Living on one income is possible with a little work and planning but believe me it will pay off in the long run. People always ask how we have made ends meet these 9 years that I have been a stay at home mom, so today I am going to share what we have done to make it possible
After our second child was born in 2009 we really struggled with our finances. I mean really struggled! We spent more than what was coming in and knew if I wanted to continue to stay home we needed a plan.
Living On One Income: How We Make It Work
Here are 5 tips for living on one income that we apply.
Budgeting and tracking spending
Know exactly what comes in and what goes out. You never know until you write it all down! Stick to a budget that you can actually afford and see what you can cut. For us it was my husbands lunches that he would buy while he was at work. Sometimes that would equal $50 a week! Which brings me to my next point.
Don’t pay for things you don’t need
Don’t get me wrong it’s nice to splurge once and a while but if you can’t afford it then it needs to be cut. By looking at what you spend you may be surprised at what those little splurges add up to. That lunch my husband was buying could be $10 a day so we knew that was money that could be cut and put elsewhere. By simply packing his lunch every day and most of the time just by using leftovers that would have gone to waste, it saved us almost two hundred dollars a month.
That was a car payment for us at the time. It opened our eyes to the little things we would just spend here and there and not think about how that money should be spent.
Call around for better deals
When it comes to your cable, cell phone or car insurance most of the time you can negotiate a better deal. Stay on top of this every few months and call back and check the rates. Sometimes they run specials that you could sign up for, or you can change around your policy to make the monthly payments more affordable. If you can’t afford your cable at all not worry there are many money saving alternatives like Netflix or Amazon.
Set up an automatic saving fund
Remember when I said my husband spent $200 on lunches well that money gets automatically deducted from our checking and put into our savings. You never know when an emergency will happen so it’s good to have something in savings for these tougher times. Once you figure out a budget and what you can afford or cut, save it. Even if it’s only a few dollars make it automatic it’s less temping for me to spend if I look at it as another bill I have to pay. I pay ourselves.
Pay cash for big purchases
Sure it’s easy to renovate your bathroom and throw it on a credit card but if you don’t need to, wait. This is where we got into the most trouble years ago. We treated credit cards like free money. We were young parents of one at the time and made stupid decisions. Those high interest credit cards came back to haunt us!
I’d love to have brand new furniture in a few of our rooms but if I can’t pay cash it goes on hold until our savings account allows.
Fast forward 6 years later I am still able to stay home. Most of our debts are paid off and due to our dedication and hard work we actually save more money than when we were a two income family.
Are you living on one income? What tips do you have to make it work for your family?