In today’s dual income, consumer driven mindset it can be hard to fathom raising children while living on a single income. And while living on a single income isn’t always easy, there are many ways to make it work beautifully. Here are just a few simple guidelines we use to make it work.
Stay On Budget
We have had to learn to live on and stick to a budget, although there are times when this is easier said then done. While most people hate to budget and feel that it is to restrictive, I feel the opposite. I know I’m preaching to the choir here but as you know a good budget truly is a wonderful thing to live by.
I love my budget and often create them a couple months in advance. Living on a budget allows us to see what is coming down the road financially, it give us the comfort, and the reassurance that I can stay home. I truly don’t understand why more people with or without kids don’t live on one.
Being a stay at home mom and living on a budget also means that we don’t deviate from the plan. If there is something we know is coming like the county fair, a birthday, Christmas or even date night we can plan, and save, accordingly.
Staying on budget has also helped us put money into savings and even pay off $14,000.00 of our debt and how we will pay off the remaining $24, 335.47.
Buying On Sale
Whenever I do my weekly grocery shopping I make sure I never leave the house without these next two things. First, my shopping list. It helps me to stay focused and not purchase a lot of other things I don’t really need. It’s when those unplanned items start sneaking into your shopping cart that your budget gets easily blown.
Second, a game plan. Before I ever step foot in a store I know exactly what I am after, where it is located at the store and weather or not it is on sale that week. If I need an item but it isn’t on sale at once place I’ll look to see if I can find a cheaper price somewhere else. If not, and I can’t live without it then I will purchase it anyway. Although this is where stockpiling and buying extra when you can afford to comes in handy.
To save some time, energy and gas I try to get all my shopping done on one day and I try to only go to one or two stores. While Wal-Mart isn’t my favorite store I do a lot of shopping there because of the price matching they do. If I can however buy the item at my other local store cheaper I will do that instead.
Being strategic when it comes to your weekly shopping trip helps to keep gas in the tank and money in your wallet.
Reevaluate Everything Yearly
The only loyalty to a brand or company I have is to the one that is currently saving me money. Period. Every year I reevaluate everything in order to make sure I am still getting the best deal I possibly can.
Every spring before my car insurance and homeowners insurance is due again I call my agent. I will ask her to run a comparable between my current company and the others available through their agency. Some years we wind up switching because there is a better deal available, others years we don’t. I have done this for the past six years and two years ago she just started doing it on her own as she knew to expect the call.
When we still had cable TV I would also take a look at them once a year. I would call them and ask what can be done to either lower our bill or give us the most bang for our buck. When the current company could no longer offer us TV for the price I wanted to pay I would switch. Recently we cut the cable all together and get our entertainment though Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Another thing we reevaluate is our cellular and landline phone provider. However, these are only reevaluated periodically as we are under contract with them.
Buy With Cash
Using plastic rather it is a credit card or a debit card pay for your purchases easily creates a disconnect with your money. The act of writing out a check or better yet counting out cash psychologically keeps you connected to your money and in my experience has often made me think twice about making a purchase that wasn’t absolutely necessary. There is something that subconsciously triggers in your brain when you hand over the dollar bills to the cashier, and it seems to “hurt” a little more in the moment.
Another reason I pay with cash is to set an example for my children. I want them to understand that Daddy goes off to work, and I work on the computer, to earn this thing called money. If they see me paying with money then there is a connection made in their mind between working, money, and it’s purchasing power. If we use plastic and they don’t see the money, then their young minds can not make that same connection.
Are you living on a single income? How do you make it work?
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