Our family of four lives on one income. Before, we get deeper into this post, I do want to clarify that this is not a post about why every one should live on one income. Different things work for different families. I’ve worked outside the home in the past, but for now, we’ve decided that I should be at home instead of working out elsewhere, it’s what works best for our family. When writing this, I had only just started making money on my blog, but we weren’t able to live off of the money. It’s going straight into savings for our house (after taxes), so we were still living off of one income, my husbands.
I share lots of money saving tips, because frankly, you do have to get creative sometimes to survive on just 1 income, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or even miserable! One thing that I have learned is that money saving starts in the mind, your head has to be in it, before you get your budget and checkbook to follow suit. Here are the top ways that that help us to save mentally.
- No Credit Debt – We have recently gotten some credit cards, but only to build credit. We pay them off every month, and never let ourselves get into debt that way. While, we will eventually have a home mortgage, we don’t want any debt beyond that, other than what is necessary to build credit. This ensures that we continue to live modestly, and we don’t end up paying interest on everyday purchases.
- We Live Beneath Our Means – From our very first jobs as a married couple, we’ve made a conscious effort to live beneath our means. Officially, we might be able to afford specific extras, but we don’t let ourselves get in the habit of using every dime that comes into our bank account. This helps us to save more money for a house and live generously, even though we are not making loads of money.
- Creativity – It definitely takes creativity! Finding the cheapest places to buy essentials, shopping in thrift stores for “new” clothing, using these tricks in the grocery store to save on food and doing things like this for birthday presents. You can save money on pretty much anything, if you just take the time to figure out how. Sometimes, it’s not worth the time or effort it would take to save on something, but it’s worth checking to see if there’s something you are missing!
- Worldview – This is a big one. I lived in the Philippines for several years as a teen, and the memories from my time there do a lot to help me keep my spending in check. I taught school, and sent my students home at night, knowing that many of them wouldn’t have another meal until their free lunch at school the next day. Some of my best friends fed their families on $1 a day. Remembering that we are so blessed to even have a clean home, with sufficient food for our children, does a lot to keep us thankful and thrifty, even when we are tempted to buy more than we should.
- Forget the American Dream – Our culture tells us that we “need” and “deserve” so many things, when the truth is, we do not. I’m not condemning having nice things, but there is definitely a line between needing something nice, and obsessing over the next purchase. Many times people have told me things like “well you have to enjoy yourself” or “you need to indulge in XYZ too”, as if it is an essential part of life. My answer is always; “no, I don’t”. I don’t have to indulge in anything extra. I can, and I do, but it’s not a requirement of my life or essential to my happiness. Thinking this way actually enables me to enjoy things more when I do choose to experience something, because it truly is special. It’s not something I feel I’m owed, it’s something I’ve made an intentional decision to enjoy or participate in, and that causes me to be thankful for the opportunity, instead of feeling entitled and wanting more.
- Be Content – This is a mental game as well. Choose to be content with what you have. Don’t spend your time desiring what you don’t have. Set daily reminders for yourself, of what you want more than whatever you are choosing not to indulge in. Maybe you want to save for a house, or retirement, more than you want that new piece of technology. Perhaps you would rather give money to a charity more than you really want that new pair of shoes or the adorable new top. Or for you, maybe it’s staying home with your kids, and you’d rather do that, then have the means to get your hair cut in a fancy spa every month. When you really compare what you are sacrificing, to the reason that you are making the sacrifice, oftentimes it enables you to be more content. Contentment has been a long journey for me, but I’m so thankful that I’m getting there, and learning to be truly happy where I am, even when I still desire other things.
Some of these tips can be helpful ways of thinking, regardless of how many sources of income your family may have. While each point may not apply to everyone, I hope this post helps you evaluate how you want to be spending your money, and encourage you to work towards your goals!
What is your top tip for saving money? Does it start in your mind as well?
For more practical savings tips, check out these posts by clicking the images!