So you’ve got a couple of kids, life is too hard when both parents are working 9-5 and one of you decides to throw it away and become a stay-at-home parent. Maybe you’re expecting a child and decide that once maternity leave is over, you won’t be returning to the workplace. Your family is now down to one income, and you guessed it – you’re now not a single, surviving like you once were, but have a family to support. Not only do you need to be able to support yourself and your family, but you also need to budget your income to end with some savings. It’s not easy when living costs continue to creep north, but it can be done. True to form, we are here to help guide you through a way to save (probably for your well-deserved holiday) on one income.
In most cases, you will be very aware of the expected addition to the family. So the obvious step would be to start saving immediately while you are still living on two incomes. Try using one for bills and living expenses and saving the entirety of the other in the bank while gaining interest on top of it. If you end your budget cycle on a surplus, stick that in the bank as well and start allowing yourself the same amount every month. You never know, this could go towards a deposit for a car loan seeing as you’ll probably need to upgrade from your dodgy first car that has seen you through thick and thin.
Stick to one credit card (if need be)
Normally, it is recommended to use the money you actually have, and not pre-empt income, but for a family starting out, a credit card can be helpful. If used sensibly and correctly, it could result in a good credit score and help in the event of a loan whether it be for a house or vehicle finance. Not all debt is bad debt, so if you borrow to create more income or gains, you could be one of the lucky ones. Just don’t rack up the debt on a credit card and hope that you have enough savings to pay it off when one income doesn’t cover it. Make full payments back each month on a credit card and don’t use it as an expandable loan facility – it can quickly turn into more debt.
Get an emergency fund
It doesn’t matter how small it is in the beginning, but you need to start so you can prepare for the worst. Like many of you know, having kids is unpredictable and expenses seem to always be popping up left, right and centre. Don’t be caught out not having enough to pay the gap in unexpected medical procedures or your school fees get hiked up. Just be cautious about it, and make sure, like the name suggests, only use it for emergencies and not when you are feeling a bit down and go on a shopping spree.
Set up an account with a goal that you want to hit (ideally this should be equal to approximately 3 months of living expenses) and keep an ATM card for it. It’s then easy to withdraw the funds and one less stress will be on your plate in a time of stress.
DIY is the epitome of maximising your family savings. When you’re single and have no one else to worry about, you don’t mind spending on things you could do yourself. Things like taking your pants to the tailors or buying takeaway for dinner would be expenses for your single self, but when you gain new additions, you’ll be amazed how good you are on the sewing machine or in the veggie patch. Store-bought pasta sauce move aside, you’re now handy in the kitchen and a saving guru.
Just because you decided to be the stay-at-home parent doesn’t mean you can’t still earn an income! Put your crafty quirks that you’ve discovered above to good use and you can create an online store or a market stall and sell your goods for a little extra pocket money. If making and creating is out of the question, but you’re good with words, put that to use as a freelance writer. It’s definitely not a full-time wage, but certainly has its perks.
Now that you’ve got these tips on hand, go out and conquer the world of saving on one income. It’s easy to cut down on spending as long as you live within your means. I guess that means no more pay-tv, but the kids are still more than welcome to kick the soccer ball around outside! It’s the little things that add up to make a plump savings account.