I’ve been there. More than I’d like to admit. Your income hasn’t changed but you know that you somehow need to find extra money this month. What should you do?
A lot of times there is money hiding in our budget that we just need to take the time to find. This often requires us say no something so you can say yes to something better. Once you find it, there are so many things you can do! Get new furniture, pay off debt, invest it, or take a couple of months to save up for a family vacation.
It’s amazing what is possible when you buckle down. Here are some ideas of how you can find extra money in your budget this month.
Let’s state the obvious first.
Make a Budget and Follow Through.
- This is the most important part. If you don’t make a budget, you have no idea the money you have. First, figure out your take home income and your essential expenses. This includes things like rent, electricity, payments on loans, and grocery bills. Then, take a look at your calendar and see what you have coming up (birthdays, doctor visits, etc.). Be harsh and cut out as much as you can. If you budget honestly and cut out things you can go without this month, you could find $500 during this step alone.
1. Don’t buy coffee if someone else is making it for you
- This is an easy way to find an extra $100 even if you’re only moderately hooked on the Starbucks drive thru. If you’re not willing to give it up fully, then consider only getting regular coffee. That will shave 3-5 dollars off your bill EVERY visit. For example, if you go four times per week spending an average of $5, you’ll save $80.
2. Stop eating out for a month or two
- This might seem obvious, but let’s do some math. If you go out to lunch five times a week, you could be spending upwards of $200 a month on just lunch. Depending on your family size, a dinner out may cost you at least $50. If you go out for dinner once a week, this is another $200 per month. How often you go out to eat could be your ticket to finding extra money in your budget. Ditching restaurants for a couple months could even buy you and your spouse two round trip plane tickets for a getaway…. and yeah I’ll pick that over Chipotle anytime.
3. Meal Plan
- This goes along with my earlier suggestions. But, every week you should intentionally plan what you are going to eat for all of your meals. Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need and don’t allow yourself to buy anything else at the grocery store.
4. Sell your stuff
- You don’t have to do anything formal. You probably already have Facebook Marketplace and Offer Up on your phone. Now is the time to use them. I’ve personally sold the oddest items: an old ceiling fan, used couches, out of date wall decor, extra floor tiles, and even used laminate flooring. So don’t worry if someone will want your well loved items because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Sell books you don’t need, furniture you hate, and kids items that are collecting dust. Check to see what items are going for in your area and list them reasonably. You would be surprised how quickly your junk will sell if you price it right.
5. Cancel monthly subscriptions
- To be honest, most subscriptions we have aren’t necessary. This is a major way we promise our income away before we even have it. Some examples are Netflix, Hulu, Blue Apron, Plated, magazines, cable, or gym memberships to name a few. If you truly need to make extra money, you can probably live without a few of your subscriptions for a month or so. Figure out what you need most and cut out the rest.
Implementing any of these strategies can be challenging. However, if you do even a few of them, you’ll have more money in your budget to put towards other needs and expenses. That way you can do more with the income you already have.