We’re a one income family right now. In case you missed it, I quit my job, changed professions, and will student teach in the spring. At the least, we’ll be a one income family for 8 months. Whew.
We knew this was coming, though, as I went back to school last year to get my teaching certificate. It was just a matter of time before I would have to quit my job to student teach. We started talking about potential quit dates last year, and then we started preparing to be a one-income family.
It’s scary to lose half of your family income. But, fortunately, it was our choice, and so we had time to prepare for it. Here’s what we did:
1. We socked more away into savings. Ben and I are incredibly blessed to have no rent or mortgage (read why here). We did spend quite a bit fixing up the little old house, but after we paid to fix it up, we essentially started paying rent/mortgage into our savings. We put away X amount of dollars into a savings account every paycheck as if we were paying a mortgage or rent. And, those X dollars came out first, before we paid for extras. Once we made the decision that I would quit work this year, we started upping the amount we ‘paid’ into savings.
2. We pinched our pennies. Since we were adding more to savings, we had very little to spend elsewhere. That meant I packed my lunch/breakfast most every day. I was amazed at how much money I saved by packing my lunch. I’m talking at least $30 a week. I cooked more and we ate our less. We also started watching our consumption of gas and electricity. Again, I was impressed at the money we could save by making sure we turned a light off if we weren’t using it.
3. I paid more attention to couponing. I will admit, I have never ever ever ever been a couponer. I mean someone could hand me a coupon for a free loaf of bread and I wouldn’t use it. I don’t know why. Laziness? Forgetfulness? At any rate, I started looking into couponing. I researched different coupon sites and had my girl Lindsay do a quick couponing rundown for me. Now, I am nowhere near a star couponer. In fact, I’m still pretty pathetic. But, I’ve come a long way. Now I try to only buy things on sale or things I have a coupon for. I notice at least $20-40 savings each trip. That adds up, man!
4. I’ve upped my ‘diy’ game. A while back, I featured a post from Aryn for the My Thrifty Life series. She shared homemade cleaner recipes. At the time I was a little skeptical to use any homemade cleaner, thinking it wouldn’t do the job. But, I’ve been using homemade cleaners for a couple of months now, and I’m very pleased! Not only does it save money, I feel much more comfortable using it around PB. I used many of Aryn’s recipes, and then I found others, too. I’m planning a cleaning supply post soon, so I’ll share what I’m using.
5. I’ve spent more time in consignment shops. I’ve always loved to go to thrift stores for home decor (paint can change anything), but now I’ve found a new love for clothes consignment shops. For PB, consignment shops are a must. I do buy him new clothes occasionally, but it seems so pointless to buy him brand new clothes that he will either a) never wear, b) stain immediately, or c) outgrow in 2 months. So I’ve hit consignment stores/sales hard and have really racked up. I’ve also been able to rack up for Ben and myself at consignment stores. I love to get dress pants and skirts at thrift stores because they seem to never look ‘dated’. One of my favorite outfits for work was a $1 pencil skirt from Goodwill, a $5 clearance plain black scoop neck t-shirt from Target, and a $5 scarf from Walmart. An $11 outfit? That’s my language!
So that’s what we’ve done to help prepare ourselves to become a one income family. Nothing really inventive, but rather just plain common sense. Save more, spend less, cut corners where you can.
One thing that really cushions the blow, though, is our emergency savings. Ben and I both worked in college, and we started saving a little of our paycheck then (good thing I married him, huh?). We kept the money in shoebox under Ben’s bed (smart, I know). Birthday money, graduation money, and spare change went into that box. When I graduated college, we put the shoebox money onto a certificate of deposit (CD), and we forgot about it. We haven’t touched our CD in 4 years. We’ve probably got 3-4 months worth of living expenses on that CD. And now, being a one income family, I can’t stress enough the importance of having an emergency fund, especially if you’re just starting out. Though I hope we don’t have to use it, it’s been such a relief to know its there.
Are any of you part of a one income family? What do you do to help save money and cut corners?
Have a blessed Tuesday 🙂