6 Easy Tricks to Stretch Your Income

Photo (cc) by LendingMemo

Ever sat and thought about all the things you could do if you had more money? You’re not alone.

But when it comes down to it, there’s probably very little spare change lying around. So, the first step is to figure out where you stand in terms of disposable income and make spending cuts.

But deprivation is not the answer. If you’re hungry, eat. It doesn’t make sense to starve yourself and justify it by saying that you need to save money. You get my point.

Here are a few realistic ideas to help you get started:

1. Stop swiping

Is your debit card getting you into trouble? Perhaps your balance is being dinged by overdraft fees, or maybe impulse buys mean you run out of money before your bills are paid.

If so, put away the card and use cash instead. Also, take care of yourself and your household first before you tend to any other nonessential items.

If the credit cards are a problem, put them where you can’t easily get at them, and pay off the balance due. Call the credit card company and see if it will work out a repayment plan for you.

2. Say goodbye to dining on the fly

Way too painful to do? Well, you may have to do so at least temporarily until you make cuts elsewhere or increase your income, because this area is arguably the most common budget buster of them all.

When was the last time you sat down and crunched the numbers to see how much you really spend on food? If the number is relatively low, kudos to you. But I can assure you that this isn’t the case for most of us. If it were, a number of dining establishments would be out of business.

I completely understand that prepping food at home can be quite time-consuming, but it can also save you a ton of cash. Isn’t that the objective here? To help streamline the process, set a weekly budget for food and use a meal planner that incorporates coupons. Also, cook large portions and don’t be afraid to put the microwave to use the following day.

3. Bring the party home

We all need to unwind on occasion, some more than others. But if you’re going to dig yourself in a hole doing so, that’s no fun. Instead, save yourself the heartache and have your pals bring over a covered dish, their beverage of choice, and their favorite board game.

Take a look at “14 Ways to Have More Fun for Less Money” for additional inexpensive entertainment ideas.

4. Pay close attention to your surroundings

It may be time to have a utility audit done to determine what’s driving up the monthly bill. Also, do you really need a cable box in every room, if any at all? Netflix and online television are always an option. And as for your well-manicured lawn, is there a way you can cut back on the number of services per month or do it yourself?

Renting a place and the lease agreement is due to expire soon? You may want to consider downsizing to give your pockets a break. But be sure to weigh the costs of moving and doling out cash for a security deposit against the benefits of a lower monthly payment.

5. Park your ride

Give your car a break and tag along with someone else. Not only is this less stressful because of the convenient HOV lanes, but much cheaper. You can also walk or ride your bicycle to work if your residence is in close proximity to your place of employment to cut costs and stay fit.

And while you’re at it, if your car is eating up a large chunk of your monthly income, you may want to look into finding a cheaper alternative.

6. And for all your other expenses …

Depending on how severe the situation is, you may have to cut out a ton of other lovely little pleasures that I haven’t mentioned.

Need a few ideas? Let’s start by shaving down the hair and spa appointments, trips to the car wash and late-night runs to the convenience store for your favorite snacks. Once you implement these cuts, you will more than likely be able to make your income work for you and even save a little cash while doing so.

Having a hard time getting started? Check out “How to Develop an Effortless Budget You’ll Stick To” or drop into your local financial institution or an accredited credit counseling agency for free advice.

Do you have any additional tips? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home
13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home

Get your household organized with these brilliant and inexpensive tricks.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020
How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020

New year, new you. Get your finances on track with the help of these tools for investing, saving, budgeting and earning.

3 Good Things About Recessions
3 Good Things About Recessions

We don’t wish difficulty on anyone, but there can be an upside to a down cycle.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple
8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple

Ready for retirement? Not so fast. You might be surprised at some of the issues that come up for couples when they plan.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.