Pinching Pennies: Making Ends Meet When Your Budget is Tight

It’s hard when you barely make enough money to pay all your bills each month. Ideally, you should aim for an income that will keep you comfortable and allow you to save a bit, but sometimes you need to pinch pennies for a period. You could experience some expenses that took you by surprise, or your spouse could lose their job and temporarily turn you into a one-income household. Whatever the case may be, here are a few of the most effective tactics to continue getting by when money’s tight.

Pinching Pennies: Making Ends Meet When Your Budget is Tight

Stick to Simple Meals

It probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t be going out for food and drinks when you’re on a budget, but even groceries can be expensive if you’re not careful. That’s why you should learn budget-friendly meals that won’t cost you much to make.

The best way to do this is to look for versatile ingredients that you can buy in bulk. Rice and beans are two excellent examples. You can buy large bags for just a couple dollars, and these ingredients work with many others. For example, instead of just eating steak, you could slice the steak up and mix it with rice. You’ll eat less meat this way, which is far more expensive than rice. Once you’ve found good meal options, cook in bulk so that you have your breakfasts, lunches and dinners ready ahead of time.

Look for a New Cell Phone Carrier

You shouldn’t be paying an arm and a leg for cell phone service. It may just be a matter of seeing what plans other carriers have to find a better deal. Don’t stop there, though. Try getting a plan with less data to save some money. You don’t need much mobile data with how common Wi-Fi is, and 1 to 2 GB per month is more than enough.

Make sure you check out some of the smaller carriers like Flash Wireless and similar companies instead of just the four major names in cell phone service. Oftentimes, the smaller carriers have the lower prices. And while you’re cutting your cell phone costs, get rid of your home phone service entirely if you still have it.

Nothing but Netflix

It’s nice to have all kinds of TV and movie options at your fingertips, but this is a luxury you don’t need. There’s really no reason to spend money on cable service when you could get Netflix or another streaming service for a much lower monthly rate.

Just make sure you stick to one streaming service, though. Whether you’re a fan of Netflix, Hulu or another service, one is more than enough to keep you entertained. If you get bored with it, you can always cancel and switch to something else.

Find a Side Gig

You don’t want to work your life away, but if you can find a side gig you enjoy, this can be a great way to boost your income while times are hard. And thanks to the gig economy, there are many ways to make some cash in your spare time.

If you have a reliable car that gets good mileage, you could try driving for Uber and Lyft. Another option would be signing up with a delivery service, such as Instacart or Postmates. You can also look at online freelance marketplaces to see if there are any tasks that fit your skillset.

Don’t let the stress of financial troubles overwhelm you. If you use the tactics above, you could shave hundreds of dollars off your monthly expenses and start bringing home some extra cash.