Finding Money Where There’s None

f your household finances have become a juggling act – or worse – have you upside down entirely, have no fear. There are many ways you can find money where there is seemingly none and, thankfully, none of them require you to get another job or give up any sleep!

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The best place to begin is to take better control of how much money is going out. I’ll avoid wasting your time and insulting your intelligence by going on and on about how to you should eat in instead of out to save money and how you can stretch your dollars further by taking advantage of coupons and sale prices. Instead, I’ll focus on ways you can bring your monthly costs down that you might not have even thought possible.

Take your monthly bills, for example. If the sum of your payments are excessively draining your monthly budget, leaving you little room for the other necessities, remedy it by contacting your creditors. If you’re current on your payments and have a proven track record of having paid previous bills on time, a quick call and an honest inquiry about lowering your payment might very well prove to be worth your while. If it’s your power company, ask about a budget payment plan that spreads the cost of the expensive winter months across the entire year. This helps free up more cash during several months of the year that would ordinarily have you digging deep in your pocket and provides you with a predictable amount that you can more easily anticipate and budget for. If it’s your credit card payment leaving your budget strapped for breathing room, call up and ask for a lower interest rate or, if your credit score and history enable you, consider taking advantage of an attractive transfer offer from a competitor. (Just be sure to read and heed the fine print!) Don’t forget, also, to mention your intent to your current creditor. If you’re a customer with good credit who pays on time, they’d likely much rather keep you as a customer and match the competitor’s offer, a win-win for you indeed. You snag a better rate without incurring any associating transfer fees.

Once you’ve worked to bring down the monthly expenses over which you have little control, next focus on everything else. Aside from the obvious use of coupons and sale prices mentioned before, you can cut your grocery bill by taking advantage of more untraditional ways to get food in your house. Consider purchasing your monthly groceries online. Delivery is often free with a minimum purchase and skipping the trip to the store entirely can mean keeping more cash in your pocket by avoiding overspending and impulse purchases. Take advantage of purchasing in bulk at warehouse clubs as well to keep your pantry stocked with staples and you out of the store. If you’re unable to use up the purchases prior to the expiration date, either prepare and freeze meals in advance or find a friend or relative to split the purchases and the cost. If you’re a die-hard fan of eating out, enjoy the same tastes without the extra cost by placing orders for takeout that save you from having to fork out cash for a tip. Or, better yet, order sides of special sauces, salad dressings or entrée sides to make your own “eating out while staying in” experience even more affordable.

Photo credit: ohdarling

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit ThrivingOnEmpty.com to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

5 Responses to “Finding Money Where There’s None”

  1. Keith Morris |  Feb 12, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Wealth = What You Earn – What You Spend

    Cutting down expenses is often the easiest way to build wealth. But if you’ve already cut every corner, it may be time to start earning more. There’s some great info around lifetuner.org on building a side income.

    This may also be of interest: We’ve put together a list of great sites for bargain-hunters.

  2. ParisGirl111 |  Feb 12, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    For those strapped with their credit card payments, you can also contact your creditors and ask for a hardship program. These typically last 6-12 months. The creditor will stop all charges to card, you pay a lower payment each month, and the APR is lowered, sometimes to zero percent depending on the creditor. This can give you some time to rewrite your budget and possibly reduce other expenses without feeling like you are drowning.