When Two Incomes Become One: Changes we have made for the better!
We are one of those families that went from two incomes to one income – not by choice – and of course, it was the higher income (mine) that was lost.
We switched our youngest from full time preschool to part-time and I fill up our days together with playdates, library time, and running errands. For about a second I feel bad that she doesn’t do music classes or gym classes, but we make the most of our time together and what she does get is attention and love from Mommy.
We refinanced our mortgage, I switched to a cheaper gym, we don’t turn the heat on as high as we used to, we go out a lot less, we look for deals… all in all, we do most of the things that are recommended.
What advice can I offer for those that feel that they are already doing what they can? Well, I have two pieces of advice. The first is to lose the feeling that they need to keep up with the Joneses and instead share money tips with friends and neighbors. Many of those in my town live in gorgeous homes and drive Mercedes. Not us. Not even close. But everyone likes to save money. I have done clothing swaps with friends and have received tons of gorgeous outfits for my daughter. I likely will not need to buy anything for her this summer. We also do toy swaps. The kids don’t care if the toy or book is brand spankin’ new. It’s new to them and that’s what matters. We also just look out for each other. We forward Groupon deals that might be of interest; we also alert each other to sales that we see. For instance, I prefer a very pricey brand of pasta sauce. A friend who knows this will let me know when she sees it on sale at other stores in the area.
This may not be a possibility for everyone, but I started saving $30-$60 on hair services by having my hairstylist come to my house. When the salon raised her rates, I asked if she ever does house calls on her own. It turns out that she does on her days off. She makes more than the saloon pays her and I spend much less. Win-win for us both!
Another new habit? I go to the market more frequently. It helps me to buy only what is needed and less food goes to waste. Fortunately, I like to cook so it really helps me to think about what we have and how I can use it in order to finish up bits and pieces of food and not have it go bad.
Lastly, my new motto is to spend money on experiences, not items. After missing out on the wedding of the year because of money, I decided I wanted to live my life. It helps when I feel the urge to embark on a bit of retail therapy.