A family's finances dropping from two to one income can be a tough transition to manage. Splurging on luxuries and treats is a tough habit to break, but each year thousands of families find themselves having to do just that. According to Lean In, 43% of highly qualified women who have children quit their careers or take an extended career break. Of course, other factors, such as illness or relocating, can result in the loss of one income, too, therefore, it's essential you get your spending under control and find ways to manage your household's reduced finances.
Review your outgoings
You and your partner should sit down and review each expenditure that you make and decide together where to make cutbacks. The working partner could agree to ditch the daily takeaway coffee, while, you drop your monthly gym membership. Surviving on one income is always doable along as the whole family agrees to make sacrifices. You might have to put a stop to your monthly takeaways or regular manicure, but that doesn't mean you have to go without. Instead, do a 'fakeaway' in the comfort of your own home and get the kids to help out with the cooking to make it an enjoyable, family treat. And, if you're in need of a beauty session, get a group of friends round and do each other's nails and you can all save money.
Meals and grocery shopping
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, each American household wastes the equivalent of $2,000 worth of food each year. To prevent food waste and throwing thousands down the drain each year, write a meal plan and a shopping list before each grocery shop, so you only purchase the products you need. Keep an eye out for discount vouchers and coupons, too, which can reduce the total of your bill. And, when it comes to food labels, use your common sense before throwing anything away. Fruit and vegetables come with a best before date, but most will be good to eat days after this date and it's easy to identify when an apple or a cabbage is past its best.
It's too easy to call a gardener to mow the lawn or to get a plumber in to fix a leaking tap. However, there are likely to be plenty of jobs which you can do yourself at little or no expense. Avoid paying for the motor store to replace your windscreen wipers or fit a bulb and tackle the job yourself. The internet is awash with guides and videos showing you how to do almost everything, so if you get stuck, head online to find a 'How to'.
Look for ways to boost your income
A few dollars here and there can make all the difference to many families. Some ways to build your wealth include budgeting, using cashback sites and cards when making purchases and participating in online surveys and market research. Additionally, the stay-at-home partner could take on a small job working from home, such as working as a freelance writer. Items no longer required around the home can be sold to make some spare cash, too, which can then be used to boost your family's finances.
Living off one income doesn't have to be a struggle if you and your family agree to work together and make sensible financial decisions in order to manage the drop income.
This article was written by and presents the views of our contributor Chrissy Carter, not the WiserAdvisor editorial staff.To introduce yourself to one of our advisor subscribers, please click here.
Find the Right Financial Advisor for You
Free Initial Consultation. No Match Fees. No Obligation
Need a Financial Advisor in your area?