Do you hate dropping your children off at daycare everyday while you go to work? Have you experienced a job loss, either yourself or your husband that has left you struggling to make ends meet? Maybe you are underemployed! Whether you are wanting to live on one income or are doing it because of other circumstances, it can be difficult to survive financially. However, it is possible!
I have been able to be home with my kids for 7 years now. Has it always been easy? No way! Has it been worth the sacrifices my family has had to make? Yes, without a doubt. There have been hard times but because we have had a family goal of me being home, we have made it work.
Here are 32 smart ways to survive on one income:
- Be a team! You and your husband need to be on the same page. If you want to be a stay at home mom (SAHM), you might not be able to have designer jeans and purses and your husband might not be able to have those new golf clubs he dreams about. If it’s a true goal for both of you, you both will be willing to give and take to make your goals a reality.
- Have a plan! You need to know exactly how much you will need each month to pay your bills and follow the plan! The more organized you are in everything, the easier it will be for you all!
- Keep an eye on the future. Christmas is less than 2 months away. It’s coming whether you have saved for it or not. If you are going to want to take a vacation or allow your daughter to take part in ballet lessons, you might have to start saving in advance. If you do so, chances are you can make those fun things happen.
- Know the difference between needs and wants. This can be hard, especially with children. We are all creatures of the “want” factory. I want…I want…I want! However, being able to tell the difference between the 2 is one of the best ways to keep you on your plan!
- Reduce your wants. I know…yuck! That would be called cable, Starbucks, or whatever it is that you need reduce to pay your bills.
- Pray. Sometimes when money is tight, the only thing you can do is pray. God provides and finds a way. Last year one of my friends in Bible study was short $120 for a bill. She and her husband weren’t sure what they were going to do about it but after a lot of prayer, they received a check in the mail from a overpayment that was just a bit more than $120. God listens.
- Be grateful. Yes you might not be able to take that glamorous vacations that your friends do, or drive that brand new car but you are home with your family. If you need to start a gratitude journal to keep things in perspective, do so! (I’m participating in a 30 Days Thankfulness challenge on Instagram. I’d love if you follow along or if you want to join in use #onemonthofthankfulness.)
- Keep the essentials, sell the rest! You can read more on When Is Enough, Enough here!
- Be disciplined. After you have the common goal of you being a stay at home mom, you have to remain disciplined to that goal. Don’t buy $80 of Target clearance shopping if that is not in the budget. It will hurt you in the end far more than if you didn’t buy it at all.
- Have a reminder of why you began this journey in the first place. Put up a family photo somewhere where you will see it frequently (maybe on your refrigerator or by your key hook) to remind you. A favorite quote or a Bible verse can also help encourage you.
- Find like-minded friends. They will encourage you to stay the course! I’m not saying you can’t have working friends, but other stay at home moms are usually supportive in your quest to stay home. If not, you may want to find other SAHM friends because if they are living a lifestyle very differently than yours if might be hard to stay disciplined and true to your goals.
- Find mentors. Do you know some older women who stayed at home with their children? Ask them questions, learn from them! They probably have tons of knowledge that they’d happily share with you about budgeting, meals and recipes, and discipline problems they had with their own children.
- Create A Stockpile. I will be tell you how to do this the smart way on Friday!
- If you have a smart phone, use apps to earn cash back on products. My favorites are: Checkout 51, Ibotta, Shopkick and Target’s Cartwheel.
- When you cook, use less meat in your recipes than it calls for. Meat is usually the most expensive ingredient and by using less you will save money. Some families have a “Meatless Monday” or breakfast for supper night that can save on food costs!
- If you shop online, use sites such as Ebates to earn cashback.
- Don’t shop for entertainment! Go somewhere free instead such as the park or just stay home!
- Swagbucks can also earn you gift cards by watching videos, answering surveys, etc. I have read stories of women paying for their entire Christmas by using Swagbucks!
- Have you heard the old saying, “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”? Use up products before throwing them away, don’t buy clothes until you need them, make do with what you have and if you can’t do without that item. Many times you really can “do without”.
- Cook from scratch. Mixes are expensive. Make your own by using the internet for recipes. (You can learn more about saving on groceries here!)
- Menu plan.
- Eat at home and eat your leftovers. Going out is expensive! How many times have you thrown out some food because it wasn’t enough for an entire meal for your family? Have a Crazy Meal Night where it’s leftovers from the week (Sunday’s perhaps) and use up those leftovers.
- Have a garden and preserve the produce. If you can’t have a garden due to logistics, find a friend and help with the process. I know if I had a friend who would come help weed, help with seed purchase, etc, I’d be thrilled to let her share the harvest with me. And I’d love to do the preserving together!
- Invest in cloth napkins, quit buying paper towels and make your own cleaners (See 4 ways to go green while saving some green here!)
- Buy used clothing. Some people may roll their eyes about this but it can save a lot of money throughout the year.
- Shop sales and clearance racks for everything!
- Do you have ways that you can earn some extra money from home? Tutoring, pet sitting, babysitting, and freelance writing can all earn some extra money. Look at your skills and see what you can come up with. Be creative!
- Use a price book so you know when a sale is actually a sale.
- Know your inventory. If you know what you have for clothing for each child, you can efficiently shop clearance racks without overbuying items you don’t need. If you have 3 bottles of Tylenol at home but find one on sale, you probably don’t need that extra Tylenol.
- Entertain at home. Invite friends to your home and enjoy each other’s company there.
- Sell extra items that you don’t need on Ebay, Facebook groups, or Craigslist.
- Reduce insurance costs by comparing policies and possibly increasing deductibles. Talk to a trusted insurance or financial advisor before making changes to your policy!
What are your tips for surviving on one income?
Have you enjoyed what you read here today? Do you have friends or other women you know that could benefit from this resource? If so, please do me a favor! I have included the links below to share with other intentional women! They’ll be glad you did!