How to Support a Family on One Income

Written by: Christina Rinaldi

There are many reasons that you may decided to leave the workforce.  You could be experiencing medical or health limitations that require you to rest or stay out of public areas due to a weakened immune system.  Maybe you want to stay home with the kids, or you might need to stay home to prepare for a new little bundle of joy.  No matter your reason, rest assured that it is doable.  Even in a world where every family is expected to bring in two incomes, you can make it work with just one income.

The first step in preparations is to look at what you pay for your rent or mortgage.  If only a third of your spouse’s monthly income is put towards this payment, then you are already on the right track.  This is the general rule, whether you are looking at one income or two.  Take your rent or mortgage payment times three.  This is how much you should be making per month.  If your payment is too high, you may need to consider downsizing to a more affordable home or your spouse may need to pick up some extra hours at work.

There are ways you can cut down on some of your monthly bills to better fit your new budget.  Take a look at your cable bill for instance.  If you aren’t watching all of the channels you have, you might want to get a cheaper package or go with a different company.  You may even decide to forgo cable altogether and invest in a company like Hulu or Netflix.  You can do the same with internet and phone bills.  Consider getting a Magic Jack for your home phone.  Save on your electric bill by adjusting the thermostat and water heater.  Simple lifestyle changes like this can help you to continue juggling your current monthly bills with less cash coming in.

You can also save a lot of money by trimming the fat out of your grocery bills.  Did you know that buying fresh groceries is usually a lot cheaper than purchasing frozen foods and junk foods?  Do some research where you shop to see what is cheaper between fresh, canned, or frozen foods.  Depending on the season and where you live, the prices of certain produce will vary.  You can also put some of your new-found free time towards couponing.  Another way to save is by shopping at wholesale markets similar to Sam’s Club.  Stores like this can save you a great deal of money when you buy in bulk.  Great products to score there include diapers and wipes, cleaning products, toiletries, and many more.

You may also have to change other aspects of your life to make sure you can cover your bills on just one income.  You should weigh such sacrifices with the benefits of staying home.  You might need to eat out less and take fewer trips to the mall.  Start browsing the clearance racks when you really need new clothing.  You could even try shopping at flea markets, yard sales, and consignment stores for baby gear, furniture, clothing, dishes, and more.

If you still can’t make all of your bills fit into the earnings of one income, consider working from home.  You can still have the benefits of being at home with your children or for medical reasons, while helping earn an income for your family.  If your current job does not allow you to telecommute, consider some other options.  Be wary of internet work from home scams.  Do lots of research using outside websites to gauge the reputation of particular companies.  You can also try working for a party company like Tupperware, Avon, or Origami Owl.  If you are crafty, you might consider starting your own store on a site like Etsy.  You can also try your hand at blogging or social media management, such as running Facebook and Twitter accounts for a company.

If you can be strict with yourself, you may be able to manage your household bills on a single income.  Study your budget to see what lifestyle changes you may need to make, so that you are secure and do not end up in any financial trouble.  You may even consider working from home.  Try out these suggestions, so you can reap the benefits of staying home.


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How to Support a Family on One Income

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