Families with children know that it can be quite a challenge to stay on top of expenses when there’s only one person that brings home the bacon. Though it is believed that two incomes are needed to support a family’s needs, many families choose to live on a single income as a lifestyle choice.
Meanwhile, some families in the country have just been introduced to this type of lifestyle, mostly due to layoffs that have been going on in the U.S. Though it can be daunting to think about surviving on a single income, you and your family can certainly make things work by budgeting and making smart choices before you spend a single cent.
Here are some tips for families living on a single income.
Know where your money goes
Get a notebook and pen and list down all of your expenses. This includes rent, utilities, car-related expenses, credit card payments, groceries, and miscellaneous expenses. Make sure to allot the correct amount of money for each expense.
After you’ve listed your expenses, see what you can do without or spend less on. For instance, you could downgrade your Internet plan to save some money. If you spend a lot of cash dining out, you might want to eat out less often and enjoy more home-cooked meals.
De-clutter and keep things that you and your family can reuse
Most families spend a lot of money buying the same things simply because they can’t seem to find them. This is especially true if you live in a very messy house. Start by throwing out all the junk and look for things that you and your kids can reuse.
Things that you should definitely hold on to are school supplies, bags, and clothes. See if you can repair or clean an item so it looks good as new. Keep these items in a container and label it so you’ll know where to get them.
Use only one credit card
Use only one credit card and leave the others at home. Choose the one with the lowest interest rate and stick to a budget whenever you're going to use it.
Find ways to save on your grocery bill
Clip out coupons out of the Sunday paper or download a few from Coupons.com and use them at the grocery store. Make a list of everything you need to buy before heading out and stick to the list as much as possible. Look for cheaper substitutes, and if you can, leave your kids and your partner at home. The more shopping companions you have, the more likely you’ll make impulse purchases.
For more, check out Jobs & Hire’s report on how to make budgeting fun for the family.