In the world today there are many families that have both parents working and sometimes it is not by choice, but because they have to in order to cope with the rising cost of living. There are also families out there with one parent staying at home and in our situation we were able to afford for me to be that person.
For our situation, it made financial sense to stay at home. After having Mabel, my first child, I opted to not go back to work after maternity leave, as I was 3 months pregnant with my second, but by doing so it came with a couple of changes to our lifestyle in order for us to succeed, and it was for the better.
So, if you find yourself living on one income whether by choice or not, here are some tips to help ease the stress of it and create a more positive light.
1. Get Your Priorities Right
When it comes to one income it is a big change but it allows you to focus on what is important. Spending time with the children and making sure everyone in the household is taken care of might be the prioritise in your life. So make sure you are trying not to keep up with the ‘Joneses’, because they might have different priorities, more money to play with, or they might just be hiding the fact they are in debt.
2. Live Within Your Means
There are some debts that are unavoidable such as mortgages, but by controlling everything else means you don’t spiral into the red. Have a look through your expense list on a weekly or monthly basis and see whether there are some that you can cut, such as SKY, or that weekly/monthly cup of coffee. You will be able to see where you can reign things in to live within your means. When you actually pay off all your living expenses you should have some money left over, at the very least break even. With the money left over save it for something special or to be used for emergencies, in no way think it is money to be spent on material things because you can’t buy happiness.
3. Plan Out Your Meals
As you can see on my blog each week I have a meal plan and I try and keep up to date with how much I have spent that week on the food shop. By planning out meals and having a list of all the things you need for the week allows you to not stray from it and it will make doing the food shop easier. Who knows you could cut your food bill by 50%. Also when it comes to cooking try and make a habit of cooking some things from scratch, because not only is it healthier, but you could be saving yourself a fortune from not buying convenience.
4. Declutter Everything
When it comes to living on one income you soon realise that there are a lot of things that you don’t need. It can be food, clothes, toys, that something that you haven’t used for months or years but you keep around just in case, trust me it will never be used. All these need to be thrown away, recycled, given away or sold. By decluttering you are reducing everything down to the things you actually use, and it is always about less is more.
5. Earn Extra Income
By being at home does not mean you can’t make any money, because you can. With the tip of decluttering above could unearth a lot of items that are still in great condition which can be sold on places such as eBay or Facebook Groups. ‘One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure’. If you have a little bit of time there are survey sites you can do to make some extra money or receive points you can exchange for gift cards.
6. Don’t Waste Anything
When something breaks or just looks old and tatty it is almost second nature to get rid of it or buy a new one. With the internet these days there are videos and information on how to fix or how to upcycle pretty much anything. Before you look to spend any money see if you can repurpose or fix an item and make them new in order to really get the most out of it.
7. Shop Around
If you do have to purchase something whether it be a gift for someone, new clothes for the kids, or even expenses like car insurance it is always best to shop around before making your decision. There are many sites that can do a comparison, or just by googling the item or company you might be able to find a discount code, coupon or voucher. Also don’t be afraid to purchase second hand because it is amazing at how much you can save on something that still has a lot of life left in it.
8. Remind Yourself Of The Benefits
Living on one income is full of many benefits and by reminding yourself will bring you back to the first tip about your priorities. Having one parent at home could mean there is always someone there to take care of the children, especially when they are young which makes childcare costs low, plus you only need to pay out for one person’s transport cost to and from work, as well as having the time to control everything within the household making sure it is functioning.
Using the tips above will hopefully help you to live happily on just one income, and always remember that you just need to keep a focus on your own journey.