It's that time of the week. Payday is in a few days, money is tight and you are running out of things. This is the crucial time that has big impacts. People start to get scared and don't always make the best decisions. There are ways to avoid unnecessary spending and they are pretty easy steps.
1. Buy smart always-When I see a good deal on a staple I buy as much as I can in my budget. You will rely on these food staples when money is tight. Stock up on produce that keeps for a long time.
2. Go back to basics-I always buy a lot of the basic ingredients that keep for a long time. Onions, carrots and celery can be used in so many ways. Carrots and celery keep in the fridge for what seems like forever. Onions if keep in a dark cold place they will last a long time as well. Remember to store your produce properly and you will save money by them not going bad and having to replace them.
3. Keep it simple-No fancy recipes with lots of ingredients. Cooking simple can be as delicious as any fancy recipe.
4. Use what you have-Have rice? Rice can be used in so many dishes just google it. Soups can be a great meal if made with the proper ingredients. Rice, barley etc are healthy fillers along with your veggies.
5. Substitute-I do this all the time. If I run out of milk I just google how to make milk from what I have. Just recently I made cashew milk and used it to make homemade bread. No eggs? There are lots of ways to get around that, in fact most recipes even share egg-less versions. Google it!
6. Plan plan plan-Make a calendar with your meal ideas and stick to the plan. This way you know exactly how much you have, what your making and when to cook it. I'm no planner and don't work well with a schedule so this doesn't work for me. If your creative like me you just go look at your pantry and fridge and toss something together. Which is why its hard for me to stick to any recipes. Which means I'm horrible at baking. You win some you lose some.
7. Trade or barter-I ran out of cornstarch and was lucky enough to borrow a little from my neighbor. Might be worth a try to ask your neighbor to borrow something and then give them a little of end product in return. Baking cupcakes etc. Its always fun getting something yummy from the neighbors. Don't forget this tool and remember to give back always.
8. Keep a inventory-Know whats in your freezer and pantry at all times. I couldn't tell you what I did 3 days ago but I can remember how much of something I have and how much I paid for it 6 months ago. No idea how that even works but it helps me when were strapped. I'm always cleaning up, pulling forward and reorganizing my pantry and freezer. I blame my years in the retail business for this. I like things pulled forward, labels out and tidy. My freezer I'm trying to use up what I have before I buy more. But if I find a good deal I remember to pull out stuff on top and put the fresh stuff on the bottom. I then put the older stuff on top. This way I know I'm using up the older before using the newer. Then there is no chance of waste from having to toss out old food.
9. Last but not least have fun with it. Tell your family you have such n such and ask them what they think you should cook. Give options and they will pick something. Don't over think it! And most of all get creative!
Now that you have all these great tips please keep these in mind next time you are trying to stretch what you have before payday. Don't pull out the credit card when you don't necessarily need to. Why spend money you don't have when you can just get by till your next check? Yes you could dip into savings (for those who have it) but why? You have a budget for a reason. Stick to it and I promise you will reap the rewards later on.
Have some great tips? Share them below so everyone can learn from them!