How to Make Money Last Until Payday

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We've all been there. At the beginning of the month, you're feeling pretty positive about your finances. You've paid your bills and you're confident that you have enough cash to see you through the coming few weeks. But before you know it, it's a week before payday and your money has run out.

Although this is a very familiar story, so many of us fall into the same money traps time and time again, leading to stress, worry and serious financial difficulties. So, what do you do when you have no money? And how can we avoid struggling towards the end of the month?

Well, there are simple changes we can all make to help break the bad habits that leave us struggling over the final few days of the month. Some of these changes are incredibly simple and easy to implement, so read on for our top tips on how to make your money last.

How to make money last longer

Anyone trying to improve their cash flow and ensure their money lasts until payday, is going to have to get really good at budgeting. Short of making more money, (wouldn't that be nice!), effective budgeting is the key to financial peace of mind for most people.

Luckily, it's never been easier to create and stick to a budget, thanks to all the fantastic new online money tools and apps that are available. You no longer need to listen to that devil on your shoulder persuading you to spend when you can't afford to, as you have your very own angel - your new budget!

The ultimate budget to make money last until payday

Here are the steps you need to follow to make sure that your budget actually works for you and will ensure you still have some money to spend at the end of the month – and maybe even some savings too!

Figure out how much money you actually have available

The very first step you need to take when creating a budget is to work out exactly how much money you have to play with each month. It's surprisingly difficult to be honest about this. You know what your monthly income is, but have you really considered all the essential costs you need to meet?

Plan for your essential costs

And by essential, we mean:

  • Rent/mortgage payments

  • Food and other groceries

  • Utility bills

  • Council tax

  • Income tax and National Insurance, if it's not taken at source

  • Internet/phone bill

  • Streaming services

  • Debt repayments

  • Interest charges payable on debts/credit cards

  • Car expenses

  • Travel/petrol

  • Costs associated with dependents (school trips/nappies)

  • Medical expenses

  • Insurance

  • Clothing and footwear

We know, this is a daunting list and it's by no means exhaustive. However, it's much better to be realistic about your essential costs than to run dry a week before payday because you forgot your kids needed new coats and that you have to pay for the train to get to work.

Check for 'cracks' in your spending habits

The best way to reduce unnecessary spending is to look for 'cracks' where money 'escapes' your wallet while you barely notice. Do you buy water or coffees that you really could do without? Do you buy overpriced lunches at the weekends when your family would be just as happy with a packed picnic from home? Do you spend big on public transport when you could walk or cycle for free?

Although this type of spending can seem insignificant, these 'cracks' are often the key to making money last until payday, as they can easily add up to £100+ each month.

Cut out luxuries

We're not suggesting you give up holidays and after-work drinks forever. That would be unrealistic. It's more about looking at your spending habits and finding one or two luxuries that you CAN make do without. At least until you have built up a buffer of money in your current or savings account. Perhaps you could go without your trips to the hairdressers for a few months, or you can vow not to buy any new clothes for six months. Take up the challenge, you may surprise yourself!

Improving your financial health

Not only is creating a budget a good idea, but improving your circumstances is crucial too, especially if you don’t currently make enough money to cover your essential costs. Here are some things you can do to make yourself some extra savings:

1. Sell what you don't need

If you’ve got no money until payday, have you thought about generating some extra income by selling some unwanted items? eBay is the perfect place to start to make money, and your wardrobe might be the best place to look first. Buying second-hand clothes is no longer about rummaging through jumble sales and charity shops. You can buy and sell good quality and high-end clothes online, specifically targeting those who want to spend serious cash on used items.

Take the time to take good pictures and write detailed descriptions and you can easily drum up some much-needed cash by selling clothing, shoes, handbags, sporting equipment and even toys, on eBay and similar sites.

Alternatively, simply selling your unwanted items at a car-boot sale can generate enough cash to dig you out of a financial hole in the short-term.

2. Look for places to make savings on your bills

You may find that you can save on your bills if you shop around. It can be a hassle, but if you're taking budgeting seriously, saving £30 a month on your gas and electric bills is going to have an enormous impact. Comparison sites can be helpful, as well as tools like

3. Save on your food shopping

Saving money on your food shopping is a no-brainer when it comes to getting your finances in order. However, it's really not just about looking for deals at the supermarket. Most of us could do better on the food waste front and planning meals has a great role to play in this. You'll find that better planning will result in less food going in the bin and a significantly lower food bill.

4. Consider ditching your debit card

Doing away with your debit card and using only cash may make you feel like you're stepping back in time, but it can be a very useful tactic to people who overspend. Leaving your card at home and just taking the money you can afford to spend with you on a night out, for example, can have a massive impact on your financial health month-to-month.

5. Spread your bills across the month

Some people find that it helps them to split each month into four weeks, rather than looking upon it as one whole. Consider when your bills are taken from your account and spread them out over the month, instead of having them all coming out at the very beginning.

6. Open more than one bank account

You can allocate money to different accounts for different purposes. A good place to start is to open an account for all your essential costs (from the above list). Make sure your bills are coming out of that account and that you immediately siphon off the money you need to meet all of these costs as soon as you are paid.

Then, get a savings account and put cash into that as soon as you are paid. You are far more likely to develop a saving habit if you put money into savings at the very beginning of the month.

The money left in your current account, once all your essential costs and savings are taken care of, is for general spending and luxuries. Providing you've followed the above steps, even if the amount of money left is small, you know your essentials are taken care of.

What can you do if your money runs out?

Despite your best efforts, you may still find that you are short on funds in the run up to payday. If all else fails, you could look into one of the following possible solutions:

Talk to family and friends

Talking about money, and being open and honest with those around you about your finances is important. It can benefit you in various situations, for instance, if you have no money for food until payday, a trusted friend or family member may be willing to help you.

They might lend you some money to tide you over while you work towards bettering your finances. Also, more generally, keeping quiet will only worsen your worries, so opening up is a great idea.

Consider a payday loan

Payday loans are only suitable in certain circumstances and must not be taken out as a routine solution to a wider financial problem. However, if you are hit with an unexpected cost that throws your monthly finances way off track, a fast payday loan - repayable in flexible instalments - could help you avoid missing other payments or using an expensive unauthorised overdraft, for example.

Providing you take out a payday loan with a responsible lender, they will check you can afford the repayments you are committing to. If you have a poor credit rating or are unemployed, for example, you may find it very difficult to secure a payday loan and should look for an alternative source of emergency cash.

What are the alternatives to payday loans?

If a payday loan isn't right for you, there are all kinds of possible alternatives that could help you to get through the month. Take a look at the list below and think about what might work in your situation.

  • As mentioned, you could borrow from friends or family

  • Ask your bank for an overdraft or an extension to your overdraft

  • Use an interest-free credit card

  • Increase your working hours

  • Ask your employer for a payday advance

Remember, you are certainly not alone in struggling to get through the month on your salary. The cost of living is becoming higher and higher, and many people share concerns that their wages just don't stretch far enough. However, provided you are willing to make some sacrifices and get organised, you will be surprised how life-changing these small changes can be.

For more handy insights, why not dive into the Moneyboat blog? There you’ll find guides on

simple ways to save money today as well as effective monthly budgeting tips to help you stretch your money even further.

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