Living on one income can be stressful. We are a large family. 2 adults, 3 kids, a baby on the way and a huge army of pets. But somehow, we manage it.
When you are leading a busy family life, it can be hard to make the money that you need, to stretch as far as you need it to. If one of you is a stay-at-home parent, then it can be an especially big change to get used to just living off of one income. But there are many different things that you can do that can make a difference to stretch the income that you get. It is quite possible to thrive living off just one income. So if you’re going to be new parents, or about to go on maternity leave and wondering how it will all work out, then here are some tips for you. I hope that you find them helpful.
Start Living Off One Income As Soon As You Can
If there are two of you and you’re planning a family, start living off of just one income as soon as you can. It will get you into good habits and also help you to save. Live off one income and save the rest (as much as you can). Hopefully you will then have a fund saved up for emergencies, as well as all of that baby gear that you might need. It will make the transition to only one income much easier when the time comes.
It may be a shock to the system at first, but with careful planning and dedication it can work well. You’ll soon learn to cut back and not blow cash on things that you do not need.
Construct a Careful Budget
There is no denying that being careful about how you spend money needs a lot of planning. A lot of that is in the form of a budget. So take the time to plan one out to within an inch of it’s life. Something that even some of you readers, who survive on 2 budgets should even learn to do!
Unfortunately money does not grow on trees, and for most of us, we have to work hard for our cash. We should all learn to budget from a young age. You want to know exactly what your essential spend is (rent/mortgage, food and bills etc), and then what you might have to spend on leisure things, if any. Then you can be strict when shopping for groceries, for instance, as you only have a certain amount to use.
Food shopping is easy to over spend on, if you’re not careful. Come up with a value and stick to it. It sounds crazy but we aim to feed our family of 5 on £10 per week! Learn to shop when the reductions are on the shelves and don’t give into temptation when buying sweets and treats.
One of the best ways to live off one income and thrive is to be out of debt. When you are constantly living paycheck to paycheck and are paying interest on cards and loans all over the place, it can be a real struggle. So the best thing to do is to make sure that you are living within your means (see above point). If you currently have some debt to clear, then something like debt consolidation could be for you. There is no need to be paying off more interest than you need to be.
Again, budget. budget. budget. Do not forgot to keep debt money to one side and pay it off. It’s hard to survive on one income when debt collectors are chasing you for various monies. Luckily we have no debts, other than a loan repayment which is minimal. The quicker we pay this off, the less money we have to wave goodbye to monthly.
In an effort to live debt-free, it could be a good idea to live using only cash (or debit card). You can’t go over at the supermarket when you’ve only got a certain amount of cash with you. Draw out the money that you need (that your budget was set on) and go from there. It will help you to really think about what you are buying, as well as if you really need it.
Cut up any credit cards. It’s easy to spend, spend, spend when the cash is invisible and in card form. The more money you owe to the bank the more confusing your money handling becomes. Keep it simple. Take out all of the cash you will allow yourself to spend for the month and no more. Give your card to a relative or close friend to keep safe (and away from you!) so you can only access it in an emergency.
Have you got any other tips that help your family to thrive as a one income family?
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