Confession: I get paid once a month. Yes, only one time within 30-31 days. That means I have about 4-5 weeks between paychecks, and boy can it get hard. Below are the 3 stages that I experience during the month.
First of the month, I get a nice fat paycheck!
(That’s the beauty of a lump sum)
Picture from cosmoloan.com
Step 1: Sail through the first two weeks at full speed. More than enough groceries, eat out a couple of times, all bills are paid…
Picture from wikipedia
Step 2: The wind stops blowing as hard. Now I am stretching meals, not eating out at all and have no extras.
Step 3: Wind is stagnant and I am stranded. This boat no longer sails. At this point, I am looking in the BACK of the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets for anything that I can throw together as a meal to last us until the next paycheck.
Once I hit step 3, I wonder, “Why am I so broke?” At this point, I feel as if I don’t have much of anything, and usually, I am right. With a nine month old child at home, this is not a great place to be. How do I function to ease the situation?
- I try to do one big shopping trip to the grocery store once a month. I try to keep my grocery bill for the month at $250 including my son’s formula and baby food.
- I pay all of my utilities and other monthly debts on the first day I get paid. That way, if I reach the end of the month and don’t have any extra money, at least I know that we will have food, shelter, and heat (since it’s starting to get cold).
- I try to use between $50 and $60 a month to get all of our meat for the month. I usually get chicken, ground beef, and steak as my major three.
- Once I buy my meats, I separate them for 2 servings using Ziplock perfect portions bags and then sticking those bags in gallon freezer bags in which I use a permanent marker to write the name of the meat and the date on the bag (so I can keep up with the age of the meat).
- For example, if I buy a large pack of ground beef, I separate the pack into thirds or fourths so that my husband and I can eat off of one pack of ground beef at least 3 times.
- I use baking soda and vinegar to clean because they are cheap yet efficient.
- I try not to eat out much unless it is to get a Hardee’s breakfast on Saturday mornings (with coupons).
- I cook almost every day even on weekends.
- I take my lunch to work.
- I tithe. Most people will say, “Well why do you tithe even though you have to stretch your money and feel broke?” The truth is, I trust in God. I can’t explain it, and you won’t until you do it, but when you give with a cheerful heart, it seems as if God takes care of your needs. Now please note that I do not tithe in order to get something back. If I was in it to get something, I would probably take that money and put it into a rental house or buying things at auctions and selling them online, but it is an issue of believing that God will take care of you. I know that some churches just like some charities misuse the money, but for every church that misuses the tithe, there are plenty of others who use it to help others who need the money way more than I do.
- There was a time in college that I will share with you in which I believe that my faithfulness in tithing was blessed by God.
I was at Georgia State University getting my degree in early childhood education. I was at a point in the program where I had to student teach. Anyone who knows about the field of education knows that when you student teach, you work for free. Well, if you have bills, which I did, or responsibilities which I also did, working for free wasn’t going to cut it. Since I was working during the day full time and going to school, my options were to find a weekend job or to work at night and live off of two hours of sleep. It’s not the most ideal situation when working with children. One day, my aunt called me to ask if there was anyone in my program who could babysit for her friend who had three boys after school for about 3 hours everyday. At first, I told her I would and begin to think of those who would be qualified, but then I thought, even though I have never been a baby sitter, I could do it and it would potentially bring in income for me. We agreed to a payment of $13 an hour which was double what I was making at the daycare that I had been working at before student teaching. That job turned out to be one of the best jobs that I have ever had because the pay was good, the hours were ideal, and the boys were…well they were boys. Yet, I loved them and they were sweet and respectful.
Then, right before I stopped working at my job at the daycare, I had another teacher pull me aside and ask me if I would like to help her do children’s parties on the weekends. The parties would last about an hour or two, and I would would get paid $20-$30 an hour. The money from the babysitting and the parties covered my financial responsibilities during that semester of student teaching.
Some may call it coincidence, but I say thank you God!
So when you feel broke, try a few of my suggestions above (If you aren’t doing them already) and see if they work. Also, I would love to hear from my readers what you do when you feel oh so broke. Let’s help each other prosper!