So your thinking about becoming a stay at home mom or even a stay at home dad but you’re stuck on exactly how to make that happen financially. Your molded into the financial burden world of having to work to live. But in reality you should be living more than working. You should be able to enjoy the tiny moments you want with your children.
As a stay at home mother of four I’m here to tell you it is possible. Your dream of spending more time with your kids instead of sending them off to day care or a babysitter can happen. It’s doable and worth it.
Now if your here and thinking well I don’t want to be a stay at home parent I just want to learn how to live off one income as a family then this is meant for you also. Living off one income while having two in your family opens up your horizon for all the experiences to be made.
While living off one your family’s second income could go straight into your savings, used to payoff debt or fund your next vacation or adventure.
Now I know there’s tons of different budgeting techniques and teachers and plans and ohh my of everything out there. And although they may work for lots of people there’s always someone who it might not work for. So I’m here to share how my family and I do it in hopes that it will be able to help you and your family reach your one income budget goals.
Have a plan
Before you can dive directly into living off one income you have to have a plan. You need to know what your really wanting to do. How your going to do it. And what your going to gain from it.
For my husband and I… we knew we didn’t want to have to rely on daycare. We knew that we wanted one of us (me) to be able to stay home and take care of our kids.
So we actually prepped our budget and finances before we had kids so when we were ready to start our family we already had our plan in place.
Now you might be thinking how do I plan for that? Well first you need to create a budget, which brings us to the next part.
Have a budget
To financially plan a huge cut back on the income coming into your home you need to sit down and write out your budget. Like actually write it out. Don’t try to do it in your head. You need a visual representation of where your money is going and how you plan to cut back on things you don’t need to make room for the things you want.
For us we have always wrote out each and every item we HAD to have first. Home, electric, groceries, diapers, gas, food, phones and etc. At the top of your list you need to have it be what you must need! Include it all! We have a food budget and a home budget. Our home budget covers toilet paper, trash bags and things like that. It’s separate from what we budget for groceries. We also have a separate diaper budget.
Write down the exact amounts and then round up. Over time this will give you a tiny cushion for when prices go higher.
For anything not at the top of that list write them down and decide what is more important. That expense or living off one income. If you decide you don’t need it. Then get rid of it.
If it’s a contract or something along those lines… then make a plan to pay it off as soon as you can! To sooner it’s off your list the sooner you get to enjoy what you want. Which takes us into the third part of this.
Cut back on bills
In order to learn how to live off one income you have to learn how to live with less bills. You don’t need a bill for everything. Go into this with the mindset that whatever you need you can only get if you pay cash for it or your willing to take away from somewhere else on your budget.
We personally rarely use credit cards. Unless we absolutely have to. And always with a plan. When we use one we know exactly when we will be paying it off and how. Before we even charge to it. You don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of credit cards. It’s very hard to get out of.
If your already there then I really recommend Dave Ramsey way of paying off debt. I’ve never used it but I like the concept of how he does it.
Build up a savings
One of the hardest things I’d say when you go to living off one income is building up your savings. But it’s very important and you need to contribute as much to it as you can. Even if it is in the smallest increments ever. Because one day your going to need to tap into that “rainy day fund” and your going to be so grateful that you have it.
When you live off one income you could be very well be diving into the pay check to pay check living. That’s where the budgeting helps and the savings help. Because when a sudden expense happens your savings are there to help you so you don’t go off track and fall behind.
There are tons of ways to do a savings. I’ve seen a certain amount each week. A certain percent. I say start with what’s left over after you’ve paid for the items at the top of your list your wrote. Even is it’s just a couple dollars here and there. Those dollars add up! And now to the next topic where we talk about planning for the larger expenses that we know are going to happen and when.
Prepare for larger expenses well in advance
What I consider to be a larger expense that I know is going to happen is Christmas and our kids birthdays. We know exactly when they are going to happen. So to prepare for them my hubby and I plan for them well in advance.
We never want to struggle or be caught off guard by these events happening before we even realized the time passed us by. We also want to be able to shop when the deals are going on so we get the best bang for our buck.
So you can create a separate savings section that you take out each paycheck and set aside. Make sure to plan the budget for that expense first! And divide you the amount of time you need to save for it. Or….
What we personally do is take it right out of our tax return we receive. Each year when our taxes come in the very first things that we take from it and set aside and never touch until it’s for the purpose they were intended for is our children’s birthday and Christmas budget.
We don’t charge our cards and we don’t take away from our weekly budget expenses by doing this. We look at our tax return as the fund for what we want and to prepare for the next season of life happening that year. If it ever falls short then we plan accordingly and add to it with enough time to not be burdened by the occasion and it’s expenses. We always plan and know what we need to buy before we do for these events.
Think before you buy
Is your a “shopper” then this is where your going to have to train yourself to think first and buy later. If you don’t need it. Don’t buy it! Easier said then done but definitely a rule your going to need to in-force into your mindset. The next section plays a big part on this.
When you choose to live off one income you choose to let things go. And shopping freely without thought is one of those things. Because you can easily find your self out looking for a job to just catch yourself back up to your main list bills!
No fun taking back steps on your journey over things you didn’t even need. Now you might be wondering… how do I stop myself from a random splurge? Well that’s our next section.
Check in with each other
The best way to hold your self accountable when budgeting and living off one income and not buying random stuff you don’t need. Is to make a deal with your other half that when it comes to purchases outside the budget you made you will check in with each other first before you get it.
No one is going to tell you how useless the items are more than the person who’s living with you and living the budget life with you. They will know first hand if it’s something you have to have or something you can save for and get later. Because they are living on the same list of items you are!
Let them be your back bone to those splurges. Let them help you hold yourself accountable to what you agreed on together. And don’t look at it as “asking for permission” to buy the item. Because that’s not what your doing. Your relying on them to help talk you off the impulse shoppers cliff and bring you back to reality and what you really want!
Here’s a quick recap of my tips to help you and your family to learn how to live off one income.
Now I know I could easily add 100 more things to this list but it’s not in the details. It’s in what you and your family really want from having one income. So these are just the basics to help you find your why, put your why into action and how to stick why you started the journey of a one income family.
I believe in you and I believe that if your truly want this you can and will make it happen. Each step to this life is a step worth taking. I’ve never regretted this choice we made and I don’t think I ever will. So I encourage you to do what your heart tells you. No one knows what your family needs more than you!
Thank you for taking the time to check out my post… I appreciate you!
Until next time,