Smart Ways to Make $100 Last All Week

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

There are several reasons you could need to stretch $100 through an entire week. Maybe you’re saving hard for a vacation or maybe you had some unexpected emergency expenses and are low in your checking account until your next paycheck. Whatever your personal reasons for embarking on an extra-frugal week, here are some budgeting tips to help make $100 last all seven days.

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Tell each of those dollars what they’re going to do.

If you know you only have $100 and a week, you need to be extremely deliberate about where that money is going. Think ahead and budget for the things you know you’ll have to pay for that week, then stick diligently to your plan.

Use cash.

To avoid overspending, take that $100 out in cash and divvy it up the old fashioned way, in envelopes, if that will help you stay on track with #1 above. Even if you don’t go with the envelope method, being able to actually see your cash balance drop with every purchase will help you to be more conscious of your spending.

Defer any payments due that week.

If it’s a tight week with a bill due, call the company and see if you can defer payment. This way, you’ll address your obligations and avoid any late fees. For credit cards in good standing, you might ask to set a regular day at the end of the month on which your bill is always due. This may postpone your payment this one time and it’ll be easier to remember when your bill is due down the road.

Try not to eat out…

Do your very best to be creative and think ahead so you have homemade food with you for every meal. This probably means bringing your lunch to work and of course making your own coffee in the morning.

…and eat out of your pantry/fridge/freezer.

This goes along with not eating out, of course, and here’s where your creativity comes in. You might be eating oatmeal several days in a row for breakfast and have crackers and cheese with apples for dinner, but you can do it. Bonus: Crawling the depths of your cabinets for an ingredient to zhush up basic spaghetti will help you clean out and organize the pantry.

Work remotely.

To save on gas—and to make it much easier to stick to your eat-at-home plan—ask your boss if you can work from home at least for a few days that week. This solution won’t work for everyone in every job, but if you have the flexibility, making your dining room your office for the week will cut your expenses just enough to get by.