When a spouse loses a job, it can be scary. The thought of living on one income can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Will it take work? Yes. In fact, you may find that learning to live on that one income may become a part-time job in itself. However, it’s worth each and every effort you put into it. Once you master these tips for living on a single income, not only will you ease your financial burdens but you’ll take the load off of any marital stress as well!
1. Create a Budget
Everyone who cares about their finances should have a budget. Those living on one income NEED a budget. Sit down and look at the income versus expenses. At first, you may find that your expenses far exceed the household income. The good news is you can cut those expenses so that they better fit into your budget.
2. Cut Expenses
First things first. There are things you simply do not need. You don’t need the expensive satellite package or an expensive cell phone bill. You also don’t need to eat out several times a week. Cut anything that is completely unnecessary and then look for ways to cut the expenses you do need. For example, start clipping coupons to save on groceries or cut back on the junk food that makes it into your cart.
3. Get Discounts
Did you know that a few simple phone calls can save your family thousands of dollars each year? Whether it’s a call to your satellite company to knock 20% off your bill each month or a call to your credit card company to lower your interest rates, you can save big. If you don’t get results with the representative that answers the phone, don’t be afraid to ask for a manager. Also, don’t be afraid to switch companies to save more money.
4. Shop Wisely
One of the hardest things you may have to learn is paying attention to what goes into your shopping cart. If you’ve been tossing whatever you want into the basket that has to change. You need to make a list and make sure it meets your budget. For example, if you can only afford $200 each week on your groceries, make sure your list totals no more than $160. This allows you a 20% buffer should you find a great deal on something else. Take the time to look at the sales papers, match your coupons to the sales, etc. If you’re unsure of how to shop to get the most from your money, look for coupon classes at your local community college or community center.
5. Make the Most of What You Have
Last, but not least, instead of shopping, think about how you can use what you already have. For example, if you get low on groceries before payday arrives, get creative with what you have on hand. Another tip is to reuse items instead of shopping for something you need. There are literally millions of ideas online on how to repurpose anything you can imagine.
Living on one income doesn’t have to be a nightmare, you simply have to rethink the way you live and how you spend your money. Use these tips for living on a single income and you’ll learn some invaluable tricks that will stick with you even if things change in the future.