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If you really want to make that last $20 stretch until your next payday, you’ll need to avoid buying groceries entirely. Get creative and make meals out of stuff you already have in your pantry or cabinets. There's a second benefit to this, which is that you'll use up food that may be nearing expiration.
Do a little Googling and you’ll find there are a huge number of one-pot meals that can be made for less than $10 or even less than $5.
When you make cheap meals where you will have leftovers this can help reduce your spending until your next payday. As an example of this we occasionally fix a batch of One Pot Vegetable Soup whose ingredients don’t cost much more $5 but will last us for at least three meals.
Get your entertainment free at your local library
Since there’s no way you can afford to go to the movies you'll need to find free entertainment. And the easiest way to do this is by going to your local library. You should be able to check out a good film on DVD and then schedule a movie night at home. If you don't read much, now would be a good time to start. Just check out a few books or some magazines to read until your next paycheck. And if you bike or walk to your library it'll cost you nothing but a little bit of time.
Learn to negotiate
Believe it or not there are very few things that can’t be negotiated. In fact, many experts say you should try to negotiate even when you think you shouldn’t. For example, if you need a new inner tube for your bike, try haggling a bit. You might be surprised at how much money you can save just by asking. You should be able to negotiate the price of just about anything listed on Craigslist. Need a new shirt? Forget Macy’s or even Walmart and try a secondhand store. This is yet another place where you could save money by negotiating prices. In fact, regardless of what you're buying and its price, always at least ask, “Gee, is there anyway you could do any better on this price?”
Find free stuff online
Did something that isn't a necessity but that makes your life more enjoyable — like your coffee maker or microwave — just die? The good news is that you don't have to run out and buy a new one. Go to Craigslist instead and look in the its free section. The odds are good that someone will be giving away the item that you want. Of course, you will need to make sure the item works before bringing it home. Otherwise you'll just be carting away someone else's junk. If you can't find the item, you need for free try bartering for it.
Reschedule your social commitments
If you get invited to go out to dinner, to a game or to a club, we know it's hard to admit that you're almost broke. So to stretch that last $20 just tell your friends that you're saving aggressively and then try to reschedule that social engagement for some time after your next payday when you have more money available. Alternately, you could say yes to a commitment but change things a bit. For example, instead of going to dinner and then to a game, you could have dinner at home and then meet your friends at the arena or ballpark. That alone should save you $20. You could also consider inviting your friends over for coffee at your house or suggest a potluck dinner at your home.