We all have months where there is more month than paycheck. Here are five tips to help stretch a budget to reach the end of the month. Not all of these tips are feasible long term, but they can be a lifesaver in a pinch.
Shop your pantry before the grocery store.
Try to see how far you can stretch the odds and ends lurking in your cabinets and freezer. Use these items to frame your menu, then fill in with necessities.
Add noodles, rice, or oats to stretch recipes with ground beef.
Carbs aren’t a mortal enemy, but overgenerous portions may be. If you use this technique don’t allow yourself to head back for seconds and thirds.
Entertain, but potluck it.
Invite friends over for cards, games, movies, or just to visit and when they ask what they can bring have an answer ready. If you have small children, invite other families in the same situation. Sure, you do end up playing referee part of the night, but at least you aren’t paying a sitter.
Use the local library.
Talk to the librarian if your favorite author isn’t available, ask who they recommend. They are there to help and you are already paying for the services through your taxes. Take advantage of them. Check out their DVD collection, sure they aren’t new releases, but isn’t it time to actually watch some classics instead of nodding and hoping to look knowing the next time someone brings up Citizen Kane? In the interest of full disclosure, I have yet to see it.
Without getting up, look around the room. How many projects are half finished? Do you have a yard in need of attention? Spend time taking care of these things instead of heading out looking for entertainment. I’m willing to bet you have an mp3 player of some sort. Download free podcasts if you need some company during boring tasks.
Tell me Home Eccers, what are your favorite tightwad tips?