The economy has hit many families hard and with unemployment at an all-time high, many households must learn how to live on one income. These tips will not only help you financially, they also offer ideas on how to keep the lifestyle you had with two incomes.
1. Review Benefits You Can Use Now
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This tip involves taking an in depth look at some benefits you signed up for and may have forgotten about. For example, a credit card program you opted to sign up for offering short-term loss of job wages.
In addition, if you're living in a single-income household due to a job loss find out about unemployment and employer benefit programs and determine if you qualify for extra income due to job cessation.
2. Create a Budget
If you don't have a household budget, now is the time to start one. Find a budget template and list all income and expenses to determine your disposable income.
3. Start an Emergency Fund
As hard as it may seem to save money with only one income coming in, it's a necessary must-do. Once you know what your disposable income is, commit to saving a set amount each month.
It's important to start your emergency fund using an attractive venue that comes with higher interest rates such as a money market account. Look into short term CDs and seek the advice of a financial advisor such as those at Fisher Investments UK. Experts will be your best source in determining the best ways to set up the most attractive account.
4. Get What You Still Want By Sharing
Most families still desire a two-income lifestyle even when faced with less coming in. Seek out websites like SwapAce.com, a free share and swap organization. Using organizations like these allows you to find free video games, fashion, electronics, books and even ways to swap and share services or a vehicle.
Another good website is Freecycle.org where members can find furniture and other recyclables at no cost to use in their own homes. Don't buy a new crib or living room furniture—find gently used items instead. Watch DIY videos on how to paint, stain and revive furniture.
5. Resist the Urge to Charge
If you have credit card debt, don't make it worse by charging more. Look again at your disposable income and along with saving, pay off credit cards by tackling the one with the lowest balance first. This doesn't mean stopping payments on other cards—continue to pay the minimum payment on those but use extra disposable income to pay off card balances from the lowest to the highest. Contact credit card companies and ask if your interest rate can be lowered or if the payment due date can be changed to coincide with incoming wages.
6. Be Innovative to Boost Income
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Ever think of selling unused items on eBay or some other e-commerce platform like Etsy? Selling will bring in more income—just make sure the buyer pays shipping charges or include them in the cost of your items.
If you shined in English or mathematics—or play an instrument, consider offering lessons. If you have accounting, business or web design skills, start a consulting firm right from home. The Internet is full of at-home jobs, just be sure to research the companies offering these jobs and never pay a company to give you the job details.
Learning to live on a single-income household may seem like a hard thing to do but with these tips, your life will be more manageable.