10 Easy Tips for When You Run Out of Budget

by Lizzy

Today is all about being skint, running out of budget, and having no money at the end of the month to play with. In other words, having a cost of living crisis. This is our last week before David's pension and my wages come in, and we've run very low on our budget.

So when you run out of budget, when you feel skint, when you've maybe even got no money at all, what can you do to make what you do have left stretch as far as it can until the next income of money or the next budget cycle starts?

Here are all the things we've done this week to make sure that we get comfortably through to next month's budget without going into our savings or without going into any debt.

Empty wallet
Food in freezer

1. Freezer inventory

The first thing I'll do is an inventory of the freezer to make sure we've got enough food to last for the week. And if we're running a bit low of things, get inventive by using up what we do have.


2. Inventive meals

This week, we'll eat a few inventive meals with whatever we've got left in the freezer or pantry. We had bought some lettuce leaves that had been reduced to pennies.


They really don't keep very well in the bag, but they do freeze well, and when you take them out, they can go in the slow cooker with all your meat and your vegetables and all your other bits you're making and make fantastic soups and casseroles.

Chocolate buns

3. Homemade sweet treats

We ran out of sweet treats for the little one this week too. So I've just made some very plain, simple chocolate-flavored buns. We also ran out of icing sugar and regular sugar, so I'm not going to make any icing sugar for the top. This is just cocoa, flour, butter, and the last bit of sugar we had left. And she'll enjoy those with a cup of milk.


4. Homemade bread

We have also made some of our own gluten-free bread this week from oats. It's quick, cheap and easy.

Water and fruit

5. No-spend challenge

I'm working in the shop today, and it's really tempting to buy new food. They get new farm produce in weekly: local sausages, local meats, and local honey.

I've stopped taking my purse to work so I'm not tempted. And I also make sure I've got snacks with me and a refillable bottle of water.


6. Leftovers

When we buy any tubs of margarine, we tend to save them when we finish with them, wash them out, and use them for storing food in the freezer.

This is one portion of bolognese that was left over and perfect for times like now when it's a little bit lean and we need a quick meal.


7. Reusing coffee beans

David and I love fresh ground coffee. So in the morning, we'll get up, grind our coffee beans that we've bought from the shop, pop them in the bottom of a thermos, fill it with hot water, and have a nice strong cup of black coffee in the morning. Coffee is expensive.


So what we try to do to get as much out of our coffee as possible is once the thermos is empty, we top it up again with hot water.

And throughout the day, we may even have another third top up, which is not such a bad thing because I think you tend to find as the day goes on, you don't want quite so much coffee.

By the third fill up of water, it's virtually caffeine free. So you're getting the coffee flavor without the caffeine and we're using the ground beans three times. And then we will save the coffee grinds for the garden.


8. Washing sponges

I have run out of new sponges. They were about four months old. I don't want to buy any more. I'm going to carry on reusing these until next week when I can buy a new pack of 10, which again will last about four months.

And the reason why they're looking so bedraggled is they get washed in the washing machine once a week with old tea towels to keep them fresh.

But yeah, these are on their last legs, so I'm not going to buy new ones. I'm just going to use these till next week.

Using tablets

9. Free entertainment

This week, one of the free things David's doing that he really enjoys is learning the French language. He does it on the computer with Duolingo. It's a free app.

And he's also got his books there as well. So he likes to use the old fashioned method of searching in dictionaries. Both were purchased secondhand, and it's a good way to learn something and do it for free.

So this week, while looking for things to do that aren't going to go into our already very lean budget, David is carrying on learning French.

Present draw

10. Present draw

I have a birthday coming up this week for a friend. And to save any sudden expenses or unplanned expenses, we have something called a present draw. And this is where we buy items that we see throughout the year or have been given items that we wouldn't use, giving them to people that they would be suitable for.

When you have a present draw with all the bits and bobs already in it, you can pull gifts right out of the present draw for the birthday present that's coming up this week.

Stretching your budget

What do you do when you run out of budget? In other words, what do you do when you run out of money or it's going to be a really lean month? Do you shop from home? What are your tips and tricks to get through the lean times?

Let us know in the comments down below.

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 1 comment
  • Maria Maria on Oct 10, 2023
    For many years, after I paid my bills, i may only have $5.00 in my wallet for the next two weeks. I cooked whatever I had in the pantry and the fridge-freezer. I created new recipes with what i had and brought lunch to work even if it was cereal and milk. My favorite was the Italian egg drop soup; make a simple and spicy marinara sauce and drop egg in it without breaking the egg yoke, cook until the yoke is set, hopefully you have some crusty bread in the freezerI do not miss those days...