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Managing Money From A Single Income

Jan 29, 2008
Money is always at the core of marital friction, especially if there has been a drastic and sudden switch from a double to a single income. The best solution is to talk the matter over with your spouse unsparingly. The two of you should be able to arrive at a compromise and stick to your budget, no matter how difficult the situation becomes.

Save Money, No Matter What Happens

Just because you're living on smaller earnings does not mean you have to pass up the habit of saving 10% of your income. The money you save will come in handy for an emergency expense or for a project you have in mind. After deducting this amount from your take-home pay, start budgeting your monthly expenses.

When budgeting, list all your expenses. Separate payables for utilities and debts or credit that racks up interests. The bigger bulk of your budget should be allocated to food. A breakdown of your budgeting should show the following allocations: house expenses at 35%, living expenses groceries, entertainment, and utilities at 25%, and 15% for transportation. This can be adjusted if you have no existing debts.

Pay Bills On Time

Unpaid bills or late payments of bills will cost you more in extra charges and harm your credit rating. Credit agencies keep track of your payment records. A blot like this in your record will affect your chances of getting credit in the future when you need a loan.

If you don't have money to pay your bills, call the creditor without delay and explain your predicament. The creditor will be ready to help you out and arrange for another payment schedule. You save yourself from additional charges, too.

Not paying your bills will land your family in an unheated house, no water running from the tap, and no electricity. Just imagine the inconvenience it would cost your family. You don't want to punish your family and yourself further.

Track Your Expenses

After building a budget around your income, start tracking your expenses from day one. How much have you spent for the first day? Did you spend more than you should? Could the expense have been eliminated? How about your utilities? Are you saving on heat, water, and electricity? On a single income, these are serious considerations.

On the first month of living on a single income, start conserving the use of electricity, water, and heat. The entire family should pitch in to lower utility bills. Instead of two TVs running in the evenings, let the family share the TV in the living room. At 10 PM, children should be in bed and all lights should be out by then. To enforce this rule, you and your partner should be role models, so no more late night TV shows and Internet surfing.

Plan a weekly menu and buy your meats and vegetables fresh. They're tastier and cheaper compared to those frozen gourmet dinners and healthier than those take-out food. This means you'll be cooking more for your family. Cook your partner's lunch early in the day so he can take home-cooked food to work.

Stash those receipts. You'll need these when you're doing your home accounting of expenses. You will be able to track down and review your expenses. List down what should be further eliminated - things you can do without like newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Anyway, you've got the TV and the Internet to keep in touch with the world.

At the end of the month, together with your spouse, review how you've fared with your budgeting efforts. You'll be amazed at your skill in making do with less without sacrificing the comfort of the family.
About the Author
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