This post is a guest post from Courtney Kramer! Today, she is going to teach you how to budget on one income!
Do you live on one income? Or even paycheck to paycheck. According to a recent survey from Career Builder, almost 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
Either scenario is tough and makes life extra stressful. In our family, we currently live on my husband's income. I choose to stay at home with our toddler. Even though I have a Bachelor’s degree we have decided that I will stay home to raise our daughter.
Perhaps you can relate to the strain of living on one income? Today I want to show you how I budget on one income. This method is very simple and I provide step by step tips.
Before we start please note:
To find your expenses look at your bank and credit card statements from the past few months.
Next, write down all bills that are automatically drafted or that you pay each month. Also record the due date of each bill.
Then I divide expenses into two categories. First is fixed which is costs that must be paid and the amount doesn't change much. Next is variable which is expenses like grocery and gas which fluctuate each month.
When I'm budgeting I make sure our income can cover our fixed expenses first. That way we can live each month. Then I use the leftover amount to cover our variable expenses.
For variable expenses, I can make our money stretch a bit further. For groceries, I like to price match and schedule pickup. That way I'm not impulse buying and I'm getting all the best deals.
I also try to meal plan and shelf cook to avoid buying unnecessary food.
Making your budget into a visual you can refer to is so helpful for staying on track.
I also like to share this document with my hubby so we both can check the budget throughout the month.
In the first column list:
Next, I write down:
I use the formula =SUM(C2:C3) to add up the bills
In the next column, I add up the rest of the bills using the formula =SUM(C4:C10) to be paid using the next paycheck.
I calculate the leftover amount by using the formula =SUM(F2-F3). Then I hover my mouse on the bottom right corner of the cell until a + appears and drag that formula into the cell on the right.
By doing that I am subtracting our fixed expenses from our income. This ensures we have enough to cover our bills. Plus I know how much money is coming out of our account.
3. Only use debit for groceries, gas and other minor expensesWith the leftover money, we use our debit to pay for gas, eating out, clothing or any other expenses. This part of our budget is not very organized. But we know that if our chequing is above a certain amount it's okay to spend.
4. Buy Groceries Once a Week to Avoid Impulse BuyingI only get groceries or any household items once a week when I do the pickup. That way I'm not impulse buying during the week. I know exactly how much groceries cost before checking out.
Groceries are paid by credit card because I use Walmart grocery pickup. I then transfer the amount from our chequing onto the credit card.
5. Schedule Bills on Google CalendarNext, I schedule each bill on Google Calendar and make it a recurring event. I also add the days we get paid. Then I print off each month and put it on the fridge to provide a visual reminder of what bills are coming out.
Me and my husband also have a shared calendar on our phones with this information.
Since I know exactly what bills are coming out and when each month I can budget ahead a couple of months.
6. Communicate About SpendingOther than paying our bills we try not to spend. Living on one income is tight. If we do want to buy something we discuss it first as a couple.
For example, if our daughter needs clothes I'll tell my hubby I'm going to be buying her a few things. If he needs something for the house he'll tell me before ordering from Amazon. This doesn't always happen perfectly but for the most part, we try to keep each other in the loop.
I hope this information was helpful to learn how to budget on one income. Remember to write down your expenses and when they are due. Then reserve part of your paycheck to cover those expenses.
I know budgeting is not a fun topic but it is so important to get into the habit of managing your money. Instead of your money managing you.
Courtney is a Professional Home Economist (PHEc), wife and mom. She helps the 20 something woman to live well by sharing honest and practical advice on relationships, motherhood + living well. In her free time, she also enjoys cooking, reading and listening to podcasts. Get fabulous date night ideas here: 10 Cheap + Fun Date Night Ideas Sign up
Hi! I am Ali, a homeschool mom who is passionate about science, managing my money and time well. Unfortunately, with an army of tiny faces, I am always still kind of a mess.
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