Competitor: This article comes from Heather H. — see the original post Tips for Living on One Income.
Entry Category: Best Ways to Earn and Save Money
Living on One Income Tips: I’d like to start off by saying everyone struggles at one time or another. You just have to learn to cope. I’ve pretty much always struggled when it comes to finances, being a single mother is not an easy job. I worked three jobs at one point in time and it still was not enough. I then became disabled, so living on one income it was, and still is. Over time I’ve learned ways to stretch my money, try to keep the bills paid, and still help the community. Even though it is month to month living, it still works.
Simple tips for living on one income: Start off by sitting down and creating a budget. Make a list of your monthly expenses/bills, etc. For me, most of my monthly bills are around the same amount every month except of course the electric bill. I basically follow a few important rules. Never use credit cards, Always put needs over wants, Make “no spend” days, NO more eating out, and Find and utilize at least 2 money saving strategies a month. It’s all about survival. We, especially as parents, do what we have to do to survive. I also shop at second hand and thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army quite frequently.
After I pay all my monthly bills, I determine what is needed for the house – Groceries, personal care, and if the kids needs anything as far as clothing etc. I have to tell you, couponing is the new way of the world, and it has saved my life. I always try to find a coupon for everything I plan to buy, and if I don’t have a coupon, I only buy it if I NEED it. I shop several stores to get the best bargains. Another way I get the things we need is to join the best virtual currency offer sites. On these type of sites, you complete offers, surveys, play games, etc for points that can be converted into cash, prizes, gift cards, etc. To me, these are much easier than regularsurvey sites, maybe because I can get impatient. The top three sites that I use are as follows: Prizerebel, Swagbucks, and Superpoints. I cash out alot of Amazon gift cards and sometimes Paypal cash. Amazon gift cards paid for our Christmas in 2011.They never expire and you can save them all year. All three of these sites have a great referral system, so when your referrals earn, so do you. I’ve recently started buying food items on Amazon with gift cards. I just got four big boxes of cereal for 8 bucks with free shipping. Sign up for Amazon Mom for free Prime Shipping. Also, sign up for all the free giveaways, contests, and free samples that you can! It does pay off!
So, aside from alot of couponing and making extra cash on these sites, how else do I save money that helps me live on one income? Well, for one, apply for energy assistance at your local social services.(Do this before it gets cold!) If they dont have a Home Energy office, ask them where to apply. If you’re eligible, it can really help you save in the winter months with your heating bill. Also, try putting a few dollars into Savings whenever you can. If you don’t like banks, try a prepaid card service like Netspend, they have Checking and Savings.
While I do my couponing, I always keep a “donation” box. There are lots of freebies out there, and they can really help people in need. When my box gets full, I take it to a local church that is big in helping the community. They’ve even helped me in the past, so it feels even better to help. You always want to Pay it Forward, you never know when you might need help.
All of these are great ways to live on one income and survive. I will not lie and say I live comfortably all the time, sometimes it is still a struggle, but we are in a recession people. If I look back to just one year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to say- Christmas was paid for virtually FREE, I donate at least three times a year, and I have a storage unit filled with free stuff from couponing! It is all about strategies and planning!! WE CAN DO IT!!