How to survive until payday


Updated on 02 January 2019

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make sure you don't get into debt this month.

Work out what money you have

The first step to budgeting until payday is to work out what money you actually have.

Looking at your bank balance can be terrifying but burying your head in the sand and ignoring the problem is only going to make things worse.

Take the plunge, log onto your online banking and take a long, hard look at how much you have to work with.

Now go through your essential bills, to see what you have left over.

There are loads of budgeting apps out there, and some banks even have their own online or app budgeting functions. Citizens Advice also has a comprehensive budget calculator.

Read more: how I saved £136 with these simple tweaks to my money habits

Use cash, not your debit card

Once you know how much is in the bank, withdraw a set amount for the week.

Using your debit card can be misleading as it's easy to lose track of what you're spending. If you have hard cash in your hands it's much easier to see when it's running out. 

And once you take a set amount of money out for the week, try really hard to not go the cash point again.

Give up luxuries

If you need to cheer yourself up then look for free options. Treat yourself to an evening in with a good film and nice bath as opposed to heading to the high street and splurging money you don't have in the sales.

Just because the item is reduced doesn't mean it makes good money sense to buy it!

We've put together a guide full of hints and tips for cutting your groceries bill and we have a weekly roundup of the top supermarket deals.

For inspiration, read about Sam Shelford, who saved £5,000 on groceries shopping

Explore saving opportunities

When you have cash it's easy to turn a blind eye to wasteful habits. But when money is tight it's time to explore ways in which you can cut back on spending.

Can your mobile phone contract be reduced if you shopped around for a new one? Is there a cheaper broadband deal you could get?

Another option could be switching your gas and electricity supplier. If you haven't switched for a few years it's likely you're on an expensive default tariff. Just bear in mind that the savings will take more than a month to kick in.

It may seem a hassle but these small savings could mean the difference between a desperate month and a doable one.

Get selling

If you have a load of stuff you no longer want or need, why leave it cluttering up your house? Selling stuff on eBay is a great way to make some extra cash. Read How to sell successfully on eBay.

Alternatively, you could head down to your local car boot sale. Check out our guide on how to make a fortune from car boot sales.

Earn extra cash: easy ways to make money

Don't look for easy options

It's tempting to seek shortcuts when you're struggling. However, many of the easy options available are too good to be true.

Payday or short-term loans, for example, are not a good idea.

The interest on these loans is usually extortionate, so while you'll make it through to payday you'll have to pay a huge chunk of your wages to the loan provider once you do get paid.

This could mean you'll fall into the vicious cycle of doing the same thing every month.

Likewise using store cards or credit cards may not be a lasting solution.

If you have to buy on credit, make sure it's on a 0% new purchases card – at least then you won't end up forking out loads of money in interest. Even then you should have a plan for reducing your expenses to meet your income.

Read The best 0% purchase credit cards for more.

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