Living on One Income

The definition of family has changed throughout the years. It used to be you would have a child and the wife/mother would stay at home with the child. Nowadays, many families consist of two working parents that bring in the necessary income to sustain a families' cost. More now than ever, the economic times has required both spouses to work full-time jobs (and in some cases more than one job each).

Many mothers (and fathers) would like the luxury of staying home to watch their children grow and are doing so regardless of their financial situation. If you are considering leaving your job to tend to your young children there are a few things to think about.

First off, take a look at your budget. Evaluate all of your monthly costs. Remember that your fixed expenses are going to remain the same from month to month, while other bills or flexible expenses may fluctuate each month. Calculate what your new monthly income will be without your contributions.
There are some expenses that you will be able to eliminate if you decide to stay home. You will no longer have to pay for daycare, which can be very expensive in some places. You may also be eliminating work related expenses like commuting, lunches out, and dress clothes. These are just a few things that you will not have to worry about paying for.

Talk with a tax professional to see if you can save on your taxes. Lowering your annual income can drop you into a lower tax bracket and lead to a smaller tax bill.

Of course, there are things that you will have to pay extra for now. You may have to pay for insurance or join your spouse's family plan. This can be expensive, but is absolutely necessary.

The best thing you can do is to plan ahead and practice. Start by asking family and friends who have been living off of one income. Their input can help you decide if the decision is one for you.

Try living on one income for a few months while you are both still working. Pay all of your bills and buy all of your groceries with your spouse's income to see if you can do it. By practicing for a few months you can afford yourself some mistakes and try and correct them before you do it for real. Use the saved income to help pay down some bills or to build up your savings for any emergencies.

There are some things that you can cut from your budget that may help you financially. You can downsize vehicles or even share one vehicle. If you do not have to commute very far than you can have the stay-at-home spouse drive you to work. It beats having to make an extra car payment.

Maybe you can cancel the newspaper or get rid of cable television and try and find a more affordable phone plan. Staying home to raise your child should be about spending more time with them and not watching daytime television. Even the littlest expenses each month can add up and make the difference between staying home or not.

When you choose to live off of one income you are taking a risk. If anything happens to the earner it can lead to many financial problems. If they have a job loss or injury there would be no income. That is why it is important to have and maintain a healthy savings account to bail you out until you can find more income. So if you cannot afford to put some money away into savings, then you might have to reconsider your options.

Another option you may consider is taking on a part-time job and working enough hours to stay ahead. You can look for work during the hours that your spouse can be home. That way there is always one parent with the child. This can be straining however as it will take time away from your spouse.
You can also look for some work that you can do from home. If you are currently employed, you may ask if they have any way for you to continue working from home.

In a perfect world, you would be able to take as much time as you would like to spend with your children, however there is a good chance that will probably never happen. So it is up to you to decide what is best for your family and with a thorough examination of your finances and a well thought plan you can decide what is best for yours.

Pioneer Credit Counseling is a bonded, non-profit credit counseling agency offering debt management programs, financial counseling, bankruptcy counseling and housing counseling nationwide.

Our accredited credit counselors will help you take control of your financial life and get out of debt faster than you can on your own. We offer a debt management program that will stop the collections calls, lower your monthly payment and provide you peace of mind. Our pre and post bankruptcy counselors provide an easy process for you so you can focus on rebuilding your financial being.

It is our policy at Pioneer Credit Counseling not only to help people get out of debt, but also educate in sound budgeting practices.

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