Guest post from Kemi of Homemaking Organized
About 10 years ago when we happily discovered we were pregnant, we knew we needed to make some drastic lifestyle changes to welcome the coming baby. Before we were even married we had planned that I would be staying home to care for and homeschool our future children. That meant we would have to adjust from living on two incomes to one, my husband’s.
At the time we were living okay on two incomes. We only had one car, we lived in a two bedroom/two bath home, we took vacations about once a year, we ate out regularly but I cooked a lot at home, we tithed, we shopped, and we saved a little.
We both made good money but at the end of each month we didn’t have much left. We didn’t know quite how we were going to do it. It didn’t seem we had much to budge. Or so we thought.
We had about eight months to figure it out before our little one made an appearance so we got busy. Here’s how we did it.
The first thing we did was look at where all of our money was going. We pulled out our accounts and listed where the money went each paycheck.
Not necessarily in this order this is where we were spending the bulk of our money each month.
2. Home and Utilities
3. Food and eating out
5. My shopping
We knew that our home, utilities and our tithing were not going to change. So those things stayed put.
Next, we realized we ate out about once a week and my husband would also purchase lunch and snacks during the day. That added up to a few hundred each pay period. I have a food allergy so I was bringing my own foods to work. We knew these eating patterns had to change.
Also in my husband’s job, he has to have certain tools. He is not reimbursed for them but we do itemize them on our taxes. The problem was he was a little “tool happy”. He was buying a lot of tools and they were adding up. So this was something to look into.
One we decided these things, we had to address my own shopping. I was not a huge clothing shopper but still I had to pay attention to the other things I might spend a lot on. Household appliances, perfumes, soap, and so on… these small purchases can add up quickly!
We gave ourselves small budgets in these areas and eliminated eating out altogether because it wasn’t necessary and with my food allergy it wasn’t that much fun for me anyway.
We started to live off of one income as soon as possible. The extra would be put into savings.
We started off making a budget for the one income.
We made plans to pay off the car. We had less than a year on the payments and figured we could funnel the extra money we saved from restaurant eating and tool buying into paying off the car faster.
Where we Are Today:
It’s 10 years later. I’m at home homeschooling our daughter. We continue to tithe and we have the same car — it’s now paid off.
We eat out maybe four times a year for special occasions. My husband buys the occasional tool as needed.
We have a savings account. We still take vacations but they are closer to home (the beach).
My husband has received cost of living raises throughout the years but nothing drastic. I still shop but only where needed. I make a little working online but nothing to replace my previous income. Not even close.
Was it painless? For the most part, yes. We were blessed.
I had friends looking to make similar changes ask me how we did it. One of the things that most were not willing to give up was two cars. I can understand this. We were actually blessed here because my husband has a work truck so I have the car. Looking back, if we had to do it again without the truck, saving to buy another new to us car would be a good option.
What if you had to cut your income in half? Could you do it? What changes can you make in your budget to cut back on excess and build a decent savings account?
Kemi Quinn is a wife, mother, church musician, and amateur cook from Vancouver, Washington. She loves to read about how women kept home in time’s past (aka Vintage Homemaking). She writes over at Homemaking Organized about how to keep organized at home today.