The Single Paycheck Household: Great Suggestions to Make It Easy


in Budgeting and Saving

To make the transition from being a two paycheck household to a single paycheck household easier, begin by planning ahead, if you’ve been given advanced notice of your layoff or if the downshift is caused by a personal choice, a pregnancy, for example. Living on one paycheck can be very easy and relatively painless for you and your family, with proper planning, if that’s possible.

Again, assuming you have either been given advanced notice of your impending job loss by your employer or the transition from a dual paycheck household to a single paycheck household is a personal choice, begin planning your new life about three months ahead of time, as this will help make living on one paycheck easier.

Gather your last three months of bank statements and review them in order to determine how much money you will need to meet your basic needs and get the bills paid monthly. Not only will this review allow you to see where you’re spending your money and where your money might be better spent, it also helps you to see where you can cut expenses in order to make that one paycheck stretch further. Cutting extra expenses, like eating out, will also make the transition to living on one paycheck a little easier.

Once you have looked through three months of bank statements and bills you should give living on one paycheck a trial run. Put the paycheck that will be gone in the near future in your savings account to provide a slightly larger safety net, if you will, in the event of some unforeseen event, once you eventually start living on one paycheck.

During your trial run of living on one paycheck you should also live on cash only. Don’t rely on credit cards as adding any amount of debt when you’re living on one paycheck only adds extra stress. Rather, try to make a habit of keeping all debts to a minimum, whether you’re living on one paycheck or two.

Living on one paycheck is also easier if you’re willing to see things a little differently. For example, you need not always buy everything new; check garage sales, thrift shops, swap meets, flea markets and Goodwill for bargains – you might be surprised at what you find. If you’re trying to update your home or a room, check out the mistake paint section in Lowe’s or Home Depot, for example, for paint bargains. You can get someone’s unwanted ‘custom’ paint at very low cost. Great furniture bargains, including pieces you can easily refinish yourself, can be found at thrift stores and garage sales all the time. Learning to make do with you have and learning to buy only what you can afford by paying cash are two great ways to live successfully on one paycheck. Look through weekly ads in your local newspaper and sign up for mailing lists for your favorite stores to get money saving coupons and other discounts both of which will help you save money and make living on one paycheck easier.

Downsizing your lifestyle to accommodate living on one paycheck when you’re comfortable living a two paycheck lifestyle is typically much harder than it is for someone who’s only lived on one paycheck, as they know no difference. Be thorough before transitioning to one paycheck then watch your purchases as both of these tips will help tremendously when you’re scaling back and living on one paycheck.

Other simple ways to simplify your life and save money include renting movies instead of visiting the theatre, renting books from the library instead of buying them and planning your grocery and task lists so you shop and work smarter while saving time and money.

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