How to Have a Great Day When Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Make Today a Great Day!
You know those times when you feel like the day was full, happy, and pleasing—in short, a great day! Have you started a family, married, divorced, or just plain forgot how to make a great day happen? Sometimes the daily grind of taking care of a home, family, and general responsibility drains us of all our inspirational ideas for making a great day of it. Or maybe you're financially strapped and think there will never be another good day until your cash flow improves.
When you look back over the past six months, there should be several occasions where you say, "That was a great day." Regardless of where you are in life, or your financial situation, there is no reason to not have several great days.
Create a Better Day for Yourself
I've been through all the scenarios—married, raised kids, divorced, depression, and then financially strapped—and do you know what? There are a multitude of great days laced through all those difficult times! Great days just don't always happen. Yes, sometimes you can sit in the house doing nothing, and a great day will come knock on your door, but that isn't always the norm. On those days that stretch into weeks when nobody comes knocking on the door, you need to go out and create that great day for yourself!
Great days are the glue that binds a family. Great days will beat down depression! Great days let you forget that you're financially strapped (really! a whole day not worrying about money!). It's really up to you to make as many great days as you want to happen.
Sometimes an activity requires another person, like playing catch, football, or tennis, or tossing a frisbee. You'd have a hard time with any of these activities solo. But there are just as many activities for the days when it's just you! Spoil yourself; it's okay!
Are You Uncomfortable in Public Alone?
When you are going solo, you may feel that a certain activity will make you feel uncomfortable or out of place, and that wouldn't make for a great day. It will depend on you! Whether you want to allow what you think people may be thinking about you to determine what you can or cannot do is up to you.
Most people are wrapped up in their own world and don't even notice anyone else, let alone someone alone enjoying the day. They may be thinking, "Gee, I wish I was confident enough to go out to a (restaurant/bar/movie/etc.) by myself like that person can." You never know what people are thinking, so who cares?!
If you just can't get past what others might think, there are still many options that don't require going into public.
If you're looking to make a great day for yourself, the possibilities are endless! I would be here all day typing if I tried to list every possible activity you could do in a day. Instead, I've listed the activities that I do when I'm looking to make a great day. Many of these activities are FREE!
Examples of Free Activities
For example, the Alison.com website offers all kinds of courses to learn for free! You can even print up a certificate of completion for some of the courses. There are courses offering everything from computers and electronic skills, to personal finance courses. Some of the certificates are not free, but they cost very little.
If you like working with hair, there's all kinds of hair styling videos on Youtube.com!
The Full List of Activities for a Great Day
Here's my list of activities for a Great Day!
Read a book at a park, lake, beach, etc.
Only the gas to get to the location.
Do you own a horse? Ride it!
Do up your hair, or someone elses.
Watch a movie at home.
Go to a movie
$10 - $15 (matinee's cost less)
Go for a bike ride...anywhere.
Go for a walk....anywhere.
Shop for clothes (2nd hand stores)
Window shopping is FREE!
Whether you make it or buy it determines this.
Go for a country drive.
Cost of fuel - $10 - $15
Depends on where - $5 - $25
FREE! (unless you need a fishing license. 1 yr. $50)
Walk the dog!
Play a board game.
Throw a frisbee, basketball, etc.
Learn something new online. (Alison is free!)
FREE! (Alison will provide a free certificate on some!)
Bake cookies, cake, something new.
Ingredients - $1 - $5
Crochet or knit a scarf, hat, mittens, etc.
Yarn $5 - $10
Balance your checkbook!
FREE! And could save you money on bounced checks!
Start a Hub!
FREE! And you can earn money!!
Calculate Your Savings
Weekly Change Deposit
Total After Six Months
Total After One Year
My Secret to Saving
I listed several activities to make a great day above. What about when you want something to look forward to, like a vacation? Looking forward to a fun activity, or vacation, can make any blue day bright!
I understand that it's a real bummer not having money for activities. When I suddenly found myself standing in the shoes of Head of Household I didn't think I would ever have the extra money to do anything, but I found a way!
How to Make a Vacation Box
Even if you're living paycheck to paycheck, or paycheck to last weeks paycheck, there's still a way to put away a little bit for a vacation. Keep in mind, pennies make dollars, right? Right! What you do is:
- Designate an empty water jug, or coffee can, or box with a hole in the top of it, as the vacation box (jug, sack, can, bag, whatever).
- Locate your vacation box (jug, sack, can, bag, whatever) somewhere inconvenient to you. Somewhere that your going to think twice about accessing, like on a high shelf, or low cabinet, in an unused closet, etc. Preferably out-of-site. I actually chose a friends house for mine. If you don't see it, you won't think about it. If its difficult to access, then maybe you won't. This will make it less likely that you will pinch from it randomly.
- Every evening, put all your change from the day on the counter. Any counter, just make it the same spot everyday. If you need some of the change during the week, use it from this pile as needed, what you don't need just leave there in the pile and add to it every evening. (Personally, I took out the pennies and put them in a separate pile. #1 the casino machine won't count pennies and you'll get a dirty look from the cage lady when a penny comes through their machine. #2 Pennies DO make dollars but too slowly for my liking so silver only in my jug.)
- On Saturday or Sunday (or any day of the week that works for you, but choose one day), take down your vacation box from its inconvenient spot, and put the pile of change you've been leaving on the counter everyday, into your vacation box.
- Make sure you put the vacation box back in its inconvenient spot! This is important because once you put your week of change into it, you won't touch it again. You'll start a new counter top pile that evening.
With your vacation box in an inconvenient spot, out of site, if you find you need a dollar or two, you'll think twice about going through the trouble of getting it from its spot, and it will give you time to think, "Do I really need that dollar for coffee, or can I wait until pay day?" If you have to have it, you can get it. Hopefully you will be able to wait until pay day. This will only benefit you.
When to Open It
After a year, or at the very least six months, open your box. Use the money inside to go on a vacation! You will be pleasantly surprised at how much money will be in there! I would take the family to Lake Tahoe. On our way we'd stop by and pick up the money jug (that's what we called ours). This was always the exciting part for everyone. We'd head up to Tahoe, bring the money jug, and put all the coins in a gambling tub from a casino. Then, I'd take it to the casino and they would put it through their machine, and it counts your change for you in no time, for free!
Someone said to me once that the casino's don't like people bringing their change in to have it counted in their machine. I can't imagine why? I always end up gambling a few dollars on my way in with my change, dollars I would not have otherwise gambled. And why would they care? Until I hear it from the casino's that they don't want me bringing my change in, and gambling some of it, before exchanging it, I'll keep using this method. As a matter of fact, I am not a gambler at all, the only time I gamble is when I take my change jug in!
The change jug always ends up being enough to cover the room for a couple of nights and our food. Then, when we get home, we start it all over again! It's been working great for many years now. I have had people ask me how I manage to go on a vacation every year even when times are tough? The change jug, that's how.
Have a Great Day Today and Tomorrow!
Now you have it! A list of good idea's for a great day today! And a savings plan to make for a great day tomorrow!