Yesterday I told you why I love homemaking. Today we will learn how we make it on a single income. Before the hubby and I got married I expressed to him my desire to stay home with our children. He agreed that it would be the best thing for our family. I have spent a lot of time learning how to raise a family on one income. Since we didn’t come into marriage with a lot of money and my husband hasn’t had the highest paying jobs, we have had to make sacrifices in order for me to stay home. These are the things that have worked for us. They may not work for everyone. You may have more money to play with than I do. Nevertheless, I hope you can get some ideas on how to raise a family on one income.
Stay Out of Debt
Staying out of debt is number one on my list because it is the most crucial aspect to living on one income. Debt sucks your money, so keep it low. Some debts are really hard to avoid, but I do stress avoiding consumer debt, especially credit cards. If you have to use credit cards to purchase your wants, you shouldn’t buy them at all. I know, can be easier said than done.
Build an Emergency Savings
So, you know to avoid going into debt just for the things you want, but how do you stay out of debt if you have an emergency? Build your savings. Ideally, you should allow room in your budget for savings every month. A good emergency savings will include AT LEAST 3 months of your expenses. If you can save 6-12 months of expenses just for emergencies, that is even better.
If you are the partner who is planning to stay home, but you are working right now, start stashing your pay checks. See if you can live on just one income right now and save all the money you can.
Another way to build savings is to sell unused items from your home. You can do consignments, sell on Facebook, Craigslist, or even eBay.
You can also look into making money on the side with the skills you have. Can you make handmade items and sell them? Are you a writer? Are you raising chickens for eggs and can sell the extras? Be creative! You may not be able to have a full-blown business with a full-time income while you are a homemaker, but you may be able to make some extra money to contribute to your savings.
Avoid Car Payments
Car payments suck. They suck money right out of your account. I hate having a car payment. We bought an older Honda Odyssey and paid cash for it. No, it’s not perfect. It needs a little work and the ride isn’t as smooth as a newer vehicle.
I’ll still take the paid-for vehicle over shelling out hundreds every month to drive something “nicer.” When you do buy an older vehicle, you want to make sure you aren’t getting ripped off. If you can, have a mechanic check it over before purchasing. Also, look for vehicles with a proven record of lasting. Honda in particular is known for lasting a long time.
If you can’t afford to buy a car with cash, try living with one vehicle. We did this for a time. It was hard, but it we made it work.
Save Money on Food Expenses
For about two years, we did once a month grocery shopping. I even wrote a mini book on how I did my once a month grocery shopping, and how it helped us save money.
Learn how to plan frugal meals.
Spend Your Free Time Learning How To Save Money
I have put a lot of time and effort into learning how to save money. I have learned how to cook from scratch and how to lower my grocery bill. I don’t coupon because it honestly takes up way too much time and we buy mostly whole foods anyway. I avoid processed, junky foods.
When we plan a vacation, I spend time researching how to get the most for our money. When we go out for a date, I look into ways to get the price down. We use gift cards given to us, or Groupons.
Clothing is one area that can take a lot of your money. For my kids, I like to order online from my favorite stores and shop clearance. I always make sure I Google for discount codes before I check out. I also shop our local consignment sales for quality kids’ clothing.
For myself, I will also shop clearance items online or go to thrift stores. I have found some really cute stuff at thrift stores for myself. We shop sales and clearance for Hubby’s clothing and shoes, too.
If things are really tight, you can cut back on the wants. We spend a lot on satellite TV that could easily go if needed. We could cut off our home phone and just stick with the cells. There’s always ways to trim the budget, which brings me to my last tip.
Make a Budget and Stick with It
You and your husband need to sit down together and make a budget and stick to it. Make the budget realistic. Use cash for groceries and any “extra” spending you do until you are comfortable with your budget. A budget is key to success. It’ll keep you out of debt!
Want to see what a real one income budget looks like? I did an entire post on our 2016 one income budget.
How do you manage to raise a family on a single income?