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Posts Tagged ‘One in Income’

Found this on msn.com today – it was one of their headliner articles.  It’s how to become a One-Income Family.  Nothing earth shattering in it, but it was a quick read and related to a series I did not so long ago.

Read it!

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I don’t have any more “tips”, but I did want to share some of the words of encouragement and advice that I got from the married ladies who had “been there, done that”.  These are pretty  much their words as a direct quote – emphasis mine though.

“I learned early not to look at the Sunday ads. If I didn’t look, I didn’t shop. Desires which we call needs are created by advertising.”

“Dare to live the truth that your material possessions are not an indication of how successful you are. Make a decision that you will resist the pressure of your peers (unbelievers and Christians alike) to have the material things they have. Don’t chase new technologies that you really don’t need; buy new furniture slowly. Prepare yourself to be in the minority. It’s important to do this from the get-go; your children must see your attitude of thankfulness and confidence in your choices. You will give your children a deep and abiding enjoyment of the true gifts of life that are priceless, but inexpensive from a human viewpoint: books (from the library!), music, ice cream, conversation, a hike in the park. And best of all, they will have a mom at home!”

“I don’t necessarily think it’s right to delay children to try to get “financially stable”. The right moment might never come. If God is leading someone to have kids, then they need to have the kids, trusting in His provision then. The same argument goes for limiting the number of a children in a family solely for financial reasons. If God directs, then God will also provide.”

“Yes, if you have to, live in an apartment instead of a house, if that is more affordable and makes staying home possible. Your children want time with YOU, and if you are proud of your home, they will be, too.  Never get used to living on two incomes …. If you can work at home, great, but be sure you’re not short-changing your family. I used to write when the children napped; when they gave them up, I stopped writing. I didn’t want to be pushing them away from the computer, and I didn’t want a divided focus.”

“Don’t ever get used to 2 incomes! When we were first married, yes, I worked…but we never budgeted that money into our running budget. It ALWAYS went into savings. When the girls were about 3, I went to work 1 day a week…still….the money was never counted on. I firmly believe that the husband is to be the provider…and any income the wife brings in is “bonus”…Proverbs 31 kind of income…so she can dress her family in fine linen! I used to tell young girls…”sure, you’re free to work…if you don’t HAVE to”!! When a wife’s income is expected/needed…then she’s under pressure to keep that job, no matter what comes their way, to make ends meet. Just don’t ever start counting on that money…even to pay the slightest bill!”

There ya go.  Those are tips from women who have been there, done that.  I’m currently writing a Budgeting 101 series that will probably be published after the new year…so look for that if you want some guidance in setting up a budget.

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More tips on saving money!

Christmas gifts

  • Make a list of people you need to buy for and how much you want to spend.  If it’s on the list, get it.  If it’s not on the list, no buy.
  • Resist the urge to buy something for everyone.  Maybe just send a card.  If you can get away with it and that feels okay to you.  Don’t cut back so much that you feel like Scrooge McDuck.
  • Ask for stuff for Christmas that you’d buy anyway or something that you’d really be tempted to get.  A favorite Christmas gift of mine is gift certificates to Nebraska Furniture Mart.  When we get a house, I already have enough collected for a few rooms of carpet or a new bedroom set or a dining room table.  Whatever it is that we need.  In order to use them that way though, I have to resist the urge to spend them for new DVDs.
  • After Christmas, look for good deals to give as birthday presents throughout the year. This is when lots of stuff is on clearance…stock up!  I tend to get toys and kids clothing this time of year – a size or two bigger than the niece and nephew are wearing.

Other

  • Do you just have too much stuff?  Sell it.  Really.  All the stuff that you have that you don’t use.  If you don’t want to sell it, give it away.  Got an extra family room set?  I’m sure there’s a recent graduate that could use it.
  • Get a roommate.  I’m a huge fan of this for many reasons.  Cheaper living expenses.  You’re less likely to grow inflexible in your habits or become a hermit.  Someone to keep you accountable.  Companionship.  Just all good stuff.
     
     

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More tips on keeping expenses down – as a single, as newly married, as married with kids…for pretty much anyone!

Food Budget

  • Clip coupons.  To be honest, I don’t do really well with coupons, but I know some that do.   They save hundreds of dollars.  Here are some ladies that seem to do it well.
  • Skip a visit to the grocery store once a month.  Dedicate yourself, just for a week, to eating what you already have at home.  You might need to buy another gallon of milk or something, but I bet you’d be surprised at what you have on hand.  I do this every so often and it’s great. Often times I have to grab 1-2 things for the week, but usually I have enough on hand to make spaghetti or pizza or chicken sandwiches or tacos.  All stuff we love.
  • Take your lunch to work one more day a week.  Save $5/week?  $8/week?  If you make food knowing that you’ll be taking your lunch, it’s easy.  I love (most) leftovers and since I have access to a microwave and refrigerator at work, it’s easy for me to do. 
  • Cook at home – but prepare wisely to maximize your food budget. You don’t want a lot of waste.  If you plan your menu in advance and know that you want ground hamburger, you can brown as much as you’ll need for the week once.  Then plan the meals that can use it – tacos, pizza, spaghetti, chili, whatever you want.
  • Minimize shopping trips.  It seems each time I go to the grocery store, I “remember” things that I need.  All those “rememberances” add up.  So, the fewer times I go, the less I usually spend.

Technology

  • Review your service plans – do you use that many minutes a month?  Do you really need a data plan on your cell phone?  Do you really need a landline?  Is it cheaper to do long distance phone calls via the cell phone vs. landline?
  • Look at a family plan.  Especially if you aren’t married.  Alot of companies allow a family plan even if you’re not in the same household.  I was on a plan with my sister and her husband for years.
  • Downgrade your internet…did you know that there were different levels of speed?  If you don’t need the fastest, then don’t order it.  Jeff & I don’t have the fastest and he plays games online and we get Netflix over the internet to our TV and we don’t have any speed issues.
  • Do you really need cable?  Are you sure?  Try going a month without it and see what impact it has.  We don’t have cable and yes, there are a couple of shows I miss watching (TLC has some great house flipping fixer-upper shows that I liked), but I’m way okay without cable.  We use Netflix and borrow DVDs from friends for our entertainment outlet.

Entertainment

  • Cancel magazine subscriptions – especially if you can read them at the gym!  Or get a magazine swap going with a friend.  Find out if your favorite magazines have websites that have the same information on it.  Bookmark the site.
  • Invite friends over rather than going out.  Have a potluck or trade off providing the meal. Or get together without a meal…just have friends over a little later in time to play games.  I remember often that my mom & dad would have friends over on Friday nights to play Monopoly after us kids went to bed.
  • Make the everyday stuff an event.  Want to watch a Husker game and want to hang out with friends?  Combine them into 1 event.

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More Living on One Income tips!

A friend of mine who has nearly raised 6 kids said this: “I used to tell people I was committed to living in a tent if that would make staying at home possible.”  I don’t think you have to live in a tent.  And I strongly recommend not living in a circus tent – they don’t really have sides to protect you from the wind.  But her point is well-taken.  Look at some of the assumptions that you have about your standard of living.  Things I can think of:

Most people think that 2 cars are required.  Maybe they aren’t.  Yeah, you’d have to drive your husband to work, but it can be done.  If that’s your plan, then think about where you might be able to live to make that easier.  Having just one car (even if it’s just for a time) cuts your car expenses in 1/2.  Half!  50%!  Just think of the benefits that’ll have to your budget.

Alot of couples think its mandatory to have a huge vacation every year.  Remember that trip you took to Disney World when you were 10?  That was a once-in-a-childhood kind of memory.  Don’t try to recreate it every year.  Keep it much simpler on a yearly basis and plan something big every 10 years.  If you had $2000 in your budget for vacations in a year, would you rather have 1 big trip or 5 $400 trips?  It’s your decision.

Do you really require to eat steak every night or to eat out all the time?  Take a cooking class to learn how to make your favorite meals at home.  Better yet, have a friend teach you how to make her favorite meal.

How much house do you really need?  Does each child really need their own bedroom or can they share?  Do you require a kitchen and a dining room?  Do you need a man cave and an office and a sewing room?  Are you buying a house for your needs or for your need to impress someone else?

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More Living on One Income tips for living on one income when married.  Click on the category on the right to see other money tips.

A big thing that women (and men!) can do to make it possible to live on one income is to do your best to spend that one income wisely.  Again, I contacted other women who are in the stay-at-home mom season of life and here is their advice:

  • Generic ain’t just for prescriptions!  It’s for a lot of things.  What counts is quality, not some label.  (Jayme’s note: name brand does matter on some things.  I can’t for the life of me find a generic Saran Wrap that actually works!)
  • Trade off babysitting with friends.  If you have kids.  You babysit one Friday night, then they babysit the next Friday night.
  • Get a Sam’s card (or CostCo).  For the things that don’t go bad, stock up when at great prices.  I mean, it’s not like you’re trying to quit using toilet paper, right?
  • Drive your car as long as you can.  I’ve written before on the magic of buying a car you can afford.  But it’s all the more important when you’re dealing with 2 cars.
  • Level Payment Plans for utilities.  Over the course of the year, you’ll (hopefully) pay just as much, but this prevents really nasty surprises in the winter with your heating bill.
  • Borrow clothes or do hand-me-downs.  My wardrobe right now is about 1/2 hand-me-downs.  I ain’t too proud to take em!  Next time you need a special outfit for an event, borrow one from a friend rather than buying it new.  Borrowing clothes is especially easy to do when you have kids.  Kids quickly outgrow clothes before they wear out.  Box them according to size and pull them out when needed.
  • Don’t look at Sunday ads.  If you don’t see things, chances are you don’t know that you NEED them.  Things you need: flour, eggs, shelter.  Things you don’t need: iPod, camera, 20 new skirts.
  • Hand-me-down furniture.  Just don’t get the bedbug ridden kind.  A huge temptation when you first set out in life is to get all new stuff.  You need all new stuff as much as you need all new debt.  You don’t!
  • Pray for the things you need.  Seriously, things might just be “randomly” offered to you.  I say randomly because God has a tendency to wow us in cool ways.

Still single?  Get into the habit of incorporating these now.  That way you don’t get married, try to live on one income, but have a harder time because you’re so used to doing something different.

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So, based upon the blogpost I wrote a while ago now about how couples should try to live on one income (for a variety of reasons), I got some advice from some real life, honest-to-goodness stay-at-home moms about 1) how they do it or 2) what they recommend that people do.  Today is part 1 of their tips.

Thanks to Cheryl for her advice! 

It isn’t always possible to live on a husband’s income.  A common example would be a newlywed couple just starting out or a situation where a husband returns to school.  One thing to always consider is a way to “stay at home”, but still bring in an income.  It has several benefits:
1) You get to stay at home with your kids.
2) You get to contribute to your family budget.
3) You get to do both of those without adding in the expense of daycare for your own children.  Any other 9-to-5 job wouldn’t allow for that.

Ideas for this type of work:

  • Babysitting children in your home.
  • Freelance work.  All kinds of things – graphic design, writing/editing, resume writing, programming, whatever background you have
  • Lessons in your home.  Piano lessons, voice lessons, any type of musical skill that you have.
  • Tutoring.  There just might be a kid nearby who needs a little extra help with his school work.  Maybe even a college kid.

These are just some of my ideas.  You might have more.

Still single?  Think about these things.  If you do desire to live on one income, prepare for it.  Pick a career that could translate into a stay-at-home income later.  Get training that would let you do this.  That’s one way you can prepare for a financially healthy marriage.

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