us have been there.  It’s still a week left before pay day.  We have about $5 in our pocket.  Our bank account is, if not overdrawn, at least close to it.  The pantry is empty and we have no idea how we’re going to make that last week before pay day.  In order to make it, we actually have to rewind a little bit to when we got out last check.  It’s easy to run out of funds between paychecks if we don’t save and budget carefully.

Each pay period, write down all the bills you have to pay for that pay period, even the small, seemingly insignificant ones.  AFter you have done that, add them up, and see what’s left.  What’s left is what you have to live on until your next paycheck.  Now, divide that amount by the number of days until your next pay day.  The answer is the amount you have to live on per day.  The smaller the amount, the more creative and frugal you’re going to have to be. 

Now, we’ve done all the math, and we know that it’s going to be tight, to say the least until you get paid again.  Now it’s time to figure out how and where to save so that we can make that money stretch as far as is humanly possible. 

Look for coupons for the things you need.  If you find two different coupons for the same item, use the one that gives you the most savings.  Check your local grocery store ads for the store with the most savings on the things you need.  Match up the coupons with the specials if you can so that you save even more.  Some people like to go from store to store for the best deals, but remember if you’re doing that, you may also be wasting a great deal of gas, and not saving as much as you think.  Plan your meals around the coupons and grocery store ads.

Consolidate trips in the car, so that you’re not wasting gas.  Choose one day to get all the shopping and errands done, and go from the furthest point out and come back toward your home, making the last stop the closest. 

At the end of the pay period, put whatever you have left into savings so that you don’t get yourself into this mess again.