Final Thoughts and Tips
Congratulations! We have finally made it to the last post in this series. I hope that you have found this series enlightening and useful. Previously, we discussed money management and specific types of budgeting techniques.
Knowing where your money is going and figuring out the best way to spend it are all important steps to smoothly transition to one income.
Hopefully, at this point you and your spouse have looked at your expenses and created a working budget around your existing income. Here are my final 5 tips on transitioning to one income.
1.Revamp Your Budget
In my previous post I suggested that you make a dual income budget to help manage your current finances. Now, it’s time to create a budget based on which ever spouse is going to be working. This is where the goals based budgeting method can come in handy. Using this method your expenses are tracked based on your financial goals.
In this case that goal is living on one income. If you have not set a date for when you will officially start living on one income now is the time to do that. Set a target date and keep that in mind when you are creating your budget. For instance, I knew I wasn’t returning to work once the school year ended in June. So our target date was July 1st.
No matter what your target date is I strongly suggest that you begin living on one income ASAP! Once you have created your new budget begin putting it into action. It is much easier to make the switch if you have already been doing it.
My husband and I began living off of his income in April. Originally, I was responsible for paying the cost for childcare, mortgage, and car insurance. Gradually, we began paying all of those bills from his paycheck except for our childcare costs.
Even on a dual income our childcare bills were enormous. Both boys were in private school at the time and the baby was going to a sitter. So I had to continue to pay those bills from my check. However, when July came we were in a much better position financially and mentally.
(I will admit that this part takes a lot of discipline to stick to your budget. It’s tempting to overspend because technically your spouse is still making money. Just pretend like it’s not there.)
3. Pay Off Debt & Save Money
If you think your going to have trouble keeping your hands off of your spouse’s income, then put it to work. Use part of their income as savings and use the rest to pay off or pay down any lingering debts you have. The less you owe to the creditors the better off you will be.
4. Negotiate Your Bills
Ok, so you’ve created your budget and you’ve slashed the non-essentials, but it still looks like it’s going to be a struggle to make this one income life a reality it’s time to make some calls. If you have been a loyal customer to your internet, cable or cell phone provider you may be able to get a discount.
These companies don’t want to lose your business and are often willing to offer you promotional deals in order to keep you with them. Unfortunately, you’ll have to get on the phone and call them which can be a real pain. Or you can sign up for a service called Trim, that will do the negotiating for you.
5. Try Paying Your Bills Weekly
Most of us pay our bills in full on the due date. Which, works really well if you and your spouse get paid on alternating weeks,don’t have a lot of expenses or if you’re not living paycheck to paycheck.
Even with both of us working we were pretty much living that paycheck to paycheck life. Then I found a blog post by Jamie on The Simple Living Mommy about paying your bills weekly. It really changed how my husband and I pay our bills and has made living on one income a lot easier.
I can honestly say that following this plan and using these tips has made life living on one income a lot easier for us. When I was working I didn’t get paid in the summer and we often found ourselves trying to dig out of a financial hole by the time I got paid again in September. However, this year we haven’t missed any payments and we haven’t struggled one bit.
We have been truly fortunate and blessed to be able to make this dream a reality. I hope these tips will help further you on your way to being able to live on one income.
If you have any other tips or advice please feel free to leave a comment.
Until Next Time,
The Crafty Afro