With living costs, endlessly climbing, families living on a single income (usually provided by the father) have to seriously cut spending. If you sit down with your spouse and go through the various expenses you have to pay every month, you will find ways of cutting costs. For example, you will be able to save on electricity bills by changing from standard light bulbs to energy-saving, environment friendly bulbs. Turning off lights in rooms that are not in use is another money-saving idea. Using fans instead of air-conditioners during the hot months of summer is another. Indeed using common sense you will find various methods where you are able to save huge amounts on home utilities. If you are one of the millions of single income families that has a giant TV with more cable channels than States in the Union, perhaps you should give some thought to canceling your cable TV contract. Most men would be against this money-saving move, citing TV is no longer a luxury but a necessity in every household. This, of course, is untrue – in the 21st century the Internet is far more essential.
There are various newspapers that offer shopping coupons in their weekend editions. Many people disregard these specials as mere ephemera and thus not worth investigating. However, coupons are quite often big money savers. Read the conditions for each coupon and see if you are able use it at your local supermarket; according to statistics shoppers using coupons are able to save thousands of dollars per year. There are coupons for almost all types of shopping these days, however it appears, groceries are the most popular. Coupons are not only found in newspapers, often you are able to find vouchers in supermarkets, electrical stores and other retailers. Japan, for example, actually has coupon/voucher vendors who sell discounts on everything from groceries to movie theater tickets. There are people who purposely will not use vouchers because they consider coupons and the like only for low-income families – in short, they believe there is a stigma attached to coupon use. Don’t be one of these people; the use of coupons is not only for low-income families.
Husbands, wives, partners or spouses that spend a few dollars each day on lunch, should start taking a lunch-box to work. Going to a restaurant, cheap or expensive, everyday is not frugal, albeit, wise. A packed lunch is not only cheap, it can also be healthy. There are various money-saving, healthy lunches that are able to put together each morning that will sustain you throughout the day. If going to a restaurant each day is something you enjoy; cutting down from daily to weekly, will save you money. The after work drink is another area where people in a single income family need to cut costs. Yes, having a drink with the guys after a hard day’s work is relaxing and in some cases necessary, however the money you use on booze could be best spent on other, more important, things. Having a few beers after work is common with all workers, but, for some strange reason, many men continue this ritual even after marriage, when kids are born. Women, for the most part, are far more responsible. If you are male and regularly head to a bar after work, give some thought to only going once per week – Friday night tends to be the most popular night.
Debts are the biggest headache for single income families – paying off credit cards, houses, cars, etc, can be stressful. Debts add to the woes of a single income and this in turn, can lead to family arguments and depression. It is therefore important to make every effort to pay off debts as fast as possible. Paying credit card bills can put strain on many couples living on one income. If you are one of these strained people, give the credit company a call and ask for a reduction on monthly payments; you’ll be surprised at just how helpful credit card companies are these days. Don’t forget to refrain from using your card as much as possible. If your partner for example, does not work, he or she could look into finding some sort of part-time employment and using the salary from this work to repay credit card loans. The partner with the full-time work is then able to continue paying for utilities and other miscellaneous bills. It is very important not to let the accumulated debts depress you; keep enjoying your life, for you will eventually be debt free and riding on cloud nine.
Clearly living on a single income requires everyone in the family to be thrifty and not splurge on the unnecessary. As mentioned above, discuss with your partner your needs and wants. You will be able to save a great deal if you limit your “wants” and balance your “needs”. Always keep a positive attitude and your life will change for the better. When your life does change – and it will – you’ll be able to afford all the “wants” you want.
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