Written by Salina Jivani
If there’s one thing most people dread, it’s checking the mail. Not only do you find an onslaught of senseless solicitations, inviting you to purchase timeshares, plots on a deserted mountain or stamps at the lowest prices ever, but you’re also inundated with cringe-worthy piles of bills. And while bills are an expected, routine part of life we unfortunately can’t escape, they can be particularly daunting to those of us whose paychecks are already stretched precariously thin. If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, here are a few tips that could help you save some cents, and perhaps start a nest egg for emergency funds in case you ever need them.
Sell what you don’t need
Everyone’s got junk. Just look around and you’re likely to see items like electronics, goods, even used clothes that you can sell someplace for some extra cash. Of course, electronic gadgets pay a pretty penny if you list them through channels like eBay or Craigslist. Don’t underestimate the value or salability of anything; as they say, one person’s junk is another’s treasure.
Do a side gig
Sometimes a full time job just doesn’t cut it. Luckily, you’ve got tons of other options out there that can help you earn some extra cash and stretch your budget wider. Consider jobs as a driver for Uber or Lyft, a pet sitter, a baby sitter, a tutor or other alternatives that speak to your interests and can help shoulder the burden of a few extra bills.
One of the pricey parts of most people’s days is the money spent on food. A good meal could be anywhere from $5 – $10, which could total up to over $100 a week if you’re eating out at least twice a day. Hit the grocery store or a farmers market (where produce is less costly) and make your meals at home. Packing a brown bag lunch will not only save you costs, but will also prove more nutritional in the long run.
Consider a roommate
Probably the largest bill most people pay every month is their mortgage or rent. If you’ve got some extra space, it’s not a bad idea to consider renting out or subleasing (check your contract first!). Doing so can help you slash your payments in half, affording you more leeway with other financial obligations. Be sure to have your renter sign a lease agreement and collect the right forms of ID so that everything is official and on paper.
Uncover great deals and save money by couponing! The Sunday paper is filled with coupons often totaling over $35, easily, and the paper itself costs only $2! Use even a few coupons and you’ll recoup that money in no time, while filling your cart with name brand goods that can often be purchased even cheaper than generic brands. Plus, if done right, couponing can yield great returns for your money, affording you pricey goods, such as toiletries and household items, for much cheaper than if you were to buy them on a whim.
With a firm strategy and a monthly budget firmly in place, you can conquer even the smallest paycheck and stretch it far. Make sure you take your budgeting seriously and then stick to it—and you’ll be sure to make the most of every dollar and cent.