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The Game Plan: How We Went from Two Incomes to One


Guest post from Tosh of Super Coupon Lady [2]

When I decided to leave the classroom after ten years of teaching, I knew the hardest job I would ever do was just beginning. You see, I wanted badly to be home with my children who (since six weeks old) spent about ten hours a day in daycare. I wanted to have more time for my home, for my faith, and for the many other “I wish I could haves” in life that I seemed to keep putting off.

My husband has a decent job, but by no means can he support our family of four (plus a dog!) on his own. So we carefully concocted a plan of how this would all work. How could I leave the traditional work field and and how could we survive as a one-income family?

Well surprisingly, it was possible. We had to roll our sleeves up and make some tough choices, but in the end it was worth it!

I think you might be surprised how truly simple it is if you are willing to do a little hard work.

1. Chart what you will SAVE.

This part of the process is the best way to start because it is very encouraging. Make a chart of how much money you can save by going to one income. Will you no longer have to buy daily work lunches? Will you no longer need to purchase work uniforms or expensive business attire? Will you save on gas from not having to drive 25 miles to work?

For us, we not only saved on all of these expenses, but would no longer be paying nearly $1,000 a month for daycare. That was huge.

2. Chart what you will GAIN.

Next, chart what you will gain. For us it was more time as a family, no more dependance on daycare, time to cook healthier dinners, to be able to stay home with sick children, plus so much more.

While I miss the holiday parties with my classroom children, I am so excited to be helping at the classroom parties of my own children!

Chart these things and see how great it makes you feel and motivates you.

3. Start cutting.

The first thing that we needed to do was start looking at our expenses and making some drastic cuts.

Extras and little conveniences were the first to go. No more cable movie rentals, no more high definition channels, no more extras tied into our cell phone plans. We cut back on dining out, our clothing budget, kept our thermostat at a cooler temperature and just got use to wearing sweaters, plus a lot more.

Try not to look at this step as painful, look at it as eliminating the extra and unnecessary to make room for what you really want — more time with your family!

4. Find ways to supplement the one income.

Even though you left your job and are necessarily looking for a new job, there are still plenty of ways you can supplement your income [3] from the convenience and comfort of your home.

Perhaps you have enjoyed cosmetics and would want to start doing home parties? Perhaps you can watch a neighbor’s child one day a week? There are plenty of ways to add a few hundred extra dollars to your monthly income.

I have been able to help out a few days a month doing some online research for a company, as well as babysit for a friend. I also take online surveys to earn gift cards [4] that come in handy during the holidays. In fact, I was so proud when over $100 worth of gifts was purchased for family this year using gift cards I had earned!

When you find ways to supplement, the extra income helps with groceries, birthday gifts, and other odds and ends that pop up during the month.

5. Sell what you don’t need.

Living on one income can be scary, especially if you don’t have an emergency fund. Create one by selling items you no longer need. This can be clothing, jewelry, toys, everything!

Clothing can be taken to consignment stores for instant cash, as can kid’s clothing and toys. Jewelry if broken or outdated can be sold for scrap. Other usable or collectible items can be sold online though auctions such as eBay, and handmade goods can be sold through online venues such as Etsy.

I put a few things a month on eBay to generate extra funds, and it works well. People have bought everything from an old coat I had to an unopened bottle of high end facial cleanser.

Etsy is a great place to sell handmade ornaments and vintage items I have. It is quite fun and satisfying to turn our junk into cash and build an emergency fund should an appliance go out or an emergency pop up.

Remember, living on one income takes work and determination. It can seem daunting at first, but in the end the gains are huge.

Your friends may not quite understand, and you may feel frustrated — I heard many comments like, “It must be nice to not have to work and live off of your husband,” and things of that nature. There seems to be this impression that by leaving my traditional job I now spend my days at Starbucks. What they didn’t see was that I spent the previous evening cutting out coupons with the kiddos and stitching up some fun old fabric into curtains so we wouldn’t have to buy new ones.

The reality is you will never work harder or have to be more prepared and organized. But in the end, it is a decision that is up to each individual and can be very rewarding!

Tosh, aka Super Coupon Lady [2], teaches others how to coupon easily, save money, and score freebies. You can follow her recipes, frugal tips, style ideas and more on her blog [2] and on Pinterest [5]!

photo credit [6]