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7 Life-Saving Budgeting Tips for Single Income Families

Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Friday, May 1, 2020

Single mom working - Stressed businesswoman working at the kitchen table with laptop and calculator
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Get a snapshot of your finances right now.

Before we talk budgets, take an hour out of your day today if possible and do an inventory. Add up all your income. Find all your bills, automated online payments, grocery receipts—whatever you’re spending money on right now—and add it up. Use a budget calculator to make this part easy for you.

Be realistic about your expenses.

If you’re supporting a family of any size on just one income, know your limitations and be realistic about what expenses are necessary vs. luxuries. Regardless of whether you’re temporarily down to one income or if living on a single income lifestyle is part of your plan—there are some essential boundaries you need to establish around your costs of living.

Cut out the nonessentials.

As we mentioned, discernment between the essential and nonessential is paramount. Chances are you don’t need Netflix, HULU, Amazon Prime and Disney+.

Become adept at saving money, thrifting and saying no.

When you’re hitting the wall of not having enough money to cover your costs, there are only a couple of options: spending less and making more.

Ideally, doing both is the best way to fast track financial improvements – figure out how to bring in some extra income while trimming back expenses and finding ways to save. It’s all about behavior when it comes to budgeting, earning, savings and debt.

Plan like your life depends on it.

Author and coach James Clear says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” And when it comes to budgets, this could not be more true. Holding a belief about money and implementing a plan to control your finances are two very different things.

Here’s a shortlist of things you can start planning now to make your financial life better and less stressful:

1. Plan every meal: 3 meals per day. 7 days per week.

2. Prewrite your grocery lists based on the ingredients you need.

3. Plan time to research coupons and find out which stores will save you money.

4. Plan essential shopping trips to coordinate with the best offers you can find.

5. Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you. Overspending during Christmas time is responsible for serious credit card debt.

6. Set budgets for categorical, nonrecurring expenses. These include gifts, shopping for school clothes, technology purchases, vacations and home improvement projects

7. Research and get the best prices you can find for recurring expenses like utilities and insurance.

8. Get life insurance ASAP. Term life insurance is generally affordable and protects your family to provide income for them should something happen to you.

Don’t take on debt.

Nothing can eat up your monthly available income faster than credit card bills. If you can’t afford something, you can’t afford the debt that it brings either, so whenever possible, avoid racking up any credit card debt.

Consider calling in the experts.

If fitting credit card payments into your budget no longer feels manageable, consider working with a certified credit counselor to discuss your options. Combined with smart budgeting and financial education, debt management strategies can help you get your family out of debt and back on track financially.

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