Because months aren’t always 28 days long, and because military paydays don’t happen on weekends or holidays, there are times where there is a long stretch between military paychecks. Sometimes, it can be as long as 20 days! If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, or you budget pretty tightly, that can create some challenges to making sure you have enough food and gas to get you to that next check.
Thankfully, there are a lot of different ways you can create a little extra wiggle in those long pay periods.
59 Ways To Pick Up A Little Extra Income
Depending on your situation, bring in another $50 or $100 with a side-hustle or one-time job. Stuck on ideas? Check out my 59 Ways To Make 50 Dollars. There’s something there for nearly everyone, and many of these options provide cash in your pocket ASAP.
12 Ways To Slash Spending
Look critically at your spending, and cut it back until that long pay period is over. For example, many days I spend $1 on an iced tea at McDonalds. That could totally go and I wouldn’t even miss it, since I’m also making iced tea at home. Ideas include:
- eliminating unnecessary driving, and carpool where you can
- carry your own refillable water bottle
- cut out fast food
- quit smoking cigarettes, using dip, or enjoying those cigars (or cut back)
- eliminate vending machine snacks, fast food snacks, and convenience store snacks
- stop buying sodas, or buy it in the cheapest packaging (usually 2 liter bottles) or switch to a cheaper brand
- give up alcohol
- invite friends to your house instead of going out
- sub in a game night or movie at home for pricey entertainment spending
- defer any purchases that don’t have to happen right now
- avoid recreational shopping
- keep up with your laundry so you always have plenty to wear
It may not be fun, but you can do anything for a short period of time.
11 Ways To Eat Cheaper
Cut your grocery spending by shopping your pantry, making a frugal meal plan, and only buying essentials. This would include:
- cleaning out your pantry, fridge, and freezer to find those forgotten items
- choosing meatless meals
- breakfast for dinner
- base your meals around inexpensive options like beans, rice, and pasta
- cut back on the “extras”, like bread with a pasta dinner, or dessert
- choose the most economically-sized packages
- eliminate those pricey specialty snacks (it’s just for three weeks!)
- consider buying off-brands when they are less expensive
- explore the discount stores in your area, especially if you have an Aldi or Lidl available
- shop the sales
- pack lunches, dinner, and snacks for when you’ll be away from your house
3 Ways To Get Help
If you’re already doing all these things, you may need to get a little outside assistance.
- consider applying for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food program if you are eligible
- find your local food pantry, food bank or other charitable food organization
- check with your branch’s aid society: Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Army Emergency Relief, Air Force Aid Society, or Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
This year (2019) doesn’t have many long pay periods, but there are a few. Planning ahead now can make those times a lot easier!