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There comes a time in an adult’s life where a bunch of financial issues occurs all at once and you find yourself with very little money until the next payday. Sometimes this occurs on more than one occasion, and probably will happen again.
This has happened to us a time or two, just the bad timing of calendar dates falling on a certain week where suddenly everything is due in one week instead of spreading out to two weeks – our paycheck was spent quickly. We got through it fine, and so will you.
Here are 12 ways to stretch $100 until your next paycheck:
Note: This is for after your essential expenses have been paid as I said in my example, and you have $100 left for one week, but this can also easily be used for a two-week gap with tighter restraints.
1. Cash in your Apps
If you’ve been using the various shopping and survey apps for quite a while, now would be a good time to redeem those points and money. Claim gift cards to grocery stores and prepaid cards for the most benefit.
The apps with the quickest redemption time are:
- Ibotta – If you have over $20 in the account, you can redeem it in about 2 hours, or up to 24 hours during busy times.
- MyPoints – Claim eGift cards to PayPal, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Walmart, a Visa Prepaid card, and many restaurants. It takes about 3 business days, but in some cases may take up to 10-14 business days.
- BeFrugal – Claim a direct deposit, a PayPal deposit, an eGift card, or a Prepaid Visa card all within 1 business day.
- Opinion Outpost – Cash out to your PayPal quickly in 24 – 48 hours.
Hunt through all your survey and shopping apps and see your cash-out level and claim the ones you can quickly, an extra $20 will surely help when things are tight.
2. Work Small Jobs
There are many small jobs you can do in your spare time (evenings, break-time, on the weekend) that can help bring in some needed cash. I’m listing a few that don’t require waiting periods for signing up and approval or those that don’t require waiting a week to get paid.
Some ideas to get you started are:
- Weather-related odd jobs – Go around your neighborhood and ask if people would like help with mowing, raking leaves, cleaning gutters, or snow shoveling in exchange for cash.
- Babysit, Petsit, or Housesit – Look in the local classifieds or ask friends and family for any “sitting” opportunities needed soon. Babysitters can make about $100 a night (or more if it’s a last-minute request).
- Tutor Online – If you’re good in an academic subject, check out your local listings, library, or local school for any tutoring jobs. You can also look on sites like Chegg – it takes 3 to 4 days to get approval but pays $20/hr.
- Sell Gigs – Join Fiverr and post gigs you’re willing to do for $5. Takes about a day to get approved and you might get lucky and find a customer right away.
- And more.
When looking around for small jobs online, do check how long it takes to get approved and how long it takes to get paid. Sites such as TaskRabbit and others take over a week to get paid, which isn’t great when you need cash now.
3. Work Overtime
This, of course, depends on your field of work and company policy.
Ask your supervisor, or boss, if there’s a chance to work extra hours – maybe in a different department, for some extra money. The Department of Labor requires any extra hours over 40 hours a week pays “time and a half”, but many companies have policies restricting overtime. Some fields such as manufacturing, CNC operations, drivers, and others usually offer overtime in order to meet tight production deadlines.
One little problem with this is that you won’t see this extra money until your next payday – but it keeps you busy and not spending that last $100, and gives you more money to pay back any loans borrowed from family and friends.
4. Sell your Stuff
You’ve only got $100 for a week, it’s time to buckle down and go through your place and look for things to sell for cash.
Some places you can sell are at:
- Online local buy, sell & trade sites – usually can make quick sales here but be sure to meet in a public place to stay safe.
- Pawn Shop – You don’t necessarily have to sell your stuff outright, but get cash for it now and go and claim it when payday comes. Usually with 10% interest a month.
- Yard Sale – Have a quick yard sale over the weekend. It’s possible to make a few hundred dollars.
- Use Apps – Sell through apps such as LetGo, OfferUp, and CPlus (for Craigslist).
Remember, you’re looking for quick cash to help you out, so don’t be greedy with the prices people are willing to offer.
5. Use up the Pantry
Now’s a great time to use up what’s in your pantry and fridge for meals and spend less at the grocery store.
Challenge yourself like on “Chopped” and see what creative combo you can make with what you have available. Many things can be made into a soup or a pasta and stretched over a few days. One great meal idea I use often is buying a rotisserie chicken at the end of the day when it’s on sale, then I stretch it into 4 dayd of meals:
- Day 1 – Have sliced chicken, salad and a vegetable side
- Day 2 – Tear off all the available meat off the carcass and boil the bones for chicken stock, sieve out the bones and make chicken and vegetable soup
- Day 3 – Add more chicken stock and vegetables for more soup
- Day 4 – Thicken the broth into a sauce, make biscuits and have a “lazy” chicken pot pie – split the biscuits in half on a plate and pour the chicken mixture over top.
That’s 4 meals from a $5 chicken.
In the off chance you don’t have anything in your pantry and fridge, you can still make great meals on $4 a day, ($28 in a week).
6. Have a Spending Freeze
Now would be a good time to start a spending freeze. As explained in a previous post, a spending freeze is not spending any money on “needless” things. The bills, very basic groceries, and other “necessities” still get paid.
What can you only pay for during this period?
- Basic groceries – meat, produce, dairy
Everything else gets put off until after the next paycheck. Stretch your last $100 to cover these necessities only. That Drive-Thu coffee can wait.
Make it even more challenging and set a longer spending freeze period to save even more money for your life.
7. Avoid the Pump
Filling up an average car with a 15-gallon tank usually costs around $40. If you only have $100 for the week, that is almost half of what you have! To keep most of your money for other necessities, buy just a little bit of gas – say $10 worth, that’s about 4 gallons or 88 miles worth of gasoline.
Here are some ways to make that last:
- Plan your errands – plan out the most efficient way to complete all your errands in the shortest route
- If it’s not necessary, reschedule any appointments until after your next payday.
- Ask to ride with co-workers to work and pay gas money at the next payday
- Bike or walk to your closer designations, you’ll get more exercise and no gas is used
- If you have an office job, ask if you can telecommute for a few days
With careful planning, you should be able to make your car survive the money crunch.
8. Ask Friends & Family
If you’re running out of that $100 you had, it may be time to count on your friends and family now.
There are two ways to do this:
- Collect your IOUs from those who have borrowed from you.
- Ask for some money from them
This is also a time where you might get a good dose of reality – you’ll find out who your “real” friends are. Those who are there and supportive during your hard time are the ones you should remember and forget the rest.
Remember if they can’t give you money, but give other things instead – food, help, rides, accept it and be grateful. Now’s not the time for nit-picking.
Repay them in any way you can when you are back on your feet.
9. Take Advantage of the Grace Period
This is a tricky one to apply, but I’ve done it and it does work without any consequences.
Go through your bills that are due during this tight period and see what the due dates and grace periods are. Let’s look at a fictional calendar:
Friday, January 4th – Payday
Friday, January 11th – Next Payday
Friday, January 18th – Next Payday
|Bill||Due Date||Grace Period||Paid Date|
|Utility Bill||January 5th||None||January 5th|
|Mortgage||January 8th||15 days||January 18th|
|Credit Card||January 10th||5||January 11th|
As I said, it’s a tricky one, so be sure to read your statements policy on grace periods and any penalties that may occur.
Your best bet is to stay safe and pay everything on time. This would be easier to accomplish if you got money from using my other suggestions.
10. Use your Credit Card
This may be a good time to use your credit card to pay for those necessities – food, bills, gas.
Pick a card with the lowest interest, an added bonus is using one that has cash-back advantages or rewards, such as the Amazon Prime Rewards card. This card is offered only to Prime members and you’ll receive 5% back on Amazon purchases, other cash-back offers, and a $70 gift card when you’re approved.
But please remember to pay your credit card off when you receive the next paycheck. Not doing so will just add to your debt burden and even affect your credit score.
11. Turn down Social Engagements
We know those social engagements – going out with friends, going out to eat, and other events – cost money. In a spending freeze, this would fall under the “unnecessary” category and should be cut.
However, you can still find events and entertainment to do for free. Some ideas are:
- Invite friends over for a movie night on your streaming service or a free movie from RedBox.
- Check your local library for free events
- Check your Community Calendar for events and free admission in your local area
- Have a game night or competition
Just because money is tight doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, just spend your time wisely – avoid the bar, clubs, and costly restaurants – it’s the company you’re with not the environment you’re in that counts.
12. Don’t fear Charity
Lastly, don’t let your pride get in the way when it’s time to accept charity.
Ask at your house of worship for any available help – money, food, bill payment and accept it graciously. Check out your local food pantry for a few food items that will help stretch your food supply, look for local charities such as Community Action, that will help with utilities, weatherization, and other financial needs.
Do make up for it and donate and volunteer when you’re in a better financial position.
There are a lot of humble lessons to learn when you’re broke, and the most important one I believe is to stay honest. Tell people the truth – you’re tight at the moment. Many people will appreciate your honesty more than some fabricated lie and I’m sure many will understand as I’m sure they’ve been there once themselves too.
Do remember that the more you “borrow” from the future – credit cards, loans, and so on, can put you in an even tighter spot down the road. So, do your best to get through this period, but start budgeting and planning better to prevent the next cash shortage.
More posts to help stretch your money: