What? Only one income?

Having children, becoming a caregiver, health concerns, or divorce are scenarios that attribute to a single income household.  How can you survive with limited resources?  Divide your life into two categories….necessary and unnecessary.  List everything that is either necessary or unnecessary to live.  Put monetary values on your necessary items. The total of these items becomes your family budget.  Now you have a starting point for living on one income!  Budgeting household expenses is vital in a limited income household.  Every dollar should have a purpose.  From food, electric, and gas to clothing, coffee, and Chinese takeout…each dollar is budgeted!  You’re reading this article because you’re preparing for the financial struggles of living on one income.  It’s difficult and stressful, but doable.  With the correct strategy and mindset, it can be achieved.

1.)  Learn To Cook

Yes….learn to cook!  Once you choose to live on one income, eating out becomes a luxury and falls into the unnecessary category.  Besides, home cooked meals are more tasty! Shop sale ads from your local grocery stores and make an itemized list.  This helps avoid impulse shopping and keeps you on budget!  Buy off-brand or bulk products when it’s more cost-effective.  Shop weekly instead of daily.  Your bank account will thank you!

2.)  Brown-Bag It

Whichever spouse is earning the income should consider brown-bagging it!  My husband and I save $100 a week using this concept.  One of the perks of home cooking is LEFTOVERS.  They make GREAT next-day lunches!

3.)  No Credit Cards

Credits cards are tempting.  And yes, I do have one for emergencies.  But, credit card debt is not welcome in a single income household.  You’re budgeting on necessities, not debt!  Charge now and pay later is a poor strategy when budgeting household expenses.

4.)  Negotiate Necessary Bills

Car and health insurance, electric and phone bills are necessities.  But, all provider companies are not created equal.  Contact your current providers and negotiate lower bills.  Current provider won’t negotiate? Shop around and find a more reasonable rate.

5.)  Try To Save….a little

Living on a single income tests your creative money management skills.  However, be sure to include an emergency savings fund in your budget.  Life has unexpected twists, so be prepared for those obstacles!

6.)  Have The Right Mindset

Be content with your future lifestyle before attempting a single income life.  Are you convinced that the rewards outweigh the struggles?  Can you give up your daily Starbucks coffee and night on the town to stay home with your children or care for your mother?  Are you willing to overlook that new car for a simple vacation?  You should be convinced of your answers before considering a limited income household.

My husband and I have successfully lived on one income for 11 years.  We live a simple and fulfilled life.  It’s not always easy, but definitely worthwhile!  As you adapt to your new lifestyle, you’ll create and utilize your own strategy for smart budgeting.  Add your money-saving tips by leaving a comment!  Thank you for reading!  Take care!

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