Can You Afford to Become a One-Income Family?

one income familyWhile raising children, it’s nice to have one parent who stays at home.

For many families though, that just isn’t feasible.

The majority of families these days rely on two incomes to pay the bills.

However, a considerable number of people make the conscious decision to switch to a single income.

One spouse doesn’t necessarily have to make a huge amount of money to make this possible.

Keep the following considerations in mind before making the decision to become a one-income family.

Eliminate Debt before Making the Switch

When switching to a single income; you should start with the cleanest financial slate possible. The main order of business is to pay off as much debt as you can. If you current have a lot of credit card debt, it should be paid off before making the switch. As for auto loans, you should try to have only one at the very most. If you have two loans, sell one car and buy a used one with cash.

Save One Person’s Income for at Least Three Months

It’s smart to make a test run before officially switching to a single income. For at least three months, take all of one spouse’s income and sock it away in savings account. If possible, have it automatically deposited into a savings account to resist the temptation to save it. This will accomplish two things: It will let you build an emergency fund, and it will give you a feel for whether you can truly survive on one income or not.

Cut Costs Wherever You Can

In the months leading up to switching to a one-income budget, you should try to cut as many costs as possible. Do you have gym memberships? Cancel them and try running or bicycling instead. How much do you pay for car insurance? By shopping around for cheap car insurance online, you may be able to shave a lot off of your monthly payment. Do you really need that premium cable package or unlimited cell phone plan? Pare down services like those to save cash. Every little bit definitely helps.

Switch to Using One Car

If only one spouse is going to head to the office every day, is it really necessary to have two cars? Many single-income families get by with one car. Even if the kids are in school, they may be able to walk or ride the bus. Errands can be handled after the working spouse returns home for the day, or they can be saved for the weekends. By eliminating one car, you will slash your car-related costs in half.

Consider a Part-Time or Work-from-Home Job

Even if one spouse decides to stay home, he or she may still be able to earn some money. A part-time job in the evenings or on the weekends can contribute some much-needed extra cash. Another idea is to try to find a work-from-home job. Thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of such opportunities available. Even if the stay-at-home spouse only works a few hours per week, the extra money is sure to come in handy.

Skip Expensive Restaurant Meals

With one spouse at home, it will be easier to prepare home-cooked meals more regularly. That can save a lot of money as well. Make a point of steering clear of expensive restaurant meals most of the time. It’s still okay to treat yourselves every once in a while, but the majority of the meals that your family enjoys should be prepared at home.

With these tips, it’s more than possible to survive and even thrive as a single-income family.

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