Getting through to pay day: tips for surviving on a wafer thin budget

Why do unexpected bills always seem to come at the worst time? There's never a good time to be hit with a charge you hadn't budgeted for, but it's even worse when it leaves you on a wafer thin budget up until pay day.

It can sometimes appear impossible to see a way to survive until your next pay cheque – but there are a number of tricks that have been coined to help people get through.

It might get a bit uncomfortable at times and certainly could involve a few sacrifices, but sometimes this is essential to make ends meet.

Here are a few changes you could try to help you make it through.

Food – Buy smart

Eating fast food and microwave meals is not only less healthy than cooking from scratch, it's often more expensive too. Take the time to write down a shopping list and buy a host of ingredients. You'll be surprised at the variety of meals you can cook and the amount of money you can save with just a few intelligent purchases.

Drink water or squash instead of soft drinks or alcoholic beverages. It's hard to underestimate the importance of consuming lots of water in terms of your health, but it could also be great for your wallet.

Travel – Ride a bike

Unless your name is Bradley Wiggins, some trips are going to be too long to take on two wheels. However, if you dust off your old mountain bike and use it for all of your short journeys, the savings will soon add up. It's a great form of exercise and will get easier the more you do it.

Social – Staying in can be fun too

There are plenty of fun hobbies that you can enjoy with friends and cost a lot less than a night out in the pub.

Why not invite friends round for a meal, a game of cards or to watch a film. If you've got kids, why not take them to meet another a group of their friends at their house.

There's probably loads of free tourist attractions you can enjoy near your neighbourhood as well. All it takes is a quick browse of the web to discover what's going on.

Bills – Don't mess around

There are some bills that you shouldn't leave unpaid. Core payments like rent, utility bills or car finance need to be kept up with or you could end up without some of life's basic needs, such as a warm home.

That's where pay day loan companies can really help. They can lend you the money needed to pay off essential bills which you can ill-afford to ignore. 

Once it's paid off, take the time to plan how you won't be left in a similar situation next month.