Have you or your spouse been laid off or made redundant? Did either of you have to stop working for health reasons? Did you both decide that one of you should go back to school or stay home to care for the children? These are just some of the reasons you may find yourself forced to live on one income. Instead of curling up into a ball and lamenting or throwing a pity party, you need to learn how to survive on one income. Okay. You are human. So you may want to lament but don’t make a career of it. Here are 5 tips for living on one income. It should help you in your efforts to keep your head above the waters.
There is less money coming in so you have to be more careful how you spend. This requires strict budgeting and prioritizing. This will show how much you have to spend and a list of your expenses. There are some expenses which are fixed but there are others that you can trim. You need to decide which expenses must be dealt with first and which ones will give you a little wiggle room. Spending more than you earn will put you in debt. Do not forget that credit card bills are debts. So you may need to cut down on or eliminate your use of this type of financing.
It is shocking the amount of food that may be wasted in each household! Maybe you can cut down on the amount of food that is prepared each day. Cook just what you need for that day. This may cut down on the amount of food stored in the refrigerator and forgotten only to be thrown away weeks or months later. If you must or do have leftovers, date them before putting them in the fridge. Maybe have a leftovers evening to make sure they are used up. Pay close attention to nutrition. You may find cheaper, simpler foods which are actually more nutritious. Cut down on take-out food. With one spouse at home, you may find it easier to cook a meal rather than both of you coming home tired and ordering in or picking up fast food on the way home. Food prepared at home may often be healthier and tastier than takeout anyway.
You may have to change the way you spend your recreation. When was the last time you went for a long quiet walk rather than sitting in front of the television? Have cozy chats, take out the old photo album if they exist. Make dining out or going to the theater a special treat rather than part of your routine. Do you really need cable? Chances are you can find many of the shows you actually watch online for free. You may even find you can give up your television altogether. Spend time in the park or with your pets if you have them. Play board and card games. Much of this not only takes you back to a simpler time but also cuts down on your electricity bills. When you do use your electronics, be vigilant so you do not waste.
You may need to reduce the number of vehicles you have. Now that only one spouse is working, do you really need two cars? Maybe you can plan your outings around one car. Shop in the evenings when your spouse is not using the car. Plan your trips and drop your spouse at work on the days you need the car. Work out your schedule for the week so you can cut down on unnecessary driving. There are times when public transportation may suit your needs better than your actually driving. You may be surprised how much you can save by not only maintaining one car but also on gas bills.
This is more of a long-term solution. If you are going to be a one income household for the foreseeable future, you may want to downsize your house. You may have much more space than you actually need. Some studies have shown that in the past, couples have raised larger families in smaller homes. You may even consider getting a house nearer to the working spouse’s place of employment which could lead to more savings. The difference between the sale of your larger house and the purchase of a smaller residence could provide you with some much-needed cash.
These tips are by no means exhaustive but can provide you with much food for thought. Try not to obsess about what you do not have and be thankful for what you do. Contentment may help you over some of the rough times. Having one income might turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it might cause you to up your game and lead you to your best self.