It’s going on nine years now that we have taken up the fight of being a ‘one income family’! And when I say fight….. I mean it. It’s definitely not easy.
I first want to say though “It can be done!”.
After looking over some statistics for the Hamilton and Ontario region, my husband and I realized how below we are of the ‘average’ family income – the ‘underdog’ so to speak.
But, we’ve accomplished it all these years, and we will continue to work at this because we know the ‘WHY’ behind our decision for me to stay home with the children.
With careful planning, a few sacrifices and getting priorities lined up, anyone can be well on their way to comfortably living with one income. Here are six tips to get you started:
1. LEARN TO BE SELF-DISCIPLINED I know ….. many of you are probably saying “but how?” For us, this started many years ago with a heart of thankfulness. We chose to look at things differently and get what we NEED, and temper our WANTS. We watch what we purchase and know that even little purchases add up quickly. Take a good look at all the things around you to be thankful for before desiring something new. We don’t need to keep up with others.
2. GET ON THE SAME PAGE Being smart with your money won’t work if you and your spouse are on different pages. Plan with your spouse, talk things out, and know what credit cards (if any) you are using. This has been vital for us! For example, we share one credit card, and we always communicate how we used it and the state of our bank account. Make sure plans and goals line up with each other so that there are no ‘surprises’.
3. NEVER STOP GIVING This may be a stretch for some, but for us, this has been huge. Tithing is something we are 100% committed to and believe in. Time and time again, even in the rough seasons we have continued to give and watch God NEVER fail us!. Giving empowers you, and it changes your focus from yourself – to other people. It doesn’t have to big, but whatever it is, God loves a cheerful giver! 2 Cor 9:7
4. TALK Talking to others, whether it be friends, leaders, or family members allows you to not isolate yourself. One of the worst things we can do, is knowing that there is a problem, and NOT reaching out for advice or help. Seek out trusted friends to share ideas, strategies and money saving deals. Advisers and support networks will allow you to be encouraged and inspired to move forward!
5. BUDGET I can’t stress enough the importance of getting on a budget and sticking to it!. Knowing your priorities will help set the course. Take some time to sit down and write out every expense – know all that’s coming in, and all that’s going out. Cut things out if need be. Cable is a great example of something that’s not needed. This is a great post to give you ideas of some budget sheets found here.
6. PLAN You won’t be disappointed if you take some time (with your spouse) and generally plan for the year ahead. Think of the things you would like to do with your family – vacations, day trips, dinners out etc….. and budget accordingly. My husband and I plan for a date night out each month, so we put a dinner or dessert out in the budget. Even meal planning will make a big difference when going grocery shopping. Planning for retirement and having an emergency fund are also extremely important!
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to want. Proverbs 21:5
Things may not change over night, but go slow, stay committed and keep taking steps to move forward. Remember, It CAN be done.
When you have the END in mind, there will be JOY in your commitment!