The pandemic changed the lives of many Americans. Thousands of businesses have closed or reduced their staff, costing people their jobs and livelihoods. As a result, many people now find themselves reduced to a single income. The good news is there are ways to make this new and unexpected situation work.

Reducing Debt

Large amounts of credit card debt from multiple sources can consume more of your budget than affordable. Merging the debt by obtaining a consolidation loan will lower the amount of money required to pay monthly. This can free up funds you can use to buy food and other essentials.

Create a Household Budget

Creating a household budget will allow you to see exactly what you owe out and to whom. Besides obtaining actual numbers, which can sometimes be a wake-up call, you’ll get a sense of where you stand financially. A household budget gives you the tools to get your finances in order, lower debt, and save money for emergencies, vacations, and retirement.

Lowering Overhead Costs

Many people simply pay their utility, cable, and cell phone bills without thought. However, when you’re looking to shave off dollars from everywhere, this is a place that can provide positive results. Cable bills can run a few hundred dollars or more monthly. Switching the service to another carrier with the lowest cost or remaining with your current service provider and removing extra channels can lower the bill significantly. Cell phones are similar. Don’t think that all the rates are the same; they are not. Call a few different companies to see what they charge. Regarding your electric and gas bills, deregulations pave the way for healthy competition. When companies compete, you, as the consumer, benefit.

Trimming Wasteful Spending

With only one person working, it’s necessary to spend money wisely. This means that things like dining out, ordering takeout, and buying things you don’t really need to be reserved for special times. Making one trip to run errands will also save you money on gas and keep your mileage low. Food shopping is another area that can consume a large amount of your monthly income. Thankfully, most stores don’t have the same items on sale weekly, allowing you to save money if you’re willing to visit several stores on the same day. Using coupons and going to stores that offer benefits for loyalty, or rewards in money, or free items, are a few other ways to cut costs. Then, add this money to a savings account to invest in other areas of your life.

Emergency Fund

When you only have one income to support your family, any unexpected expense can cause you to use money allocated for other expenses. In times of immediate need, there are loans for emergency matters that you can apply for. Ultimately, you want to open a savings account and make small weekly deposits. This way, when your car or home needs attention, you’ll have the money set aside to keep your budget intact.

Entertainment

Living on one income doesn’t mean that you stop living. Thankfully, there are numerous things you can do as a couple or a family for a small fee or for free. Go to a Redbox and rent movies, have a family game night, and do crafts. Libraries and many museums and art centers are open to the public. For a nominal fee, you can have a fun day out. Go online to sites that provide discounts for restaurants and entertainment and make plans for a special evening out within your budget.

Part-Time Work from Home

If you want to remain at home, but need extra money for holidays, vacations, and birthdays, consider finding part-time work online. The internet is a place that most people use daily. Companies are always searching for freelancers for blogs and web pages to write content. With many schools closed, tutors are also in high demand. If you have the skills to make things, list your products online at sites like eBay and Etsy.

Living on one income does require some changes in your lifestyle. However, there are many ways to reduce costs across the board without reducing your quality of life.

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