ONE AND DONE: How to live on just one income

Posted By: Matt in Frugality on 03/01/2014 at 15:23:58

A friend of mine sent me a text message a few days ago and said he finally had enough.

He walked out of his job, one he has had for more than a decade, citing that he just "couldn't take it anymore."

He felt great, a sense of relief and couldn't believe how at peace he was with the decision.

And then, the conversation turned from passionate to practical rather quickly.

He realized that he was now a one income family, and that stretching a single paycheck might be a little tougher than having two to draw from every two weeks.

The aforementioned situation happens frequently, whether a person chooses to leave a job or is an unfortunate casualty of cut backs or the dreaded downsizing. In most cases, the person who has opted to either quit or was laid off without any say probably will get down to the business of tracking down a new job rather quickly.

But during the interim, they'll need to make significant changes to their budget, cut back on certain expenses and learn to manage down to the very last penny.

So how does one live on one income comfortably· The key word in that question is "comfortably," as most associate subtracting one paycheck from two equals plain spaghetti dinners and tuna for lunch a reality until a second income floats back to fruition.

But rather than view how you spend money on food as a negative, embrace the idea of eating at home, making dinner and saving money in lieu of restaurant hopping several times per week. In addition to decreasing your food costs, you may want to look into cutting some at home expenses: cable, phone or internet. There's also plenty of people that aren't afraid to broach the subject of negotiating a better interest rate on their credit card bills with their creditors.

Most likely assume that isn't a feasible request, but you'd be surprised how amiable your credit card company can be when it comes to your situation at hand.

Of course, you also realistically have to cut back in places that hurt more than missing your favorite TV show or downgrading that cell phone data plan. That includes curbing your clothing shopping or skipping the idea of overhauling your entire living room set until things ultimately settle down.

The core solution to surviving one a lone paycheck is making pragmatic and prudent decisions with your money, and understanding that things probably will get better sooner than later. But if your money woes tend to linger, you won't languish or find yourself overly frustrated by embracing your situation and implementing changes deemed helpful.

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