Finance Friday: Single Income Living

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Living in a single income household, you and your spouse will both have a significant part in making it work. If you’re a stay at home parent, or have any other single-income situation, here are a few things to keep in mind when getting the most bang for your buck.

Prioritize

It’s becoming more and more common for one parent to stay at home at least a few years after having children. Daycare costs are skyrocketing. Transportation costs are rising. Food costs are rising. You see where we’re going with this… Prices are rising and it’s not an unrealistic financial expectation for one of you to be in charge of saving money, while the other makes it!

This is where prioritization comes into play. It takes a significant amount of time to create a variety of enriching activities for your children, find how to feed your family healthy meals that won’t cost a fortune and to maintain your family’s overall finances and living situation.

Plan Ahead

Be careful not to acquire new debts unless you have a very clear plan of how long it will take to pay them off, taking interest payments into account.

Make sure you and your spouse are saving and investing money each pay period for retirement. If you have children, start a college fund for them as early as possible. Do your best to forecast your financial future and make arrangements as early as possible so you’ll be ready!

Have an organized budget

Create a monthly budget. Within that, create weekly budgets. Outline how much you’ll be spending on bills, groceries and the necessities in your life. Another great way to keep your budget (and your schedule) organized is to prepare a weekly meal menu plan. If you have a pretty good idea of what your family will be eating, you can better plan out your grocery trips. You’ll also be in a better position to strategize your coupons. Couponing is so popular for a reason: it works!

Take an inventory several times each year to see if there are items within your budget that can be cut or re-examined. Don’t need the primo cell phone plan anymore?  Talk to your provider to alter your plan. Use Netflix more than your cable service? Think about getting rid of cable all together.

The main lesson when living on a single income is to be aware of where your money is going. There’s nothing wrong with micromanaging your finances. Be involved and you’ll be able to do more with what you have.

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