For many families, life is changing quickly. With schools either partially open or not open at all, parents face the challenge of leaving behind a second income in order to have a parent home with their children. Fortunately, if you are among those facing this situation, there are ways to survive on one income.
Using a Budget to Evaluate Your Monthly Expenses
Many people wing it when it comes to paying their bills. Unfortunately, when you only have one income to cover everything, you can’t afford to miss a payment due to a lack of funds. A budget will allow you to factor in every expense throughout the year, including your annual payments. By having a clear picture of your financial obligations, you can set aside amounts for food and essentials, and put money away for emergencies. If you are new to the household budget, you can find worksheets online for free.
Finding Ways to Reduce Monthly Payments
Running a household is expensive. However, in most cases, there’s room for improvement. Gas and electric companies are not all the same. Contact several in your area and compare rates. Cable television is enjoyable, however, not essential. For the time being, you can reduce your bill by switching to basic service. When you want to watch a movie, find a Redbox and rent one. If you pay for your own health insurance, start shopping around. After you acquire your health insurance quotes, review them to see which ones provide the best benefits at the lowest cost.
Eliminating Credit Card Debt
Reducing your credit card debt is important when you only have one source of income. If you have several with high balances you can eliminate the debt by refinancing your home and using the money to pay off debt. If you don’t have equity in your home or you don’t own a home, a second option is to apply for a credit card that allows balance transfers interest-free for up to a year.
Adopting a Cash Only Policy
With direct deposit a common practice, many people use debit cards for everything. Unfortunately, you don’t get a true sense of the costs for the items you buy. Putting away your credit cards and debit card and only using cash for the extras will improve your awareness, allowing you to make better choices when spending money.
During hard financial times, you may need to consider giving up a few of the things you enjoy for the short-term. Memberships to the gym, subscriptions, and ordering take-out are a few examples. Instead, take advantage of the many things you can enjoy doing for little or no cost. Visit a museum or art gallery, spend a day at the local park or transform your backyard into a drive-in theater. Get creative and, before you know it, you’ll be back at work and returning to your normal way of life.
Save on Every Shopping Outing
Grocery shopping for a family of four can cost upwards of $200.00 weekly. Thankfully, there are several ways to lower costs. Check the flyers of the local supermarkets to see what’s on sale and seriously consider whether or not you need everything on your list. Then check online at one of the free coupon sites and print out the ones that apply to enjoy additional savings. For health and beauty supplies and household essentials, conduct a thorough search to see what brick and mortar store or online source has the lowest price. Shopping during a holiday weekend and after a holiday can also prove financially rewarding.
If you are currently living on one income you can survive by finding ways to save money each day.