When you finally become a mom, one of the biggest desires is to stay home with your new baby. However, living on one income can be really hard. In this post, I’ll share some tips on how to live on one income!
Do you think living on one income is next to impossible?
Well, spoiler alert: it’s not.
While I am able to make a little side money from blogging and being a virtual assistant, that wasn’t always the case. In the past two and a half years, I’ve only spent six months of it working. I was home the rest of it.
My fiance doesn’t make crazy money by any means – we make under $25,000 in a year. But we still managed to make it work. So I’m here to tell you that if you want to stay home with your babies – it really is possible to live on one income!
I’ll be sharing some of my best tips to live on one income in hopes it can help you!
Tips to live on one income
Make. A. Budget.
I cannot stress how important it is to make a budget. We haven’t always had a budget and it honestly killed us. We didn’t track anything – we just payed bills on payday and sometimes ended up short from the run to the corner store before those were even paid.
We like to use an app to track it all – it helps us know where everything is going and calculate how much money we have left. My favorite has been YNAB, or You Need A Budget. If you want to try it out, you can click here and we’ll both earn a free month.
When we started doing this, we felt like we had more money even after I stopped working. It’s crazy what tracking your money does. I definitely plan on sharing more on our budgeting system in the future, but for now, I’ll leave you with these awesome resources!
- How to Start a Budget (When You Suck at Budgeting) by the Busy Budgeter
- The Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting by Jessi Fearon
- How to Budget When You Are Behind on Bills by the Budget Mom
See what bills you can downgrade or cancel
The next best thing you can do is reevaluate your bills. This will be a big area where you can cut expenses. Consider what you really need and what you can live without.
Things to think about include:
- Can you cut out cable and opt for watching movies or other activities instead?
- If you really want cable, can you trade it for Netflix + Hulu?
- Can you lower the data on your cell phone since you’ll be connected to WiFi more?
- What about memberships you’re part of? Can you work out at home instead of the gym?
This should get you started to help look for places you can cut expenses. You may not need to be as strict as we have to be, but cutting/downgrading certain bills can really free up a lot of money.
Start meal planning and shopping strategically
I hope you’re doing this anyway ha! Meal planning and being strategic about the way you shop has a lot of benefits but money is a big one of them. Knowing exactly what you’re buying can help stretch a dollar.
I personally use the Smith’s app as well since I can make my list right there and get a subtotal. However, that’s not completely necessary as long as you know how much you pay for your produce and meat and things.
A good thing to implement is coupons as you come across them, when certain items go on sale, buying things in bulk, and choosing off-brand items that are generally cheaper. Finding ways to cut your groceries down is really useful.
Change some of your habits
Out of everything, this will most likely be the hardest to adjust to – especially if you have some expensive spending habits. The first thing is to think about all the “extra” things you do that cost money.
You’ll likely end up with things like:
- Daily trips to Starbucks
- Weekly trips to Target
- Family dinners out at local restaurants
- Movie date nights a few times a month
I’m sure you get the idea. Things like this add up really quick and will be something you need to stop.
Another thing I want to mention here is how you diaper. If you have a baby that’s in diapers, switching to cloth can save quite a bit of money. You’ll need to buy diapers up front, but after that you can save a significant amount every month. And if you breastfeed too… the first year can potentially be almost free.
Consider DIY for items you would normally buy
I try to do this as much as possible for a number of reasons, but money is definitely one of them! It also allows me to control the ingredients and not question what a certain company is putting in their products that I don’t know about.
Opting to DIY things like toothpaste, shampoo, laundry detergent, or even food items such as pickles or fruit snacks can stretch a dollar pretty far. You can get way more for less when you’re the one making it.
I highly urge you to browse pinterest and see all the things you can DIY instead of purchasing.
Look for sales and deals
One of my biggest rule of thumb, is not to buy things at full price. When we need new clothes, I will look for sales, go to the local thrift store, or look on yard sale sites on Facebook.
By doing this, you save a lot of money. I’ve gotten my little toys that are normally $40-50+ for a small $12 before by doing this. And that kind of saving will really add up quick!
So keep your eyes out and look for sales and deals when making purchases for things you need.
Adjust your mindset
With all of this, it will be really hard on you if you don’t approach it with the right mindset. Instead of thinking about how much money you no longer have, think about all the money you are saving by making all these changes!
It’s also important to remember why you are doing this: so you can stay home and watch your babies grow. And that my friends, is an amazing thing.
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