5 Tips for Living on a Single Income

At the moment my family are living on one income while I’m studying at University. While we are definitely not rolling in it, (There’s a reason I write about how to live a great life on a budget!) we make do, and never really feel like we are going without. I thought this week I would share some of my suggestions for making life on one income a little easier.

  1. Needs versus Wants – It’s so easy to get caught up in all things you think you have to have these days. But how many of them are really necessary? Sit down with your partner and figure out what things are needs and what are simply wants, and then make cuts to your budget where you can. Figure out what your family can live without and go with it.
  2. Set yourself limits – If there’s something you know you can’t all go without absolutely, but that is definitely more of a want than a need, try just cutting back. Set yourself limits on frivolous spending and stick to them. You can still have your cake and eat it too, just be sensible about it.
  3. Make sure everyone knows your budget – Sometimes when I think I have all the numbers figured out, my husband throws a spanner in the works by telling me he needs money for soccer or something I didn’t know about. After a few (maybe several), conversations about how I can’t just make money appear, he now knows to give me advance warning for such things so I can include them in our budget. I also try and make sure he knows what bills and things we have coming up, so it isn’t a complete surprise to him when I tell him there’s no spare money for something one week. Living on one income is much easier when we’re both on the same page as to where we are up to with our budget.5 Tips for Living on a Single Income 1
  4. Track your money – It’s easier for money to be frittered away when you don’t know exactly where it’s going. Keeping track of what you’re spending your money on will allow you to identify any problems as they arise, so you can work out a solution. The upside of living on one income is there is less money to keep tabs on.
  5. Remember why you’re doing it – When the bills are flying in and it all seems like too much, remember why you are doing this. Maybe like me you’re studying to better yourself and further your career. Or maybe it’s important to you for you to be at home with your babies. Whatever the reason, focus on that, and I am sure you will figure it out. If you need more  hints for living on a budget, take a look at my posts with ways to save, or some of my budget-friendly ideas.

What’s your best advice for living on a single income? I’d love to hear it in the comments.

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5 Ways to Save This Winter

Yesterday marked the start of winter. Does anyone else feel like this year is disappearing at an alarming rate? I swear I only just wrote my 5 Ways to Save This Autumn post! I’m not sure how we made it here but the weather is definitely getting colder, so today I am sharing 5 Ways to Save This Winter. To see my other posts with ways to save click here.

  1. Set your ceiling fans to turn the opposite direction. I am one of those strange (wonderful) people that can only sleep with a fan on, even in the middle of winter. There’s something about the noise I find soothing. So we don’t freeze, when the weather cools down my husband switches our ceiling fan to blow the other way. This means that instead of blowing cold air down on us, it blows the warm air above it out. This helps circulate the warm air around the room, allowing me to sleep to the sound of it’s gentle hum while we stay toasty and snug.
  2. Set your heating to 18 degrees and only heat rooms you are using. Setting your heating to this temperature will help keep your power bill from skyrocketing. Just as paying to cool an empty house in Summer is a waste, so too is paying to warm areas of your home you aren’t using in Winter.  Keep the warm air in by shutting doors.
  3. Turn your heater off 20 minutes before you leave the house. I know some days it’s a win just making sure the heater actually does get turned off before you leave the house (no, just me?). However if you remember, turning the heater off in advance means that you still get to enjoy the toasty warmth before you head out, but you’re not leaving a super warm house empty.
  4. Only fill the kettle with what you need. I mentioned in my 5 Simple Ways to De-Stress post that I love a good cuppa, especially when it’s cold outside. Save energy, and money, by only filling the kettle with the amount of water you need. Heating 4 cups of water is a waste if you are only making one cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. It’s only a small thing but it adds up over time.
  5. Utilise your blinds/curtains. Open your blinds/curtains during the day to let the sun in to warm the house. Just make sure to close them before it cools down in the evening, to keep the chill out. Thick curtains will also help keep warmth in.

So there you have 5 Ways to Save This Winter. What are your best tips for saving money as the weather cools down? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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5 More Ways to Save

Today I’m sharing another 5 things my family does to save money. If you missed my first 5 Ways to Save post click here to have a look.

  1. Menu Plan – I mentioned in my previous post 5 Ways to Make Cooking Dinner Each Night Easier, that having a menu plan helps make dinner time easier in my house, but it also helps us save money. Knowing in advance what we’re going to have for dinner that night means we don’t resort to take-away, unless it’s part of the plan. A treat every now and then is much more enjoyable than grabbing something quick on the way home because it’s 6pm and you haven’t had time to think about dinner yet.
  2. Spend an afternoon playing board games. It can be tempting to make sure you’re always doing interesting  things to entertain your kids but the reality usually is they are happy just spending time with you playing games. Kmart has a great range of board games for about $10 and you can enjoy them again and again (although it helps to have a few on hand so you can mix it up a bit). Skip the trip to the movies and pull out Checkers or Trouble. Enjoy just spending time doing things with your family (before it becomes “uncool” to hangout with Mum and Dad).
  3. If you do decide to go on an outing (let’s be honest we can’t stay home all the time), pack your own snacks to take with you. If your kids (or husband) are anything like mine, they always seem to get unbearably hungry the second we leave the house. Save yourself from having to stop for expensive (and often unhealthy) snacks by taking your own.
  4. YouTube workouts – Gym memberships can be an extra expense a lot of families can’t stretch the budget for. Save yourself money without having to skip your workout by taking a look at some of the work out videos available on YouTube. One of my favourites is Lucy Wyndham-Read, but there are plenty of others out there. (Always remember to check with your doctor before embarking on any new sort of fitness routine.)
  5. Switch to energy saving light bulbs. Energy saving light bulbs can use up to 50% less energy, saving you money on your electricity costs! Any reduction in our power bill is a big win in my book.

So there you have 5 more ways to save. Let me know in the comments your best tips for saving money.