My bank is on a minus right now, I haven’t got any money and it sucks! This period after Christmas is always a struggle, you think you’re on top of things and then a direct debit that you forgot about eats up all you have left in your account. I’m sure I’m not alone in this situation, so i thought I’d write a post to share six ways we manage to get to the end of the month when the bank is on a minus. Maybe you can share some of your hints and tips with me too, hopefully we can get through this together!
Use your points cards - I always save my store points and loyalty cards for a rainy day (aka when I’m too skint to buy anything with real money!) Some are better than others, but Costa and Nero both have cards where you can earn free drinks, of course the Boots card comes in handy whether it’s to buy any essentials that you have run out of or to get yourself a meal deal with! I always scan my Nectar card when I’m shopping in Sainsbury’s or topping up petrol throughout the month too, these points need to total £2.50 to be spent, but in a month I can usually earn around £5 worth, which is always a really good help.

Raid the cupboards - We love to eat out, but when we haven’t got any money we find ourselves cooking up all sorts of weird concoctions, admittedly, some that work, some that don’t! One of my favourite cheap 'thrown together' style meals is noodles or rice with sweetcorn or mushrooms and some herbs or a sauce - It's quick, it's easy and it's so cheap! We are also quite fond of making soup in our slow cooker. Veg doesn't cost a lot, especially if you buy some from the reduced section of the supermarket (this is perfect for soup) and you can pretty much throw anything into the mix and it will come out tasting delicious, even better, it lasts ages so you can get lots of servings out of one batch.

Trade in your change - I always seem to be finding copper and small change around the house, which can seem frustrating, but it’s really surprising how quickly it adds up. I save all of the loose change from around the house, from the bottom of my bag, from coat pockets and under the car seats and when I have a decent amount, I take it to my local Asda or Tesco. Their large stores have machines which you literally pour the coins into, they take a small percentage and then print you a voucher to spend in store for the amount you collected. This can be a lifesaver before payday when you need some shopping but don’t want to pay with handfuls of small change.

Check your phone apps for freebies - If you have a phone contract with O2, download the O2 Priorities app and if you’re on Vodafone get the VeryMe rewards. Both of these apps entitle you to free things all of the time. This not only helps when you don’t have any money, but is of course a huge bonus when you do! You can get free drinks in Caffè Nero (the white chocolate mocha is amazing!), free Tesco meal deals, discounts at the cinema and so, so much more.

Save your electricity - If you’re on a meter, the last thing you want it for your electricity to run out. I’m a bit obsessive over this and I’m constantly finding myself turning off the lights in every room that’s not in use, unplugging everything and generally going a little crazy over it. It does help though, so it’s with it, and of course it’s more environmentally friendly and much better for the Ozone layer, so even more reason to switch everything off! I also ration our heating when possible, so instead of having it on low all day throughout the Winter, I’ll put in on full for a hour or so, heat up the house and then turn it back off. If the doors inside are kept closed, each room seems to hold the heat for quite a while and we usually just get comfy under a blanket and are quite happy without having to turn it back on.

Find free things to do - There's no reason to be stuck inside the house, feeling bored and miserable just because you haven't got any money. I love to go out walking, whether it's to the beach, through the woods or to the park, even when it's cold, it's still fun! Lots of museums have free activities and exhibitions for children and families throughout the year which is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon together. If you prefer to stay in, I still think it's important to be occupied, so have a movie night, rearrange some furniture, sort some old things to take to charity - just do something, I definitely think being busy and keeping the mind occupied is one of the best ways to get through the hours when you're waiting for pay day!

How do you make it to the end of the month? 
I'd love to hear your tips in the comments!
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