Because I couldn't meet my self-imposed cash budget of $500 in the month of October, I had to use other sources to meet our overage. But despite having lived under tight financial circumstances throughout some periods my life, I have always had enough to get by and things haven't been (well, usually they haven't been) too stressful for me. But I wanted to talk to people who had difficulty finding ways to pay when they went over their budget, so I reached out to my friends to get their perspectives and see what I could learn from them. Frida (not her real name) was the first to respond and wanted to specifically mention that her family's problems were self-induced. She says, "We made a couple of financial mistakes about three or four years ago and we're still paying for those mistakes, literally and figuratively." To compound their financial problems, Frida and her family are farmers; so their income comes in November, January, and March. She says, "The stretch from March to November is the worst. It's not only the longest stretch between major checks, it's the time of the year with the biggest expenses (real estate taxes and quarterly estimates on income taxes)." To help make it through the lean months, Frida sometimes had to borrow from her children's savings accounts, put groceries on a credit card (normally they keep a zero balance), or both. Angela (also not her real name) was not a farmer, but she and her husband were young college students when their first child came along. Even with Pell grants and loans, they were struggling to make ends meet. "Sometimes," Angela admitted, "if an unexpected bill came in, we had to make a choice between diapers, or food for the baby, or food for us." Another friend, Jo, recalled her childhood: "My parents were buying our house on contract with one annual payment. We always knew when the payment was coming up because we ate things like saltines and peanut butter, so we could scrape together enough money."